Croixleur Sigma Review

Find out how the PSN port of the Croixleur game fares well compared to the PC original.

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After some reasonable success for a PC release, Croilxeur Sigma, a game by an independent game developer in Japan known as ‘Souvenir Circ.,’ becomes available on PlayStation 4 through PSN. The game seems to have a few years on it and carries quite a number of tropes you’d see in a school-battle anime. Mainly involves a batch of young magical knight girls that scale an tower ancient, its floors filled with armies you must slash through. Which actually checks a bunch of items I usually typically like in animes or games that I check out. Does it prove to give something new or will it be another forgettable addition to the genre? Apparently it only takes you 15 minutes to find out.

Production (3 / 5)

  • Game was completely remade on its graphics
  • Not remarkable compared to modern games, but vastly improved
  • Music is palatable
  • Voices also sounded up to par

Considering its PC counterpart, there’s quite a number of improvements on what you see and hear. Models are definitely vastly improved from the 2013 version, the interface looks better as well, receiving an update that makes playing through every part of the game more palatable to the eyes. Original Japanese audio has been kept on the release which I’m sure purists will come to appreciate, in some cases I’m one of them.

Certainly, other games of 2015 have made better looking models and graphics that float around the same genre. However, the aesthetic feel is quite consistent between the 2D art and the 3D models which has been a long running problem with games like these. The game also maintains 60 fps throughout no matter how many enemies were on the field. Guaranteeing that nothing will stand between you and your twitchy thumbs making the right input when needed.

Mechanics (4 / 5)

  • Mechanics play out impressively
  • Controls are highly responsive, grants a lot of freedom
  • Mix and match weapons to come up with your ‘build’
  • Accessories also add to your character’s abilities.
  • Will push players to take their game as far as they can

The game’s mechanics are pretty direct. Kill everything as fast as you can and dodge their attacks while you’re at it. They give you a few rounds to get used to it and the armies start getting bigger and harder to kill as you progress. At which point, Croixluer Sigma asks you, ‘Let’s see you handle this one.’ With easy to understand mechanics and highly responsive controls, the arena calls you to drive your skills to its limit.

Unlike Dark Souls which popularized patient and calculated strategies, Croixluer Sigma challenges you to adapt to the new situation each moment presents you as enemies swarm in. While there is no way to guard against attacks in this game there’s several ways to avoid taking damage. Staying out of their range of attack or hitting them first is the obvious choice, but it won’t always be available. Timing jumps, dashes, attacks, mana bursts and bomb attacks is something you’ll have to learn on-the-go as being completely surrounded will be a situation you’ll come to be very familiar with as the game progresses. There’s also an MP bar which dictates how much you can do at any given moment, it replenishes quickly but discourages you from doing too many unnecessary actions.

Each character will have unique special attacks bound to every weapon they can get in the game, a total of 10 of them and almost all of them swords. With everyone having the same basic attack pattern, you’ll soon have your choice set of weapons based on the special attack they hold. Which is one way to customizing your character build. Though it won’t take you long to notice that almost all of the said unique skills are basically a variants of everyone else’s.
Another channel of customization is the accessory system, where you buy items with money earned in-game and equip them on the girls. Accessories with generally better buffs cost more. Buy more and unlock more slots. They also leave an option to make the accessory visible or not in case you just want the effect and not ruin the look you’ve made for your princess.

Content (3 / 5)

  • Straight up arcade style arena hack and slash
  • Brutal difficulty
  • 2 new characters added
  • Creators have created several gameplay modes based on the core game play
  • Story might as well not exist
  • Story paths range from 15 to 30 minutes per character, possibly less
  • Would have been nice to have more interesting boss fights

As the game is really an arcade style hack-and-slash, it doesn’t put you through of learning about the world and its characters except through conversations between characters- and maybe the gallery section of the game if you ever care to look at it. In fact the most basic tutorial is covered in the same way, basically the character Lucrezia is talking herself through the whole thing. And it doesn’t even cover everything, they do have a manual in-game that’s pretty fast and easy to understand, though.

As said above, Croixleur Sigma isn’t really interested in telling you about herself. She wants to see how good you are at playing her game. Clearing it on normal difficulty can be a real test for players who aren’t used to the game yet, maybe even for the more seasoned players. While some may find it shameful, you may want to set the difficulty to ‘easy’ first as you unlock other game modes by clearing the story mode, some with special conditions like a time limit, or not using any continues.

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While the initially available Story Mode can be cleared in15 minutes, new characters and game modes are unlocked as you clear the game. You get your usual survival and score attack modes, Croixleur Sigma also features a ‘Challenge Mode’ which gives you special conditions and enemy formations to fight and win against. There’s also a ‘Dungeon Mode’ which introduces new mechanics to the game, increasing the difficulty of the already hectic game.

2 new characters are introduced to the game as well, Katerina and Sara-Annika. Each with their respective move sets and story mode, though you can’t really expect much out of story mode aside from playing the said character.

I suppose if anything, I would have liked to have alternative map layouts that would have forced me to employ different weapon tactics. And perhaps boss fights that are more interesting from the usual big, lunky, giant singular swing that every boss does. It makes everything hit-and-run oriented and you tend to get stuck on playing through this style.

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Features (2 / 5)

  • No DLC
  • Local coop
  • Gallery is a joke
  • Doesn’t really give you much else

Everything in the game is acquired by playing the game, so there’s no hidden feature or DLC to speak of, meaning you get the entire game in a single purchase.

Local co-op is available on select modes, but at the price of doubling the HP of all your enemies. A crude but effective adjustment, considering that you can attack each other causing them to get stunned. Aside from a half-assedly created gallery, there’s not much else you can get out of the game. That may be a good thing as they focused on new, meaningful content in the context of gameplay and game modes.

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Overall Experience (3.5 / 5)

  • Short but sweet action-heavy game play
  • Invites you to push your hack and slash skills to the limit
  • Despite game modes, the action gets dull over extended play sessions
  • People looking for a full JRPG experience may be disappointed

Truly, the game can be brutal, what used to take  you a fraction of a second to kill will get a pallete swap version and suddenly you need more than triple the time. Each second in the wrong place is another opportunity to get hit. And when your combo count is in the hundreds, losing it when you shouldn’t have is the most frustrating feeling you’ll get. You’ll soon forget that the campaign takes 15 to 30 minutes to clear as each floor feels like fighting an endless stream of enemies.

Then after clearing that last enemy the only thing you think about is getting on the next floor.

The action you get from this game alone makes it really engaging, well, if you can get over the cute girls aesthetic that Japan will never be rid of. It would have been nice if the game let us explore a world outside the tower, and if it was possible to have more interesting boss fights. The lack of variety in the challenges will soon wear upon you, specifically if you’re playing the games for several hours on end.

But if you enjoyed playing this game at some point, you’ll probably come back. It’s that easy to get back into the action, after all. I would recommend this game to be played casually at probably installments of an hour at a time. Probably a perfect fit for PlayStation Vita owners.

 

Game Rating: 3.1 / 5

Croixleur Sigma is available on PlayStation 4 and coming soon to PlayStation Vita via PSN.

Review by: Allen “LenTropy” Silva

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