Axiom Verge - PlayStation 4

Release Date:

March 31, 2015

Also on:

PS4 PC PS Vita Switch

Viewing USA:

Also on UK.


In Axiom Verge, a scientist awakes after his experiment goes catastrophically wrong and nothing appears to make any sense. The world he finds himself in seems alien, broken and full of glitches. Yet he soon realises that these imperfections hold the key to his escape. Explore nine sprawling, interconnecting regions, discover the surreal inhabitants of this world and harness powerful glitches to break through to secret areas. Along the way you’ll uncover 60 hidden items and the reason behind the freak accident.

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  • Developer(s):
    • Thomas Happ Games
  • Publisher(s):
    • Thomas Happ Games LLC
  • Distributor(s):
    • PlayStation Store
  • Release Date(s):
    • March 31, 2015
  • Official Site(s):
  • ESRB Rating:
    • Teen
  • Player(s):
    • 1
  • Online Player(s):
    • N/A

Technical Information

  • DualShock Compatible:
    • DualShock 4
  • Required Disc Space:
    • 224MB Minimum
  • Supported Video Output:
    • 1080p
  • Game Format:
    • Digital Download
  • Average Playing Time:
    • 16 Hours
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'Axiom Verge' for the PlayStation 4 was developed by Tom Happ and released this past March 31, 2015. The title released to both critical and commercial success as it investigated a genre that sometimes gets overlooked in the modern world of sandbox games and huge AAA titles: the platformer. Taking notes from titles like the original 'Metroid' as well as the 'Transylvania' franchise, we got to see another strategic and old school platform game. Placing it on the PS4 was definitely a risky move as it seems so far below the pay grade of the typical titles that have made their way to the console. Still, we are nothing if not nostalgia fiends and we were eager to hop into the game.

While it is, perhaps, lazy to simply compare the game to those storied franchises it is pretty hard not to do so. Upon booting up the game we are immediately introduced to a 2D platformer with dark and gritty artwork. The side-scrolling camera mechanism, that allows us to move in every direction except toward camera and away from camera, immediately put our mind on the topic of those old games. The reason that we are stressing this inherent 'sameness' is simple: we want you to understand why this game SHOULD NOT succeed. Yet, it does. Rather than feeling like a poorly made clone 'Axiom Verge' instead feels like a loving homage to a genre that most of us mid-20 year old gamers grew up with. But that doesn't mean that you won't find any surprises. As it turns out, there are a couple of curve balls waiting for you.

The video game starts with you as the man Trace, a scientist who is working in a gigantic laboratory. As all things are wont to do, stuff quickly goes sideways and your lab ends up exploding and falling apart. Trace ends up getting KO'd. Trace wakes up later only this time he is inside of a gigantic mechanical egg. Odd stuff apparently happens when you pass out. Immediately things are put on alarm as Trace hears a mysterious voice invading his own mind. It isn't an external sound, no, it's something internal. Within him. The voice tells him to go arm himself with weaponry from an adjacent room. The voice warns him of a thing named 'Athetos' that is coming after him. Through these voice commands we start the preliminary exploration and item collecting that will define the rest of the game.

Eventually Trace ends up face to face with a gigantic face. This is where the voice was coming from. The face is actually a giant robotic head that belonged to a race of alien creatures known only as the Rusalki. She tells Trace that he alone must save them all. Trace doesn't trust the robot, and who would? Trace naturally goes down the progression of problems with the robot's story: Why doesn't he remember what happened after the lab? Why does he keep going back into this egg when he dies? Why are so many creatures there how to kill him? This method of questioning, which is both systematic and logical, drives what makes this title so different: our intelligent hero actually, you know, acts intelligent. He isn't immediately predisposed to taking orders from some bizarre creature he just met after having his whole life completely flipped on its head.

After this initial set up we are pretty much let free to push onward in a game that emphasizes both exploration and new discovery. Your primary mode of fighting, as you traverse the sweeping 2D levels, is called the Axiom Disruptor. It's a straight shooting gun that can be modified as you upgrade it with different items. It's as enjoyable as you can imagine. There is something just right about causing massive damage with a gun in 2D space. You'll find dozens of different gun types throughout your play through and you'll be hard pressed to stick to a 'favorite'. 'Axiom Verge' emphasizes different needs at different points in the game so you will always be pressed to try new guns at new times to see if they make your work any easier.

While there is much to see in 'Axiom Verge', there are still restrictions all around the maps. Ability requirements keep you from getting in over your head. The clever need to repair doors, portals, drones, and dig sites also gives you a reason to not be able to venture in a certain direction. These different obstacles were actually one of my favorite parts of the games: they gave you incentive to find work arounds and they made you think creatively. Sometimes this would cause head aches as you try to squeeze your brain free of an idea to push forward. Sometimes this would make you feel like a genius, too. still, it is only one facet of the game.

I really found myself loving the combat in this game. The ability to switch between guns while running, jumping, and dodging enemies was pretty awesome. There was something super satisfying about the way the projectiles collided with the different AI monsters in the game. Looting was easy and collecting items was fun as well.

The look of the game is old school side scrolling platform to the bone. This title could easily have been released twenty years ago for the Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis if we chose to ignore some of the more advanced audio techniques and game size. We loved the colors, though they tended to lean toward dark and dreary a tad bit too long. It would have been nice to see more of the 'outside' world, but we were pleased with the maps in general.

The primary crux of 'Axiom Verge' is that this is a game of exploration and discovery, both external and internal. As you race for answers in this insane new world, you also have to find them in your own head. Far from being a simple 'Metroid' clone, we instead got a subversive and clever approach to the genre.

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Thomas Happ Games LLC

Release Date:

March 31, 2015

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