title: "CrossCode" type: Game date: 2020-08-08 rating: 10 genre: ['JRPG'] year: 2018 status: Finished

Okay, the game has flaws.

It’s overtuned and overstuffed; dungeons should be half the length, a third of the quests should be removed, and the challenge is clearly calibrated for folks who have spent three years on the engine. (I call this “early access syndrome” — releasing to passionate beta users both gives you the privilege of adding a bunch of new content because it’s easy and you don’t have the time pressure, plus it means you’re building content for experienced players rather than novices.)

The middle third of the game (everything surrounding Gaia’s Garden, basically) is rough and frustrating and caused me to quit the game once and put it down a second time.

But, man. The first fifteen hours of this game is the most pleasant I’ve had in a game maybe ever. It hits all of my nostalgia points — the faux MMO nature reminds me of MapleStory, the characters and writing is warm and charming, and the core gameplay is just so goddamn fun. I love the platforming; I love the trading and progression; I love the grinding on hedgehags.

This isn’t a perfect game but I can’t remember one that has highs quite as high as CrossCode.

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