Getting Lost in Axiom Verge | Making Metroidvanias

A new Metroidvania called Axiom Verge has perfected the lost art of getting lost.

In this video we look at techniques used in this game, and Super Metroid, to let players off the leash – while secretly helping them figure out exactly where to go.

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Games shown in this episode (in order of appearance):

Super Metroid (Nintendo, 1994)
Ghost Song (Old Moon, Unreleased)
Ori and the Blind Forest (Moon Studios, 2015)
Xeodrifter (Renegade Kid, 2014)
Apotheon (Alientrap, 2015)
Axiom Verge (Thomas Happ, 2015)
Shadow Complex (Chair Entertainment, 2009)
Guacamelee (Drinkbox Studios, 2013)
Strider (Capcom, 2014)
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet (Shadow Planet Productions, 2011)
Outland (Housemarque, 2011)
Metroid Fusion (Nintendo, 2002)
Metroid: Zero Mission (Nintendo, 2004)
Bloodborne (From Software, 2015)
Metroid (Nintendo, 1986)

Music used in this episode:

Trace Awakens (Axiom Verge)
Vital Tide (Axiom Verge)
Cellular Skies (Axiom Verge)
Trace Reborn (Axiom Verge)


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  • Tom Happ is the Goat….and he's working on part 2.

  • This is such a beautiful game! I actually only got stuck a single time, gave it a ton of thought, and found a way out. Didn't have to use the internet a single time.

  • Axiom Verge takes the getting lost thing a little too far in a few places. I spent literally hours running back and forth checking every map chunk. A friend of mine got stuck and couldn't figure out where to go at all.

  • Honestly my least favorite part of these games is getting lost. I've shelved some totally because I had no clue and wasted hours trying to find the ONE spot on the map that progress can be made. The worst part of Axiom Verge is that the map is split up into sections for NO reason at all. Salt and Sanctuary doesn't have a map or directions but I got through it just fine. Backtracking with new powers is only fun when you remember where those powers will work… but not even knowing what the powers will be kind of makes marking it a moot point.
    EDIT: Further problems: the grapple controls are really hit or miss, the music needs sound leveling, the "each enemy might require a certain weapon" mechanic which is just guesswork, enemies that hit you right on the other side of a door instantly… the list goes on. It's an okay game and the story kept me going, but enemies that fly through the environment, completely useless weapons and HORRIBLE weapon changing on a controller, gimmick bosses (some aren't even real bosses), unavoidable enemies (pinweel bastards), and IMO worst of all is not being able to aim and move (accurately). The stick mechanic blows – the right thumbstick exists now so don't use it for weapon selection, that's just stupid.

  • Cave story I recommend

  • What is the Greek or Egyptian looking game he shows at the beginning? I’d love to play MetroidVania set in that kind of world?

  • Just completed axiom verge the other day on the vita, having heard it was a good metroidvania and it didn’t disappoint. Great game and this is fantastic analysis of why that is

  • Just realized that star wars the Fallen Order is actually a metroidvania pretending to be a soulslike uncharted mash up

  • does the movie The Sixth Sense have a plot twist or something?

  • Broo! My friends dad worked on axiom verge! To see it reviewed is awsome!

  • Why does he sound so dead inside?

  • I actually prefer a waypoint telling me which direction I should go in for my next objective. It lets me know which way i should go last.

    I mean, really, if you can go left or right and the game tells you you need to go right, you obviously go left first.

  • And this is only one great aspect of this game. The weapon variety is so much fun

  • If I'll try making a game by myself one day, it will definitifely be a metroidvania too^^

    But not one to publish, just something to play around

  • CadenCaden

    Author Reply

    But everything changed when the hollow knight nation attacked

  • 4:57 No it aint, my first playthrough i wasn't really thinking about the why, i was just like "ME WANT UP CLIFF" and i kept trying it until eventually, i made it with what i assume was a pixel perfect jump

  • Honestly I really did get lost though

  • It's super turican! 😍

  • Someone's a sequelitisisees

  • WiggyWiggy

    Author Reply

    Such a good game.

  • I love this game…the music is great as well!

  • Being told where to go is lazy game development, IMO.

  • "I’m completely lost. I can’t find any way forward. Maybe if I look up GMTK’s five-year-old video on this game, I’ll miraculously find an answer in the gameplay footage."
    … … …
    "That green scratchy thing at 4:08 isn’t a wall?!"

  • Well those progress markers made me hate the GBA Metroid games, I was so upset that I felt robbed of what I loved about Metroid in the first place… so much so that I Never went very far in them

  • Showing and talking more about metroid than axiom verge lol ..nice video though, well done