Crossing Souls Review (PC)
When I first heard about Crossing Souls, an action-adventure game based in the late 80’s early 90’s, it goes without saying that I was hyped. Some of the best action-adventure movies, especially revolving around kids were in that time period. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this game. I wanted that sense of unknown territory. I wanted to see everyday people with their own issues, face tragedy and overcome odds…and I got it.
Crossing Souls focuses on Chris and his friends; Big Joe, Charlie, Matt, and his brother Kevin. Each character has its own skill to navigate each level and can help you solve puzzles when they arise. Chris can jump and climb, Charlie can dash, Big Joe can move large objects, Matt can hover jump, and Kevin…is well Kevin. As with most groups of friends, in these situations, there’s a love interest that everyone knows is there but the characters haven’t reached out to each other. That plays a pretty fun dynamic between Chris and Charlie though-out the story. There’s also a lot of good background on each character to build them. They did a damn fine job creating characters that you can relate to and cheer for as the story goes on. Every character’s backstory has it’s own dark side, showing no one is perfect, and that everyone has something to prove.
Without ruining the story because it really is something to be experienced, I’ll briefly touch on some parts to paint the picture. Your little brother Kevin finds something that sets off a chain of terrible events and eventually you become able to cross over into the spirit plane. This allows you to interact with ghosts and speak with them, or defeat them if necessary. What really stands out in the story, which in my mind sets good stories and great stories apart, is the tragedy. Major tragedy can change people, and shape major events. The tragedy has a huge effect on Chris and all of his friends and it is shown through the cutscenes and speech throughout the game. But besides this major event that happened, it wouldn’t mean anything without a ruthless villain. Crossing Souls has that as well and it’s the perfect addition to round out the great story this game is offering.
The gameplay is simple, yet challenging. You can choose any character you choose and swap instantly using ‘Shift’. While most of all of the attacks you have access to through the group of friends are melee, Matt does give you a ranged option. Some may move quicker, while others will have a larger life bar to take more damage because you’re a bit slower, but your damage is a bit higher because of that. You’ll probably find your favorite and notice yourself swapping to that character when a special skill isn’t needed, but the diversity of the enemies will get you swapping characters and not leave them stagnant.
There are many platform jumping and puzzles along your journey, though not too difficult, you will need to swap characters a lot towards the end of the game to use the different skills you need to complete the area. Many times you’ll be jumping with Chris, then need to swap to Matt to hover the next gap, then switch to Big Joe to slid something out of the way, then back to Matt to hover again…etc. Thankfully you usually aren’t getting attacked at these moments so you’re able to take a breath and work on your plan. Some parts can be VERY frustrating but it was usually my fault for not getting the timing right. I do wish they had more save points further into the game, It took me a bit to get through a jumping section, and had to redo it because I wasn’t watching my health.
Talking with NPC’s of the game was fun and offered some insight to the lore of the area. A lot of the times it isn’t necessary but I feel its worth it learning about the area to build those relationships with those NPCs. Not because the game has a relationship engine built in, I mean for you personally, it gives you a reason to want to go on yourself. Along with talking to everyone, there are a few collectibles that can be found. They come in forms of music, movies, and games, all funny spoofs of existing pop culture icons. If you are an achievement hound, you won’t be disappointed in searching every nook and cranny for these humorous collectibles.
Crossing Souls has some amazing artwork. The details are astounding, especially in pixel form. Clothes move when you jump, animations are fun to watch and different. It just added to the great character the story builds. A surprise to me was the cutscenes. They were animated not in pixel form but in the style of your favorite 80s/90s Saturday morning cartoon. I wish they were a bit longer, but they serve their purpose well and it doesn’t make them any less awesome.
Crossing Souls may not be a perfect game, but damn it, it sure as hell tries. I definitely recommend fans of the late 80’s/90’s cartoons and great adventure movies should play this game if you haven’t already. It’s a fun ride with memorable characters and events that may warrant that extra playthrough to get all of the collectibles.
Note: GameOctane editor Jason Germino received a digital code from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
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+ The story grabs you with it's fun, yet tragic events
+ Characters are memorable and relatable
+ Gameplay varies and makes good use of the different character's skills
+ The time you put into the game, you get rewarded with backstory and lore.
- Some bosses are frustratingly difficult but it's usually because you aren't watching the patterns
- Inconsistent save points