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Double Cross (PC) artwork

Double Cross (PC) review

"Good from far..."

13AM Games made Runbow, which I heard was all the rage, and so their pedigree suggested that Double Cross would be another side-scrolling, retro-flavoured gem. Full disclosure: it's not. Don't be fooled by a cursory glance at the screenshots, as I was when I first requested this title. Take a closer look.

The character style might bring to mind Mega Man X and its spawn, but this isn't a run and jump and shoot game -- it's a repetitive beat-em-up. String together light punches, spam heavy attacks. Unlock special moves as you go, most of which you won't likely need to make progress.

And while you're at it, take a closer look at the backdrops. They're flat and unimaginative and derail any potential sense of immersion before such a thing can even get going.

It seems as if most of the developers' love and creativity went into telling Double Cross' story, which is light and quirky and reminiscent of something that might be on Disney XD. As Zahra, a spunky young agent of R.I.F.T. (that stands for: Regulators of Interdimensional Frontiers and Technology, naturally) you're tasked with keeping the peace across dimensions. When someone attacks R.I.F.T headquarters, it's time to go to work.

You are dispatched to various planets to track down clues which you'll run by experts in different fields, back at the base (if NPC #1 can't make sense of a clue, NPC #2 likely will be able to, and so on). In practice, this means you go to the fire planet, find the clues you were sent there to find, seek out as much of the hidden Upgradium throughout the three available stages on offer towards earning new abilities, beat a boss, and head back to HQ to share your findings and get busy upgrading.

You'll be beamed down to four planets and so you'll have to beat 12 stages. The combat isn't particularly interesting or challenging; it's the platforming which is the only thing that really gives Double Cross an identity and some teeth. And that's because despite the overall ease of play, there are definitely some infuriating moments using the Proton Slinger (read: grappling hook) that'll slow your progress and make you consider your next move.

You'll use the Proton Slinger to latch onto special rings that are hung about the sky pretty much everywhere: to ascend on the inside and outside of buildings, in conjunction with wall-jumping scores of stories up, in and around disappearing floors, over lava, and to land on moving platforms. Were it not for the floaty jumping and imprecise Proton Slinger inputs, the platforming would actually be pretty sweet, and satisfying, and would imbue the platforming aspect with personality at least on par with the lovingly crafted (if overdone) story elements. As it stands, the controls feel decidedly unreliable, and so the challenging bits just come off as annoying and only serve as a further reminder while you're playing that you are not having fun.

Poor Double Cross -- when it's not busy being rote and uninspired, it's busy being clunky and frustrating. It's a thin, vanilla beat-em-up with some vim and style that's only skin deep, and disagreeable controls that prevent me from giving it the 'kids' game recommendation' it might otherwise have earned. You'd be much better off checking out any number of other retro platformers on Steam -- most of which will weigh in at a much more attractive price point to boot.


Masters's avatar
Staff review by Marc Golding (April 21, 2019)

There was a bio here once. It's gone now.

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honestgamer posted April 21, 2019:

I really don't love games where grappling controls get in the way of a good time. It's a shame Double Cross appears to have gone down that road. I hope the developer can come back with a stronger effort for its next effort.
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Masters posted April 22, 2019:

Thanks for reading, Venter. Yeah, the game was an odd and disappointing mix of boring and imprecise that doesn't seem like it could possibly hold your attention unless you have nothing else to play.
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EmP posted April 22, 2019:

Shame it didn't work out; looked like it could have been a good one. On to the next one, I guess, expected 2023.
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hastypixels posted April 26, 2019:

Well, that was a letdown. A concise review for a disappointing game. On to the next...

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