Soul Axiom

I didn’t mean to buy this game. You see, there is a
popular metroidvania game called Axiom Verge out, and- yes, it’s
embarrassing, but I apparently was in too much haste to check the store
page of what I was buying and ended up buying Soul Axiom instead. The
perils of the Steam Sales strike us all. Still, I bought it, so it’s in
my library, and that means it’s a backlog game.

I
went in knowing absolutely nothing about what to expect, and I left…
knowing pretty much exactly the same amount. Charitably, Soul Axiom is a
game that plays its hand close to its chest; less charitably, it’s a
game that just kind of does a load of stuff and you’re just kind of
there for it.

Ostensibly I
guess it’s a first person puzzle game, though one where the puzzles are
very gentle- rarely being more complex than interacting with a specific
object in order to open the path. Later on there are special abilities
granted such as the power to disintegrate objects or to rewind time, but
these also rarely add much; if you can use a power on an object it
usually means you have to, and having interacted with it at all is
usually enough to solve the puzzle. As a result it becomes more of an
interactive story rather than a game, which is a fine thing but only if
the story is worth telling.

And,
well, that’s where it kinda falls apart. A sequence of surreal
non-sequitur landscapes isn’t doing much environmental storytelling even
if the narrative assures us one is being told. Nothing means anything
here, it’s not cohesive, it’s just stuff.

Fin or Bin:

Perhaps
towards the end there is a single unifying reveal which bridges the
connection between the dive bar, the desert, and the museum flawlessly,
but getting to that point is a journey of being shown some mildly
interesting environments and occasionally clicking on something within
them to get to the next one. It’s one step removed from browsing through
a background artist’s portfolio on Deviantart.

It’s worth noting that
there is a “rebooted” version now available (and the original has been
delisted). I played the original, and while I can’t imagine a remaster
could do much to improve things, I can’t say for certain that it didn’t.
The original, at least, will be going in the Bin.

(Steam (Rebooted Version))

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