Nothing But PC Gaming (NBPCG) had the opportunity to play the full version released today. We found this game may just be perfect for gamers who use the term ‘cookie cutter’ when defining the current PC offerings.
As reported by NBPCG, Soul Axiom is a first-person, story-driven adventure game featuring a beautifully simplistic emphasis on striking shapes, strong colors, and beautiful effects as well as a player’s memories and dreams being stored on a futuristic server, referred to a ‘Digital Soul Provider’ in the back story.
As mentioned, for the purpose of the title’s backstory souls are defined and a future of uploading these souls into a ‘matrix’ type computer has been detailed in all the publicity materials. The game developer Wales Interactive have been very upfront about the simple, but bold graphics with the released screen shots and videos. However, while reporting on this game, we did wonder why the avenue of the simple graphics was taken. Understanding the gaming industry is enjoying a few ‘throw-back’ trends such as side scrollers and pixel games, the theme of the graphics seen in 'Soul Axiom' graphics weren’t a pressing matter, but more a curiosity.
The reason we bring this up at the beginning of the review, the graphics, back story and essentially everything said to describe the game made more sense once we made our way through the title itself. It’s fair to say gamers pretty much know what to expect when booting up a new game. Sure, there may be some things done better than before or even more cleverly, but on the whole gamers enjoy a degree of familiarity with even the newest of titles.
That’s definitely not the case with ‘Soul Axiom’.
A 'Tron'-like sail on a steampunk galleon - Welcome to Soul Axiom
Starting off on a galleon taken from the world of ‘Tron’, Soul Axiom's environment starts to take shape. Electronic wire-mesh sails adorn a sparse and slightly steampunk ship offering up simple enough puzzles to work the player into their new environment.
While a player may be fooled into thinking all the levels will follow this graphical path, they quickly find themselves in an Egyptian level which could easily be a lost background for the classic shooter ‘Serious Sam’.
And so it goes on with a variety of differently designed levels.
We’re not ashamed to say we didn’t ‘get’ 'Soul Axiom' until completing the introductory levels modern games include to familiarize players with keys, available actions and how to use the tools they’re given. Arriving at an area which acts as the hub for the uploaded souls, everything the title was trying to be and the entertainment it was offering started to make sense.
The very fact we weren’t beaten over the head with clichés, graphical saturations and endless hint messages speaks volumes to what Wales Interactive appears to be working towards for this title.
Just as with the puzzles, the game itself makes the player work for any understanding and direction. To us, that was refreshing.
What this game is, original and interesting. From the lengthy efforts to minimally position the game and its back story to playing through the puzzles, it will deliver feelings rarely enjoyed in many modern games. It lets the player project what it is.
No hands held here.
The obligatory in-game arcade game - Liked the title!
What it isn’t. This isn’t your graphically detailed game with obvious ‘worlds’ to play through. To be fair, if our understanding of what the game is supposed to be, it simply can’t be the immersive, detailed worlds seen in other first-person adventure games. This is supposed to be a type of dream world the player, or soul, is navigating. Think about how vague dreams feel when trying to recall them the morning after. That is this game.
Are the puzzles incredibly difficult, not really. Because this game offers minimal direction, the true challenge comes trying to work out what is supposed to be done and in what order.
But bearing in mind our take at what the game is trying to be, we didn’t see this as a downside.
Puzzles are solved with a variety of powers used to move, dematerialize and rematerialize objects around the levels. As with the uniqueness of this title, the first few times a player does this, it’s pretty cool.
Is this game for everyone? Nope.
In our mind this game is ideal for the gamer who wants something slightly different, doesn’t need to be led around from a to b. Nor is it for those who want a lot of eye-candy, the graphics go from ‘Tron’ inspired to a cartoon feel found in many popular games. But all the graphics seem perfectly suited to the game and what it’s trying to offer.