The game I’m featuring here for September 2016 is one that immediately brings to mind Super Metroid as soon as you start it. Considering the most recent entry in the Metroid series is a spin-off (one I’m totally open to trying, but a certain JRPG has higher priority this month when it comes to 3DS games), there’s a pretty big void that needs to be filled on the Wii U.
Yes, you could just download Super Metroid through the Virtual Console service, and whilst it is a classic game, it’s not exactly new. However, the game I’m talking about might just scratch that itch that fans of Metroidvania games may have.
The sole developer, artist and musician of this game is Tom Happ. It has been released on the PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, the PlayStation Vita and of course, the Wii U. In fact, the Wii U version was released in both European and American eShops on September 1st.
In the words of the Nintendo UK website, Axiom Verge is a retro-inspired 2D action-exploration game.
It kicks off with some scientists are performing an experiment in a research facility. Naturally, the experiment goes wrong and destroys the entire building.
One scientist, called Trace, wakes up and finds himself on a bio-mechanical world called Sudra. Beneath the surface of Sudra reside the Rusalki, who protect the planet from invaders. The Rusalki are fading, yet their fate is intertwined with that of the universe.
A key part of any Metroidvania-style title is the map, and the Wii U GamePad is used to display it. There are nine different interlocking areas to explore, filled with plenty of weapons, items and boss battles.
Finding new items opens up new avenues of exploration – this is standard fare for this type of game, and very familiar ground for those who are partial to a bit of Metroid.
There are over 20 different weapons to get your hands on, too. These range from close-range weapons such as the Kilver, to the Reflector which bounces off of walls. A wide variety of weapons allows you to approach the hostile beings of Sudra however you prefer.
Energy Tanks Health Nodes increase health, and there are various other types that increase the damage or range of your weapons for examples.
One key item you’ll pick up during the game is the Address Disruptor. This item allows you to glitch the world of Rudra, such as by manipulating things to become blocks.
There’s also the Passcode Tool, which can change the very laws of the world around you. As you explore Sudra, you can find various codes and enter them using the Wii U GamePad. These grant Trace a variety of new abilities, such as higher jumps, faster shooting and being able to read Sudra’s ancient language.
Axiom Verge encourages speedrunning, with an entire mode dedicated to that very pursuit. It streamlines the interface, skips story cutscenes and removes any dialogue. It’s probably best to play through the main game itself first to become familiar with the world and all its features, however.
Axiom Verge dumps you in a strange world, with very little idea as to where to go. This is truly classic Metroid style exploration, and will certainly help to fill a void. With the addition of the ability to glitch your surroundings with the Address Disruptor, the game makes for a compelling experience.