EGX 2014: Soul Axiom

Soul Axiom was one of my most anticipated titles to play at EGX this year. I very much enjoyed Wales Interactive's previous game, Master Reboot; so much so, that it was in my top ten games of last year. This new title appears to carry over the same sense of mystery and atmosphere, while stepping up the scale and approach and I came away looking forward to the upcoming release even more. I spoke to developers Richard Pring and Dai Banner during my play through.

The demo had two levels available. The first introduced you to some powers your character acquires, one mapped to each hand. When you see an outline around something, you can remove the object using your right hand, and bring back previously removed objects with your left. After a brief tutorial area I entered a large space with a central monolith and four structures, one on each side. Using your new powers you matched patterns of blocks shown on each structure to open up a new path.

Soul Axiom

The second area was large in scale and filled with crystals that you needed to either remove or re-introduce. This would either reveal a hidden platform you could summon, clear the way on a monorail track or allow beams to pass through to their rightful destination. The area was huge with a blue theme throughout. It reminded me of Fract OSC; a huge cavern-type area with single colour theme. It was impressive to explore and observe.

After discussing my enjoyment of Master Reboot and anticipation for Soul Axiom, I was shown some more levels that were in the build but not the demo; the beginning of the game and the main hub for your character. I initially noticed that these areas were far less abstracted than the demo's levels. Although enjoyable, there was little context in the demo levels and you weren't really sure where you were or why. This is the nature of playing a small part of a narrative focused game at an expo. In these extra areas I saw a steampunk flying boat, the 'Last Chance' diner in the wilderness and some story elements.

Soul Axiom

The narrative approach is similar to Master Reboot, in that it is up the to the player to connect the pieces and form their own view of the unfolding events. The sense of mystery stems from the frequently differing environments and atmosphere, the unnerving texts of narrative information you are given and the things you witness. I saw hints of the narrative including meeting the antagonist, a large figure with wings that frequently appeared, but I was playing without sound as I was talking to the developers. The art design is similarly distinctive, an evolution from their previous game. It makes your journey through each area all the more memorable.

Soul Axiom

Soul Axiom is releasing on Steam early access in November. I was told the full release will be eight to ten hours long with around six months in early access. My brief hands-on with the title was very promising and I'm excited to play it upon release.

(Images are from Soul Axiom's press kit, apart from my own photograph)

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Posted at 5:57pm on Tuesday 8th November 2016

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