“A spectacular homage to Metroid that has become a classic of its own.”

1923446-667607_20120416_003Over the past couple of years, there have been a great number of retro-style games that harken back to the good ol’ days of classic gaming, but only a few are ever able to recapture the spirit of their predecessors while delivering a modern, unique experience of their own. Axiom Verge is the perfect example of how a developer can achieve both of these objectives with one remarkable title. This game is a love letter to the NES classic, Metroid, but it still manages to deliver a distinctive personality and charm that will hook you from the very beginning. Axiom Verge is a modern, retro-style masterpiece that demands your attention.

This stunning indie gem starts off with a bang (litereally) as our hero, Trace, is blown into a mysterious world after a terrible accident. Dazed and confused, he must unravel the mysteries of the world he has found himself in, but most importantly, he must get out. Trace is no hero or intergalactic bounty hunter like Samus, he’s just a normal guy that has been caught up in something beyond his understanding. It’s not that Trace wants to be the “one hero” that has been called upon by destiny, but he simply doesn’t have any other choice. If Trace wants to survive, he has no other option than to press forward.

2522175-soldierboss2Axiom Verge is an action-adventure game that relies entirely on collecting items through exploration to progress and reach new areas. When you begin, veterans of Metroid will feel right at home with the intoxicating atmosphere, absorbing music, and intricate world layout, but this game will quickly defy your expectations with its narrative, secrets, items, and progression. For example, I love that I spent the first few hours staring at several tiny passageway wondering when I would get the ability to turn into a ball, but what this game eventually revealed was something even more exciting. Yes, I know saying that will be sacrilegious to many people, but you’ll just have to experience it for yourself to understand.

One thing that makes this game so thrilling is the freedom to discover new, “uncharted” areas as well as new, “unintended” ways to utilize your abilities and arsenal. There is a path that players can follow to reach the eventual conclusion of the game, but there are so many secrets and hidden areas that when revealed, make the player feel like they have actually found something that perhaps even the developer didn’t know about. Similarly, each weapon has an intended purpose, but many can be exploited in such a way that create new possibilities and even allow for some “cheesing.” Of course, the developer is well aware of each of these potentials discoveries, but that sensation speaks volumes to the brilliant crafting of this world by Axiom Verge’s sole creator, Tom Happ.

Axiom Verge is a wonderful game that allows players to move quickly through the main part of the story, but it was really designed for players who want to explore the entire world and test every wall, ceiling, and floor for hidden surprises. You can complete this game without ever completing the map, but that would truly be a waste of this beautifully and meticulously designed game. To get the most out of Axiom Verge, you should take your time to find every glitch and every upgrade. I had as much fun adventuring off the beaten path to find the optional areas and nonessential items as I did following the main progression of the story.

drillIf I can give any advice to those who will venture this enigmatic world, it would be to use your weapon’s “upgrades” on every surface and enemy you come across. Utilizing your Laser Drill on the right wall or your Field Disruptor on the right enemy will change the game entirely. Don’t rush through this incredible experience, but instead, take your time to test everything and assess every room. Excessive exploration is optional in Axiom Verge, but for those who want to get the most out of this experience, it is absolutely crucial.

Axiom Verge is one of those indie titles that reminds me why I fell in love with games in the first place. This is an imaginative, exciting, expertly crafted, and challenging game that I hope will encourage gamers to explore more indie titles and inspire more indie developers to aspire for greatness. This is an incredible game with fantastic exploration, an awesome arsenal, and an intriguing story that classic game enthusiasts will truly appreciate. Axiom Verge is a spectacular homage to Metroid that has becomes a classic of its own.

Axiom Verge is now available on PS4 and Steam!

Title: Axiom Verge

Developer & Publisher: Tom Happ

Platform: PS4, Steam

[A PS4 review copy of this game was provided by the developer]
Indie Spotlight: Axiom Verge Review
Axiom Verge is a marvelous game that excels in every aspect. For those who love the NES classic, Metroid, or those who love these types of games, Axiom Verge is an absolute essential experience. The gameplay, music, and world-building in this game are a true labor-of-love and the work of a master craftsman.
  • Fantastic world design.
  • Wonderful use of weapons and items to expand upon gameplay.
  • Heavily dependent on each player's knowledge and appreciation of Metroid.
9.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)

About The Author

Derrick D
Editorial/Reviews Writer

Derrick has been an avid gamer since before he even started kindergarten. He is a video games enthusiast first and foremost and has a unconditional love for the gaming industry. His fun-loving personality, wide array of experiences, as well as his background in gaming and the film industry have helped him to develop a unique perspective that is always thoughtful and invariably entertaining.