A nostalgia trip down memory lane to the 80’s with a lot of references and design to go with it, Crossing Souls tries to take you back to a more simpler time when showing up to your friend’s house unannounced was normal and spending the whole day out playing with your friends and hanging out was routine. Crossing Souls is a 2D action-adventure platforming game with a pixel art art-style and has been developed by Fourattic and published by Devolver Digital. It is available on the PlayStation 4, Windows, Mac and Linux.
Crossing Souls has you play as five children living in California in the 80s. On the start of their summer vacation, the five kids find a dead body in a Californian forest and along with the body they find a mysterious artifact whose power they do not understand. The five kids then go on an adventure to protect the artifact and keep it away from the evil Major Oh Rus who wants it for his own evil schemes. Each of the children are playable and have their own abilities and “powers” that can be used to aid the player in their journey which spans a total of 9 hours. Most of their abilities come in handy during the platforming and puzzle sections of levels however I did feel that certain characters were underused.
Speaking of characters and variety, while they have unique gameplay characteristics that help separate each child from the other, they sorely lack in personality. The writing for the characters seems to be very similar for all five kids and it didn’t really pull me into their own personal stories. Their dialogue didn’t feel organic and felt awkward and not the way one would imagine a close group of friends to talk among themselves. The story is decent with plot twists that convoluted the story and turn it into a mess and I really didn’t enjoy that.
The platforming elements are another aspect that was not executed well enough since it tried to do 3D platforming in a 2D environment which led to a lot of moments where I wasn’t having fun and it felt tiring and frustrating due to the lack of precision when jumping between platforms. Especially in the later levels when the difficulty just shoots up and the checkpoint placement is sporadic. The rest of the gameplay is beat’em up fighting with stamina based combat which is nothing spectacular. However the game does nail the look and feel of what it is trying to go for. I really enjoyed the visuals of the game which had the pixel art style to it.
Levels were vibrant, unique and varied enough and did a great job with the world building. It also has cutscenes in the style of 80s cartoons which is really well done and further adds to the style that the game tries to go for. The visuals are complimented greatly with the soundtrack which is synth-pop based and also features orchestral tracks. As a fan of synthwave and outrun music, I loved the soundtrack since it is really good and I highly suggest that you give it a listen on SoundCloud.
Crossing Souls has a lot of references and call backs to 80s and 90s culture which is good but sadly it lacks an identity of its own. While it sets the premise of the game brilliantly with its visual aesthetics and great soundtrack, its characters and story felt flat and the gameplay was sluggish and boring a lot of times due to which it’s a really mixed bag of a game. If you enjoy the 80s culture then you should check this game out since that is it’s main draw, otherwise if it has intrigued you even a little bit I’d suggest waiting for a sale.