Nostalgia-fuelled throwbacks to times gone past are all the rage at the moment with the likes of Stranger Things filling the collective conscience as a fine example of emulating the time period and cyberpunk styling becoming a de facto go-to for many other such as Netflix’s Altered Carbon and Blade Runner 2049.
One thing that doesn’t seem to have been mined as much as others though is the medium of the Saturday morning cartoon; a mainstay through the 80’s and 90’s but sorely missing in today’s society. Luckily for any and all fans of it, Crossing Souls is available now so you can relive those heady days whilst controlling it through the medium of video games.
Now I’m a big fan of cartoons and a big fan of pixel graphics so when I booted up Crossing Souls for the first and was greeted with a big hand-drawn opening cinematic reminiscent of The Goonies gone animated, I was super excited to see what else the game had to offer. Luckily for me, what awaited was one of the most intricate pixel graphic games I can think of in recent memory, mixing excellent architecture with character design that emotes every action to a startling degree considering the small and basic art style. Sometimes I look at games and think the pixel art style may have been over used but this is one of the few games that not only uses the style to perfection but also fits in with the aesthetic being set in the 1980’s; the era famous for pixel graphics.
Story wise it’s a classic throwback, telling the tale of a group of friends that discover an ancient artefact and go on a life-changing adventure, running from evil and trying to save their town. It’s nothing new but it perfectly encapsulates the mind set of 80’s films and is a refreshing change of pace when you spend most of your time playing super-serious action games. Not only that, but buried underneath all of the clichés there’s actually a pretty strong story full of loss and humour. Following the gang as they change and grow is compelling viewing and pushed me to keep on playing so I could see exactly where the story was going to climax… and believe me when I say it’s worth playing all the way through.
In terms of game play it’s an action adventure in a similar style to Hyper Light Drifter, mixing puzzles with brawling in a semi-open world where you unlock new areas as you progress. The brawling side is fun yet simple and the individual characters each have their own style varying from quick swinging baseball bats to slow but powerful uppercuts.
As well, each character has their own stamina and health so switching in between them as you fight is tantamount to getting through some of the tricky areas. When it comes to figuring out puzzles that becomes a mixture of some platforming elements, utilising differing powers such as a dash manoeuvre that gets you over drops or a jetpack that allows you to float mid-air and reach further away areas. As well as this you also use the aforementioned artefact named the “Duat Stone” to go to the world of the dead to pass ghost-like through any doors to figure things out. Whilst it never gets too intense or difficult, there are a few moments when things do get bit more complex, but never completely impossible.
I had a lot of fun playing through the story of Crossing Souls with my only real issue being that on so many occasions you would explore an area, only for there to be nothing there apart from a box with nothing in. It’s a small gripe but as someone who always explores every avenue for secrets, having multiple avenues full of nothing started to get annoying after a while. Of course that’s only a small thing and so if you like the old school Zelda games, VHS tapes or anything from 80’s I would highly recommend this game for you.
Author: Hal, Plymouth store