Crossing Souls Hands-On Impressions – Peerless Pixel Art Poltergeists

After a few hours with Crossing Souls, it’s plain to see this might be something truly special. The FingerGuns spoiler-free hands-on Preview;

The 80’s were awesome. As an early millennial, I remember growing up with He-Man, The A Team, The Goonies and recording the music chart show on my tape deck to replay through the week. Like many others my age, I seem to gravitate towards anything that reminds me of the simpler time when Terminator films were actually good and so the mere premise of Crossing Souls, a story of 5 teens exploring an 80’s Californian town complete with a supernatural mystery that bridges the space between life and dead, is instantly appealing. We’ve played the first few hours and by the power of Greyskull, we’re very impressed.

When the reviews drop for Crossing Souls, an action-adventure game from Spanish outfit Fourattic and publishers Devolver Digital, you’re likely to read a few things from everyone who plays it.

The first is likely to be a comparison to the Stranger Things TV series. There are plenty of similarities between Crossing Souls and the Netflix show but it’s a bit of a lazy comparison given the fact that the Kickstarter for the game started 2 years before Stranger Things was even a thing. They’re both an homage to everything great from the 80’s and they both feature a group of teens (one of whom wields a baseball bat) investigating supernatural goings-on while facing off against a shady organisation. The difference here is that Crossing Souls doesn’t just riff on the 80’s for nostalgia’s sake – sure, there are hundreds of easter eggs for those that can remember the most iconic decade in recent history but it’s all part and parcel of the game itself. Sections of the game look and feel like 80’s classics like Streets of Rage or are reminiscent of the truck chase section in the Terminator 2 video game. The premise for the first few hours leans on The Goonies and Stand By Me with subtle nods to Michael Jackson and TRON. The soundtrack also has this ET vibe to it which is instantly appealing.

The second thing you’re likely to read is that Crossing Souls is gorgeous. I can’t remember a pixelart orthogonal 2D game that looked this damn good. Straight from the off, the design, attention to detail, the colour pallet, the animation and overall aesthetics are world class. The California town in which the game is set is full of life and vibrance, even in the corners of the world that are optional explorations.

Lastly, judging the game from the first few hours of play at least, you’re probably going to read how enjoyable it is to play and how powerful the plot is. The first 3 hours have more poignant moments than the entrity of other similar games – without spoiling it, the first few hours of Crossing Souls has a plot that repeatedly hits you in the feels like a sledgehammer but then picks you back up again, just in time for you to take another hit. There’s never a dull moment too as the plot moves rapidly, pausing only briefly for some necessary exposition. The game play itself is a blend of arcade action and classic Zelda exploration with some very mild RPG elements. Each of the games characters have their own abilities, strengths and weaknesses and this element of choice becomes essential as the game progresses.

2018 has already served up a number of GOTY contenders and if the rest of Crossing Souls are as good as the first few chapters, it’ll be right up there with the best of them when it releases on the 13th of February for PS4 and PC.

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