Cross Code does a good job of melding puzzle elements with a action RPG while still telling a compelling story
Something about a single player RPG pretending to be a MMORPG has always been interesting to me. Trying to emulate such a huge thing seems almost impossible. Most games like this end up being really repetitive thanks to the fighting system being pretty forgettable. Yet for this game it manages to sidestep that problem a bit by making the gameplay more than just endless monster fights. But I am getting ahead of myself a little bit. Let me do a quick recap of what’s going on the world of Cross Code.
Unsure of what is going on we get a glance at a tragedy in motion as a sister loses her brother. Yet that scene quickly fades away as we get introduced to our protagonist named Lea. Who can’t remember anything and also can’t speak either. Existing only in avatar form she must make her way through the virtual MMO Cross Code to hopefully regain her memories. Yet beings from the virtual world seem to be seeking her out for some devious purpose. What they want shall only become clear as she makes her way through each zone.
Unlike a standard MMO this is all action based combat. Lea is a spearomacer so she gets access to a 3 hit spin move and a ranged orb attack. Using a mix of both styles is rather key in some of the bigger encounters. Plus certain moves can push away enemies like waiting for the ranged attack to lock on can blow an enemy back and also possibly open them up for a devastating counter if timed well. As the game continues Lea gains elements that can then be used to defeat enemies quicker. Special moves are also available to wipe out foes quickly.Along with a variety of new puzzle elements.
At the start you’ll see a lot of standard puzzles you’ve likely seen from years of game play. Moving blocks, hitting switches etc. Yet that gets upped very quickly to more interesting stuff. Each new element Lea obtains puts brand new factors into every dungeon. Like after earning the Wave ability it is possible to warp from one platform to the next along with being able to shoot an orb through a wall. Learning how these mechanics work is key to completing each dungeon since it just keeps stacking on what the player has learned before. When I was on a roll it felt amazing yet getting stuck for a while on something simple is always frustrating. It’s hard to find a balance but more than most I think Cross Code manages to keep things mostly balanced.
Plenty of good puzzles await but it does seem a bit lopsided with a bit too much of a focus on puzzles. Even most fights require some thought which is very good even if it’s overwhelming sometimes. Throughout the entire adventure I stopped playing the game a few times because I just did not want to wade my way through more puzzles room. Sure over the 35 hour adventure it isn’t too surprising to see some low moments but they are there. This is most notable in the dungeon area that had 3 dungeons super close together.
As a full package I enjoyed my time a lot. Was surprised by the story more than what it might imply at the start. Even if it trades one cliche with another. The combat is simple yet fun with plenty of puzzle rooms to test your skills without stumping you most of the time. If you're looking for a puzzle focused action RPG you won’t find many more games like this one. Check it out if it sounds interesting.