E3 2015: Hands-On with Crossing Souls

Crossing Souls - Logo

Inspired by classic 1980s movies like The Goonies and E.T., Fourattic Games set out to make a game that captures the tone of the 1980s and I think they nailed it.

Crossing Souls is about a group of misfit kids in the summer of 1986 that come across a dead body and a magical stone that changes their lives forever. This magical stone allows the children to switch between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Now with a powerful stone in their possession, these kids find themselves in the middle of something much bigger.

That’s the set-up for this top down action adventure game that oozes 80’s style. The game has all the vibrant colors and slick synths you’d expect from the 1980s and the enthusiasm of the team is clear. When asked about why the developers chose this art style, they basically said because they miss the time period and wanted to return to it somehow. Their love for the time period is clear as the game is filled with nods to various pop culture elements.

There are five kids and the player can switch between the five on the fly at any time and in some cases the player is required to switch to a specific character. An example of the character differences is one bigger kid who moves slower, but has strength to move heavy objects. Or there is a smaller character that moves quickly, and so on.

The demo started in a school and I had to make my way out while avoiding bullies who looked like a cross between Prince and Michael Jackson. The combat was pretty simplistic with just one button for combat because it was more about avoiding damage than doing damage. As you move around the world you will see little pink bubbles from time to time and the only way to interact with them is to use the stone and play as a ghost character or communicate with a ghost. When you do this it is to find secrets in the world or to gain information from the spirit world.

Eventually I made my way to one of the character’s home, which when I arrived looked like it was straight out of E.T. because the neighborhood was swarmed by government agents in quarantine suits. In this scenario the kids have to sneak into one of the houses to retrieve an item before the agents do. The agents in this section had no problem shooting the kids and you had to look for food to regain health. If a kid dies in the game you can continue until you find more health with the other characters and you will not see a “game over” screen unless all the kids are dead.

During my session we often got sidetracked by talk of the 1980’s movies and TV shows we loved or to listen to the killer soundtrack. I am fond of synth music and follow artists like College and Kavinsky and for Crossing Souls the team reached out to an artist named TimeCop1983 and it was a good thing because this soundtrack is really memorable from the tacks I heard in my 30 minute session.

And last, but not least, the highlight of the session outside of the music was the cutscenes for the game. We ended on a gorgeously animated cutscene that looked like a cartoon from 1986. The swagger that Crossing Souls has gave me a high and I could not stop raving about the soundtrack and art style during E3.

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