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CrossCode - Review

Developed by Radical Fish Games, CrossCode is a proof of love by the community and even won the award for "Most Fulfilling Community-Funded Game" at the SXSW Gaming Awards. The development started in 2012, quickly becoming a crowdfunded project and for good reason. The mix between action RPG and puzzle solving is genuinely innovative and fascinating at the same time. Exploration and traditional RPG elements further add taste that many games lack nowadays!

In the future, MMO’s aren’t just played through the screen of your computer and instead, a full setup to simulate Virtual reality is available, giving players the ability to see, sense, and feel these virtual worlds. We play with Lea, an interesting and mute young woman inside this widely known MMO called; CrossWorlds.

Storywise, things will turn in an unexpected direction revealing many hidden secrets, and also new friends and companions across an adventure, rich and diverse in a digital world filled with lore and a lovable emotional storyline. The narrative is definitely good, captivating and delivering superb moments, which brings dialogues to a level of fluidity and integrity we rarely get to see.

Taking inspiration from some of the best video-games the 16-bit retro era gave us, CrossCode lets players endorse on a magnificent adventure, but there’s more to it. Fighting, exploring, leveling up, gathering the best gear and going on amazing quests are just some of the things one will do in this game.

Face-off against all sorts of enemies with contrasted real-time fights across the environment, using three major different arts: Melee, Dash, and Guard. To improve each battle art, players use the Circuits: a digital board that lets you attribute points on the skills you’ll see fit and unlock amazing and devastating powers. The battle system is engaging, addictive, and offers several approachable ways one can use to defeat their foes. Bosses are some of the most fun encounters in the game, with each one having a gimmick that is linked with the environment they're in as well as the elements you must use to defeat them.

If you don’t like puzzles, please be warned: there are some intense puzzle-based dungeons in the game. Each Dungeon unlocks a new element Lea can use: Ice, Fire, Wave, and Shock. These challenges complement Lea’s skills in physics-based puzzles, such as moving objects or setting paths across different rooms. Each may take up to an hour and many players feel the duration and amount of these are too long or over-exaggerated.

Exploration is also another major element of the game and CrossCode definitely nails it with enthusiastic level design and intuitive gameplay mechanics. Although it’s entirely 2D, the visuals and gameplay comes together forming an idea of 3D illusion. The cities and wild lands have incredible structures and were built with joy, making sure players could explore freely.

Visually, the design is colorful with different areas to traverse, from icy mountains to vivid desserts with luscious oases. The color palettes are always fun and never dull. It’s pixel-art at its finest with attention to detail, even on smaller and mostly unnoticed things. The forests are deep with profound shades of greens that when entwined with the blue rivers, fuse players with visuals and presence. A true recipe of success!

Developed entirely with NW.js, CrossCode would technically run in a browser since it’s HTML5 and performs extremely smoothly in pretty much every hardware you could think of. However, there has been some memory usage spikes reported in the latest version and thus an update could benefit many users that are reporting this issue on Steam Forums.

When it comes to optimization, CrossCode offers some of the most vast and important customization regarding the settings. From keybinds to small differences between clicking and pressing, players can edit their experience in the game and it definitely helped me to enjoy the game towards the way I wanted. I praise Radical Fish for their attention and devotion in delivering a unique experience to each player.

Created by Deniz Akbulut, the soundtrack is exactly the type of music you go back to as in a way to remember special areas or to become immediately nostalgic about your adventure in CrossWorlds. Over 50 tracks of digital waves of melodies and intense music, each one for that intense combat or periodic exploration. The Soundtrack DLC is definitely worth it, especially if on sale.

CrossCode may not appeal at everyone, but it surely delivers something everyone can appreciate. Captivating and with an incredible storyline, this action RPG will take you through an unforgettable journey. Just make sure you’re prepared for over 100 hours of energetic battles, eccentric puzzles, and a great cast of characters!

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