Double Cross surprised me in more ways than one. First and foremost, I wasn’t at all expecting the game to be as fun as it was. Secondly, I wasn’t expecting it to be quite as engaging, and thirdly, it’s remarkably accessible. The game has been developed by 13AM Games, the talented folks behind Runbow, and serves as an exciting adventure game that throws players into the role of Zahra. Zahra is an agent of R.I.F.T. (Regulations of Interdimensional Frontiers and Technology) who maintains peace between dimensions.
You see, there are many instances of existence across a multitude of dimensions, and they can all be accessed. For instance, one dimension still has dinosaurs ruling the roost, and they’ve evolved to the point of being able to talk and create clever scientific contraptions. In another instance, robots dominate the planet, enslaving humans and doing whatever the hell they want to achieve whatever result they’re after. In another instance, well, you get the idea; think Jet Li’s ‘The One’ and convert it to a game on a more outlandish level.
This is where Zahra comes into view, because like I said, it’s her job to maintain order and balance. Predictably, shit hits the proverbial fan, and before long, you’re thrust into an adventure that’s every bit as engaging as it is fun. The game does a good job at feeding you into the basics of play, and given the game’s 2D platforming framework, you can expect plenty of running, dodging, flipping, swinging, punching, and much more besides. Though, above all else, you’ll need to always be mindful that you’re subject to investigating.
Now, you didn’t expect that one, did you? Double Cross is rather heavy on its dialogue. Sadly, maybe overly so. The game is chock-full of chatter, so much so I grew rather bored between missions, observing nonstop banter throughout. It’s not a deal breaker by any stretch of the imagination, but alarm bells chimed hard when I was growing frustrated with the amount of script. Nevertheless, bear with it because with that subjective flaw to the side, there’s much to like here. Though, let’s move back to the investigation aspects of Double Cross, shall we?
Throughout play, you’ll find clues that slot into your investigation, and these items will need to be produced to the correct characters at the correct times, ultimately giving you more case insight. The whole system is fairly light, but it absolutely works well. You’ll slowly form ideas, and in turn, will be guided into new areas with new problems to solve and overcome. Once you’ve done the first case load (the tutorial) you’re given choices in locations as to where to head next, and so on; each arriving with difficulty sliders ranging easy to hard.
The actual platforming is well done, and sees you moving through a dollop of sizable levels as you run, pounce, attack, and swing from beginning to end. Each level is full to the brim with enemies and hazards of equal measure and danger, meaning you’ll need to be very quick on your toes to survive the constant bouts of action. The Proton Slinger steals the show here, serving as a tool that allows you to traverse the game’s levels via grappling points. It’s quite gratifying overall, grappling point to point in rapid, swift succession.
It also doubles up as a tool that can grab and throw objects and enemies, and a mixture of both, I might add. Throw in the fact that levels house secrets and hard to reach areas, and you’ll soon fall in love with the slinger’s diverse functionalities. Starting out, you’ll not have many abilities to lean on, and even your attacks are fairly substandard. However you can indeed unlock more powerful move-sets, gradually but firmly establishing a nice weight to the game’s play depth. Speaking of upgrades, this draws us to the game’s progression.
Once again, I can only speak volumes on this front. Everything is kept simple, but intuitive. Throughout the course of any given level, you’ll often stumble across what’s known as upgradiums. These are purple colored crystals that will level you up, and in turn, will bestow you with new abilities, both equip-able and passive. Collectively, this bolsters Zahra to considerable degrees, and due to how well hidden these upgradiums are, replaying the games levels feels quite meaningful, and certainly worthwhile given the helpful boosts.
Whatever the case, Double Cross is a fun game to play that manages to get a lot right. Everything from its platforming based play, right up to its investigation mechanics, remain engaging throughout. The combat is well rounded too, and thanks to the upgrades and buffs you can earn, it only gets better for the more time and effort you put in. It helps, of course, that the level design is decent. The game’s levels are well structured throughout, and provide just the right amount of challenge to ensure that you’re always kept on edge.
I can say the same about the game’s enemy variation, being that alongside environmental hazards, you’ll get quite a bite if you’re not careful. In regards to the game’s visual and audio design, Double Cross gets a well deserved pass. It’s colorful, often vibrant, distinct, and sharp. I especially appreciated how diverse the game’s levels are next to one another, keeping visual repetition at bay as a result. I’ll extend the same level of appreciation to the game’s audio too, being that it sounds as good as it looks. This, is certainly one for genre fans.
Double Cross is a great game that sports quite a lot of variation. Whilst the detective mechanics, although solid, are perhaps a bit too simple, everything that pertains to the platforming remains diverse and engaging throughout. The end result makes for an adventure that’s not only interesting, but thoroughly entertaining, and although the dialogue can be too invasive at times, the game goes on to get a lot more right than it gets wrong.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.