Long Dark Teatime Of The: Soul Axiom In Early Access

Soul Axiom [official site] doesn’t mess about. Hitting “New Game” immediately tosses you into the nameless, faceless shoes of a character falling through a clouded seeming-infinity. After a few moments of lightning illuminating huge, vaguely humonoid shapes, you land face first on a boat floating through the air, and thus the Early Access puzzleventure and first person weird-goings-on-’em-up begins. Its spooky cyberspace heart is very much on its sleeve, even though it doesn’t reveal that this is a digital afterlife for storing the souls and memories of the human race until a half hour in. Trailer and some more thoughts below.

The main hook is being able to phase bits of the world in and out. Sometimes removing one will provide materials to bring another in, and so on. In the thirty minutes I gave the game this was never exploited to its full potential, but the odd bit of interaction was enough to keep me exploring the environments. It kept my attention without distracting from the fantastic artistic design of the world with frustration or confusion. Further down the line, going by trailers and dev posts anyway, your abilities are expanded to involve other ways to manipulate objects.

It really is beautiful, nailing a Tron-like neon cyberspace feel. Threatening or unusual elements like the apparent-antagonist (the angel fellow in the header image) look out of place and draw the eye, too rounded and fleshy for this place of shiny black surfaces. It’s atmospherically creepy without relying on dripping meathooks or lunging monsters. The backstory of exploring memories also gives a nice excuse to branch out, with some early sequences having an Ancient Egypt vibe.

It’s quite similar in look, feel and theme to another Wales Interactive game, Master Reboot [official site] which John made appreciative noises at back in June. Soul Axiom is currently half content-complete on Steam Early Access and should be finished around midyear.

13 Comments

  1. ChrisMidget says:

    I clicked on the article just because the title is a Douglas Adams reference and now I am interested in Soul Axiom. Thanks Ben for attracting me interest.

  2. Orix says:

    I rather enjoyed Master Reboot, plenty of fun puzzle and exploring gameplay, although I found the story fairly confusing.

    I look forward to Soul Axiom, kinda skimming any article you put out on it though, don’t want too many details before I get chance to play it for myself.

    • Ben Barrett says:

      Aye, I tried to be as vague as possible but I’m glad I went in with nothing but a couple of trailers under my belt.

    • chesh says:

      Not to mention the greatest achievement pun in the world.

  3. JamesTheNumberless says:

    “a digital afterlife for storing the souls and memories of the human race” Sounds feersum. That’s enough to put this one on my radar.

    • Dreforian says:

      Ever read The Digital Dead by Bruce Balfour? very first thing I thought about after seeing the article title/image.
      If you haven’t I also recommend reading The Forge of Mars first.

  4. April March says:

    I have no idea of what happened in the trailer, but it worked because I want to play that game now.

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  6. TheWheel says:

    A new first person game which seems quite interesting with a futuristic ambience.