The concept of an agency that deals with various intergalactic crimes can be quite entertaining. Like Men in Black, Double Cross follows the route of a mostly-human force trying to maintain balance within the universe. This team is known as RIFT. Agents go on various missions to take down these galactic threats. You control an agent that must solve the mystery of a masked villain. Set in a 2D world as a platformer, you must finish levels that reveal clues. Once you’ve gotten enough clues, you can pursue a boss. You get to do the levels in any order, similar to Mega Man (but without being granted new powers). Talk to other agents to help you figure out what the next step is but, at the same time, be suspicious that the real enemy might be closer than you think.
Here’s what I liked:
Slick Slinger — One of the abilities you’re able to use is a slinger. It allows you to grapple onto spheres in order to gain momentum for travel. Time slows while you do it, so you can make sure you line yourself up correctly for the perfect jump. There are even certain sections that have moving spheres that either take you backward or forward, so you must time it perfectly to attach to the correct one. I really enjoyed flinging the character around. It helps avoid enemies as well as gets you to secret areas for Upgradium (used for upgrading the agent). It reminded me a little of Flinthook but with a touch of futuristic traits. It was by far the best part of the game.
Fluidity — Combat combined with acrobatics prove to be quite accurate with control. A lot of times, a jump will be a close call. Nothing seems too challenging but is still gratifying as if it were a difficult stunt. The controls are natural and fluid. Once you get used to using dodge, it will be something you master. You can attack in any direction, being able to jump and attack upwards or perform a dropkick. It feels similar to a fighting game. It’s a bit odd you have no way to shoot a projectile. You would think a futuristic agency would be equipped with some kind of weapon. You won’t have anything like that but fighting enemies with your fists is still a good time.
Arcade — One of the levels you play is actually an arcade. There are challenges that have highscores. Some aren’t too difficult, but there are a few that you’ll be spending a lot of time on. I loved how it made an otherwise easy game have something that demands perfection with using the slinger. I didn’t mind replaying them in my attempt to get the top score in every arcade game. It’s a lot of fun to barely make the highest score. It really shows just how difficult this game could have been if they added the same demanding jumps and slings within the other levels. I found myself wanting more to try out but the content provided compliments the campaign quite nicely.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Collectibles— In order to upgrade and obtain skills, you have to collect something called Upgradium. While this inspires replaying missions in order to find them, it can become a tedious task. I got to a point where I had all but only a few. I replayed the levels multiple times with no luck, feeling like I looked everywhere. I think if collecting something to upgrade is in effect, then there should be some kind of system for detecting the Upgradium. Be it an arrow or some kind of sound when one is nearby. Usually they’re easy to find but the few that are extremely well hidden can make you replay so much that you’ll become tired of trying.
Not Much Inspecting — On paper, you’re supposed to find clues to eventually figure out the mystery. This idea is ripped away from you. The only thing you do to gather the clues is by beating various missions. There is really no “detective” work. It’s all handed to you on a silver platter. Satisfaction is then only left to combat and story. If you seek the thrill of a case that requires a thought process, you will not find that within this game. Progressing the story is your only objective. Besides that, there won’t be any real agent work, which is quite a disappointment.
Over the years, 2D platformers have been raising the bars in quality and ingenuity. Double Cross doesn’t add much to the genre but is pretty decent overall. The excitement of solving cases diminishes quickly when you come to realize there is no thinking on your part. It just serves as part of the storyline. If you can focus on the combat and levels, you’ll see why it’s still a very enjoyable game. Each of the various stages offer different challenges to make things feel different as you progress. It’s nice to be able to choose what missions you take on. The story is a bit light and the humor could use a lot of work. It ends up being a fine addition to the platformer genre, but nothing you need to rush to purchase.
Score: Reader’s Choice
Double Cross was published by Graffiti Games and developed by 13 AM Games on Xbox One. It was released on June 19, 2019, for $19.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.