The puzzles are satisfying to solve. They often depend on finding a creative solution to a problem while using game mechanics you’ve learnt. Even the elements add a unique flavour. Using the Fire element to melt ice is an example of what to expect. There are more complicated scenarios, but I won’t spoil them in this review. Keep in mind that CrossCode will have you scratching your head more times than you’d like to admit.
If you want to take a break from the campaign, then there are plenty of side quests for you to do. Not every side quest has its own storyline but they’re all worth doing. The rewards are always good and some of the missions have extra gameplay mechanics, not in the main dungeons. At the very least, you can get some funny dialogue from the many quirky side characters littered throughout the world. At the same time, CrossCode paces itself well so you can skip every side quest and still be fine. I don’t recommend this as you will miss out on a lot of great content.
CrossCode’s excellence continues into the presentation. It may use a pixel style, but it’s been updated to be suitable in modern times. You can tell that this game is only possible on current technology and not something stuck in the past. The colours are bright, character sprites look great and the artwork is gorgeous. There are some stunning locations in the game, such as mysterious Gaia’s Garden and the snowy Bergen Trail. The abundance of different environments helps to keep the game fresh. CrossCode has one of the best art designs in gaming, not only indies.
The music is excellent too. On the surface level, it’s influenced by 16-bit music. However, the soundtrack has its own personality. Music having a personal identity isn’t something that’s obvious at first. Once you play the game, you’ll start to notice it. There’s a distinct feeling you get from the music that’s exclusive to this game. To put it simply, CrossCode nails the musical direction. There are no faults in this regard.
In fact, there are few noticeable faults in general. CrossCode is a polished and well-designed video game. There aren’t many bugs and performance is a smooth 60 frames per second. The entire experience feels complete, even though the developers haven’t finished adding all the content. There’s still a New Game Plus and more side quests coming in future updates.
There’s no point in beating around the bush. CrossCode is a special game that deserves every praise it receives. It excels in every aspect you can imagine. Rather than using nostalgia to bait an audience, CrossCode evolves into its own thing. If you want an experience like this, you have to play THIS game. That’s what makes this title a must-have experience for all.