13AM Games had great success with their multiplayer hit Runbow and now, they've made a single player 2D platforming adventure.
Double Cross stars an interdimensional agent named Zahra who's on a mission to investigate who attacked her agency's headquarters. Considering it's her job to maintain stability across dimensions, existence itself will be in grave danger if she doesn't stop the mysterious attacker before they destroy the RIFT agency once and for all. I'll get to the actual gameplay in a bit but I figured now would be a good time to bring up the fact that the campaign is surprisingly narrative-heavy with tons of dialogue scenes. You have the ability to show certain objects to characters and between doing that and merely communicating with everyone, you'll slowly piece together clues as you fill out more information about characters, events, and key items. This may sound cool but it's all very straightforward so there's never a need to critically think like a detective. As a result, the parts between stages can feel drawn out and full of fluff.
Thankfully, the 2D platforming is executed very well. You basically play through about a dozen lengthy stages while mastering new mechanics that constantly get thrown into the mix. The core gameplay involves running, jumping, and attacking. However, the coolest aspect of Double Cross is that you get to use a Proton Slinger that can grab onto certain points as well as retrieve and throw various items. This tool allows you to soar through segments while chaining together grapple points and grab grenades and such only to throw them back at your enemies. When you factor in mechanics such as sticky and bouncy surfaces, conveyor belts, balloons that you can ride, and more; you're looking at one diverse gameplay formula that offers plenty of unique and satisfying platforming situations.
Although the platforming is solid and can be a ton of fun, the combat in Double Cross definitely leaves a lot to be desired. It's one of those games where it doesn't feel like your attacks are actually connecting as your character seems to just punch and kick the air and if an enemy happens to be in the way, its health depletes. The combat is as unchallenging as it is disconnected, too. You eventually learn new moves as you level up and you can easily deploy these moves to take advantage of the often predictable foes to quickly dispatch them and move on to more interesting gameplay. Speaking of monotony, the stages themselves are rather unmemorable as there aren't many different environments and the ones that exist are much more stereotypical than creative. Even the city stages look boring.
On a positive note, the cast of characters is delightful complete with a fair share of silly chums that are fun to watch Zahra interact with. Another fantastic component of Double Cross is its implementation of collectibles and upgrades. Basically, each stage contains a bunch of super-hidden Upgradium crystals which levels Zahra up once you acquire certain thresholds. Levelling up grants you permanent passive abilities and boosts as well as ones that you can equip but you're only limited to a few slots so you have to choose wisely. Overall, I found this upgrade system to add a great deal of replay value because Upgradium can be very tricky to find yet the rewards for doing so are well worth the effort. I played through one stage about 5 times before I finally found all of its delicious Upgradium.
Double Cross features superb and challenging 2D platforming with an awesome upgrade system that relies on finding collectibles. That being said, its combat is quite tedious and uninteresting which makes gameplay sometimes feel like a chore.
- + Satisfying platforming with loads of mechanics that help mix things up
- + Charming cast of goofy characters
- + Rewarding collectibles and upgrades
- - Too much fluff between stages
- - Unengaging and generic combat
- - Stage designs aren't very memorable