Soul Axiom – What We Think
A world of dreams and memories: Soul Axiom promises to be a first person puzzle adventure game with alluring environments to explore and challenge.
I must say, the visuals were very engrossing. The set pieces and levels crackle with life (and one of the more impressive fire effects I’ve seen on some flaming wreckage). But, if you stray much from the intended paths and view the sets from a wrong angle, they look more like scenes in a snow globe. Vast nothingness in one direction; a pretty little diorama in the other. The levels are very sweet to behold, but a little more dressing up of the surrounding areas would prevent getting pulled out of their presentation.
Puzzled By Your Surroundings
As for the puzzles – the challenge mainly consists of finding the glowy object in any given room, and touching it. They are not so much puzzles as they are asking you to stop, look around at where you are standing, find the thing, and click on it. For example, the game asks you to click on a crystal, and then on a wire-frame of a bridge that suddenly appears. In another level you need to click on 3 piles of bones. In yet another stage, on 4 sets of model buildings.
I Don’t Make Monkeys, I Only Train Them
Much of the time, what is required of you to solve a puzzle is unclear. 2 of the better puzzles were the first 2 Monkey puzzles. However, it was incredibly hard to determine what the rules of each puzzle were. The theme of this set of puzzles was “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil”.
The problem, is that since the whole temple the in which the puzzles were contained was entirely monkey-themed, so I didn’t notice that the theme of this set of puzzles was in fact “See No Evil, etc.” until I got to the 3rd part of it. If there were a bit more dressing around the start of these puzzles, such as a statue with three monkeys with hands over their eyes, ears and mouth, it might better prepare a player with the clue and information on what to look for in a solution.
As it was, it was only trial and error, and a bit of luck that I noticed other clues, (granted a bit too late) what was called for as a solution. I should mention as well, that as the first 2 of these monkey puzzles were some of the better ones, in the game, the 3rd of the set was another ‘click the thing’ to solve.
Other puzzles were inconsistent, felt bugged, or were outright notably broken. The final puzzle I was tasked with locked up, even after reloading the level and trying it again which prevented me from progressing, bringing a halt to my time with the game. (This would be the Egypt room in the Museum.)
Another puzzle in the Museum felt inconsistent in that the fail state for it was that I could not let a spotlight hit the city section as I raised it up. After getting 3 segments up, however, they locked in. The 4th would get as high as it would go and then do nothing. Purposefully losing by allowing the spotlight to hit it as I moved it somehow ‘solved’ the puzzle.
In short, the state of the puzzles were either too vague, or too easy. The method of interacting with the world was a little clever at least. But, needing to use your magic green hands to open a door felt a bit silly as well.
Unmade In The Shade
Finally, while the world was built nicely, I did have some technical problems with some of the effects. Some light sources or other shader effects were creating huge cubes in both my immediate and distant vision. Many times this literally blinded me, but while this could have been my own setting’s fault, there were no options to change my settings without exiting first to the main menu. I tried a few different settings in my graphics options, but the effects didn’t go away. Again, though this could have been entirely my own rig’s fault but it would have been nice to have the option to tweak my settings mid-game.
All told, it was at first nice to look at, but I would not want to live there. Keep in mind I was only able to see the prologue, and up to about half of the 2nd area.