It's unfortunate that the plot of Double Cross deals with alternate realities and dimensions. This makes it impossible to not imagine a universe where Double Cross is an outstanding platformer as opposed to this universe where it's merely a mediocre one. Developed by indie upstart 13AM Games and published by Graffti Games Double Cross attempts to launch itself to the top of the Switch's growing library of stellar platformers. It doesn't hit the mark.
Double Cross isn't a failure and there are a couple good ideas to be found alongside interesting sections sprinkled throughout. The overall execution and package just leaves a lot to be desired. Double Cross is rather underwhelming as a result and isn't quite comparable to the rest of the Switch library's platformers.
Double Cross has some adventure game elements but it's primarily an action platformer in the vein of Guacamelee 2 or Celeste. Double Cross imagines a world (or multiverse) where one organization tries to deal with all the problems of nearly infinite dimensions. Players are cast in the role of Zahra, an agent of R.I.F.T. (Regulators of Interdimensional Frontiers and Technology) who stumble upon a multi-dimensional conspiracy. The story of Double Cross is cheesy, crafted for a younger audience, like a harmless Saturday morning cartoon. It's there just as an excuse to get to the gameplay which itself is a mixed bag.
Double Cross takes players across multiple worlds with about 4 stages each and players can choose the order in which they tackle them. Each world requires nearly 20 minutes to complete and features a unique theme which introduces its own gameplay elements. For example. Gootopia is filled with mid-air goo that will slow Zahra's descent dramatically if she gets stuck in it. It's a great concept that could allow for some creative level design but Double Cross is remarkably straightforward. The landscapes of the various worlds are barren and boring with the platforms for progressing too clearly marked and way too easy to reach.
The main gameplay loop is painfully easy in every aspect, from the dead ahead combat to the platforming. In the event that Zahra does die she restarts at the beginning of the screen with no penalty. Even if something give players trouble Double Cross offers character customization via new abilities earned though a leveling system, like a double jump, and these further ease the difficulty curve. For seasoned gamers though it's fine, if not preferred, to play with just the starting abilities.
Double Cross also features a swinging mechanic where using her Proton Slinger, Zahra can grab objects to throw or throw herself on clearly marked hooks. It's initially quite fun but it doesn't really enhance Double Cross much or increase the difficulty. Slinging just makes platforming a little more vertical which is a shame because it could've been Double Cross' killer app.
As rote as Double Cross' platforming can be it still moves at a nice pace and is fun enough, if disposable. The more inexcusable aspect of Double Cross is the adventure elements. As an agent of R.I.F.T. Zahra isn't just an explorer, she's an investigator. During the platforming missions players will come across clues that become inventory items. These clues will then progress the plot if Zahra shows them to the right NPC in between missions. There's usually a small puzzle involved too; like discovering that a character wants to become smaller and giving them a goo that will shrink their body temporarily.
It's an adventure game element that seems like a good idea but there's no penalty to showing a clue to the wrong NPC and there's usually no way to figure out the right clue for the right character besides talking to everyone and pressing through a lot of cringe-worthy and juvenile jokes in the process. These clues grind Double Cross to halt and are the very definition of a chore.
For the right age and type of gamer there's a lot to enjoy in Double Cross. As an introduction to the platformer or adventure game, Double Cross does well enough but it only works as an introduction. Anyone looking for a challenge or unique gameplay should probably let Double Cross pass them by for the moment. There are far better and more interesting indie game to find and play especially on Nintendo Switch.
Double Cross is available January 10 on Nintendo Switch and PC for $19.99. Screen Rant was provided a Nintendo Switch copy for review.