One of the more unique and interesting titles among the indie games I’ve had the chance to review, Croixleur Sigma is an anime-styled, hyper-fast hack and slash arena with a whole lot packed into a small but pretty dense package. Offering a number of game modes, a variety of weapons, and a slew of monsters, Japanese developer Souvenir Circ (and localisation developer Nyu Media) really bring quite a bit to the table without being overwhelming or overly involved.
I spent most of my playing time in the game’s brief but rewarding Story Mode, which follows a trial of sorts between two main characters. The player begins the story in the role of Lucrezia Visconti, a top-performing student with high natural aptitudes but little regard for propriety or tradition. Opposite Lucrezia’s flippant and suggestive nature is Francesca Storano, the so-called ‘Moonlight Sword Princess’ with a strong devotion to honour and justice. The story hints at a youth spent together, but we’re not given much of a glimpse outside of some dialogue between the competitors as their trial begins.
Players are given a wide array of attacks, orchestrated mostly by a selection of weapons unlocked through Croixleur Sigma‘s Story Mode. Up to four weapons, chosen at the beginning of play, dictate the available special attacks, which rely on the player’s quickly-regenerating MP pool to use. Standard attacks, dash, and jump maneuvers round out the basic controls, with ultra-powerful ‘invincible attacks’ topping it off and offering a valuable resource in battling the game’s numerous and powerful boss monsters.
Not content to leave a brief (and, frankly, somewhat flat) story as the only outlet, Croixleur Sigma also offers Survival, Score Attack, and a brutal Challenge mode that offers a large spread of different challenges to attempt. I dipped in to each of these, and while the core gameplay is the same, the mix of victory conditions offers quite a bit of variety and some seriously difficult achievements to chase after. From the Survival Mode’s build into nigh-insurmountable odds to the Challenge Mode’s slew of quirky and demanding trials, there’s a lot to do – even where there’s not a lot of time to do it.
At the end of the day, Croixleur Sigma presents a hard call for me as a reviewer. There’s not an awful lot to how the game is played, even accounting for the broad objectives offered up by various game modes, and it does get pretty repetitive as a result. However, it’s fun all the same; even though the story takes a maximum of 15 minutes of actual play time (the limit given for level completion), it’s still an engaging experience and there’s enough going on to keep it interesting enough to finish. I wish there was more detail to that side of it, but games are ultimately about having fun and doing something that presents intriguing obstacles, entertaining play, and worthwhile distractions – and, all things considered, Croixleur Sigma meets those requirements more often than not.
[+Fast-paced, frantic gameplay] [+Great, detailed visuals] [+Variety of interesting modes and challenges] [-Repetitive play] [-Extremely short and bare-bones story]