I passed by the booth for Crossing Souls a half dozen times during the day before our scheduled appointment to see the game. The game’s publisher Devolver outdid themselves putting together a play space to match the game’s aesthetic. The screens were housed in frames to make them look like CRT televisions. Cassette tapes and Nintendo Entertainment systems were stashed in shelving units. There was even a Burt Reynolds (or Tom Selleck?) throw pillow for good measure.
I happily flopped down into a bean bag chair after a quick rundown by some of the developers at Fourattic. The game is lovingly crafted to pay tribute to 80s classics like Goonies & Stand By Me. With the synth-pop soundtrack and retro cartoon cut scenes, I was instantly reminded of another place and time.
Crossing Souls is an action-adventure game set in the summer of 1986, where a group of young friends try to make sense of the strange events happening in their sleepy town. You’ll quickly discover the supernatural elements in the game, like the mystical item that lets you see the spirits of those who’ve previously inhabited the space around you. Whatever this item is, powerful people with bad intentions are hellbent on finding it.
The demo starts out in the home of one of the main characters. The setting is filled with movie posters, VHS tapes, and teased hair. Walking through the house shows how much attention to detail there is. Each new area is littered with items to interact with.
Crossing Souls is story driven, but not just with dialogue. There are loads of items to interact with and collect, including Easter eggs and passing references to older influences. You’ll even find quick nods to more recent games and movies (like the Hyper Light Drifter arcade game in the trailer).
Each party member is important and has unique abilities that aid in solving puzzles and navigating the game world. While the guys at Fourattic told me the party isn’t always together, you won’t be able to get away with sticking to a single character for the entire game.
You can swap between the group members on the fly, which was helpful in the couple of fights shown off in the demo. Some of the characters have very powerful melee attacks but run out of energy quickly. Others can hit enemies from a distance but take longer to whittle down the opponent’s health.
Additionally, the townsfolk will offer up different dialogue depending on which character is active.
By the time I was done, my face was sore from the big cheesy grin I’d maintained while playing the demo. Fourattic wants to make a game that sticks with long after you finish it. Considering how the short playthrough at PAX felt, I’m curiously optimistic.
Crossing Souls is scheduled to release later this Spring for PC, Mac, Linux & PS4.