Croixleur Sigma Review (PC)

 Croixleur Sigma Review (PC)

I’ve been looking forward to this Croixleur Sigma review. Croixleur Sigma is the latest title from Nyu Media and Souvenir Circ – essentially an update and reworking of the original Croixleur, a charming indie hack and slash with great production values. It was a worthy title originally, but Souvenir Circ have really gone to great pains to make this the best Japanese indie release I’ve played this year.

 

Croixleur centers around an event called ‘The Adjuvant Trial’. This is a tournament, or trial of sorts, where two competing factions battle for the right to hold a position of power in the realm of Ilance.

 

Croixleur Sigma_1

 

 

Winning the trial secures military and political power as well as the right to protect the Queen of the realm – and so it goes that the beautiful Lucrezia Visconti, must battle against enemy hordes to wrestle power from a childhood rival, Francesco Storaro.

 

In Croixleur Sigma, you can choose between both Lucrezia and Francesco. Choosing one over the other will change the route, story, monsters you face as well as the difficulty – though the core gameplay of course remains the same. That is to say, an arena based hack n slash that’s incredibly well put together.

 

Croixleur Sigma_2

 

You have an arena floor – monsters to defeat, and in order to gain access to the next stage you simply have to clear the place out and head though a portal. Successive floors bring with them tougher monster, and more of them – and before you know it, things ramp up to get seriously hectic and more than a little challenging. If you think of Devil May Cry series’ Bloody Palace mode then you’re half way there.

 

To help you in your quest you can select from a healthy weapon selection – each gives access to different special attacks, and fallen monsters also drop coins which can also be exchanged for more offensive options.

 

Croixleur Sigma_3

 

Once you’ve built up a collection of weapons (unlocked via progress in game), you can chose your loadout at the start of battle – assigning them to the face buttons of your controller and switching them up to suit your play style.

 

The combat system is quite interesting in that, along with standard chain attacks you have a dash, a jump (of course!) and special attacks that can be cancelled into more devastating combos. There’s also a system where special attacks can be used to knock enemies into other enemies in order to damage them at range – cancelling these into each other drains MP so can’t be spammed relentlessly, and so strategic defensive play (dodging and knocking enemies away) mix up nicely for an added dimension and depth to the combat.

 

On the face of it it seems that the combat is quite simplistic – and it’s certainly very accessible – but once you start hitting the other modes for the betterment of your times and scores you’ll begin to appreciate the flexibility it has to offer, as you look to exploit the tools available.

 

Croixleur Sigma_4

 

 

Lastly you have challenge mode – and this is where your skill really comes into play – with Sigma asking you to perform specific feats  – and to be successful, you’ll need to change your weapons as often as your strategy. It’s an interesting way to force you to find different ways of coping with different situations – which provide much needed techniques when Survival mode is throwing everything it has at you!

 

Interestingly, I’ve always found that ‘Story’ modes are usually where I spend most of my time in games in general – and while it’s the most obvious first port of call in Croixleur Sigma, it’s actually the other modes that provide the longevity. Usually, these just act as filler – just a means of filling up a feature list – but here, they’re compelling diversions in their own right and with the addition of online leaderboards, this is even more the case.

 

Croixleur Sigma_5

 

THE VERDICT

It’s fair to say that Croixleur Sigma is an excellent arena battler – and really highlights Souvenir Circ’s ability as a developer, marking them out as among the best the Japanese doujin scene has to offer. It feels solid, robust and simple – but with that, offers just enough depth to keep you engaged but never so much that you feel overwhelmed.  The result is that you always feel that you’re making progress – getting better and better at using the simple toolset to improve your scores. In this respect it has all the ingredients of some of the best arcade games of my youth, and I love it for it.

 

It goes without saying that anyone who missed the original, should make Croixleur Sigma a priority.

 

Croixleur Sigma is available to buy from Steam, along with achievements and trading cards!

You can also buy it from the Rice Digital Store here!

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