Beat ‘em ups, brawlers, whatever you prefer to call them, they act as a great sponge for some pent up stress. Countless hordes of weakling, no-name enemies that exist solely to be cut down, peppered with the occasional tough-guy that takes more than a few quick attacks to take down. You’ll find these kinds of games on pretty much any console these days, and there are some high quality titles out there, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Double Dragon Neon, and River City Ransom are some high quality examples of the genre. Then you get games like Croixleur Sigma, which are decent efforts, but seem to be missing a certain something that pushes it into the realm of some titles like Oneechanbara, where it’s mechanically sound, but seems to skirt by on playing it safe.
To be fair, Croixleur Sigma is a pretty low budget title, so I’m not expecting this to be a truly stellar title. In fact this game runs quite well on the Vita hardware and looks pretty good to boot. Though there is little visual variety beyond the few enemy character models, and the four fighters you’ll be controlling, which have some color palette swaps and that’s about it. The locales don’t change much either, so you’ll be constantly fighting against the same backdrop. The game runs at a good clip, and doesn’t suffer from slowdown, even when the screen is filled with enemies.
Combat is a pretty simple affair. The circle button serves as your standard attack, and this is the same regardless of what weapon you’re using. You can alter the combo by picking up certain accessories in exchange for gold and silver coins that will be spilling out into the arena, but for the most part you’ll only see this three hit combo. The triangle button is tied to special moves, which will change depending on whichever weapon you have equipped at the time. You can carry up to four weapons in battle, which will level up the more you use them. Though with some characters you have to be aware of the weapon durability, because if they break, then the next time you’ll collect them, they’ll be at their base stats. This gets to be a bit frustrating when you reach the lower depths of the tower you’re fighting in, since reverting a weapon back to its base stats will cause you to rely on the weapons that are capable of wiping out the tougher enemies, causing those weapons to break even faster. Square is mapped to the dash, which is the most crucial skill in the game. Dashing around maps consume MP, but while you’re dashing you have a small invincibility window that will allow you to dodge enemy attacks and maintain your combo. I highly recommend going for the equipment that extends the duration of the invincibility window while dashing, as it really helps you out in later levels of the dungeon.
Croixleur Sigma contains the requisite story mode, which follows four young girls taking part in the ‘Adjuvent Trial,’ which determines whether the Knights or Aristocrats of the Kingdom of Irance will keep watch over the Queen and be her protector. Completing story mode will unlock a new character, until all four participants have been unlocked. What’s curious, and rather annoying is that you get three continues, but if you happen to die on the very last stage, your continues are null and void. Why? I just wasted a half hour at that point, thinking I had a continue I could bank on in case I messed up, but suddenly that’s not the case? There’s also a survival mode, challenge mode (which is actually rather difficult), and a score attack mode. There’s local and leaderboards for each mode as well.
This game is over rather quickly once you blow through all the story content and purchase all the equipment pieces. There’s not a whole lot to come back to this game for, because once you really get the hang of the game, that’s when it all seems to end. For the price though, Croixleur Sigma is definitely good for an on the go Vita beat-em-up, but it seems like it’s held back by its straightforward story and lack of depth from attacks and enemies. This game will do in a pinch, but there are definitely better games out there.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
In a past life I worked with Interplay, EA, Harmonix, Konami, and a number of other developers. Now I'm working for a record label, a small arm of casual games in a media company along with Gaming Nexus, and anywhere else that sees fit to employ me.