Later this week, 13AM Games, the developer behind Wii U indie gem Runbow, will be releasing its next game: Double Cross. While Runbow was a multiplayer platformer centered around colors, Double Cross goes for a somewhat more standard and story-driven approach. The game follows Zahra, an agent for inter-dimensional organization R.I.F.T. as she makes her way across several different worlds while solving cases and attempting to find out which agent betrayed R.I.F.T.
While you can expect a full review of the game from DualShockers later this week, I can give you a glimpse as to what some of Double Cross’ levels have to offer. Even though I wouldn’t consider these levels anything standout or spectacular, the opening stage of Double Cross as well as the early levels within the dimension of Gootopia offer an interesting glimpse of what 13AM Games’ latest title can offer platforming fans.
The game begins with Zahra returning from a successful mission. This post-mission celebration gives players the time to familiarize themselves with R.I.F.T.’s headquarters in the extraverse, which serves as a hub throughout the rest of Double Cross, and complete a simple tutorial in the base’s gym. Unfortunately, Zahra’s time to relax is cut short when a mysterious cloaked figure eventually deemed Suspect X attacks their headquarters. In a race to stop them, the first level of Double Cross beings.
This first level lets players see the inner workings of R.I.F.T.’s headquarters, and also allows players to use several of the game’s tools in action for the first time. The proton sling, which acts as a hookshot of sorts, is the main hook (pun intended) of Double Cross’ gameplay. While it isn’t a groundbreaking addition, it does add some enjoyable high tension moments to this first level. At the same time, Zahra can dodge roll through lasers and even fight enemies.
Double Cross’ combat system feels quite rudimentary but it, fortunately, wasn’t required to progress in any of the level’s that I played for this preview. Still, thanks to the proceeding tutorial, this first level is quite simple and does a good job of letting players know what they can expect from Double Cross. This attack ends up kickstarting a full-scale investigation by Zahra, who must travel to several worlds in order the solve the case of who attacked R.I.F.T. headquarters.
As I’ve mentioned before, the levels within Double Cross can be accessed in any order. which bolsters the game’s replayability. That being said, Gootopia is the first dimension that the portal directs you to, so the developers are definitely encouraging players to go here first. That seems like it was the right choice too, as the first two Gootopia stages were fairly easy, but still stood out with their own gimmicks while easing players into Double Cross.
The first level, titled Slimy Mire, is the most basic of the Gootopia stages. Pictured below, it mostly takes place in an outdoor goo-filled swamp, though players will be going into a few SHPERE factories as they make their way through the level. The level is fairly basic, with the aptly named “gooblins” (enemy goo blobs) scattered throughout. Players will also have to deal with orange goo, which can be pushed through, albeit at a slower pace, and green goo, which kills on impact.
The most interesting parts of the stage have players try to dodge green goo by not staying on sinking platforms, killing enemies and using the proton sling at the right time, and jumping to floating patches of orange goo. Other than those sections though, Slimy Mire didn’t really challenge me. I got the most enjoyment when I went out of my way to collect Upgradium, the hidden collectibles that contribute to leveling up Zahra went found.
With each level up, Zahra gains both new permanent and customizable abilities; hopefully, Double Cross’ end game should make for a lot of fun once she’s fully powered up. As for the Gootopia levels, next comes Goo Grotto which takes place inside a cave littered with SPHERE labs. It’s a bit more visually dull than Slimy Mire, but introduces a more interesting level gimmick with its different kinds of goo. Blue goo lets players bounce higher, while red goo allows Zahra to climb on walls an ceilings.
Double Cross does take advantage of these different types of goo, which when coupled with the previously mentioned goo colors creates some really interesting physics-based platforming scenarios, especially when players can control where the goo is placed. Out of the three levels covered in this preview, Goo Grotto was certainly my favorite one. While it may have been a bit visually dull, it did contain the most exciting platforming that highlights 13AM’s strengths.
Gootopia ultimately consists of four levels, but this is just a taste of what the earlier levels within it have to offer. While these levels don’t feature any particularly engrossing unique hooks, which leaves me worried about Double Cross in the long run, they were designed tightly, featured hidden upgradium to encourage replayability, are will definitely be accessible to new players.
Double Cross from 13AM Games will launch for Nintendo Switch and PC on January 10 for $19.99. You can expect a full review on the game from DualShockers on launch day.
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