CrossCode is a game with a turbulent history. Originally beginning development in 2012, it was then crowdfunded on Indiegogo in early 2015. After three years in early access, it was officially launched on Steam in September 2018, with a console release set in July 2020. After quite the sizable wait, its console release is finally on the horizon.
Created by German game developer Radical Fish Games, CrossCode finds joy in reveling in its own absurdity. The game itself is based on a classic game-within-a-game concept, with the majority of the game being spent within CrossWorlds, a popular MMORPG. The twist? CrossWorlds isn’t just a video game – it’s played physically, on another planet. Lea, the game’s protagonist, is an avatar, the medium that players play CrossWorlds through. There’s a bit of trouble though – she can’t remember her last playthrough or say anything other than “Hi!”, and it’s up to you to figure out why.
The world of CrossWorlds is a crudely packaged love letter to the MMORPG genre – you’ll find poorly-scripted NPCs, massacre poor woodland animals to accrue experience points, and even meet “fellow players” that make the game feel more alive. The combat utilizes a grading system and consists of relentlessly chaining combos. The class system is locked – you’re stuck playing as a “Spheromancer”, the class the previous player chose – but you’re still granted a fair amount of leeway in how you build Lea’s skills in the form of a massive skill tree.
While CrossCode aims to parody the trappings of a typical MMO, it doesn’t do this at the expense of the player’s experience – every aspect is thoughtfully crafted and packaged in a way that’s satisfying for the player, from exploring dungeons to solving puzzles, to the typical NPC sidequests. There’s plenty of clever jabs at the MMO system that’ll leave veterans of the genre delighted, and newer players entertained. If you’re looking for a satisfying single-player experience to pass the time, this is one title that’s sure to deliver.
CrossCode is currently available on Steam and has a free-to-play demo. It’s is set to be released on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch on July 9. You can check it out here.