Review: surprise hit now also for consoles

It took almost two years, but now it's finally done: The surprise hit Crosscode was released on PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, so far the huge action role-playing game was only available for the PC. We took another look at the motivating first work by the German team Radical Fish and expanded our original test, which you can find later in this article, with new information.

Basically you can expect the same game on all consoles as on the PC, no differences can be seen graphically. However, each console version was given an individual quest, according to the developer with his own small dungeon and boss fight. (PC players also get their own variant of the quest as a free update.) In addition, the game has been improved with several updates since its first release, for example, an options menu was added, in which the level of difficulty for battles and puzzles can be individually adjusted. Especially in the later dungeons, where you have to solve many puzzles in very tight time windows, the customizable level of difficulty is a blessing.

Performance, control and technology on the switch







The same huge action RPG awaits you on consoles as on the PC. Only the switch version occasionally struggles with weaker performance.



The same huge action RPG awaits you on consoles as on the PC. Only the switch version occasionally struggles with weaker performance.

Source: PC Games




Technically, the game on PS4 and Xbox One is in good shape, we couldn't make out any differences from the PC version. On the other hand, the noticeably weaker performance is noticeable on the switch. In our roughly 20 hours of play with the switch version, crosscode was never unplayable, but especially in the larger cities, in which many NPCs bustle, the frame rate dropped noticeably, which made scrolling a bit messy. Once there was also a slowdown in a fight, which is bearable in terms of playing time.

The short stagnation is more annoying as soon as you want to open certain menus such as inventory, talent tree or quest overview; here the other versions react much faster, on the switch you have to live with a little delay. There would still be a patch. Sound bugs often occur when we take the Switch out of sleep and switch directly to the current game. However, it is usually enough to simply open the game menu to get the sound in order. The switch port is still a little dirty here and there, but the problems are not so serious that one should therefore advise against buying them, on the contrary: after a while, the technical carvers hardly bothered us and we had our share the switch version as much fun as with the other versions.

The pretty pixel look of Crosscode also comes into its own in mobile mode, and all texts remain very legible. However, since you trigger the most important actions (melee attacks, dodging and throwing balls) with the shoulder buttons, while at the same time determining the direction of fire with the right analog stick, playing in mobile mode can become a bit uncomfortable in the long run. Our recommendation: If you have big hands, you should better use the Joycon holder or a gamepad, in our experience it is more comfortable.

Prices, versions and editions

Crosscode is for 20 euros Download version available. On August 28, 2020, a boxed version for Switch and PS4 will also be released Pre-order for 30 euros can. In addition, the game also appears as a Steelbook and Collector's Edition, there is all information about content, costs and shipping here under this link.

You can find our ratings for the console versions at the end of this article.

From here you can read our original test from October 12th, 2018

You've probably never heard of Radical Fish Games, have you? No wonder! The small team from Saarbrücken was almost unknown until now. And that is exactly what is about to change soon: with crosscode (buy now for 29.23 €) the studio delivers its first work – after seven years of development, half of it in early access! And the long effort was worth it: You can expect a lovingly pixelated action adventure with a huge world, role-playing elements, tons of tricky puzzles and a crazy story! In the test for Crosscode, we clarify why the action RPG captivated us until the end, despite some blunders.

01:34
Crosscode: The action RPG with MMO story in the release trailer

Game in game – welcome to Crossworlds!

Crosscode lets you play the young Lea, more precisely: her avatar. Because Lea is in Crossworlds – a popular MMOG in the far future, in which the players manifest themselves as physical images to experience adventures together. But Lea has to learn quickly that something is going wrong in this online playground, because when she logs in she not only lost her voice, but also her memories. So she sets out to explore the vastness of Crossworlds and find out what happened to her. The beginning of an adventure that should keep you busy for a good 40 hours! And if you really want to discover everything, recover every treasure, solve every quest, you can easily add 20 hours to it.






Crosscode relies on a mix of brisk battles and crisp puzzles, all packaged in a chic 16-bit look.



Brisk battles, a lot to discover and, above all, crunchy puzzles take up a lot of the time.

Source: PC Games




Chic retro style pays homage to the 16-bit era







Crosscode tells a story that takes place in a futuristic MMOG of the distant future.



Game in the game: Lea's companions are also people from "Real Life" who have logged into Crossworlds.

Source: PC Games




With its lovingly pixelated retro backdrop, Crosscode awakens wonderful memories of 16-bit classics like Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana or Terranigma. But a more modern action adventure slumbers under the chic pixel facade: With Lea you explore astonishingly extensive regions that consist of many hand-made level sections, among other things you are traveling in jungles, autumn forests, snowy mountains, cities and deserts. In order to underline the illusion of an MMO, you always meet other "players" in the levels who dash through the area or contribute short dialogues. On her forays, Lea is also supported by two AI companions who follow her fully automatically and are involved in battles reliably.






The altitude levels are sometimes difficult to see due to the rigid perspective.



Especially in the pixelated cities, the height differences are sometimes difficult to see due to the rigid perspective.

Source: PC Games




Nice: These companions are closely linked to the story and comment humorous on the happenings, for example if they complain about the level design of a dungeon or that they still have something to do in "Real Life" and will therefore soon have to log out of the MMOG. Despite the cheerful mood, Crosscode also has serious and touching moments, especially in the second half of the game, when the story surprises with a few successful twists and turns. The story is strictly linear, but shortly before the end you can make a momentous decision that greatly influences the finale.

Exploration with obstacles

While exploring the game world, Lea meets countless gossipy NPCs who carry out varied quests. From treasure hunts and bounty hunts to races, search for clues and even a short tower defense excursion, you get a lot! But there is more to do: You can march straight from one quest goal to the next, but whoever decides to stray from the path and explore the levels will be rewarded with tons of hidden treasure chests. It often contains food that gives Lea important buffs, but also rare weapons, helmets, shoes and armor that she equips in the neatly designed inventory.






Treasure chests are easy to spot. Finding the way there is the challenge!



Difficult to miss: a treasure chest is deposited on this hill. But how do you get there?

Source: PC Games




Often you will also find valuable materials that Lea exchanges for particularly high-quality equipment at retailers in cities. The way to the treasures is always well hidden: each level is structured like a puzzle and offers several levels that Lea can only climb through detours. To do this, she very often has to jump over platforms and be careful not to fall – not an easy task! Because of the rigid top view, it is often difficult to correctly estimate the height of a platform. The effect: Lea often ends up accidentally in the abyss.

Action RPG-style fights







The fast-paced combat system is quickly understood.



The fights are brisk and uncomplicated, even if Lea's basic attacks never really do not change. Weapons only affect character stats!

Source: PC Games




In the game world there are varied opponents who typically attack MMO only when we open the battle. Lea defends herself with simple melee combos, at a distance she also shoots balls, which we precisely direct to the opponent using the mouse or analog stick. During the course of the game, Lea not only learns new striking techniques, but also four types of element magic, which she can switch between at any time to take advantage of weaknesses in the opponents and unleash different special attacks. There are also fast evasive movements, dash attacks and active blocking – all in all, the combat system is not particularly deep, but together with the varied enemies, the Hack & Slay battles are still fun to the end. This also applies to the mostly well-designed boss opponents who always require a certain tactic – this is fair and successful.






The special attacks are visually powerful.



At high expansion levels, Lea can use powerfully staged special attacks like this ice vortex for every element, which put entire enemy groups out of the way.

Source: PC Games




For defeated enemies and solved quests, there are experience points with which Lea rises in level and can then stock up on five branched talent trees with new bonuses and special attacks. Even in the endgame after more than 60 hours there is still useful stuff to unlock and to farm particularly strong equipment that motivates!

Puzzles make gray cells glow

In addition to exploring and fighting, crunchy environmental puzzles are Crosscode's most important pillar of fun. Puzzle haters are warned: you will only spend many hours throwing balls at remote counters, switching off barriers or moving boxes! The four elements are also used here: with air, fire, ice and lightning magic, you charge coils and magnets, set teleporters in motion, melt ice columns out of the way or let water bubbles evaporate into steam, which in turn drives wind turbines. Especially in the extensive dungeons that you visit in the course of the game, you have to prepare yourself for countless brains, which not only require your mind, but also your skill: Often you have to act under time pressure, change the elements at lightning speed and hit balls on walls with pinpoint accuracy leave – if you dawdle here for just a second, you have to start all over again.






Crosscode is full to the brim with demanding head nuts.



Especially in the overlong dungeons, there are some tricky puzzles in which you not only have to understand the riddle, but also have to react quickly and with pinpoint accuracy.

Source: PC Games




Although all puzzles can be created, clever and logical, the developers sometimes overdo it when it comes to their demands: Again and again we come across puzzles that we only crack after dozens of attempts, even though we had already understood the principle a long time ago. And because the dungeons are simply too big and burst with riddles, the motivation gets a damper again and again. Patience and a little tolerance for frustration are just as important as skill and a lot of lard.






All Crosscode menus are well thought out and tidy.



In the tidy inventory we put Lea numerous pieces of equipment.

Source: PC Games




Crosscode is completely in German and costs only 20 euros. Radical Fish is already working on additional free content for the game, so in the future some quest lines will be completed and a new game plus mode will be added. DLCs ​​are also not excluded. Crosscode is currently only available for PC, a PS4 implementation has been announced for 2019. It is not yet clear whether Crosscode will also appear for Xbox One and Switch. There is on Steam a free demo. In addition, one can on the official website Web demo directly in the browser try out.

My opinion

"Tricky, huge and incredibly charming – Crosscode is a strong first work!"

Congratulations to Saarbrücken – with Crosscode, Radical Fish Games made a great debut that captivated me for almost 70 hours! The game idea is charming, the retro style is great and the story also motivated me amazingly after a somewhat tough start. With its huge scope, tidy quests and well hidden treasures, Crosscode is not a lightweight in between. Especially genre beginners should think carefully about buying, because while you can master most fights with a little practice, many puzzles are anything but simple. Don't get me wrong: the puzzles are fair and logical! But often the solution also requires lightning-fast reactions and precise target assets – fun can sometimes turn into frustration, especially in the dungeons, which may be a little shorter for my taste. Even the difficult to assess altitude levels, which sometimes make jumping and exploring unnecessarily difficult, gnaw at the rating a bit. But if you can live with it, you have a huge, motivating adventure in front of you that not only skillfully plays with modern MMOG clichés, but also dignely bows to genre classics of the 16-bit era.

Lovingly designed 16-bit graphics style
Good story with lovely characters and nice dialogues
Straightforward, brisk combat system
Huge scope and many quests
Many collectable items and treasures
Tidy, practical menus
Mostly good boss design
Countless cleverly made puzzles
Five talent trees full of upgrades
Happy-fitting background music
Difficulty level can be easily adjusted
Some puzzles (at normal settings) move hard at the frustration limit
Dungeons are sometimes too long and extended
Only a piece of music in the fights annoys in the long run
Elevation levels sometimes difficult to see
Weapons and basic attacks remain basically the same until the end of the game
Switch version with poorer performance
Sluggish menus (Nintendo Switch only)

(*) We have marked affiliate links with an asterisk. We receive a small commission for a purchase via our link and can thus partially finance the free-of-charge website with this income. There are no costs for the user.