I reckon that CrossCode is quietly one of the more exciting things lurking around in Steam’s early access section right now. It’s a fast-paced action RPG in the vein of Terranigma or Secret Of Mana, set in a pseudo-virtual world that reminds me of Phantasy Star Online. Initially demoed and crowdfunded back in February 2015, with plans to launch at the start of 2016. Obviously that didn’t work out, but judging by CrossCode’s massive strides made during its time in early access, it was worth the wait. The developers have announced It’s releasing on September 20th.
If I had to describe CrossCode in one word, it would be ‘slick’. Everything about it feels smooth and polished. Characters barrel around the screen with speed and precision and combat moves at breakneck pace as you can see in the trailer below. Melee, ranged and special attacks chain together with a fluidity seldom seen outside fighting games. The setting is unusual too – a pseudo-Westworld-ish (albeit family-friendly) ‘MMO’, where people control physical avatars via telepresence, and most of the world is made up of coloured nanotech fluff with the density of polystyrene.
While it’s been around for years, and mostly complete (minus its final act) for a while, I’ve only played a few areas of CrossCode. Not for lack of time or desire, but because I’ve enjoyed myself so much that I decided to shelve it until the story was complete and free to binge on over an entire weekend. I am very patient. In their release announcement, Developers Radical Fish say the September launch update will be CrossCode’s biggest yet, adding a new major quest hub and city, 13 new boss fights, and roughly doubling the number of cutscenes in the game.
They’re already planning post-release support, too. Several planned features that weren’t ready in time for launch will be coming in later patches, including a New Game+ mode, more NPCs, quests and enemies, an arena/boss rush mode and more. They’ve even got some future plans for DLC, although I think I’ll be happy with just seeing the main game released.