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SOUL AXIOM Early Review: Traversing Dreamlike Wonder

Soaring through violet streaked skies aboard great sailing vessel, the like of which pirates may have once used to traverse the seas, the beating sound of massive wings grows near. In the darkness, the silhouette of a seraph like being mounts the ship, smashing into the hull with a powerful crash and quickly flying away. The ship begins to plunge, clouds roaring past the deck.

Welcome to Soul Axiom, the vibrant and dream like exploration adventure game from Wales Interactive, currently in early access on Steam. Focusing heavily on themes of mystery of unknown identity, Soul Axiom uses exploration and adventure based game mechanics and tropes to carry players through vibrant settings, exhibiting beautiful art direction. Using unique abilities, players will solve puzzles and find enlightening key items to slowly unravel these mysteries; each clue is a step towards your identity, and potentially more.

Mechanics and Gameplay

At its core, Soul Axiom screams adventure game. At times, playful and even humorous, reminiscent of a Double Fine game; at other times mysterious and vast in a way that harks back to the old title Myst. Soul Axiom traverses the plethora of environments, relying on logic or physics based puzzles to move player progression. Abilities like phasing in or out objects as well as forwarding or even freezing time on others allow the player to manipulate the environment. Soul Axiom brings this all together nicely in a package representative of adventure games of the past, while establishing itself as a presence within the genre.

Courtesy: Wales Interactive

Courtesy: Wales Interactive

Art Direction

There’s something to be said for a visual aesthetic that can, at the drop of a hat, bring up semblance to iconic settings such as Tron, then Mad Max…. no wait, now Indiana Jones. That’s what Soul Axiom offers.

The barren hub world can be a bit of a deterrent in the early game, but portals within this hub allow players to travel to a variety of unique areas. On rare instances, these environments can be somewhat bleak, but never ineffectual.

Setting conveys purpose. Transitioning from downed helicopter in the jungle to desert island surrounded by shark infested seas feels reminiscent of traversing a dream. The settings collide and somehow suddenly make sense, a theme that flows throughout the game. Never quite grounded to one setting, Soul Axiom parallels the bewildered sensation of dreaming.

Narrative

Soul Axiom maintains the dream like awe with a narrative shrouded in mystery. The feeling when you’re dreaming and logic has been lost, the obscure is suddenly sensible, seems to be a fundamental element in the game.

Shifting from world to world, the player will find a repeating personal item. This trinket will invoke memories, slowly alluding to the character’s identity. As things unfold, this information gathering will lead to short burst of excitement followed by long bouts of wonder and mystery, attributing to the sense of dreamlike wonder.

Often times in current video games, hand holding the player through the more difficult moments is over done. Soul Axiom refuses. Admirably, it consistently leaves the ball in the player’s court, encouraging the player to explore and discover.

Unfortunately, this can also be a major downfall for the game. Lack of overall direction due to minimal context can leave players wondering exactly why they are seeking this information.

Still in early access, there is time to evolve and fill in some gaps but some direction in the early game would go a long way. That said, this level of high mystery is still perfectly manageable for aficionados to the adventure games genre.

All things considered…

Soul Axiom provides hours of high-level mystery told through the lens of a classic adventure game with a modern touch. This early access title promises enthrall fans of the genre and science fiction with classic adventure game mechanics, captivating art direction and minimalist storytelling. With lack of direction in the early game being the only major complaint next to a few smaller criticisms, the game looks promising.

Soul Axiom is slated for release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Wii U; but for now, it’s playable on Steam early access.

Cover image via

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Categories: Video Game Reviews

Author:Tommy Robbins

Lover of video games. Writer of blogs. Eater of pizzas. Writing about nerd junk at AnotherCastle and chasing the carrot down the rabbit hole of Video Games Journalism. It's dark in here.

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One Comment on “SOUL AXIOM Early Review: Traversing Dreamlike Wonder”

  1. Tommy Robbins
    07/07/2015 at 9:49 AM #

    Reblogged this on GamerFuqs and commented:

    AnotherCastle was kind enough to let me get my hands on a copy of the new game from Wales Interactive, Soul Axiom in early access on steam. Here’s my review.

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