Thursday, 26 February 2015

Action RPG Indie Game, CrossCode Revives the Retro Swag of Old School in the Most Nostalgic Way Possible


So I've spent about a day or so playing Crosscode while my cat watches on (abusing me in his little head) and i've got to admit, the game has got me hooked by my "balls". This indie game is more polished, sensible and immersing than all EA games I've played so far, combined and scores a perfect ten across all fronts of action, mechanics, gameplay and graphics. While AAA game companies continue to compensate gameplay with graphics and story with DLCs, fortunately indie studios like RadicalFishGames understand that the devil is the details and that graphics are meant to complement the gameplay and not compensate for it.


CrossCode is a single-player Action-RPG built on RadicalFish's own custom made engine derived from impact.js (a javascript game engine) over the period of more than 3 years (holy shit!). While the graphics, story-telling methodology and the music are retro inspired, the gameplay experience on the contrary is an amalgamation of modern mechanics such as the levelling system complete with skill tree, resource management,  combat, movement and animation system all building up to give one potato-snatching-monkey-spanking-hell-of-an-gameplay-experience that will rekindle the old-school nostalgia in your heart and leave you wanting for more.                                                                                                                                                                          


So in the game, you are Lea and pretty much like Hodor from Game of Thrones her vocabulistics are limited to one word, "Hi" which seem to improve over time but account for pretty awkward conversations in the game. I can only imagine the conversation she would have if she were to meet Groot, Hodor and Rocket Racoon. She's the "Groot" of the RPG fantasy world but like more worse. This fantasy world however doesn't have knights and swords. The world she is trapped in, is an MMO game. That's right, she's trapped in a game and this virtual world is a cruel and unforgiving one.

When I started up CrossCode for reviewing purpose, the first thing that struck me was the retro style pixel art and the music and my eyes and ears basically just went on to have a nostalgia fuelled orgasm from then on. In conversation with Stefan from RadicalFishGames, i couldn't help but ask him their inspirations for creating these stunning resources, to which he fan-boyishly attributed the art style to old SNES games like Terranigma, Secret of Mana etc. "Right from the beginning there was no choice on what style we want to use. It had to be this old school attire we adore so much. We are familiar with this style and we even had ideas to bring them into the modern ages. So why not?" Stefan replied as sat on his armchair, braiding his moustache and smoking pot.


For a videogame to be a truly immersive, the audio and the visuals must come together cohesively to make one interactive experience and in a videogame such as CrossCode, music is by far the best way to establish mood, tone and to impart the "retro-swag" to the story and gameplay. Stefan proudly credits the game composer and friend, Intero for the games amazing audio who too is a big fan of the retro games and draws his musical inspiration from the imminent japenese videogame composer Koji Kondo and the Kirby Series.

Explore this new land as Lea fights her way through countless adversaries like giant energy turrets, massive cyborg crabs, and headbanging meerkats with her balls. Yes, you heard that right, Balls.Your balls also known as VRPs in this game are your weapons and the keys to solving intricate puzzles. Your balls are precious and you're going need a lot of them to fight your opponents and solve puzzles which kinda reminds me of the first matrix movie scene, where Neo asks for "Guns, Lots of Guns." except for in this case you got to ask for balls.

Balls are not your only means of combat. Master the 4 elements of Cold, Heat, Shock and Wave and combat hordes of enemies delivering heavy destructive combos decimating your opponents to shreds.

Well, to start off, these are not your average..



Each elements is situation specific complete with it's own attributes of range, defence, damage and speed. The element Heat, for instance is preferred for close quarters offensive beast combat and should be used when surrounded by multiple opponents, The special attack though covers a wider range but weakens your defence causing you to deal with comparatively more damage.

No element will let you hold all the cards of combat and will require you to be wary of the situation, be alert of your enemies so as to chain the correct combination of elemental combos that cause maximum damage without compromising your defence. As easy as that might sound, misjudge the situation, choose the wrong power and it will backfart...i mean backfire (heh! autocorrect right?) bringing you in the line of fire, breaking your defence. Talking of defence, which the Cold element is all about. This power is an excellent choice if and when you find yourself in between enemy crossfire. It lets you create an adamanine ice fortress around you and lets you freeze enemies allowing you to chain another offensive elemental combo in like Shock.

Shock is all about reflex and agility but where is lags in dealing damage, it picks up in focus which in turn increases the critical hit rate and dash invincibility which lets you dodge and counter enemy attacks. So as you might have gotten the idea by now, CrossCode combat mechanics have got some depth to it and as you progress through the game you will realise that battles are as much of a brain exercise as puzzle solving in the game that require quick reflex, alertness and thinking on your toes.

Interested? Well, don't take my word for it. Play CrossCode right now on your windows machine, decide for yourself and leave us a comment down saying whether you agree with our review and/or what did you think of CrossCode. Check out their official website and play it on your browser or enjoy it on your system by downloading it for free. CrossCode has already been greenlit on steam and the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign has been launched so if you really like the game then make sure you help out these Indie developers by pre-ordering your copy and supporting them.

Meet the Developers:  

RadicalFishGames are a group of young, energetic yet disciplined game developers from Germany having past experience in working with RPG maker and These guys confess to be undeniably in love with the retro style of old school games and consequently try to impart the same style of music, art and story into the games they make. You can follow them on facebook, tumblr and indiedb.

- Kaushal Kapoor