Martin Carr reviews Soul Axiom…
Hours of wandering around in a Tron induced landscape is not for everyone. Being dropped into a scenario where electrical lightning storms, mountainous peaks and huge charging pillions dominate might put some off. Similarly not really having any instructions might also be considered by some to be a hindrance. If any of the above applies to you then Soul Axiom is best avoided.
What Wales Interactive have done with this game, which has been out on PC for some time, is create something visually unique. An experience capable of dividing many, yet guaranteed to recruit more than its fair share of devotees. Soul Axiom finds you wandering around an uncharted landscape, which seems to exist within your head. An afterlife experience set within the realms of a digitally created domain that has great potential.
Construction and deconstruction are the order of this particular day, which finds you solving rudimentary puzzles whilst trekking across a formless vista. What becomes apparent early on is the sparse nature of this digital plain, where there are minimal things for you to interact with. Glowing wireframe light boxes and basic vector graphics, make for an artistically interesting journey but ultimately add nothing of depth.
In-game characters whisper vague words, messages, pointers and whatever to help guide you. But the whole thing feels slightly unengaging. I appreciate that Soul Axiom is a work in progress perpetually growing as new content is added, but it feels like lots of individually great ideas without a cohesive centre. When games are built in this fashion without an overarching thesis then inevitability stuff is bound to fall between the cracks.
This is not to say that Soul Axiom is no fun. For a free roaming puzzler it has moments of inspired madness including monkey statues under glowing electric trees. But aside from that the visual architecture loses its ability to enthral quickly, leaving you with a sense of indifference. That’s not to say this game is bad just lacklustre in execution and unpolished in the final analysis. As a curio Soul Axiom should be looked at if only so people have an opinion. Sort of like Cloud Atlas there will be those who love and others who think otherwise. Which side of the line you fall will be influenced very much by your gut instinct within those first five minutes playing. For me personally I really liked it warts and all.