Axiom Verge is finally playable on the PlayStation Vita, and I was the fifth person in the world outside of the development team to get to play it! Speaking to Dan Adleman, I was told the reason for the wait was due to the game simply not running well until the last pipe was connected, and the game went “from zero to a hundred.”
For those unfamiliar, Axiom Verge is a game heavily inspired by Metroid on the NES. That is, you are a character who explores an unknown map that slowly fills in and progression relies on finding new items that open previously inaccessible areas.
Except the thing that separates Axiom Verge is the glitches that would sometimes occur, such as being able to phase outside of the map, have been purposefully built into the game. Graphically it is presented very much like an older, “bit” style of game, and released for PlayStation 4 and PC in the first half of 2015.
Now, Axiom Verge plays wonderfully on Vita. I got to play the opening section, running around, shooting enemies, expanding the map, and it all ran smoothly. No hiccups, no weird performance issues, no freezes, it just works. It’s the same Axiom Verge you might have already played on the PlayStation 4, but now in portable form, and it looked sharp on the Vita’s second iteration.
Don’t forget that the game is cross-buy, so if you already own the PlayStation 4 version and own a Vita, it will be free to download when it launches.
While I played I also found out the game began as an XNA game back when Microsoft was still supporting the toolset. This was the first I had heard of this, though a cursory search revealed Thomas Happ mentioned on Twitter it was what he used to build the first iteration of the game.
Now, Axiom Verge is a part of MonoGame, which came out of XNA4, and serves as a banner game for the application framework software.
The Wii U version will also support the gamepad, both as a second screen for map and inventory management, as well as off-tv play. Recently it was announced that Axiom Verge was submitted to Sony for certification on Vita, and depending on how long the approval process is, we should be seeing it released late March or early April, though the developer doesn’t want to commit to a date yet since the approval is still pending.