Lust doesn’t cut it, but whatever the best word for that raw, dirty, and instantaneous form of love is the only one that can describe how I felt the first time I saw a screenshot of Axiom Verge. The connection I have to it is primal and impales the core of why I play games. Axiom Verge just feels good in my bones. It’s all in the details, and having a glitch gun chunk up those pretty pixels as well as those chip sounds made me stop to catch my breath more than once.
That’s enough nostalgia porn. Axiom Verge doesn’t get by on its familiarity alone as that only appeals to sociopaths like myself. This game is smart, it knows its roots, and it isn’t afraid to rip em out and turn ’em upside down. I don’t guess when it comes to 2D character action-adventure platformers (Metroidvanias, I’ll say it), but Axiom Verge was unpredictable in the best ways possible. I would try to go where I wasn’t supposed to in an attempt to break the game, and Axiom Verge would laugh at me to let me know that’s exactly what I was supposed to be doing. Every power-up and every new weapon contains a surprising twist that is essentially to finishing objectives and discovering hidden areas. A drone gun? Of course, there’s a drone gun. Why hasn’t there been a drone gun in a game like this before?
It may not be easy to play or even to look at for some players, but Axiom Verge is unapologetic in its design and unforgettable in its execution. Thanks, Thomas Happ. You’re crazy for doing this alone, and I’m thankful Axiom Verge had its way with me.