Action platformers are on the rise and have been for some time. Due to this, it is becoming increasingly difficult for new titles looking to find a place among the greats to really stand out. Double Cross is 13AM games newest title and yet another action platformer taking up space on the ever-expanding Switch store.
The issue is Double Cross doesn’t really stand up with some of the other fantastic titles within the genre. Its platforming is too straight forward, it’s action segments are way too easy, and its story is just difficult to get through thanks to some cringe-worthy dialogue.
Double Cross lives in a universe where there are endless Earths, like a multiverse theory. Within this universe is an organization that policies every dimension to prevent unwanted crossovers and inter-dimensional conflict. This agency is known as R.I.F.T. or the Regulators of Inter-dimensional Frontiers and Technology.
The game places you in the shoes of Zahra, a top agent within the group and a conveniently talented detective. While she is finishing up a case with some tentacle monster, her facility/space station is attacked by some mysterious figure. You’re left to collect a few clues that could lead you to figure out who this villain is, and the game sets you free to find them in whatever order you see fit.
The story, for the most part, feels like something ripped from a cheesy cartoon. Obviously, this game chose to cater to the younger crowd (for multiple reasons), but what we are given is a corny, hard to read story that never really delivers any solid payoffs. Some dialogue moments are just painful to read, with one-liners between characters that would instantly get any comedian booed off stage.
Double Cross has some interesting ideas, but it never doubles down on any of them and the game ultimately suffers for it. The most note worthy traversal mechanic is the Proton Slinger. There are floating nodes throughout every level and you use this grapple hook to sling yourself onto out of reach platforms. The premise is great, but it’s never fully utilized. This mechanic could’ve been used to allow for SO much more verticality to Double Cross‘ levels and yet each area ends up being extremely linear and straight forward.
For a mechanic like the Proton Slinger to never truly be utilized like it should have is a shame. Granted there are some kind of tricky areas, but again it’s more left to right movement, and as a result, each level feels empty.
Another half-realized concept is when it comes to using the clues you find. Each clue has to go to a specific NPC to progress the story. However, there is no indication who that clue is supposed to go to and there are no consequences for giving them to the wrong NPC. This leads to the breaks in between levels to feel like a chore. You end up aimlessly running around your base of operations hoping that the next NPC you talk to will be the right match for your clue. When you do find them, you’re treated to some more grueling dialogue, and then you go off to find another clue.
Double Cross wants to fit in with the action platformer genre. For all intents and purposes, it does. Everything about the action and platforming though is just too easy. Levels take between 10-15 minutes to complete, and are generically straight forward. Enemies go down with minimal damage taken to you, and put up little to no fight. Traversal offers minor areas that involve thinking before you leap, but platforms are so close together that you end up over shooting your jumps, rather than barely making them.
There is the opportunity to upgrade Zahra, but I found her so overpowered to begin with that I ended up skipping that option entirely to avoid the game being even easier than it already was. Falling to your death starts you right back at the left side of the screen, so there isn’t any punishment for making a mistake. Losing all of your hearts simply starts you a little ways further back than that, but there are no consequences for under-performing. It leads to carelessly playing through the game instead of actually focusing on truly understanding the mechanics.
For the younger generation, that is just getting into the genre or video games in general, Double Cross is the perfect game for them. The platforming is easy enough to get through. The enemies go down without much of a fight, and the story is so childish and corny that any young mind will get a kick out of it.
If this is geared towards kids between 5 and 9 then Double Cross is a fantastic entry level title that will hopefully be a gateway for young, aspiring gamers. If this game is meant to be taken seriously and challenge titles like Celeste, Dead Cells, Sundered and the like, it completely misses it’s mark for not fully embracing the mechanics it attempts to introduce.