A new retro styled action RPG has made its way to Playstation 4 with Radical fish’s Cross Code. The game is being published by Deck 13 and is available digitally on Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch with a limited physical run available.
Cross Code sees you take up the role of Lea, an avatar in the MMO world of CrossWorlds, who finds herself on a ship outside of the main playing area of the playground unable to talk and without her memories. Lea learns that playing the game may help restore her memory and so joins in the main game. While exploring the world she befriends Emile, another player who joins up with Lea to explore the secrets of the MMO world.
The story of Cross Code is one of my personal favorites in some time. It’s both interesting and fun with just enough dialog to keep you interested and wanting to press on to discover more. The characters all have there own personality and traits to define them and it’s clear a lot of thought went into the writing of all of the games dialog. Not just that of the story, but of the side quests and the NPCS that inhabit the world too, that act and speak as normal players in an MMO would.
Visually the game takes a 16-bit Retro approach to make up the expanse of the world of CrossWorlds that some people may think seems a little dated, given technology available today, but when done to the quality of this title its hard to say anything negative about it. The effort and detail put into the world honestly surprised me with each of the large areas I encountered, everything from the enemy’s to the level design seems lovingly crafted to bring the world to life
The games audio is fitting and well timed in all aspects of the gameplay, from the field music to attacking, as well as all other audio effects being well timed and appropriate. I found myself stopping to listen to the music in game as I played, there isn’t a whole lot of variation in the tracks that I have encountered thus far, but what it does provide is more than adequate.
Game play in Cross code is made up of a few elements, key among them are the combat and puzzle solving that play a key role throughout, with the former being almost constant – more so if you want to trade items for better gear and level up. Battles take place in real time as you hack and blast your way through an assortment of hedgehogs, Bulls, Rabbits and snowmen with bazookas in fast paced combat that will see you wait for openings, dodge and take down foes that can pose a real challenge. The combat itself is rewarding and fun, each foe you encounter requires a different strategy to defeat, spicing up the time you will spend in combat with each new encounter. Lea isn’t alone in this either as you encounter new faces and new party members join you to tackle each new threat.
The other key aspect of the game is the puzzle solving, and once more the game does a great job at providing something that is equally challenging and rewarding with a variety of different puzzles to test all your skills. From bouncing energy balls around a room to hitting switches, a number of these are not even required by the main story as most of them are used to get high level items or to finish side quests. Should you find the combat or puzzles too challenging, the developers added some nifty options for you to make things easier for yourself. From lowering damage to giving you extra time for puzzle solving means it I should be playable by even the most novice gamers
Overall I have to admit to wholeheartedly loving this title. While there have been a number of titles that I have enjoyed so far this year, this is the most surprisingly great so far with some good action & puzzles to keep you entertained during the quest.
In summary I’m going to be recommending it to people I know for a while, and eagerly await what the developers do next. It’s a fun filled action RPG that ticks all the nostalgia boxes and runs with the ideas it has without tripping over itself.
Fast paced action & chin stroking puzzles will keep you entertained in this 16-Bit MMO styled adventure.