There are plenty of great games releasing this month, with the highly anticipated Ghost of Tsushima coming to PS4, Death Stranding getting a PC release, and Paper Mario: The Origami King coming to Switch.
But the game I am most anticipating this July is the console port of a 2D action-RPG called CrossCode, from developer Radical Fish Games, and if you are only looking to play one game this month, I would highly recommend it.
CrossCode tells the story of Lea, a young woman who has logged into an MMO known as CrossWorlds, and is unable to get out, and in the process has lost her memories and even her abilities to speak. This leads to all kinds of fun, and a pretty clever take on the whole silent protagonist trope.
From that initial premise, the narrative that drives the game forward goes to some really intriguing places over the 40 or so hours it will take you to complete it, and you can easily double that playtime if you want to see everything the game has to offer.
The game has a gorgeous 2D pixel art style that hearkens back to the glory days of the Super Nintendo, and the beautifully detailed animations, soundtrack, and presentation throughout are simply phenomenal. I get some big Stardew Valley energy from it, and that might just be because of its bright, indie aesthetic, but there are equal shades of Chrono Trigger thrown in for good measure.
In CrossCode, gameplay is king. Combat is action-oriented, deep but without becoming overwhelming. There is a fairly extensive set of skills to be unlocked, but they are drip-fed to you at a steady pace, so you are able to master the abilities you have before getting new ones.
And while there are climactic boss encounters to rival anything the Dark Souls series has to offer, the most difficult parts of CrossCode is its fiendish puzzles, which are incredibly satisfying to overcome. They require a deep understanding of gameplay mechanics and will be beloved by fans of Breath of the Wild’s more interactive conundrums.
As if that wasn’t already enough, the writing and humor is stellar throughout, with laugh out loud moments coming thick and fast. Anyone with even cursory knowledge of MMO culture will have an even greater appreciation for the games more subtle nods, and the charm and upbeat nature of CrossCode is its greatest strength.
Originally released on PC in 2018, CrossCode has garnered critical acclaim on that platform and an impressive amount of positive reviews on Steam. The game is set to release on PS4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch on July 9, and will hopefully get the kind of mainstream recognition it deserves.
I played through about half of CrossCode last year on PC with a controller, but couldn’t bring myself to finish it. Like Stardew Valley, at least for me, there was just something about CrossCode that just begs to be played on Switch. Whether its grinding levels, tidying up some quests, or desperately trying to overcome some nightmarish new puzzle, CrossCode is the kind of game that seems made for the system, and that’s where I intend to see things through.
Words and static images can’t don’t do the game justice, so check out the trailer below for yourself. Games of this caliber are few and far between, so do yourself a favor, don’t sleep on CrossCode.