Cross Code (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Eric Ace 25.08.2020

Review for Cross Code on Nintendo Switch

Crosscode has been a labour of love that has been in development for almost a decade. One impressive thing is when looking back at the older screenshots the graphics never really changed as this was styled after 16-bit SNES visuals, with the bright colours and sprites. Taking place in a type of MMO in real life, where players control avatars on a distant alien world, the story has sci-fi trappings, but mostly it is about jumping and throwing projectiles at very difficult targets.

Speaking generally, Crosscode had the potential to attract a wide range of players, from those who like adventure games in the vein of The Legend of Zelda, to conventional JRPG fans. As it is, despite the very good points at present, which will be covered pretty soon, it is difficult to recommend this to those beyond a very narrow focus of those who have a pretty high tolerance for puzzles and slow progression.

Crosscode treads a unique position story-wise. Taking place in "real life," this occurs on a recently discovered alien planet, and instead of sending a lot of people, they instead make it a literal MMO-game and theme park. Players on Earth log on and play their MMO fantasy out on this alien world, tailored to the experience complete with NPCs and item shops. There is a deeper plot occurring, but this is not touched on too much for many hours, unfortunately.

Screenshot for Cross Code on Nintendo Switch

While replete with a lot of inside jokes and lamp shading about RPGs and MMOs in general, the actual story is somewhat sparse, and takes a very long time to get going. This is an unfortunate fact, as this part of the story is far more interesting than the same jokes about NPCs repeating their lines or beating down the newest innocent wildlife of the region. This larger story is not touched upon again for nearly 10-15 hours later down the road; this is simply a lot to ask from a player. Near this point there is little left story-wise to keep anyone interested.

Gameplay has some good and some bad aspects. Movement is very fluid, and the game occurs in a type of top-down isometric view where players dash around colourful screens. The level designs are very pretty, and will make any SNES fan feel nostalgic. The best level in this regard, is the very first one, which is a large forest in fall, with leaves falling, and rainstorms in some areas. You fight any enemy on screen seamlessly, but more of the time will be spent jumping around to far ledges.

Ironically this dates itself slightly with its insistence and constant reference to parkour, which was far more popular years ago, and has fallen out of popularity as of late. This not only encourages players to dash around from ledge to ledge, it is largely required. Fluid movement makes this fun, but all too often it really devolves down into making blind jumps, and trying to find a single hidden ramp to some higher area. It simply goes to way too high of a level that is stops being fun.

Screenshot for Cross Code on Nintendo Switch

Combat and RPG stats are a highlight of the game. Crosscode has a typical equipment system, with a cool added benefit of most equipment given bonuses to different skills such as better ranged damage or better guarding. A large part of this is the 'circuit' system, which is essentially a type of sphere grid where players spend valuable points unlocking certain abilities loosely organized into ranged, melee, defence and dash moves. Points are very hard to come by and resets are very rare so players have to be smart here. It was great fun customizing this aspect, the only real problem is the game is clearly designed to be 'min-maxed,' and if you pick wrong, it's going to make things much worse.

One of the worst parts are the puzzles. These range from the parkour puzzles of trying to figure out how to jump to higher areas, many which involve finding a single tile that lets this happen and back-tracking entire screens to now get to a new higher level. It is kind of fun at first, but wears out its welcome rapidly. One thing that wears out even faster is the puzzles. The level of difficulty and convolution cannot be overstated, and there is a reason literally every puzzle has solutions and discussions online.

Screenshot for Cross Code on Nintendo Switch

The main character can throw balls as part of her attack, and these can also hit switches. This goes to great lengths to make very difficult puzzles using these. Imagine any game with various slide or switch puzzles like Zelda or Resident Evil, now picture the hardest puzzle now placed in every single screen of those, and imagine entire dungeons filled with hours of these. These are not just simple "rotate one or two things, and voila;" even the first temple has puzzles that involve complex angles and multiple repositioning of mirrors.

Pacing is another problem this really needed cleaning up on. As mentioned the core story is told very few and far between, with not being touched upon again for nearly 10-15 hours after starting the game. Furthermore, the grinding and side-quests slow this down to a still. This is then capped by the absolute walls of progress: the temples. From going to a fast ARPG to hours of complex-angle ball puzzles it is a whiplash that is going to put a lot of players off. This would be drastically improved if these elements were reduced significantly. Puzzle gamers will not be able to get through the action and RPG aspects, and many RPG players will stall out with the slow grind and the crazy puzzles.

It is unfortunate, as the game was clearly made with heart, and there is a lot of content and things to do. The pacing itself is hard to get past, and the mix of genres involves too much of each genre to allow a smooth cross over. There is clear quality in this game, but there are going to be too many walls for all but the most dedicated gamers to want to get through to actually finish it.

Screenshot for Cross Code on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

This has a tremendous amount going for it, but ultimately, it is going to appeal to puzzle gamers far more than JRPG fans, as the puzzle sections are incredibly demanding. Having players do hours of complex and convoluted puzzles in a row, is something that is going to put off many gamers that otherwise would have loved this title. For a RPG romp it could have been outstanding if this was shortened, and the puzzles/trickery were reduced by at least half.

Developer

Radical Fish

Publisher

Deck13

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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