By Steve Baltimore / March 2nd, 2016
|Release Date||January 19th, 2016|
|Genre||Beat em up|
|Platform||PS4, Vita (coming soon)|
Croixleur Sigma is a classic style hack ‘n slash game with a combat style similar to Devil May Cry or Bayonetta. It has been a while since I enjoyed a game of this type, so when I saw it was coming out on the PS4 with two additional characters and other goodies, I jumped on the chance to check it out. Did I find a well-made hack ‘n slash with some cute characters or another less-than-stellar indie title? Let’s find out!
The story is very basic. The kingdom of Irance is ruled a by a great Queen that is steeped in tradition. There are two major factions in this land, the Aristocrats and the Knights, and for years, they have held all the power and influence over this nation. The time has come again for the Adjuvant Trail to decide which faction will have the most political and military influence. The winning faction will be tasked with protecting the beloved queen. Lucrezia and Francesca are childhood friends each from different factions. They will have to set this aside, for on this night there can be only one winner.
While the story is very basic, some of the character interactions in story mode are quite entertaining. The addition of the two new girls, Katerina and Sara, helped this version of the game out quite a bit in this department. Though honestly, this title focuses more on the gameplay than the story, so the shortcomings in this area are pretty forgivable in the end.
Graphically things look pretty solid. The character models are bright, colorful, and done in a very cute anime style. The enemy models are nice. Some of them will remind you of Heartless from Kingdom Hearts or basic flying bats. However there’s not a lot of them to speak of, there are a few basic enemy types and then some color variations. While this is pretty standard for a game like this, a little variety would have been welcome. The environments are nothing special either, but they get the job done for an arena style game like this. In the end, even though the graphics don’t reinvent the wheel, there’s nothing really broken or out of place about them either.
In the sound department, this one is pretty solid. The dungeon themes are catchy and get you ready for some serious combat. The characters are all voiced in Japanese, and the VA does a pretty good job of bringing these characters to life. The sound effects are done very nicely as well, from the bursting of enemies you dispatch to the crackle of lighting from your special attacks. Everything fits nicely and adds to overall experience of the game.
The gameplay is where this title really shines. While it will appear to be a simple hack ‘n slash at first glance, there is a lot of depth here. While you do have a basic hack attack, as you progress through the story mode, you will unlock new weapons for the gals to use, and each one has about 10 swords to unlock. These weapons will allow you to perform a variety of special attacks. Some of these may be straightforward dashes, jumping attacks, ground pounds, and many more. You will be able to equip up to four of these swords at a time, and it is a blast to experiment and see which combinations of special moves chain together the best. I like a big, rising slash followed by a ground pound personally; it clears the air and ground nicely.
In addition to these moves, each gal has a Secret Tech at their disposal. These room-clearing moves can only be performed if your Tech gauge, which is located beside your life bar at the bottom right of the screen, has been filled. You can stock a few of these moves for later when things get really tough. There are times when there will be so many enemies on the screen that you will be overwhelmed and surrounded. If you don’t have a Secret Tech stocked, fear not. You can always use a Mana Burst by tapping R1 and L1. This will deplete you MP gauge momentarily, but it will knock all the enemies back allowing you to escape your current situation. Another important thing to keep in mind about the combat is that when you dash you are invincible for a short time. You can avoid a lot of hits this way and tame some of the bigger monsters much easier by using it effectively. To show just how hectic combat can become, here is a short video of me playing survival mode.
Speaking of modes, in addition to Story Mode, which gives you 15 minutes to complete the tower, you will need to do this faster to get the true story endings. However, there are several other gameplay modes here to choose from which include Score Attack, Survival, Challenge, and Dungeon Mode. Score Attack and Survival are exactly what you would expect: get the best score, and try to stay alive as long as possible. Challenge Mode will present you with certain conditions to complete each floor, and Dungeon Mode is a 50-floor run in which your weapons can break. You will be given a random weapon if all your currently equipped ones are broken. You will also run into random characters and bosses in this mode.
Another new addition to the PlayStation 4 version of the game is the shop. As you defeat monsters in the various modes, they will drop gold and silver coins. You can spend these in the shop to purchase accessories for the ladies. These can range from cat paw shoes to bunny ears and much more. Not only will these make them look even more adorable, it will also provide them with various buffs. These can include longer invincibility time, better mana burst or a speed boost.
I really enjoyed my time with Croixleur Sigma. While it may not have the deepest story, it has really great combat, plenty of modes to play around in, and some fun unlockable accessories to play around with. One major drawback to this one is the lack of online co-op play. It would be a blast to climb the tower with a friend instead of the CPU. My internet connection’s upload speed is not fast enough for me to check out Share-Play, but this could be a workaround for this. At the end of the day, if you’re a fan of hack ‘n slash games and love arcade action, you really cannot go wrong here with the $14.99 price tag.
Game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Croixleur SigmaHack 'N' SlashIndiemoePlayism