Battle Axe – PS5 Review

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Developed by Henk Nieborg and Bitmap Bureau Ltd we have Battle Axe. The nostalgic-styled hack-n’ slash was originally released in 2021 with Q4 2022 release for the Playstation 5 Special edition.

Mercia Will Not Rest!

So join me as I jump into Mercia with my trusty character on my journey to Etheldred’s lair! If you haven’t already make sure you also check out our review of Final Vendetta!


After admiring the Playstation 5 Battle Axe Special Edition sleeve and 13-track OST I thought it was about time I jumped into the game. You are greeted with nothing but stunning pixel art and instantaneously meet your nemesis Etheldred and make your way to the menus. From here you can choose your playstyle (Solo or Co-Op) and amend any settings. Choosing your hero will determine your gameplay, Fae, Rooney and Lolo are your choices. Within these chars, you have a range, swift movement and a mid-ground option available. After checking them all out, I didn’t have a firm favourite but my go-to was Rooney.

Pixel Art At Its Finest

Battle Axe doesn’t have a storyline like a Final Fantasy title, however, your aim is to reach the lair of Etheldred and bring peace to Mercia once and for all. The chapters within Battle Axe aren’t very long and the design of the levels makes them pretty linear. I can imagine this title being a popular one with speed runners, the challenge then lies with the number of lives and if you can make it to the end.

As you hack and slash your way through the levels you are graded on your performance (so there is always room for improvement). To really bring out the most power within your chosen character you can also buy various power-ups and health-related items from the in-game shop.

Choose Wisely!

Other than the main arcade mode, there is an infinite mode available. This is very similar to a horde mode that we have seen present in some AAA titles over the past 10 years or so. This is a place where you can spend a lot of time trying to better yourself. Battle Axes brings you an all-rounded retro-esque arcade experience to your couch.

Graphics & Audio

The graphics on Battle Axe really do bring back memories from years ago when the Mega Drive was having an all-out battle with the SNES. It very much feels and looks like a fully remastered title from back in the day. The beautifully created pixel art assets, from the characters to levels have been caringly created to bring us a stunning title.

Anyone For Couch Co-Op?

When it comes to the audio, the developers pulled out the big guns. They got non-other than legendary Manami Matsumae to compose the music. If you are hearing Manami Matsumae’s name for the first time and you have been gaming since the 80s, chances are you will have heard her work. She has worked on titles such as Mega Man 2 and the epic title Final Fight. It is quite clear to see that she has a passion for music, the Special Edition of Battle Axe comes with the 13-track BST and it is a feast for your ears.


Battle Axe brings back a lot of retro memories, but the title doesn’t rely on its nostalgia vibes. The work that has been put into this title from Kickstarter to the physical edition is second to none. This vastly increases the playability of a title. Instead of a boring side scroller, you get a storyline along with fantastic graphics and amazing mechanics. Not only this, there are two paths available. You can solo run the title, then jump into co-op with family or friends for a second play-through. I can not wait to introduce my son to Battle Axe over the Christmas holidays.

Making Way!

Final Thoughts

Putting rage aside and taking a sip from the golden goblet Battle Axe brings you a fight that feels nostalgic and new. The overarching feeling of picking up a game that you feel will not live up to the classics it takes inspiration from will not last long. Henk Nieborg and Bitmap Bureau Ltd have not just brought you “yet another pixel art game based on a retro classic”. They have brought you a title that not only looks beautiful but plays really well and is extremely enjoyable. Being able to play a newly released title that brings a similar type of joy on first loading and playing Golden Axe and games alike is quite frankly amazing. I award Battle Axe a Thumb Culture Gold.

Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.

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