Game Reviews

Cross Hearts Arcadia

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Cross Hearts Arcadia

It's a wonder that JRPG developer and publisher Kemco manages to keep churning out long and winding Android epics without running out of ideas.

After all, there are only so many worlds to explore, dungeons to loot, and bosses to defeat before it all becomes a trudge through rather familiar territory.

Luckily, this isn't the case with Cross Hearts Arcadia, which at least relies on interesting gameplay mechanics to cover up the rather typical adventuring found within.

Joined at the heart

Your usual JRPG fare would cast you in the shoes of a outcast or misunderstood character (usually a teenager) who sets out on a mission to save the world while simultaneously achieving the feat of self-discovery.

Cross Hearts Arcadia broadly sticks to this template. Except the young researcher named Nirva whose shoes you step into doesn't seem to be particularly exceptional.

His journey only begins when he discovers an 'Eng' by the name of Tylt inside an ancient ruin and has his heart and soul inextricably linked with it to become an 'Algiz'. Because of this bond, Nirva sets off to help Tylt find the mysterious Genesis Sanctuary.

At no point in the start of your adventure are you told what this Genesis Sanctuary actually is, which would be rather annoying if it weren't for the fact that Tylt, Nirva, and any other characters you cross paths with are equally clueless. You're sharing in their adventure, which makes the rather paint-by-numbers gameplay far easier to bear.

Treading old ground

That's not to say the gameplay is dull or tiresome - it's just nothing new.

You've got your countless menus to tap through, each one denoting stats, equipment spells, items, etc., and if you've played a JRPG then you've seen this all before.

Strangely, Cross Hearts Arcadia doesn't feature an open world to explore, or NPC-filled towns to become lost in. Instead, it gives you a map of the various lands you can explore, including the floating continent on which you start.

Here you'll be able to jump from dungeon to dungeon and back to towns, or anywhere you've previously explored. This saves you some trudging, but it also robs the world of some character.

Towns don't exist in the same way you'd expect, either. They are menus and hubs, rather than places.

There are some neat innovations here, though. For instance, selecting actions for battle can be done with a swipe of a rotating menu, and movement around your environment just requires a single tap on a location.

You can also construct and deconstruct equipment with spoils found on your travels, and depending on how you interact with Tylt he can evolve in different ways – thus learning new moves and abilities to aid you in battle.

It may not be the most revolutionary of JRPGs out there, but for the price and level of polish on show Kemco's newest adventure is one that any self-confessed role-playing fan should take a look at.

Cross Hearts Arcadia

A comforting change to the standard template, but not enough to make it breath of fresh air. Think of a freshly washed pair of well-worn jeans and you're on the right track
Vaughn Highfield
Vaughn Highfield
Quite possibly the tallest man in games, Vaughn has been enamoured with video games from a young age. However, it wasn't until he spent some time writing for the student newspaper that he realised he had a knack for talking people's ears off about his favourite pastime. Since then, he's been forging a path to the career he loves... even if it doesn't love him back.