Bouncing between pixelated art and beautifully animated, 80’s cartoon style cutscenes, Crossing Souls boasts a nice aesthetic against an okay game play experience. All the while trying to enjoy their summer break, the five main characters find themselves up against the threat of global destruction. The villains fit the bill too with over the top, tongue in cheek designs.
Primarily an adventure game, you take control of each of the different friends, using their different skills to navigate through the map. Certain boss fights require you to rapidly move between characters, a test of strategy as well as dexterity. The plot is fun although not necessarily innovative; a battle between life and death with a few innocent kids who just happened to get caught in the middle. The game starts you off with a major twist that changes exactly what you thought it would be like, and it doesn’t stop from there.
Campy Nostalgia in all of its Glory
Crossing Souls takes after the classic aesthetic of 80s media, with detailed pixel art and a fantastic soundtrack. From easter eggs to important parts of the plot, Crossing Souls has that nostalgic factor that people who grew up in the eighties or who just love the style will enjoy. The animations are beautiful, and the VHS glitch design that overlays the cutscenes add a nice touch to the design.
The bulk of the game play takes part in every day settings; a high school, a backyard, an unnecessarily stereotyped trailer park, et cetera. It gets wild near the end, as the characters leave the bounds of their hometown in search of their families and friends and discover some new secrets.
Between the exploration and adventuring, there are mini game style missions with simple controls to learn that change up the game play. You puzzle and leap your way through them, to fight a battle of time travel, and impending doom.
Depth (or lack thereof) of Play
One of the most interesting parts of the game play of Crossing Souls is the different characters the player can control. There are five characters, each with different skills. Each character has their own levels of health and stamina based on their individual traits, which means some juggling to get through some puzzles. Some characters are utilized less than others; Charlie’s gymnastics for instance might be helpful in fights but her secondary ability is used maybe a handful of times during the game (a mechanic flaw which pairs with the fact that she doesn’t have too much of a role in the game itself other than as a token love interest).
The balancing act is fun, but doesn’t necessarily bring a challenge to the game play. It is generally obvious what to do where, meaning you mostly just stick with one character until forced to do otherwise. During fights you can play more to your personal style; each character is viable, and generally speaking the player needs to switch between characters to keep the fight going.
While the intermittent fights are fun, they don’t present too much of a challenge. The boss battles are different, but range from basic avoiding and hitting to impossibly difficult. This, paired with the unforgivable sin of an unskippable cutscene you have to watch every time you go back can be frustrating.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for Crossing Souls was provided by Tinsley-PR.