Double Cross, at first seemed like a pretty underwhelming action-platformer with some less than stellar combat. Beyond that very start of the game though, lies a pretty satisfying game! It’s not going to blow any minds, I don’t think, but it was a cut above average, absolutely. The fun characters, witty banter back and forth, saturday morning cartoon-style of story-telling, and vibrant art style carries what would otherwise be a run of the mill beat em up.
The gameplay starts off pretty standard, you have a three-hit combo, you can run and jump, BUT this game adds a grappling tether. It can be used a multitude of ways, typically for traversal, as you slingshot yourself between grapple spots. Your inertia and movement play a big part in how you overcome certain puzzles, as time slows down briefly as you prepare to launch the tether. This lets you line yourself up perfectly to get just the right trajectory and avoid launching yourself into spikes or enemies. The tether can also be used to grab enemy projectiles out of the air and throw it back at them, which is used in multiple boss fights. Beyond that, you’ll learn and obtain multiple active and passive skills, such as a shield to take hits for you, or a diving kick to upgrade your arsenal of techniques.
The real fun comes in the level variety, which reminds me a lot of Sonic Mania. There is a set of levels in particular that revolve around different types of slime, and how you use the slime to overcome certain puzzles. There’s bouncy slime, slippery slime, and even incredibly lethal walls of slime that you’ve got to narrowly escape using your tether and other types of slime. Have I said slime enough in the last paragraph?
I will say that some of the backgrounds look a little… lazy to say the least, like something you’d see in a fan game or a flash game from the early 2010’s. Some places look really cool, don’t get me wrong! I just feel like some places in the game got a little bit more love than others, it doesn’t detract from the gameplay much though, since nearly every room you walk into is either a fun inertia puzzle or bad guys to beat up. The difficulty in the game mostly comes from puzzles where you have to outrun something or do something really fast without knowing what’s immediately up ahead of you. I never died from fighting, or to a boss, put it that way.
I suppose I should actually talk about the story at some point, which is, like I said, similar to a saturday morning cartoon. Someone double crosses you (insert audience laugh here) and the rest of R.I.F.T., who are basically the guardians of the multi-verse. They keep things where they’re supposed to be and essentially keep order amongst everything, everywhere. However, as things turn out, it starts to look more and more like it’s a member of R.I.F.T. that’s betrayed you and you’ve gotta set out to prove who’s innocent and who’s a likely suspect. Lines get blurred, and things get messy eventually, though, and the story takes our protagonist, Zahra, in many different directions as she tries to solve the mystery.
Aside from some somewhat lazy area designs at certain parts of the game, and fairly simple combat that gets tedious after a while, Double Cross is a surprisingly fun little package. It’s also great for kids as it’s only rated E10+, I would have loved a game like this when I was a kid for sure. It’s right up there with Super Lucky’s Tale for great games to introduce kids to platformers with, in terms of modern games (and not including Nintendo games). Although it started kinda slow and boring, it worked its way up to being a real good game, and I recommend that people give it a try. I played the Switch version and it was fantastic fodder for my lunch breaks at work!
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