Right, Axiom Verge (2015) remains a classic Metroidvania indie romp. The work of one man only, the super talented Thomas Happ.
The sequel launched unexpectedly early on 11th August on Nintendo Switch, Epic Games, and PS4. We picked it up pronto!
Here it is… Axiom Verge 2
First up, we’ll state the core nature of Axiom Verge 2 is very much in line with its predecessor.
All the Super Metroid style labyrinth maze maps and exploration make up the experience as you discover the strange world around you.
However, this is a more sedate experience that takes its time to get going.
Axiom Verge is bordering on horror, with a manic and frenzied edge to it. The thing seems to crackle with radioactivity.
The sequel keeps its cards close to its chest for a big chunk of the early stages of its play time, rolling out power ups and encouraging you to explore every nook and cranny.
And these quite a lot of plot going on here. The game starts with you as Indra Chaudhari. She’s a billionaire CEO of a massive conglomerate, one of the few in a future world controlling the economy.
Themes of The Thing soon kick off as you start out at an Antarctic research station where everything isn’t quite as it seems.
Events soon lead to the death of Indra, but she’s transported to a new dimension and that’s when she must begin the quest on a mission to find out if you are dead, dreaming, or somewhere else entirely.
If you’ve played Metroidvanias before then you know what’s in store here.
What Axiom Verge 2 manages to do is layer on interesting and clever new gameplay mechanics as you get further into the experience.
It certainly takes its time going, but it’s worth the wait as things gradually ramp up. All whilst the Philip K. Dick styles reality bending plot plays out.
Visually, it’s not as striking as Axiom Verge. Perhaps an odd design decision, given the first outing was from six years ago.
And its strong level design and great soundtrack help to propel it beyond being just another sci-fi Metroidvania yarn.
It’s quietly compelling. Perhaps not what many Axiom Verge fans were expecting in many respects, but Thomas Happ has worked his magic here in intriguing fashion.
Its unexpected launch this week was met with a kind of muted fanfare, especially as the title isn’t out on Steam, the PS5, or Xbox One yet.
But the rafter of strong reviews should help the game solidify it as one of the best Metroidvania romps of 2021.
Axiom Verge 2’s Soundtrack
Amazingly, Thomas Happ is also responsible for composing the game’s score. This is just how talented the bloke is!
He has assistance with some areas from the likes of singer Mayssa Karaa, who often works on movie soundtracks.
Indian sitars appear to play a big part in the soundtrack, but it’s pretty similar to the previous game in its scope.
This often shifts into NES style bleeps and bloops, a fun little addition that hints at what sort of reality Indra is in. Real? Fake? A NES game!?
Anyway, we like the soundtrack. At its best it’s a really bloody belter, matey, and adds a great deal to your adventure.