Axiom Verge, a 16-Bit Game Worth Your Attention

A mash up of Castlevania, Contra, and Metroid in a well-executed package. We preview the 16-bit action platformer Axiom Verge!

A couple of months back we previewed a trailer for Axiom Verge , a Contra/Metroid/Castlevania action platformer. Recently, we got to play through an alpha build of the game that features a good look at the level design, weapons, and a boss fight.

The gameplay that was featured in the trailer matched up well to the actual gameplay in the alpha build. The level design is simple as you travel through Mario-esque pipes that take you upward or sideways into each new section. Each section is designed differently enough that you get a good sense of progression, especially when you have to backtrack to parts of the level that might not have been accessible at the beginning of the game. The enemies in each level are relatively easy to kill, and their variation keeps things fresh between each section of the game.

Blue flying bugs easily killed with that gun!

But how do you kill all of those enemies? With five guns that are spread around the demo. We were able to find four, but rest assured there are five weapons that you can find if you do more digging, ranging from a weapon that shoots delayed bullets that explode on demand to a weapon that can drill out parts of the level or simply kills your foes. Each one of the weapons has more of a purpose than just killing enemies. You sometimes need to backtrack to unlock certain parts of a level that were unattainable due to unfound weapons in your arsenal. This also gives you the satisfaction of killing your enemies in different ways than you did before with another gun. The guns are fun to shoot with and the look of each weapon’s ammo captures that old-school 16-bit feel.

That brain is angry!

Luckily you don’t need all of the guns to tackle your first boss fight. After some exploration, you encounter a floating talking brain with a drill bit stinger, and he's hell-bent on killing you just because you disturbed and entered his domain. The brain boss was easy to take down because he only shoots out red orbs that either disappear once you dodge them or have a delayed enough explosion to move away from them. Since it is the first boss fight, we'll cut the difficulty level some slack. Overall, Axiom Verge is looking like a game you should be paying attention to once a final build is released. You can check out the trailer and take a look at the playthrough we did on TwitchTV.

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Discussion

77 comments
OHGFawx
OHGFawx

I really wanted to play this. Wonder what happened to it...

Chronologo
Chronologo

I'll be getting it, it's true that by now we have awesome looking games but gameplay has been getting really bumped down in the latest years. Even I despise the fact that games now are just TOO short and a bit too easy. I'm sick of 10 hour gameplay I want a 20+ hours gaming extravaganzza

scottwilkins
scottwilkins

Meh.

 

Sure the look is old school.  But that's not that great any more.  Old school play is great, but old school looks is not.

lonewolf_kai
lonewolf_kai

The game looks more like 8-bit to me, with a few 16-bit elements.

famekiller
famekiller

I'd love to see the expressions on new gen gamers' faces looking at these graphics going WTF? Get it away from me.....  I truly miss the old days of gaming.  I'd love to see old retro style games make a come back.  Thank higgs boson for emulation.

jer_1
jer_1

Love the look, I really will enjoy playing this one I am sure! I'll be waiting for it...

Vambran
Vambran

Eh. I would rather play HD 2D remakes of classic games then SD 2D clones of classic games.

AxiomVerge
AxiomVerge

Thanks for all the encouragement, folks :)  And happy 4th to those from the states!

Elann2008
Elann2008

I'm buying this the moment it releases.  Go indie developers!

folklorico
folklorico

i just hope this game is hard as hell as in the old NES games with no walkthrough and you were 9 yrs old with no clue on what to do yet you still had tons of fun playing it over and over

666NightsInHell
666NightsInHell

Agree, coz big devs making crap all the time, stupid brainless first person shooters , nothing new or nothing old good,playing indie games most of time, games with brains!

oldschoolvandal
oldschoolvandal

Screw big developers, publishers and all AAA, DLC, DRM crap!!

 

All hail the good and old 2D 16 bit fun!!

I'm totally in!

fang_proxy
fang_proxy

see gunlord if you are into 2d shumps

stripesonfire
stripesonfire

I might be spoiled by modern games... but I'd really love to see this game as a full XBLA game.  Microsoft needs to make this happen! I'd love to see what kind of deviously challenging achievements could be cooked up for this game.

 

Also, this awesome deserves to show up in my games list when people look at it! :)

The_J3ster
The_J3ster

Got a little feel of Turrican in there too... Now Turrican was a cool series of games, loved them on the Amiga!

badboy
badboy

looks pretty good

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

You say the title as if most 16 bit games weren't worth playing! Shame on you.

NewShire
NewShire

Wow, looks awesome.  Can't wait to play it.

Henninger
Henninger

Looks interesting. I thougt it was a Metroid game when i looked @ the picture. I might check it out when it drops.

keyb0red
keyb0red

worth a download I guess..

Bubbagum_Bish
Bubbagum_Bish

I'm gunna enjoy this. Anything that plays like Metroid is an instant buy for me.

rezboy81
rezboy81

i'm still playing SNES/Sega on emulator..

Anema1986
Anema1986

Metroid+Contra=good nostalgia game

1000 better than all the Crap of Duty or Craplo

Anema1986
Anema1986

metroid+Contra=good nostalgia game

7C7R7N7
7C7R7N7

I just came here because of the picture. It looks like Super Metroid. It's a pitty that it won't be available for PS3.

AFR_basic
AFR_basic

This is what i always say, we are in a videogame age in which we have games that looks amazing but lack gameplay.

Also we have a Axiom Verge, a game that goes back to basics.

A style of game that is almost lost, don't know  if this game lack dificulty or not but we need game like the N E S era.

sapo_joe
sapo_joe

Looks more like an 8-bit title. Genesis platform games like Sonic had far better graphics.

LoserMike
LoserMike

So is this an XBLA  title or Indie title?

ilantis
ilantis

First minecraft , then this. By next year videogames might devolve to the ping pong paddle with the ball attached to a rubber string.

aprilosa
aprilosa

 @Vambran Euh... why play the same game again when you can play a good and fresh game??? Don't get me wonrg : I love metroid and contra... though I've played them many times through... hence I welcome this game!

scottwilkins
scottwilkins

 @666NightsInHell

 diffuclt play does not equal a game with brains.

 

Smart play with intuitive plot and engaging play.  THATs brains.

The_J3ster
The_J3ster

 @fang_proxy Funny - I mentioned earlier in this post that Axiom Verge had a bit of a Turrican feel to it...  Gunlord by comparison is practically a clone!!  - even the music!  Looks and sounds awesome though :-)

AxiomVerge
AxiomVerge

 @LoserMike For now it's an indie title.  Of course I'll try to strike a deal to get it on the full XBLA.

jer_1
jer_1

 @ilantis What a narrow line of thinking you must have regarding games. Technology does not make a game fun, that takes superior gameplay or an excellent story. I'm hoping this one nails the gameplay, we shall see.

Anema1986
Anema1986

 @ilantis i was about to call u graphic whore, but your reply made me think :P

inaka_rob
inaka_rob

 @ilantis have you played minecraft? quickly becoming the most played game of all human time. there is a reason for that. its an amazing "game"

Ovirew
Ovirew

 @ilantis Oh don't worry, there will be plenty of graphical advancements in the next COD game to keep gamers like you entertained.  XD

waffles89
waffles89

 @ilantis graphics aren't that important and personally I can't wait to get this I loved all those old run and gun games like contra, but I wonder if the difficulty will be tuned down in this like it is in most games these days, I hope not cause for me that's what made all those retro games worth playing they were the most challenging and rewarding games I've ever played.

cyberjf2
cyberjf2

 @notserbamma Not really, games were more epic and entertaining then most games in these days.

stripesonfire
stripesonfire

 @AxiomVerge I'll play this either way but this really needs to be an XBLA game.  I think the success of games like FEZ prove that there is a good market for games like this.

ilantis
ilantis

 @inaka_rob Did you read me saying I think Minecraft or any other game is bad ? No. Just for the records I spent more than maybe 40 hours on the game.

famekiller
famekiller

 @Ovirew there's one thing in life i love and respect and that's sarcasm. we could be friends.

ilantis
ilantis

 @Ovirew The gaming world grew up, it's overall better now, get over it.

ilantis
ilantis

Just a note: don't quote people for things they don't say. It was just a joke and personally I really liked playing some games with "dated" graphics for the first time, and as a matter of fact I played Castlevania SotN on 2007 and it's one of my favourite games (although the graphics are quite superior to 16-bit games). Keep in mind I'm from 92, so many of you "ye ol gamers" will hardly understand what is like playing such (for me) old games. For many of you games were awesome then, for me they are awesome now, it's the circle of life *put raibow here*.

JKnaperek
JKnaperek

 @stripesonfire And didn't Phil Fish repeatedly express his discontent with Microsoft and how they handle their xbox live releases. Steam ftw.

ilantis
ilantis

@slayer1090 I deleted the last part of the comment which I didn't tought necessary, since it was implied that some people used to spednd much more in the game, and 40 hours is more than average, but since you ask it was "I know it might not be a lot for some, but the time I spent in the game was enough for me to create everything I wanted, so for me it was enough". Pity you if you keep playing without enjoying.

OHGFawx
OHGFawx

 @ilantis I'm currently playing Metroid: Zero Mission on my gameboy emulator and its amazing to me how much more fun it is than most current games. I got my NES for my birthday in 1987. We've gotten older, but I wouldn't say we "grew up" as you use the phrase.