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Soul Axiom Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Even in Soul Axiom's less-than-stellar moments, it's still more interesting than a lot of the puzzle games we see today. It never gets bogged down in one or two locations; it's constantly changing scenery and throwing different types of puzzles our way. This may not be enough to make up for the outdated graphics and poor performance, but I can't help but admire the game's ambition. Rating: 64%
Soul Axiom
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  • Review Score:

  • B-
After cutting their teeth on simple time-wasters like Infinity Runner and Gravity Badgers, Wales Interactive has returned with their most ambitious game yet. Soul Axiom attempts to tell a number of stories over a bunch of different time periods, all while introducing new mechanics from one scenario to the next. Whether you call it a low-rent version of The Witness or the video game equivalent of Cloud Atlas, this new first-person puzzle game is both kind of brilliant and a little rough around the edges.

Soul Axiom is compelling right from the jump. Our hero begins his journey falling out of the sky and landing on what appears to be an airship from an old Final Fantasy sequel. But just as he begins to breathe a sigh of relief, a demonic bird rips the ship apart and, once again, we're sent tumbling to certain doom. This is a theme you'll see a lot of as we dig deeper into the mysteries of Soul Axiom.


Without giving too much away, our hero finds himself taking a trip to Elysia, a neon world created for the single purpose of storing people's souls. This sends us on a wild adventure where we jump from memory-to-memory trying to piece together a much larger science fiction story. It's the kind of game that takes a while to reveal its true motives, and hopes you'll be intrigued by the early mysteries to make it to the end.

There are more than a dozen memories to investigate, each with several layers of puzzles to solve. For example, in an early stage set on a tropical island, our hero will need to scour a lighthouse for boat supplies, allowing him to rebuild the dismantled vessel and make way to the main puzzle. Here you'll need to set off cannons, open up locked doors and reroute the water supply, all in the hopes of learning how the poor soul met its end.

Each stage not only looks different, but also has completely unique puzzles that you won't find anywhere else. You'll need to crack the code in a snowy wonderland, discover the fun of a home time machine and even dodge laser alarms at the museum. There's a wide variety of challenges and new visuals to look at from one area to the next. The one thing that doesn't change is how long and involving each stage is, always requiring multiple steps to complete the stage.

Soul Axiom (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

We interact with this world using a series of arm attachments. Early on, our hero is given a blue arm that allows him to make certain objects disappear. This leads to a green arm, which allows us to manipulate the world in different ways. As the story progresses, he'll gain a more destructive power that sees us cutting through walls and destroying anything that gets in our way. Although it flirts with the idea, Soul Axiom never turns into an action game. The fun of this game is puzzle solving and uncovering the mysteries of Elysia.

This is one of those games that wouldn't have worked as well if it wasn't for the fact that we're constantly jumping from one location to the next. And it's not just the locations, but how different each one of them feels. Some are bright and colorful, while others are dark and feel like they come directly out of a horror movie. This inconsistency worked to the game's advantage, and kept me interested to see where the story would send me next.

But as is often the case, it's hard to be ambitious on a budget. While I was impressed by the disparate locations and unique puzzles, I couldn't help but notice that this comes at the expense of the presentation. The visuals looked dated, no doubt a byproduct of having to make so many different objects for these different stages. It doesn't help that the various locations are filled with bugs, and I don't mean of the creepy and crawly variety. I found myself getting stuck in the game's architecture more than once, and restarting a stage can mean losing 20 or 30 minutes of progress.

Soul Axiom (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The graphics are especially rough during the story elements, which is often what we've been working towards this whole time. The character models look like they came directly out of a late-era PlayStation 2 game, and the animation skips and stutters for no reason. Thankfully, the story beats are interesting enough to forgive these issues, but it's clear this game either needed more time, more money ... or both.

Even in Soul Axiom's less-than-stellar moments, it's still more interesting than a lot of the puzzle games we see today. It never gets bogged down in one or two locations; it's constantly changing scenery and throwing different types of puzzles our way. This may not be enough to make up for the outdated graphics and poor performance, but I can't help but admire the game's ambition.
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