By: Matt Alexander
Eribu. Zi. Absu. E-Kur-Mah. No, those aren’t words in Swahili (I don’t think), they’re places in Playstation 4’s “Axiom Verge” (or maybe they’re names of monsters, I’m not sure). At any rate, this throwback is a shot of Metroid-style platformer with a twist of mystery served super-chill (see what I did there?) over 16-bit-type graphics.
Play as Trace, a super cool scientist who comes to after a lab explosion and finds himself in a different world where he can run, jump, and shoot, as well as create glitches in the scenery. Without giving away too much, the storyline is a classical tragedy of pathogens vs alien beings and their inter- and intraconnections involving adaptable advanced weaponry, with scientific discovery as a subplot; you know, that whole thing.
The game is so Old School throwback it even has fake bad translations! The music is as eerie as it is fitting. The entire game was designed, written, scored, and basically given birth to by one man, Tom Happ (Stop assuming gender! Men can give birth! Loud noises and other science-y stuff!).
Rad boss fights and familiar scenery give the game a classic feel. This makes it a celebration of old and new classics for some, and a welcome introduction to the genre for others. Be warned, though: as an old school game, this one can be tough. The YouTube videos of players Speedrunning the game — an actual separate game mode — shows that it is quite beatable, however.
Axiom Verge is a riveting homage and improvement upon retro platformers. A knowledge of games like Metroid and Bionic Commando add to the experience, but even bros new to the genre will enjoy this one.
9/10 Bro Fists