Soul Axiom (Wales Interactive)
With Master Reboot already under their belt Wales Interactive knows a thing or two about first person science fiction adventures. They also have a penchant for the mysterious as demonstrated by their latest title, Soul Axiom. The game appears to be a spiritual successor to Master Reboot as it also explores the theme of souls uploaded to a massive server where memories are stored for all eternity. This time though the server is called Elysia and you have to figure out the identity of your character and what their story is.
Soul Axiom starts with a bang as your character plummets through a storm before landing on what appears to be a flying ship. Your trip is short lived though as, what appears to be a giant, angelic statue, soon swoops down and causes the ship to crash. Your character ‘survives’ the encounter and then sets off to find some answers.
The game is currently in Early Access, but is already remarkably polished. During our playthrough of the initial levels we found only minor graphical bugs. The game is also receiving regular, not to mention substantial, updates and the developers estimate that the Early Access period will last for about four to six months. Players who enjoyed Master Reboot will feel right at home with Soul Axiom as it shares many themes and a similar visual style, but it is definitely not just a rehash. Soul Axiom has more of a puzzle focus and the areas you get to explore are not only more varied, but also much bigger than in Master Reboot. The game has the same spooky, dreamlike atmosphere of Master Reboot, but with a large winged entity regularly popping up to wreak havoc instead of a little girl.
The story of Soul Axiom is kept purposefully vague, but you can unlock information by locating the monkey toys that are hidden throughout the levels. There are also creepy eye symbols scattered about that provide some more cryptic clues. As you explore the various levels of Soul Axiom your character slowly unlocks new abilities which is required to solve the many puzzles you will encounter. Your first power is the ability to phase objects in and out of existence. Each of your characters hands are mapped to a mouse button with the left button phasing objects into reality and the right making them disappear. Of course, you can’t just go crazy with this power and use it on everything in sight as it only works on specially marked objects. The next power we encountered was the ability to make objects move or freeze them in place. You get to use your powers frequently for the puzzles you encounter and while some were obvious there are a few head scratchers so far as well.
Soul Axiom impresses with its Tron-style art direction, but just when you think it is all going to be gloomy darkness and neon-lit lights the game surprises you with a level set in a jungle or on a beach. The game also makes vivid use of color to give each area a sense of foreboding. While this Early Access version already contains a few memorable locations, including a dessert, jungle and beach as well as the hub area, the final release promises to have six chapters with a whopping 40 unique locations. According to the developers it will take you about 8 to 12 hours to complete the full game.
We really enjoyed the atmospheric world of Master Reboot and so far it appears that Soul Axiom is set to improve on it in every way. The developers also appear to be very committed to making sure that Soul Axiom lives up to expectations, so it is definitely worth checking out and getting involved.
This preview is based on the Early Access December 06 2014 updated version of the game.