CrossCode is a top-down action RPG by indie developers Radical Fish Games, for PC. The game was a great success on IndieGoGo, and is currently in early access. But it’s close to completion, so now is an excellent time to get into CrossCode.
The first thing you’ll notice about this game are the stunning graphics. CrossCode looks fantastic in action and runs as smooth as you can imagine. There is so much detail throughout the world, it’s amazing that such a small team was able to create it all. It’s all just so pleasing to look at. It has some of the best graphics I’ve ever seen for a game using the 16-bit style.
The concept of CrossCode is a familiar, yet interesting setting. The main protagonist, Lea, is a player in a futuristic virtual reality video game. While this type of idea has been done before, CrossCode puts its own interesting twists to old clichés. Lea is a silent protagonist, but not because she’s too badass or “cool” to talk. She has some issues with her audio synchronisation. Throughout the story, she unlocks new words, but only one at a time. At first, she can only say “hi”, which leads to some very awkward conversations.
The world of CrossCode also feels believable. You have friends that join your party from time to time, but leave because of “IRL” reasons. There are places blocked off because of content updates or patches. NPCs that are stuck on repeat. The developers have captured the essence of what a virtual reality MMO would feel like.
CrossCode’s strongest point is the gameplay. The action-based combat is fast-paced and fun. You have simple mechanics: melee attack, ranged attack, a quick dodge and blocking. But you have to use all of your tools as best as possible to make the most of them. You can also use more complex techniques like dash cancelling to extend combos. It’s easy to pick up, but there’s enough complexity for more hardcore players.
Lea can also access some over-the-top and awesome special attacks. These high-level attacks are designed for the late game, but they are a blast to mess around with. But the best part is that CrossCode rewards highly skilled players. You have the option of grinding for better gear and stats. But you can also play through the game at lower levels if you desire. The game encourages the player to get better at the game. You don’t feel forced to level up or constantly buy better gear.
What sets CrossCode apart from similar games, is the exploration and dungeons. There is so much to do in this game. The first town you visit is the aptly named Rookie Harbour. And it’s full of content. There are people handing out quests like candy. Or you can look for treasure and easter eggs scattered throughout the town. Once you’ve had your fill, you can head into the world.
The land of CrossCode is divided into several areas, the first of which is a basic forest called Autumn Falls. A charming name. Every area is full of secrets and items to find. A lot of them are very well hidden. You have to combine both platforming and puzzle-solving to find them all.
The platforming is a nice addition. There isn’t a jump button, Lea does so automatically when she runs off a ledge. This is reminiscent of most 3D Zelda games. ike those games, there are some really nice platforming challenges. The developers have snuck in some tough platforming sections in the form of optional side quests. The platforming in the main dungeons is pretty standard to accommodate all skill levels.
CrossCode is also packed with fun and creative puzzles. Most of these are in the various dungeons you’ll tackle during the story. An interesting mechanic is the charged range shot. This one can rebound of certain types of surfaces. As you might expect, it’s used for many of the puzzles. Though the developers manage to use it in so many different ways that it never feels mundane. Especially when you add elemental enhancements to the mix, like fire. That opens up a whole new world of puzzles.
The great action gameplay alone was enough to sell me on CrossCode, but the exploration and puzzle aspects are just as good. When playing the game, there was little down time. I never wanted certain parts to be over because they were boring or unbalanced. It was all amazing. This one is definitely a time sink. I fully expect to put as many hours into this game as I would a Final Fantasy or any other big RPG.
The full version of CrossCode is slated to come out some time this year. The developers are open and honest. They hold regular streams where they work on the game and interact with their fans. The rate at which they’ve managed to update this game with content is spectacular. Whether you’re a fan of indies or not, CrossCode should be on everyone’s wish list. You can catch some intense gameplay in the trailer at the top of this post! For more on CrossCode, keep it locked to Mammoth Gamers!