Developer: Bitmap Bureau
Publisher: Numskull Games
Platforms: PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC
Reviewed On: Switch
Release Date: 29/04/2021
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.
One thing this generation of Indie developers loves is to emulate the golden age of gaming. With the sheer amount of retro inspired games out now on the Switch alone, how will Battle Axe stand up to the rest?
The stroy like in most retro style games in non-exsistance mostly. Battle Axe is no exception. You play as one of the three champions who are tasked to stop the evil sorceress Etheldred, as she kidnaps civilians.
Let’s hope the gameplay is far better than the story, as let’s be honest we are not here for a story.
Battle Axe has all the hallmarks of the classic they have made it after (Golden Axe, the reason I had to review Battle Axe). Simple level designs, simple controls and high dificulty and replayability.
Levels are basically linear in design, with a few side paths to take to collect civilians or open a chest here and there. Each chest, civilian and enemy spawn are in the same prawn point on the level, making Battle Axe more about remembering where to go and where the enemy spawn. The only part of the level that is slightly different is the loot from chests, these are different each run. With the usual useless loot to the over powered loot, this makes the game feel at least a little different each run.
The controls boil down to movement, melee attack, range attack and dash. Battle Axe instead wants the player to learn the layout of each level and the enemies and act accordingly with the moves it gives you. I rarely mind this approach to games, but Battle Axe’s gameplay loop felt really stale after a few hours of playing and I got bored. It was to do more to the levels being so static with EVERYTHING being as it was the last 5 or 6 runs. I have to point out that the main campaign is very short in its shortest possible time you are looking around 30 mins to finish. However, you need a perfect run. This will not happen for a while or at all.
After each level it is possible to unlock new perks making the character you pick slightly stronger for the next level. After beating the campaign you can unlock the most wanted feature in games NG+. But be warned here this mode if a total bitch and you will be dead if you make one mistake.
Bar far the best aspect of Battle Axe is the Pixel Art. Some of the best looking games I have seen. There is always something happening on screen, be that trees moving, birds flying, torches and so on. Even the animations of the characters when attacking or being hit, all look amazing. Mix in one hell of a soundtrack and the visual and audio department is outstanding and worth playing till the end just for this fact.
Battle Axe is both a good and bad experience, at least for me. Looks and sounds outstanding and I love this aspect of the game. But the gameplay loop got boring fairly fast for me, with nothing changing on the maps and a quick campaign, that took me just 1 hr 30 mins to finish I feel the price is a little steep.
I would have liked more level for my buck. But, my gosh it looks stunning.