Axiom Verge Review Roundup!

There is probably some unwritten rule that a dev should spin their press in the most positive light possible, and omit any criticism or detractors, but, I felt like I should go over the various reviews and leave my comments, and let readers decide for themselves.  Luckily, all of the reviews for AV have been positive! 

As of this moment, the Metacritic Score stands at 87, which is better than any game I've ever worked on, including AAA heavy hitters (EA Sports), so, that's pretty friggin' fantastic.

Selected Reviews


It was really encouraging to read some of the high scores, particularly USGamer, which I always felt was like the spiritual successor to 1UP, both of which cater to the sort of community that Axiom Verge is targeted for.  Also Jeff Gerstman's Giant Bomb review - wow!  From what I gather, he hasn't handed out a 5 star rating in about two years, so he made a special exception for AV, which rules.   Lastly, doesn't give out review scores but their Joe Couture's text was glowing - the kind of review you dream of reading when you're making it.

It's interesting to note the differences similar scores makes between outlets.  Peter  Brown's GameSpot review is almost completely positive; you get the feeling that this is a "happy" 8 (and possibly even an auspicious sign if you're a Chinese numerologist).  But IGN's 7.9,  while a decimal point lower, is quite critical, and reads a bit like a "C+" for effort.

One of the biggest criticisms of the game was the map system - the lack of fast travel, the lack of objective markers, the lack of map markers showing where you needed certain items to progress. I think I should make clear that this was a purposeful decision, so, if that's not your thing - go back!  As much as I want Axiom Verge to appeal to others, it was more made as something I would enjoy - the kind of game that I wished existed but doesn't anymore.  You are meant to get lost and spend a lot of time wandering aimlessly.  As you're doing so, you're also meant to stumble upon lots of secrets that hopefully make it feel worth it.  AV is rightfully compared to Super Metroid, but I actually wanted to somewhere between NES Metroid and its SNES sequel - where it's less obvious what you're "meant" to do and so gives more meaning to your own power to explore.

A secondary criticism of the game were the plot (Destructoid called Trace a "one-note good guy" and IGN critiqued it as having a "forgettable story" and "overabundance of exposition"), which conversely is one of the biggest things praised by other outlets.  This is quite a difficult thing for me to comment on not just because of spoilers, but because the story is so complex it makes it hard to narrow down just what left some people with a hollow feeling while others seemingly had their minds blown.  My suspicion is that this differentiation is due player preference rather than an actual shortcoming of the story - some preferring the story to be complex and winding while others like the story to be more immediate and visceral.  You'll probably know which camp you fall into by the time you beat the first boss.

Overall it's been a long and educational day for me.  I never realized it was possible to get so many twitter notifications that I literally couldn't read them faster than they appeared.  And my sincere apologies to anyone who's emailed me today (and probably the next couple of days) - it's inbox  insanity.  I will likely come back and tweak this page slightly as more reviews pop in (Polygon, where are you?)