Posted on April 14, 2013 AT 04:56pm
If I had to sum up Croixleur as quickly as possible, I’d have to call it a ‘Hack ‘n slash arena battle arcade action style game, with a Japanese twist’. However, once you sit to play, one quickly realizes that there’s a lot more to it than that. Croixleur is a PC game created by Souvenir Circ and published stateside by Nyu Media. Its got anime art styling, a nice selection of weapons with awesome special abilities, very little plot, and lots of squishy enemies for you to make explode into coins.
The game’s story is a throwaway one, but I’ll share it with you anyhow, straight from Nyu’s website:
Ilance: a land ruled over by a brave and wise Queen, and in which two factions, the Aristocrats and the Knights, have for generations vied for power.
Tonight, Lucrezia Visconti, top student of the Aristocrat academy Besier, will do battle in ‘the Adjuvant Trial’. This ritual, which has been held since the founding of the nation, decides which faction will hold military and political authority, and protect the Queen, the living symbol of the realm. Competing against her in the trial is top student of the Knight academy Scelta and former childhood friend, Francesca Storaro.
The fate of the nation is at stake as these two girls undergo a trial in which there can be only one victor.
Francesca badmouthing her only competition
From start to finish, the plot doesn’t get much deeper than that. I would’ve liked to have seen a little more story, but let’s be honest, we’re here to ascend the tower and beat up monsters. LOTS of monsters. Fortunately, Croixleur has them, in three different modes, no less. Story mode has you fighting your way through the Adjuvant Trial, Time Attack gives you three minutes to do your worst, and Survival Mode throws enemies at you until you either give up or die.
Even though it has a simplistic sound to it, the real meat is in collecting the ten various weapons throughout the game and finding your ‘perfect loadout.’ Each weapon has a different special attack and you can select any combination of four to combat the trials ahead. It may seem as simple as just beating up tons of enemies to win, but it’s all in how fast it gets done!
When you play Story Mode, you are given fifteen minutes to complete your climb to the top of the tower. You can get time bonuses if you complete a floor quickly and efficiently, giving you a little bit longer that. You’ll need every second of it if you don’t have a technique sorted out. This is the kind of game that will be forever popular with those players obsessed with speed runs. Believe me when I say that the faster you climb the tower, the better the end results will be.
Lucrezia opens her inaugural can of whoopass on the first level of the tower
As you play, you’ll notice that the difficulty ramps up rapidly and that the once squishy monsters are now very likely the ones to do the squishing. The learning curve is steep at best; unforgiving at worst. The fifteen minute time limit isn’t your friend, health drops are rare, and you only get one life. If you die, it’s game over. There are no continues, no bonus lives, no jarfuls of auto-healing fairies. In other words: Be prepared to see the first handful of tower levels more times than you can count. If you’re the kind of player who throws controllers or quits at the first sign of frustration, Croixleur is probably not your kind of game.
In addition to the ever-so-rare health drops, coins will often cover nearly every inch of the floor as you dispatch your enemies. Collect a hundred coins to get one use of a soul-crushingly powerful heavy attack. The coins don’t stay forever, so the race against the clock is compounded with an additional race to gather all the goodies tout suite. Combine that with the weapon strategies that are necessary to finish quickly, and you’ve got a frenetically paced game which reels you in for a ride that’s over before you know it.
As you might guess, this is a single player only affair, but I think the gameplay style would lend itself well to an online co-op mode. The only online features in Croixleur are the leaderboards, which is a pretty standard component for most games, these days. Perhaps if Souvenir Circ makes a sequel or similar game, co-op will be on the menu.
Instead of one player and a semi-meh AI, imagine you and a friend kicking butt as Lucrezia and Francesca together!
Summary: Croixleur is a solid title that’s fun for those that enjoy beating down countless enemies as quickly as physically possible. The unique weapon skills bring in fun special abilities that will have every player making their way up the tower a completely different way. If you’re looking for a chaotic beat ‘em up with battle strategy and a wisp of anime cuteness, I highly recommend this title to you. At only $4.99, it’s definitely worth the price of admission if you’re looking for a quick arena battle fix.
Pros: Varied weapon skills and enemies keep things fresh. Using actual strategy with weapon loadouts allow you to create your own playstyle. Chaotic battlefields are always welcome!
Cons: Story Mode is very short, yet ironically, only having a single life will lead to many players abandoning the game after their nth replay of the tower’s lower levels.
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