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Review: Battle Axe – A Battling Throwback That Doesn’t Land All Its Hits

Lord have Mercia.

Veteran pixel artist Henk Nieborg’s old-school throwback, Battle Axe, seeks to replicate the classic top-down hack and slash action of arcade classics such as Gauntlet, Knights of the Round and Golden Axe. With Nieborg himself on graphical duties and legendary composer Manami Matsumae (Mega Man, Final Fight, Shovel Knight) providing the soundtrack, this one certainly more than manages to nail the look and feel of its most obvious inspirations. However, a lack of content and modes, alongside tired gameplay that doesn’t mix things up in any interesting or surprising ways across a fairly brief running time, leaves this feeling like a rather lacklustre effort.

In Battle Axe players choose from one of three warriors, Rooney, Fae or Iolo and – in either solo or two-player local co-op – set out across the land of Mercia in order to rescue innocent locals who’ve been snatched away by the dastardly sorceress Etheldred and her hordes of evil minions. Split over four short levels, the game sees you blast through foes using your chosen fighter’s three unique combat abilities comprised of a weapon attack, ranged projectile and special move.

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