Some games get ported to modern consoles for no comprehensible reason. What the heck is Crossroad Crisis and what's it doing on my PlayStation 3? Well, it's actually a surprisingly fun little puzzler that's worth checking out.
I first covered Crossroad Crisis in my Top 10 Obscure PlayStation Puzzle Games last year so it was definitely a shocker when I saw it sitting in the new releases section on the PlayStation Store. Anyway, you play as a baby chick who's just trying to find his way home. Unfortunately, he fell from the sky into the middle of a strange body of water filled with sliding tile puzzles. So, it's your job to slide those tiles while guiding him to successive life preservers. It works a lot like Pipe Mania (AKA Pipe Dream) and is unexpectedly complex. Each stage requires a certain number of tiles to disappear before the goal emerges and to do so the chick needs to walk on at least two of the same colour in a row. As you play, you'll develop strategies such as making the chick hit a wall so he turns around, sliding pieces that the chick is currently on to drop him off on a completed path, and sliding multiple tiles at once. For such a simple looking game, there sure is a lot of depth and it's quite satisfying to boot!
Graphically, the soft colour palette mixes with the more vibrant tiles to make for some easy on the eyes gameplay that's never distracting. The subtle animations and visual effects help add additional flare and the onscreen information is clear as day. You only get to hear one song as you play, but it's catchy and playful which matches the nature of the game perfectly. To complete the audio, sound effects of tiles squeaking and the chick randomly chirping are quite lively and add even more frivolity to the presentation. In the end, you won't be blown away, but the sheer adorability of it all is more than enough to make you fall in love with Crossroad Crisis.
When it comes to content, Crossroad Crisis has about as much as the average arcade game. While playing by yourself, you have the option to work through only three stages on the beginner's course or take on the entire ten stage campaign. As you reach the halfway point, you'll find that this is no children's game since it gets impressively challenging. Tiles nearly fill the play area and the chick starts sporadically running fast. All of this in mind, you're also racing against the clock so no dilly-dallying! Thankfully, you can choose from three difficulty settings if you're not tough enough to find your way home. Upon completing the campaign, your high score will be saved and you'll witness one of the funniest endings in gaming history. I don't want to give it away but I'll just say that it's disturbing and makes Crossroad Crisis worth playing all by itself. Trust me; you'll be thankful that you read this review once you witness it for yourself.
A delightful inclusion comes in the form of a multiplayer mode where you can challenge a friend who controls a duck. Whoever makes it to their corresponding goal (or doesn't drown first) wins. It's a fun addition for a session of couch gaming with a friend, but you probably won't be playing it for hours at a time. That brings me to my next point; there really isn't much to do in Crossroad Crisis which is by far its biggest downside. Once you get good enough, you can finish the main campaign in around 15 minutes. Besides replaying it to try and beat your score and playing against a friend once in a while, there's virtually nothing else to do. Don't get me wrong, it's a ton of fun but the enjoyability factor doesn't last much longer than an actual sliding tile game.
Crossroad Crisis is a lovely little game for anyone who digs cute puzzlers (especially of the sliding tile and Pipe Mania variety). However, don't expect to dip your toes into this pond for too long since it tends to make you all pruney sooner than you'd expect.
- + Combines sliding tile and Pipe Mania puzzle gameplay in a fun and cohesive way
- + Colourful visuals and playful music
- + The ending is absolutely hilarious
- - Very little replay value due to an extremely limited amount of modes and content
- - Only one song plays during gameplay