You may have heard of developer 13AM Games from their previous work on the brightly coloured, platforming party title called Runbow. I certainly remember their work fondly, so when Double Cross appeared in my inbox for review I was excited to see what they’d been up to.
The developer’s new game: Double Cross, is an interesting blend of Platforming and Combat. A game in which you play as an interdimensional agent called Zahra Sinclair, tasked with keeping order across the multiverse. This whimsical idea is reflected and held up well in both the art style and the dialogue. Within the first hour of gameplay, you’ll find yourself not only well acclimated to the humorous world and characters but also unleashed upon a variety of different environments and levels to explore.
One thing that particularly caught my attention was the investigation mechanic. To put it simply, when finding clues on a mission, you take them back to base and consult your team of experts who will helpfully point you in the right direction, opening up new missions and levels to explore. Similarly, you can find items on missions that don’t have any immediate use, but through talking to NPCs back at the home base you can use them to solve side quests and develop upgrades for yourself, a nice change to the usual way games dish out their upgrades that requires a bit more player input.
Another unique mechanic I enjoyed was the “Slinging” mechanic. By holding down ZR you can target certain parts of the environment and sling toward them to gain air and momentum. It was something that whilst simple, was definitely fun to perform. I particularly enjoyed the art style for Double Cross as it evoked a very Mega Man vibe, with cutesy colourful characters, big eyes and exaggerated limbs. You can definitely see the care and attention put into their design.
However, whilst I enjoyed much of the game’s mechanics, design choices and story devices, I found the general gameplay to be somewhat mediocre, with very basic and repetitive combat that involves little more than button mashing and some bland level designs. Adding to the frustration, I found the controls to be very floaty at first, but this issue somewhat went away after 30 minutes or so of gameplay.
The biggest critique I have of Double Cross definitely lies in its gameplay. Every other aspect feels well thought out and somewhat unique, but unfortunately, I found exploring the levels for collectables and navigating the various platforming challenges to be a slog. Whilst at times I enjoyed bits and pieces, there was just too much in the way of empty looking screens with repetition being the biggest issue. Combat consisted of nothing more than mashing the same two buttons, the enemy designs were lacking in variety and ultimately the experience wasn’t something to write home about.
That being said, if you’re the kind of gamer who enjoyed other platforming titles like Shovel Knight, Mega Man or Super Mario Bros, there’s definitely some enjoyment to be found here, but depending on your tolerance and just how much you enjoy these kinds of games, your mileage will vary. As I say, Double Cross offers great visual design and world-building, but the gameplay ultimately fails to follow through.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*