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Crossing Souls Review: Feeds our nostalgic obsession

If you were alive in the 1980s — or, like me, love 80s movies — then you’ll appreciate this action-adventure game chock full of retro favourites.

Crossing Souls feeds into our nostalgic obsession with the decade by taking its cue, like so many others, from films like The Goonies, Stand By Me, IT and E.T.

In fact, developers Fourattic really do their best to cram as many references to Star Wars, Ghostbusters and Back to the Future just in case you weren’t sure.

The story follows five teenagers who discover a mysterious stone while playing in the woods outside their Californian town.

With a plot which has vague similarities to Netflix’s Stranger Things, the youngsters soon realise the gem opens a gate to another world and allows them to interact with spirits.

Of course, in a true 80s movie cliché, the paranormal activity draws the attention of the government who try to cover the whole thing up and a U.S. Army general who want to use the stone for his own nefarious plans.

Gameplay

The gameplay is fluid and the combat system is semi-challenging, but pretty much anyone could pick up a controller and do well.

Players will have to switch between the five different heroes, each with their own unique attack, which opens up a number of tactical strategies while you’re attempting to solve an array of puzzles and battle some pretty mean spectres.

Expect to bump into everything from cavemen and cowboys to librarian ghosts and even dinosaurs.

If that wasn’t enough, you’ll find yourself constantly jumping between the real world and the afterlife to do so.

However, I found the bouncing around worlds was a bit much and really harmed the narrative of the game.

It’s clear Crossing Souls seems to take huge design elements from A Link to the Past, from the breaking down of weak looking walls to the collecting of hearts for the big battles later on.

There are also side quests which give a knowing nod to games and movies of old but also keep things interesting.

One such mini-game was an E.T – esque side-scrolling race where you’re being chased by the police while dodging obstacles and jumping over barriers.

Others included saving a house from Native American poltergeist haunting it.

There’s nothing to scream about when it comes to the boss battles, but they do prove to be the most challenging aspects of the game as each one requires a different ability from your team to defeat them.

The pixel art style of the game will no doubt please some fans and annoy others but I felt it was a rather fun gimmick.

Hand drawn animations in the cutscenes were also a nice touch.

Adding to the retro vibe of the whole game is a soundtrack which consists of "radical synth-pop" inspired by the works of John Williams (E.T., Star Wars) and Jerry Goldsmith (Alien, Planet of the Apes).

Characters

Chris, the group’s leader is a bit of a jock and brandishes a baseball bat that can deflect objects being thrown at him.

Token nerd Matt has rocket shoes to vault over caverns and unusually for a child of his age, carries a laser gun just in case.

Big Joe is the heavyweight of the gang who can take some serious damage as well as being able to move all kinds of huge objects with his strength.

Kevin is the little brother of Chris, he’s pretty stealthy but seems to serve as the comic relief as he farts and picks his nose throughout the game.

Charlie is the girl and unfortunate ginger-haired hero but that doesn’t mean she’s the weakest of the bunch.

In fact, her ability to throw things is pretty fierce and she packs quite the punch with her skipping rope.

The one weak thing about these characters is that although they all have their own personalities, they were still quite bland.

I failed to gravitate towards one particular hero but I’m not sure if it was because they were all 80s stereotypes I have seen before or whether it was the dialogue that would let them down.

Overall

It’s cute, full of charm and oozes nostalgia.

But there’s a lot more to Crossing Souls than shamelessly pandering to a bygone era, the game itself is rather interesting if you can ignore the sometimes clumsy dialogue and story.

Yet even with its flaws, I still got lost in the game’s fun and whimsy.

If they had spent a little more time on the narrative, it would have reached its fullest potential.

Nevertheless, for its price the game is well worth it!

Crossing Souls is available on PS4 and PC

Source: https://www.mirror.co.uk/tech/crossing-souls-review-80s-style-12026179

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