The Average Gamer

Hands-on with Soul Axiom (Early Access)

Soul Axiom - Hub Tree
I have a theory about Soul Axiom”s narrative. I won”t reveal it here for risk of spoilers (or being completely, utterly wrong in public), but the fact that it”s interesting enough to conduct a theory around is very promising to me. Soul Axiom is a first-person puzzler currently in Early Access. Bridgend-based developers Wales Interactive have been releasing various levels of the game in batches on Steam, with the final product coming to Wii U, Xbox One and PS4 in the future.

In its Early Access state, you play as a silent protagonist, making your way through a series of dream-like worlds. As you progress through the chapters, you unlock the ability to manipulate parts of the world – click on a glowing green box to move it from one location to another. Click on a blue wireframe to dematerialise an object or bring it back. This does result in plenty of instances where you just run around looking for the glowy bit instead of properly gleaning clues from the room. Thankfully, there”s plenty of thinking required beyond that.

Throughout the three chapters I”ve played so far, I”ve been faced with a large mix of puzzle types. This isn”t Portal, with its laser-focus on a single system (i.e. changing the way you navigate 3D environments). Soul Axiom draws from a huge range of challenges. Some section are very Crystal Maze-like – you”ll be doing familiar things like the pipe game or spinning dials on a wheel and working out what to do from visual clues. Others will have you sneaking around guard turrets or shooting down barriers.

Soul Axiom - LighthouseAs you reach later levels, you”ll see combinations of puzzle types. These can work but occasionally far outstay their welcome. By chapter 3 I”d reached casino online a section where the puzzle”s complexity started out interesting. By the time I”d repeated everything for all twelve signs of the zodiac, it was just tedious. The joy of puzzles lies in working out solutions, rather than executing them and in some cases, Soul Axiom”s pacing could do with a tweak.

Beyond each section”s main puzzle, you”ll find disturbing red-eyed monkey drummer toys hidden around the unreal environment. Finding your way to these will reveal further clues about the world you”re in but they are entirely optional. It”s a beautiful game and the demon-monkeys point towards an intriguing mystery at its heart. There”s a decent challenge and the stylised environments are varied enough to keep things feeling fresh.

Soul Axiom Computer BankRight now, it”s the narrative that could make or break the game. The clues are all set up. I really hope the final pay-off is worth it. Done well, this could shape up to be a really worthwhile story to explore. If not, it will remain an awkward hodge-podge of puzzles from all over. Let”s hope Wales Interactive have an ambitious tale in the works.

Soul Axiom is out now in Early Access and coming to PS4, Wii U and Xbox One in the future.