I have to admit that I am pretty damn happy right now: I finished Crossing Souls on PS4 and...it was pretty much everything that I was looking for out of this game...a game that I had talked about as the lone indie on our Top 10 Most Anticipated Games, and I have now completed, with a grin from ear to ear.
So, if you're looking for some gushing about a game (available on PlayStation and PC), please stick around for a bunch of it below:
Developed by Spanish studio Fourattic (and published by Devolver Digital), Crossing Souls is a retro style action-adventure game set in 1986 wherein a group of 5 friends stumble upon a massive conspiracy (aka evil plot), all thanks to their discovery of the Duat Stone. This is a game that starts off with a very simple premise (bunch of kids at the start of summer find a dead body which starts off a Stephen King/Spielberg style adventure), but quickly becomes something quite different. I will not spoil the story for you (at all--I promise), but I was in love with Crossing Souls' story from the beginning--it is dripping with nostalgia, funny little references, and a whole pile of satire of pop culture of the 1980s, but at its' heart, what caught me was the fact that it started to tell what seemed like a very, period-appropriate "teen supernatural" story, and ended up telling me something quite moving.
And wow, did it have some dramatic act breaks.
The game itself is reminiscent of a SNES "open world" game where you wonder around, solving puzzles, looking for clues, and fighting enemies in an orthogonal pattern (it gave me Zombies Ate My Neighbours mixed with SNES RPG vibes for sure) and you control each of the 5 kids throughout the game, changing them freely to take advantage of each ones' unique skills. All of this is wrapped up in a package that looks and feels like a game AND cartoon from my childhood....I mean, look at the trailer:
It looks and feels so 1986, but it plays with just the right balance of retro and modern to make it quite special.
If you aren't into the old school text-boxes interspersed with the odd cut scene, you might get frustrated with Crossing Souls, but for anyone with a nostalgic feel for those old school games, really owes it to themselves to give this one a look (and listen; the soundtrack by Chris Köbke and Jordy "Timecop1983" Leenaerts is fantastic).
This is the part in the gaming articles where I usually talk about the few things that I wasn't crazy about, just to try and provide some balance to my excitement. I feel like there is very little that I did not enjoy in Crossing Souls, so this is largely going to be a little nit-picky, but at the same time, I do feel like there are a couple things you should know going in.
The first thing is that this is a game that has the old-school gaming style difficulty spikes, and strange sections where you have to think differently than a lot of modern gamers are used to. I was frustrated a few times on jumping sections, as it's hard to judge where you are all the time, and some things require a bit of precision. I never got so frustrated that I had to stop, or that I rage quit, but there were a few times where it felt punishing in a way that only those old SNES games could. If that's not interesting to you, then...maybe find a stream, or check out the demo first to get a feel for it.
The only other thing that I can really think of that I was not crazy about was the saving system--it is done at save points (pink floppy discs, which is amazing), which I have no problem with, but there are 3 slots and you cannot tell where you've saved/what you have saved. This is retro, but it feels a bit frustrating ESPECIALLY if you were hoping to go back and try and 100% the collectibles in the game, because...well there's really no way to do it without just doing another full playthrough. No chapter selections, only 3 save slots, and difficulty spikes makes going back to certain points practically impossible....so that's something to keep in mind...
But really, if you can't tell, I'm digging here....I had an absolutely great time with Crossing Souls.
The question of "should I play this game?"...you have probably already answered for yourself by reading through what I have been chatting with you about here, but I think that if you are someone who is looking for a good story, with some light horror elements (there are ghosts--it's in the trailer), looking for a bit of Stranger Things style nostalgia, love synth-y soundtracks, or just want something a little different for under 20$, give Crossing Souls a shot.
I loved it, and you should not be surprised, come next year, to see it appear in our GOTY discussion.