It’s been a while since I’ve played a Role Playing Game, and after putting a number of hours into Crossing Souls, it still feels like I haven’t quite played a proper RPG still. Don’t get me wrong, Crossing Souls is a charming game, full of intricate pixel art, a vibrant and interactive world, and choc-full of 80s nostalgia that’ll give you “Stranger Things” vibes, but as far as being an actual RPG, it leaves something left to be desired.
The story of Crossing Souls follows a rag-tag bunch of teen misfits that stumble across an amazing discovery with consequences they couldn’t possibly anticipate, standard stuff so far, until all of a sudden everything takes a dark turn and the teens find themselves with the ability to interact with the land of the dead. The pixel art might fool you, but Crossing Souls is full of adult themes and content, facing concepts like death head on. The story surprised me, and has definitely been enjoyable, and the hand-drawn animated cut scenes make it feel like I’m participating in a Sunday morning cartoon from back in the day. Visually and tonally, the game feels like a win to me.
But Crossing Souls isn’t a cartoon, it’s a game.
Herein lies my greatest criticism of the game, it just doesn’t seem to know what it really wants to be. There are segments of this game that feel like an RPG, Beat Em Up, Arcade Shooter, Platformer, and even a Racing game. While the segments sometimes feel fresh and exciting, overall the gameplay experience felt a bit muddled and random. The puzzles lack a clear sense of conveyance at times, or worse yet take way too long to solve, even with a simple solution.
The game itself is charming, and the story is definitely interesting enough to capture my attention. But some of the gameplay elements left me wanting a more consistent experience more in-line with a traditional action adventure RPG. I recommend Crossing Souls to those of you who enjoy a story with emotional weight, just don’t expect too much on the gameplay side of things.