CrossCode, from Radical Fish Games, started life way back in 2012 and later received IndieGoGo funding in 2015. It’s a fast-paced retro-inspired 2D Action RPG with massively positive reviews on Steam.
The game fuses the puzzles of Zelda with an RPG system that will keep the loot-hoarders and stat trackers happy. There are a variety of items, skills and settings to battle your way through in around 30-80 hours of gameplay, depending on how you approach it.
What’s so obviously striking about CrossCode is that the game is very, very pretty. Its pixelated art style is detailed to an almost excessive level, and the speed at which the environments and battles are navigated never truly give you enough time to admire the work.
There are quite a few different areas to explore with 7 overarching environments that are stuffed full of detail and secret areas. No 2D top-down retro exploration game is quite right unless there are a ton of hidden areas to find.
Each area is rendered in a fantastic pixelated art style and overflowing with puzzles. You’ll definitely get some Zelda vibes here, but I also thought some of the puzzles were a bit like solving a more complicated Pokemon Gym.
Plus, it’s not just the visual aspect that brings CrossCode to life. The music is classic – you can tell immediately that the developers have taken inspiration from the puzzle/platformers/RPGs of old.
With a tinkly backdrop of plinky-plonky music, even the most terrifying encounters are given a soothing air of nostalgia. There are over 60 tracks, so you never get bored of the same tunes.
Combat is fast-paced and hectic, but the mechanics are not complicated to learn. There are over 130 unique monsters to encounter and over 30 different boss battles, each with their own unique themes and music.
Each playthrough can be different. With 100 quests to work your way through and literally dozens of different fighting styles/mechanics (as well as an extensive passive system), you can really customise the way you progress through the game.
CrossCode is an enormous experience, but you can approach the game however you want. Sure, finding all the hidden chests will likely add another 10 hours to the gameplay, but you don’t have to bother if you just want to enjoy the story and combat.
Overall, CrossCode is worth checking out when it arrives on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 on July 9th.