CrossCode is about way much more than some angry HTML. Indeed, this is an early access (meaning it’s not completed yet) gem on Steam that’s bound to delight your average RPG fan, although it’s, technically, an ARPG – action role-playing game. Every sign so far is this highly polished indie title from German developer Radical Fish Games is a minor masterpiece.
Interesting fact – the title has, apparently, been developed entirely in HTML5 (that means something beyond us non-tech folks)! The team started work on it in 2011 and it was released on early access in 2015 – it looks the part, has a wonderful fluidity, is cram packed with little charming details, and boy are we enjoying romping our way through it. For RPG fans it’s a must, so let’s convince you SOBs to delve on in and give this thing a go.
This has a mish-mash of all sorts of ideas, such as Avatar, Zelda, and other such stuff. You star as a player who’s logged into the game world as a character called Lea – she’s got blue hair, horns NPCs you meet keep referring to, and a totally kickass set of moves on her. Hell yeah! But this does make it a relatively unique take on the world of RPGs – she’s stuck in an MMORPG and has a vocabulary limited to “Hi!” after a defect.
Lea has no other option – she proceeds through the game attempting to uncover her true identity. It’s during the second phase of the its tutorial that you begin to realise how clever, and enjoyable, some of its A Link to the Past styled puzzles are. By the time you reach Rookie Harbour (we’d have preferred the name Noobsville) you’ll be hooked – you’ll just want to keep exploring everything, with that “butter smooth” (as the developers call it) frame-rate complemented by the urge to just… keep… exploring!
CrossCode really delivers on an aesthetic level – it’s one of the most stunning SNES-styled RPG experiences we’ve ever seen. A lot of care has gone into this, along with the character development – the dialogue between characters is fun and lively, so you quickly grow to like all concerned.
But does CrossCode’s gameplay match its looks, or is it the type of game that forgets to put its trousers on in the morning? As with other early access gem Dead Cells, it’s a bit of a masterpiece in waiting. The real-time battles (think Secret of Mana) require skill – if you have a Steam controller it can get a bit of getting used to, but will be natural in no time.
There’s really not much else to it – this is bloody brilliant (its 10/10 Overwhelmingly Positive score over on Steam indicates this quite clearly). Add it to your Wishlist, or just do yourself a favour and get it right now. If you love RPGs, you’ll be cross if you don’t cross paths with CrossCode sooner rather than cross. Okay, that one didn’t work.
The ultra-smooth music is frequently rather inspired. It occasionally reminds us of the polished tunes of Sega’s Sonic’s Adventure on the Dreamcast, but it’s deeply rooted in the SNES tradition of making destinations you visit stick in the memory. The above track riffs off Final Fantasy VII a bit (we think), but overall the game carves its own presence in the packed RPG genre in more ways than one.