In the realm of indie games, Axiom Verge by Thomas Happ stands out as a beacon of creativity and homage to the Metroidvania genre.

Its sequel, Axiom Verge 2, aims to build upon the foundation of its predecessor with new mechanics, a fresh storyline, and expanded exploratory elements.

While it strides forward with bold ambition and introduces innovative gameplay elements, it simultaneously stumbles, struggling to consistently maintain the high bar set by the original.

This review aims to dissect Axiom Verge 2‘s endeavors, highlighting its triumphs and acknowledging its missteps.

 

Axiom Verge 2 screenshot

Story

The narrative of Axiom Verge 2 unfolds with a compelling premise, inviting players into a mysterious and ancient world that intertwines science fiction with eldritch horrors.

The story, rich in lore and intrigue, promises an expansive universe filled with secrets, betrayals, and a deeper understanding of the universe’s fabric. However, the execution of this narrative sometimes falls flat, struggling to fully engage the player.

The storytelling, while ambitious, occasionally feels disjointed, with key plot points and lore buried in text logs that can disrupt the pacing of exploration and discovery.

Despite these setbacks, the underlying story remains a fascinating concept that, when it shines, truly captivates and immerses players into its world.

 

Axiom Verge 2 screenshot

Gameplay

Gameplay is where Axiom Verge 2 both innovates and frustrates.

The game introduces new mechanics, such as hacking and a greater emphasis on non-linear exploration, which genuinely add depth and variety to the traditional Metroidvania formula.

The hacking mechanic, in particular, provides a fresh layer of strategy, allowing players to interact with the environment and enemies in unique ways.

However, these innovations sometimes overshadow the core combat experience, which can feel lacking in comparison to the original.

The challenge and satisfaction derived from battles are inconsistent, with some encounters feeling inconsequential and others frustratingly difficult due to the game’s emphasis on exploration over combat proficiency.

Despite these inconsistencies, the gameplay of Axiom Verge 2 offers enough novelty and exploration to keep the experience engaging for fans of the genre.

 

Axiom Verge 2 screenshot

Graphics

The visual presentation of Axiom Verge 2 is a double-edged sword.

On one hand, the game’s pixel art style is beautifully crafted, with vibrant environments and intricate designs that pay homage to the 16-bit era while incorporating modern aesthetics.

The diverse landscapes are a joy to explore, filled with detail that brings the world to life.

On the other hand, the game’s visuals sometimes struggle with clarity, particularly in hectic combat situations or complex environments, where distinguishing between foreground and background elements can become challenging.

Despite these occasional issues, the graphics of Axiom Verge 2 generally serve to enhance the atmospheric and immersive experience of the game.

 

Axiom Verge 2 screenshot

Sound and Music

The auditory experience of Axiom Verge 2 is one of its unequivocal successes.

The soundtrack, composed by Thomas Happ, is both haunting and exhilarating, perfectly capturing the game’s essence of exploration and mystery.

The music adapts seamlessly to different environments and situations, enhancing the emotional impact of the story and the thrill of discovery.

Sound effects are equally well-executed, with each action and interaction providing satisfying feedback that adds to the overall immersion. While the game’s visuals may occasionally falter, its sound and music consistently elevate the experience, crafting an auditory landscape that is as memorable as it is engaging.

 

Axiom Verge 2 screenshot

Conclusion

Axiom Verge 2 is a game of contrasts, where ambition meets execution in a dance that is both mesmerizing and occasionally stumbling.

It pushes the boundaries of its genre with innovative gameplay mechanics and a captivating story, yet sometimes loses its footing in the complexity of its ambitions.

The game’s graphics and sound design stand as testaments to its creator’s vision, offering moments of true brilliance that remind players of the potential within this universe. Despite its flaws, Axiom Verge 2 remains a worthy successor and a testament to the creative spirit of indie game development.

It may not surpass its predecessor in every aspect, but it offers enough innovation and exploration to carve its own niche within the Metroidvania genre.

Images are from the Axiom Verge 2 page on Steam used under Fair Use.