While at GDC last week, I had the chance to play StarCrossed, an indie action-arcade game developed by Contigo Games. If you’re a regular here at MonsterVine, you may know one of the developers: Francesca Carletto-Leon, the host of our IndieComplete podcast (may it rest in peace.) StarCrossed feels like a pleasant mix of Pong, Arkanoid, and a plethora of charming visual novels. It’s simple, addictive, and a joy to look at, and it’s even more fun when played with a friend.
You get to choose one of five available characters, each with their own aesthetic, color, and unique “ultimate move.” I went for the “The Hero” both times, as they’re blue and have a nose-bridge bandage and goggles, which are pretty objectively cool. All of the designs are enjoyable to look at though, as each embodies a common character archetype in a fun way. After choosing my character, I was thrust into action pretty much immediately, which is always appreciated in games with a focus on arcade-style gameplay.
StarCrossed takes place largely on an ever-changing galactic background that feels psychedelic, but not distracting. You and whoever you play with are linked with an invisible line, on which you’ll bounce a star back and forth. By tapping A with the proper timing, you’ll hit the star harder and increase your volleying speed. Smacking the star has a very satisfying impact to it, especially once your combo starts to build and your volley feels as smooth as butter.
Enemies will appear between you and your ally, who can damage your health and ruin your combos. To destroy them, you and your ally have to move in a way that puts the enemy between you, allowing you to wallop the foe with your star. As a round goes on, it gets more and more intense, which leads to the use of ultimate attacks. Once you’ve built up a bar by scoring continuous combos, you can use your unique ultimate attack. The Hero’s attack makes the star go back and forth at light speed, while another character created a continuous energy beam that decimated anything caught between us. The variety of attacks leads to some fun situations that require teamwork but pay off with some very flashy visuals.
Overall, though I only spent a short time with it, I had a lot of fun with StarCrossed. I can see it being a blast to play with friends, especially as it gets faster and faster as the rounds progress. Though the story mode is set to be added at a later date, I’m already interested in what’s currently available.
For more information on StarCrossed, check out its KickStarter page, and stay tuned to MonsterVine for more GDC coverage.