Soul Axiom is a fascinating puzzle game, with an original premise, brimming with potential. Unfortunately, developer Wales Interactive struggles to create a fun and engaging experience, as a series of issues prevents the game from leaving a lasting impression.
Soul Axiom’s story concept is the strongest element of the game. The game takes place in the cyber world of Elysia, a server of which people are able to upload their souls and experience previous memories. However, you soon learn that the server has become corrupt for unknown reasons. It’s your objective to restore the various memories to full capacity and piece together the mystery that surrounds Elysia. While this is an original premise, it unfortunately makes the plot more complicated than it needs to be.
The story is told through subtle messages scattered throughout the game, as there is very little dialogue or cutscenes. This means that for a large portion of the game, you are not given a clear objective and act on what you believe the game wants you to do rather than having any specific motivation. It is not until the final stages of the game when you are able to piece together the fragments of memory to construct a coherent perception of the story.
The gameplay suffers mixed results too, as some of the powers that you harness are a refreshing change to the typical weaponry in video games. The first ability you gain gives you the capability to phase objects in and out of existence. This can be used to find secret passages behind walls, or to create platforms to reach areas that are out of reach. The second ability enables you to move large objects, which is used frequently to solve puzzles.
The third ability isn’t as original, unfortunately, as it grants you the power to hurl fireballs. This power is used sparingly as you unlock it towards the final act of the game, while only being used to destroy destructible objects. It doesn’t add much complexity to the puzzles, and they never become difficult or rewarding enough to reach the high standards set by the puzzle genre in recent years. The powers are not very responsive either, which is infuriating for puzzles that require timely responses.
The level designs are varied, as you explore environments such as tropical rainforests and icy tundras. Each level plays a part in piecing together the fragmented memories, but some of the more interesting level designs seem to be forced into the story. One of the best levels involves a house, in which you can use a time machine to travel to different points of time. However, the novelty of the unique level design soon wears off, as the puzzles become frustrating and repetitive.
The game’s visuals are also inconsistent, as some levels have beautiful artwork, but the character models are not up to the standard of modern games. This is understandable due to the limited budget of the developer Wales Interactive. Unfortunately, the game is also marred with a few bugs and glitches. One level persistently crashed and it took several attempts to complete it without issue. Respawning also caused multiple problems, as it often skipped important parts of the game, leaving the player disorientated. The developer’s decision to have the player die instantly after receiving any damage is also frustrating, especially when the player enters shallow water on certain levels, yet is able to swim in others.
Overall, it is clear that there are many original and encouraging ideas behind Soul Axiom, but are unable to be executed to create a fun and memorable experience. While the story is interesting, it is not engaging enough to sit through 20 to 30 hours of gameplay. Some of the puzzles are entertaining, but they do not reach the high standards set in the industry and so there are plenty of other games which would be a better alternative.
+Varied level designs
-Over complex plot
Average puzzles and technical issues prevents Soul Axiom from standing out from the genre
Ryan Jones is a writer for The Game Bolt. Being a Welshman doesn’t mean he only has sheep in his heart, as he loves film, tv and video games. Follow him on Twitter.