PLATFORM: PC, PS4, SWITCH, XBOX ONE (REVIEWED) | RELEASE DATE: JULY 9TH
CrossCode follows a digital avatar named Lea who arrives in the fictional MMO “CrossWorlds” with no memory of her previous playthrough. To find out what happened in the past, she'll have to take on the Track of the Ancients – a lengthy trial involving action-packed combat-heavy open areas and puzzle-laden dungeons – with you in control and other “players” providing backup. The plot gets very meta, with the in-game MMO crossing over with “real world” players occasionally threatening to become even more head-scratchingly confusing than some of the puzzles you'll encounter inside the dungeons, but on the whole it's a tremendous story that goes way deeper than you might expect.
The gameplay is equally as accomplished, with satisfying and unique combat mechanics (largely based around “Visual Ricochet Projectiles” - a fancy name for “balls”) and lots of fiendishly-designed puzzles (where your balls really come into their own). The RPG elements mean that you'll be levelling up, adding points to your skill trees (which are interchangeable, in an unusual but welcome touch), learning special moves and abilities, dealing with traders and all that other fun stuff, and there are over 100 quests and challenges to keep you busy. You might not even reach the first of the game's 8 dungeons until the 6 or 7 hour mark, and a full playthrough is likely to last somewhere around 50 hours...
Some of the mechanics can take a little bit of getting used to (some things are barely even touched on by the game's tutorials), but when it all clicks, it's massively addictive. With its engaging characters, fast-paced combat, truly ingenious puzzles and gripping sci-fi story, CrossCode definitely ought to be on every old-school RPG fan's shopping list. A strong contender for RPG of the year!
Physical editions of the game for PC, PS4 and Switch can be found here