Axiom Verge Strategic Preview - Prima Games

Axiom Verge Strategic Preview

by Prima Games Staff

Over the years we received some great indie games that went on to achieve success, including The Behemoth’s Castle Crashers and Yacht Club Games’ Shovel Knight, which debuts for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One next month. This coming Tuesday, however, fans of Metroidvania-style games will get blown away by Tom Happ’s Axiom Verge, a stunning retro-style adventure where players explore a mysterious alien world.

In the game, you portray a scientist named Trace, attempting to create a bold new experiment that could change the face of technology as we know it. However, something goes terribly wrong and he perishes, or does he? He wakes up in a strange alien world, having to rely on his wits  and anything he finds in the environment to survive.

Axiom Verge is Metroid-like, as you’ll explore catacombs connected together in an overworld map, while at the same time picking up new items that will assist you in getting around. There are also plenty of save points as well, so you can back up your progress.

Like Metroid, Axiom Verge shares many elements that will remind players of the classic 8-bit games of old. You’ll be able to open up a map at any time that shows you which rooms have yet to be explored, as well as the location of any new save points, should you want to update your progress, instead of re-spawning at a previous point and having to run through the whole level again.

On top of that, there are hidden secrets throughout this world, including rooms that hold bonus goodies like health refills and new weaponry, although you may need special items – like that short-range cannon – to gain access. If you don’t have what’s needed you can always backtrack, then return once you’re good and ready. In addition, keep an eye out for “glitches” – intended ones, mind you – as they can sometimes present a way to get into an area you otherwise wouldn’t be able to explore. They happen over the course of the game, sometimes out of your control, but you’ll definitely want to take advantage.

When it comes to the best weapons you can use in the game, Axiom Verge has a wide assortment to choose from. One weapon you’ll run across early in the game is a short-range blaster, capable of destroying walls and floors so you can access new areas. It’s also handy for short-range attacks against enemies that get a little too close to your scientist hero. From there the lightning gun, introduced mid-way through the game, is a splendid way to zap enemies from a safe distance. More items and weapons are also available, including those hidden collectibles we hinted at before. There are over 60 in all, and many of them pack a punch, especially when you’re fighting against bosses.

The boss battles look impressive. Nasty aliens come out of the woodwork, taking up nearly the entire size of the screen as they unleash a bevy of attacks on you, including laser beams and smaller enemies emerging from their skin. Your best bet, obviously, is to keep shooting and watch your step, and you may survive the skirmish long enough to move on.

For those who crave a retro challenge – or want to show off their skills during a live Twitch session – Happ threw in another treat. Axiom Verge comes with a Speedrun mode, where players attempt to run through each level as fast as possible, comparing their best times with one another. Considering the game’s challenge level – this isn’t your usual romp through 8-bit territory – it’s bound to have players coming back for more, just to see what they’re made of. Casual players, though, may want to start with the main mode first, getting used to the gameplay before putting their old-school skills to the test.

Dripping with ambience and a killer soundtrack that resembles something from the NES era, Axiom Verge has style to spare, but also plenty of substance for those seeking Metroidvania exploration and fast-paced action. Featuring a variety of weaponry and gear, it has something for everyone. Plus, the fact that it’s literally a one-man project – Happ worked on everything, with advisement from partner Dan Edelman – is really something.

Find out for yourself when Axiom Verge arrives on March 31st for PlayStation 4.

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