Here we go: Something a little more upbeat this week. It helps that we have something great to talk about: Tom Happ's fantastic retro-inspired platformer Axiom Verge, which Jaz and I reviewed over the weekend and found to be an absolutely top-class creation.
While Axiom Verge digs deep into gaming's heritage — specifically, the days of the NES and the experience of being a kid sitting in front of a tiny CRT television, letting yourself be whisked into a grand digital universe — it nevertheless manages to come out as something genuinely fresh and inventive. Without delving too heavily into game mechanics (because a big part of the game's appeal is the sense of discovery it provides), we dwell quite a while on the excellence of this creation: The fruits of one man's labor, crafted over the span of five years.
It's not all just metroidvania love this week, though. For the second half of the show, we talk about yesterday's roundtable feature, in which the USgamer staff (and community!) named our picks for the most important third-party exclusive console releases ever, which segues into a discussion of how the nature of exclusive games has changed in recent years. Will we ever see a console-exclusive release with the stunning impact of a Street Fighter II or Ridge Racer ever again? Seems unlikely, but you never know.
Jeremy, Jaz, and Mike gush about this week's hot release, Axiom Verge, before contemplating the value and place in the world of third-party console-exclusive games. (MP3, 1:04:26, 44.6 MB)
The music in this episode comes, naturally, from Axiom Verge's exceptional soundtrack, which deftly weaves chiptunes and trance music into an audioscape that, like the game itself, calls back to the NES without being a slavish copy of what's come before. You can grab the OST for yourself on iTunes, should you be so inclined.