The current trends tend to shift to the nostalgia of a time period that our current adult generation can relate to. So, you see things like Stranger Things, X-Files, Twin Peaks and Black Mirror on TV which lean into our memories easily. That love of the past brings us to Devolver Digital’s coming of age supernatural themed Crossing Souls.
Crossing Souls developed by Fourattic and published by Devolver Digital is a complete experience that brings you back to the booming 1980’s. A time where kids were starting to dive deeper into sci-fi and technology than before but still relied on their bicycles to get them from adventure to adventure. Very similar to The Goonies, which was an obvious inspiration for the title as well as classics like Stand By Me, a group of kids find a mysterious stone and find out it gives them unimaginable power to see between their dimension and the spirit world. Now, I refuse to spoil things that happen early on in the title that would make this a necessary evil for this group of young kids — but let’s just say, Fourattic pulled no punches with this story getting you right in the gut.
Each character has a different skillset and an easy bumper-touch to your controller will shuffle you through the characters to help you take down whatever is coming for you and the group. Each character has their own health bar and it’s handled very similar to a party in an RPG game where, if one character is going down, the others have to cover the spread and get the enemies beaten without you. This is important because the writing has such emphasis on its story versus preparing you for gameplay that complex tutorials would take you from the world and remind you far too often that this is a game.
Spliced in-between the gameplay are small animated vignettes that, with the addition of tracking fuzz and VCR age, give you the impression you’re watching some old tapes of those cheesy yet endearing 80’s cartoons. With a Willy Beamish sensibility to the style and innocence, Crossing Souls knows it is targeting those people who think retro gaming is still where we began and so it should be cherished and honored even today. The game takes jabs at silly conventions of 80’s pop culture on a fairly regular basis but doesn’t play the jokes so hard as to make them gags. The music is everything you’d want and more from a game about a group of kids getting up to some shenanigans in the era of electronic music, ballads and dreamy vocals over synth-pop machines. It knows why you’re there and it does everything in its power to transport you so long as that game’s loaded and being played. Isn’t that what gaming is about? Getting yourself teleported to a time where your friends stayed out until the streetlights came on and your adventures were as broad as your imagination let them be.
Those were the good old days, right?
You can pick up Crossing Souls on PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Linux and PC via Steam and GOG. Oh, and do me a favor — if Quincy Queen gives you any trouble — don’t hate him too much for it. Afterall, he’s modeled after one of the baddest dudes to ever wear purple and eyeliner at the same time.