Soul Axiom is a first-person, adventure game with puzzle elements. The game is developed by Wales Interactive. The game takes place inside a “Digital Soul Provider” called Elysia. The game blends puzzle solving and exploration throughout mysterious environments. The game has a similar visual style to its predecessor, Master Reboot. Soul Axiom was first released on Steam Early Access back in November 2014, and now the 1.0 version is on PC, Mac and Linux in February. The game is also planned to come out for Xbox One, Wii U and PS4 sometime in Q2 2016.
Master Reboot was a similar game in terms of style, as it uses bright vivid environments and mysterious atmosphere. I was instantly drawn into Soul Axiom because of the design and feel of the game. The game starts and you find yourself walking around a vibrant sci-fi world. Neon lights glow, eerie music plays and you appear to be on some some of craft. The game doesn’t have the most amazing graphics, but the world is well designed and full of character. When playing first person games, I believe its important to have a world that is visually stimulating and interesting to explore. The world is full of mystery and intrigue, and you’re never quite sure what’s going on. I have to say I have liked the neon, sci-fi look of the game.
The game isn’t really about combat, and more about exploration and puzzle solving. I can’t help but compare it to Bioshock in some ways. You can use ‘plasmid-like’ abilities to do things like move objects. I feel like the gameplay and mechanics are things we have seen many time before in games, and although the puzzles felt satisfying, there was no real originality to the gameplay. The design of the world itself was far more interesting than the gameplay. As I say, the game is a lot about exploring beautifully designed environments. The areas you explore feel large and sometimes sparse, sometimes without a lot to do.
One of the main highlights of the game are the varied environments, which made me want to venture forward and discover the next area. I didn’t mind having to run around, covering large open spaces, because the atmosphere and style felt so intriguing. Before I started the game, I thought it might be more horror based, but infact its more of an experiential exploration mystery game. I enjoyed playing through the game, but couldn’t help feel like it had something missing. I often found myself expecting something to jump out on me, or something big to happen.
The two main powers I found interesting in the game, was a teleportation type power, that phases objects, and to play and stop various animated items. You have to switch your powers when exploring, as objects are only highlighted when you have the appropriate power selected. This can prove to be a bit annoying, and I’m sure there could have been a different way to show interactable objects.
The presentation of the game is probably the highlight of the game. The areas can often feel vast and sparse, but they are beautifully designed. The environments are vibrant, colourful and varied, which makes exploration feel genuinely interesting. The style of the game reminded me a lot of the Bioshock series, and I felt as though the game drew some inspiration from those games, you even start on a flying ship with a creature that looks like the Songbird from Bioshock Infinite. The sound design is also pretty good, and helps create a sense of depth and atmosphere to the world. The music is subtle and escalates at appropriate moments, which draws you into the game.
Overall, Soul Axiom is an atmospheric experience, that looks and sounds great. It’s a shame that the puzzles feel unoriginal and the world can feel a little sparse at times. My favourite parts of the game is the exploration, world design and mysterious tone. I would certainly recommend this game if you like Master Reboot or Bioshock, just don’t expect heavy action or shooting.
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