Cross Horizon Review – A Console Throwback on Mobile
Cross Horizon is the latest mobile MMOG title coming out from Marvelous USA. The game boasts itself as a “console quality” action RPG for the android and iOS platform. You are put into the shoes of a hero who has lost his memories and is haunted by the dream of a witch.
You then embark on your adventure to regain your memory, and alongside that mission you are tasked to find out the “truth” behind the return of the Bandit King, the game’s big baddy.
If you’re thinking that the game was set up like some anime-ish quest game, you aren’t far behind. Not only does the storyline seem to be torn off the pages of a generic adventure anime, the artwork also is a good indication that you are playing a game developed to look “beautiful”. However with the limitations of the platform you are playing at, (for the sake of this review I played Cross Horizon on my iPad 2) the sprite design looks clunky at best, and it’s a grim reminder of how old PS games looked like.
The game introduces you to the basic controls and the things you can do. You are escorted along the game with a poorly written set of quests that opens up one game feature after another. After that, you are then left to your own devices on how to progress through the game.
The game’s quest mechanic is its main fuel as you progress through the game one quest after another. With that said, the lack of multitasking quests pretty much puts the game in a bad light. It’s pretty tedious to keep on going back and forth from the castle (quest starter), to the quest area and back to the castle once again submitting the finished quest and getting another one when we are already used to gathering all the quests and finishing them in one go.
Quests are separated into two different types, the combat and find missions. As the name suggests combat quests task you to finish off a specific amount of monsters while find quests require you to traverse through the maps to find the endless list of missing objects. NPCs in this world can’t seem to remember where they put anything.
Most of Cross Horizon’s controls are touch based. You move with the left side of the device you are using while the character’s PoV is controlled through the right side. This would be your default control scheme during the explore phase but it switches up once you enter the battle phase.
CH’s battle phase turns into a first person lash-fest reminiscent of other touch based reflex games such as fruit ninja and the like. The difference with CH is that you can only attack or shield yourself as long as you have stamina points which deplete whenever you do an action during battle. The damage you deal in-game is not just determined by the amount of attack damage you have but also through the body part where you are specifically attacking. You can in fact “break” certain body parts if you hit it hard and consistent enough.
Going back to the game’s explore mode. You enter into instanced areas that are teeming with big “eye-like” circles that represent enemies in the field. Each circle has its own field vision that you can artfully avoid. One nice game mechanic is that you can attack monsters “from behind” by initiating a battle behind the circle’s field of vision. On the flipside though is when enemies are able to attack you on your blind spot you get a lesser amount of starting stamina hence you are open to pot shots from said enemy.
While the game currently doesn’t have a live multiplayer feature, CH allows interactions between players by either the bar system, where you can add and even message other players and or through the random greetings that occur in-game.
Greeting other players in CH leaves a “mark” within the map a player is playing through. It works much like how players can leave notes in Demon’s Souls. The game does promote “socialization” even in its most primitive form.
The other notable feature in the game is the enhancement feature where you can upgrade the stats of your weapons at the expense of the weapons you currently have.
Cross Horizon is a game that looks like a great game on paper. The game’s quest system is the game’s main replayability factor. The game’s customization feature, while a good effort from Marvelous AQL isn’t as much as it’s cracked up to be. I can’t really enjoy how my avatar looks if the details are not as well defined as I would like.
Another thing I didn’t like in CH is that the game forces players to actually go through the hoops of going through the maps even after you’re done with the quest. The alternative is that you would have to purchase a premium item to be teleported back in a flash. While I do understand that the company needs to make a profit, adding such an integral game feature as a cash item detracts from the feeling that the game is actually free. I haven’t even mentioned the special drops you get that require you to pay for items that would unlock said items for use.
Cross Horizon’s gameplay is solid. There’s no going around that. I liked that the game allows you to switch between PoVs. In its own way I liked that the game gives off an RPG vibe since you don’t necessarily play with other people and the only traces of them are found with “player greetings” that litter the explore maps you get into. However, the tediousness of going through the game eliminates whatever fun you have especially if you’ve gotten used to other titles having all the minor features available to you free. If you’re looking for a game that doesn’t make playing for free too much trouble, then this is not the game for you.
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