A few days ago, we covered the Kickstarter campaign for award-winning title, Axle. Since then, the good people over at FallStreak Studio let me get my grubby mitts on an alpha build of Axle to check it out. What I found left me impressed and wanting more.
Three levels were currently available in the Tin Toy, Clock, and Boiler. The stages open with a quick peak at the entire stage, though only the most observant players would really gain anything from this. There’s just too much to absorb in three seconds’ time.
Axle is a breeze to control, though the clockwise and counterclockwise nature of movement can be disorienting. After a few sessions, I had no troubles navigating the clockwork worlds. Swiping across the virtual valve and tapping to jump feel great. That said, I’d love to see Axle implement some form of a gyroscope motion control scheme. It just seems like a natural fit, but that’s something that can be addressed at a later time.
A game like this, then, comes down to level design. While it’s impossible to judge content that simply isn’t there, the few stages within were well-designed. I never felt like I suffered a cheap death. Axle is difficult, perhaps overly so, simply because it gives players just three chances to make it through a stage. However, this is by design.
The three stages are representative of a different junctions in the game. I imagine the learning curve is probably easier to handle once you’ve had a few stages to become familiar with the mechanics at play. I, for instance, had way less trouble getting through “The Boiler,” which introduces steam damage and heated gears, than I did the Clock.
I tested Axle on two different devices: the Samsung Galaxy S2 HD and the Google Nexus 7. The Galaxy S2 HD did not handle Axle well and chugged throughout, missing frames and making movement difficult overall. The Nexus 7, NVIDIA Tegra 3-Powered beast that it is, unsurprisingly had no problems. Again, this is an early build of Axle and optimizations to the code would surely speed things up.
Axle is a fun, charming title that feels familiar and fresh at the same time. Though there’s just one song in place, it’s surprisingly cheery in a Danny Elfman kind of way. The game comes off very well with a couple of cut scenes already in place (though the voice-over work found in the Kickstarter video was not yet inserted) and will bring a lot of joy to a lot of people.
As of this writing, there are just over sixty hours left in Axle’s Kickstarter campaign. Fallstreak is just under $5,000 away from meeting their multi-platform stretch goal.
If you’re an iOS (or Windows Phone) user who has an interest in Axle, spread the word before it’s too late. While Axle will surely make it to the platform eventually (iOS gaming is simply too big to ignore), I’d love to see it get a simultaneous release.Tweet
About the Author
|Fade to Slack is a founding member of Delta Attack, an American expatriate in South Korea, and a true believer in the legitimacy of mobile gaming.
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Fade to Slack has written 308 posts on Delta Attack.