LTTP: Axiom Verge

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When a game like Tom Happ’s Axiom Verge draws so much inspiration from a beloved title like Super Metroid it also brings on a whole pile of expectations. Tom Happ was up to the challenge and I think he managed to live up to most of the expectations. The game plays wonderfully and there’s a creativity to the weapons and hidden secrets that outdid anything Nintendo ever concocted with their bounty hunter. However, there was one tiny issue that bothered me more than it should have, the main character sprite.

I don’t like how Trace was rendered. There’s a small but noticeable difference between him and his surroundings. Trace looked like an enhanced 8-bit sprite from the original Metroid while the world around him invoked the detailed 16-bit landscapes of Super Metroid. I also found his muted color scheme allowed disappear into backgrounds leaving the clearer silhouette of his giant gun in his place. There was simply nothing about him that I found interesting.

The world around Trace was a whole other story. It was alien in many ways. There was a clash of video artifacts and pixel art that reminded me of video card issues. There were the strange creatures who were familiar to the genre but all yelped in the same manner regardless of species. And then there was Trace’s remote control drone which looked an awful lot like the Alien face hugger sans tail. Oh, did I mention the giant robotic statues that he converses with? Those were eerie.

Trace fell into a strange place and it didn’t get much clearer by the end of it. I wasn’t bothered with the lack of clarity though. I was content solving the world he was in without context and would have preferred fewer cutscenes to interrupt the flow.

Backtracking was to be expected and so were a few moments of uncertainty but Axiom Verge was one of the few games which I actually found myself getting lost or stuck in. A lot of it stemmed from the fact that progress wasn’t gated by power up types but also the strength (or level) of a power up as well. I simply forgot that I was able to teleport through thicker walls for a while. It’s my fault but I think some kind of clear reminder in the inventory would have been helpful. I believe I lost two hours exploring old areas because of my oversight.

If you’re looking to revisit Super Metroid without actually playing Super Metroid, Axiom Verge will fill that purpose nicely. It didn’t always gel with me but every time I made my way into a new area, I still felt that tinge of wonder like I did with other games like this. And that’s what makes these games interesting. What dangers lie in these areas and what power ups will I find to combat them and the other obstacles that I encountered before. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, at least check out the rad soundtrack.

I like it

Ratings Guide


Checkpoint: 3-months of Lazed Eyes Edition

I’m nearing the 3 month mark for my laser eye surgery, so here’s a little progress report.

The two nagging issues following the initial two weeks of recovery were dry eyes, new floaters and still believing I was wearing glasses at times. The dry eyes ceased to be a regular issue around the 1.5 month mark. It was only at my workplace and its horridly dry environment where I would experience dryness. Nowadays, it has to be a particularly dry day at work for me to bust out the eye drops.

Unsurprisingly, there are new floaters in my vision. I always had floaters in my eyes but the surgery (as foretold) brought new ones. These new ones are more distinct but I believe they will either fade away over time or I will become accustomed to them. The most distinct ones have already begun to fade away.

The “phantom glasses” feeling mostly went away after 1.5 months as well but I caught myself reaching to adjust my glasses after I started wearing my beanie for winter. I’m guessing that’s the last of it though.

After 3 months, the benefits outweigh the above annoyances. Just being able to wear my choice of sunglasses without needing a prescription pair is a huge boon for me. And, as my brother pointed out, I can see how filthy or clean my standup shower is without wearing glasses. (All that means is I have to clean it more frequently).

I started Axiom Verge. It’s an enjoyable Metroid expired game but that main character sprite is leaving a lot to be desired. Simply put: I think it’s ugly and does the game a disservice.

I’m also chipping away at Xenoblade Chronicles 3D which is wearing out its welcome. I keep falling into the trap of believing this game has worthwhile side quests and that I’m not just doing the same fetch quests over and over again.