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Game Spotlight: Axiom Verge

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    Game Spotlight: Axiom Verge

    It's time for another game spotlight! This week I'm going to tell you about a game that came out in 2015 for the PlayStation 4, but has since been released for a number of platforms. That game is Axiom Verge. If you folks have been following these spotlights, you've noticed that I tend to skew more towards the retro side of things. I just tend to think that there was a design language of games back then that I could get my head around and understand. You couldn't make things too complicated, as you were hardware limited. Well, Axiom Verge borrows a lot from those days, but it also blends in nice modern elements that make things easier to play. The result is a game that is an homage to Metroid but isn't mired by Metroid's limitations.

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ID:	57166Axiom Verge originally started life as a hobby project for Tom Happ. By day he worked at Petroglyph Games. During his off time, he worked on Axiom Verge. The original gameplay style was to be a mix of Bionic Commando and Rygar, but as he continued to play with ideas he found that the mechanics of a tethered weapon were too restricting and he moved onto a more ranged type of weapon that he could adapt and modify as players got new abilities for it. The game ended up borrowing elements from Metroid, Contra, Rygar, Bionic Commander, Blaster Master, and others. It never feels like this is a rip-off of any of those, though. It wears its influences on its sleeve, and it's better for it.

    As the game got further into development, Tom realized that he needed to find someone to handle the business side of things. He ended up reaching out to Dan Adelman, a long time industry veteran who had just left Nintendo about a month prior. After playing the game, Dan knew it was a project he had to be part of, so the deal was done and Tom now had a Marketing manager. Not too long after this, they had secured funding from Sony to bring the game to the PlayStation 4. Tom was then able to quit his day job and work on the game full time. The game came out March 31st of 2015 and during that year won many awards, including many Game of the Year Awards. I forgot to mention one thing: The game was designed, programmed, composed, and illustrated by one person. That's why I was referring to Tom specifically. He wasn't on the development team, he was the development team! It took five years of effort, but he got there in the end.

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ID:	57167You play as Trace, a scientist running an experiment in New Mexico when something goes wrong and the lab he is working in explodes. Trace finds himself awakening, which in itself is a surprise, but when he does so, he is no longer on Earth. If that weren't bad enough, the fundamental laws of reality don't seem to apply in this world. Trace finds early on that there is a corruption there. To put it bluntly, the world is glitched. As you progress, you'll discover clues as to why this is happening, and as you do, you start to realize that there's a very complex and intricate narrative woven into a game that at first seems like a standard action/adventure.

    It's a side-scrolling platformer, with tight, refined, and precise controls. Early on the game you will be very weak, and won't be able to take much damage at all, but as you progress you'll grow your health and acquire numerous weapons and tools to help you get through the game. You'll also discover a series of Notes that will reveal more about the narrative. You can page past these if you like, but reading them does give you a good insight into the care that was put into this game. While the game is immediately engaging, about a third of the way through the game starts to throw another element into the mix. Now we're getting into spoiler territory, so I won't say what that is.

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ID:	57168So do I recommend Axiom Verge? Oh hell, yes! It's one of those games that will make you want to keep playing for hours, and you won't mind that you'll have to do some backtracking to reach new areas, as you'll get a new ability and realize "Oh! I can use that over there!" These sorts of Metroidvania games are very common these days, but few of them ever feel like they're as complete and well thought out as Axiom Verge.

    Axiom Verge is not a hard game to get. You can get it for PlayStation 4, PS Vita (Cross-Buy), Windows, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy it!
    Daryn's Signature



    “Just when you think humanity has found the limits of stupid, they go and ratchet up the standard by another notch.” - Bob
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