by Murray Lewis
reviewed on PC
I'M SORRY, YOU'LL HAVE TO EXPLAIN THAT AGAIN
Where the game noticeably falls down is in its presentation. The game does offer a non-interactive tutorial, but it only demonstrates what each action does, while important gameplay mechanics are left entirely unexplained. I spent a good 20 minutes thinking my gamepad was malfunctioning before I worked out that some weapons can only be used while jumping. Your character and weapons also both seem to increase in level as you play, but I can't for the life of me work out why or what effect, if any, it has on gameplay.
The game also recommends that players use a gamepad, but the way it handles it is weird to say the least. The game prompts you to assign buttons for actions like 'Attack' and 'Dodge', but then always refers to the buttons in the menus as A, B, C, and D so you'll have to guess which is which. Worst of all, if you're playing with almost any modern gamepad, then you'll know that the buttons are most commonly labelled as A, B, X, and Y. If you assign the buttons clockwise as the game recommends, you end up with 'B' on the pad mapped to 'A' in-game (and so on), and following the prompts becomes a complete mess as you fumble with the controller.
The controller bindings were a problem with Croixleur and it's frankly baffling that nothing has been done to fix it in Sigma. There are so many small issues like this throughout the game, and they really do taint the overall impression. For a game that is otherwise excellently targeted at short bursts of play, a lot of that time will sadly be spent battling the interface and controls rather than the enemies.
GET ON WITH IT
As far as the story goes, there's very little depth here either. There's an interesting backstory about two factions, competing for the right to protect a Queen, but it's entirely irrelevant. The whole thing is farted out in one screen of text and then never really mentioned again except in a few lines of dialogue, which is uniformly terrible.
I wasn't expecting any sort of literary masterpiece from an independently developed action game, but Croixleur Sigma really does plumb new depths of uninspired and clichéd conversation. Perhaps one or two people might enjoy the recycled lines and pointlessly sexualised references to the two main characters bathing together as children, but everyone else would be better off just skipping it entirely.
For all its flaws, Croixleur Sigma does manage to neatly toe the line of 'easy to pick up, hard to master' – a balance which many games from much larger developers simply can't seem to manage. The variety available in weaponry and gameplay modes also means there's potentially some good replay value here, although anyone who isn't a fan of time attack gameplay will probably lose interest quite quickly, and owners of the original release may only find another hour or two of new gameplay here.
Bright and fun. Co-op mode. Quick to pick up and play.
Serious lack of depth. Confused controls. Plot may as well not exist.