Hack-N-Slash games have found themselves at somewhat of a stalemate, surrounded by Koei-Tecmo’s Warriors games it’s seemingly rare when we get something with similar gameplay from a different developer.
Of course there’s some excellent alternatives out there, for example Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus and Hyperdimension Neptunia U provide for some interesting alternatives, Croiixleur Sigma is a game that can now also be added to that list.
Made by Japanese indie studio Nyu Media and originally released on PC back in 2014, the game has recently been ported to PlayStation platforms as a Cross-Buy title, boasting 60fps fast-paced action packed gameplay.
The story centres around 4 girls, Lucrezia, Francesca, Katerina and Sara-Annika, each of them unique in both looks and playstyle. Lucrezia and Fracesca share their own story while Katerina and Sara-Annika have a seperate narrative.
Both stories eventually come together and center around the ancient kingdom of Irance, which for centuries has been ruled by a lineage of Queens. It is a kingdom that prides on its research into magic thanks to the Vernal Magic Knight Academy, an academy attended by the games cast.
One day during training, a mysterious force attacks the four girls, separating them into pairs and sending the into two different dungeons, and it is at this point where our story begins.
Lucrezia and Francesca’s story mode takes place in a dungeon that splits off into multiple rooms filled with enemies to slash your way through, the dungeon consists of 5 floors with 4-5 rooms on each, and each floor ends with a room which contains a more powerful enemy than what you’ve battled on the floor so far.
Upon meeting the clear condition of the room (which is defeating a certain amount of enemies), two portals will open – these will branch off into different rooms. Luckily there is a map on screen to show you which rooms you’ve visited on a previous playthrough of the characters story so you can got back and visit the room you didn’t choose on a second playthrough.
The second story, which you can play through as either Katerina or Sara-Annika has a set path of clearing 30 floors which don’t change on multiple playthroughs. Each room, while having a set number of enemies, also has environmental challenges to deal with such as lightning which can cause damage to your character or ice which can slow your character down and make movement difficult.
The gameplay for Croixleur Sigma can be difficult to grasp at first, after all this is a Japanese game at heart, and that’s even reflected in the games menu’s – the Circle button is the key to almost everything this game has to offer; its your select button for menus and your attack button for combat. Square allows your character to dash, which is essential when it comes to being swarmed by enemies, and the jump button will help you when it comes to attacking flying enemies.
Each enemy you defeat will drop coins which come in both silver and gold, with silver being more common. Once you gather enough coins you’ll be able to buy new equipment for your characters, these offer changes in appearance for your character as well as stat boosts in order to make your character more powerful.
Weapons are also essential to success in Croixleur Sigma too, you’ll start off with a basic weapon, and each time you clear a floor you’ll unlock a new weapon until you have four at your disposal, however weapon’s can also accumulate damage and will eventually become unusable. Thankfully, when this happens you’ll unlock a new weapon when you complete that floor, and it’s likely to be more powerful than the one you had previously.
There is more than just story mode to this game as well, Survival mode throws you in an arena with an unlimited amount of enemies with the only end goal being when you die, a challenge mode which sees you have to defeat a certain amount of enemies under a time limit. The most exciting game mode however is Dungeon mode, you’ll unlock this after completing story mode with all four playable characters, the dungeon encompasses 100 floors each with increasing difficulty and getting to the end has a big reward which I won’t spoil for those of you wishing to attempt it.
Croixleur Sigma is a beautiful game, it’s fully 3D graphics, character designs and environments look beautiful and size down well onto the PlayStation Vita’s screen and with the game managing to maintain a constant 60fps frame rate performance is never an issue. The games soundtrack is filled with action-packed fast paced guitar riffs which really get you in the mood to cut through hundreds of enemies, the only issue is that there isn’t enough variation in the soundtrack and it can get repetitive after a short while.
Whilst often repetitive Croixleur Sigma is a tonne of fun, it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of the Warriors or Senran Kagura games, or even if you’re looking to get into the Hack-n-Slash genre for the first time this is a cheap and worthwhile start, with a Platinum trophy and leaderboards at your disposal, you can do far worse than this.