‘Crossing Souls’ fuses ‘80s nostalgia, childhood summer adventures

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Photo courtesy of Steam

An image of one of the playable characters from “Crossing Souls” fights off zombies. This video game allows the player to fight and solve puzzles in its retro world.

By Aidan Finn, Staff Writer

For many, the end of summer is a beautiful yet bittersweet sensation of emotions.

It may be a time to bang out those last-minute adventures with friends and family while the sun is still out or a time where the incoming stressors of life and school can be ignored for just a few more blissful days and you can frolic in the setting sun with the people you love in pure, wholesome fun.

Then you grow up and have to work year-round, summer and all, which really deflates the whole fun factor.

Nonetheless, in my final days of vacation, I made the smart and conscious decision to stay in my room and play a game about friends enjoying their summer vacation. That being the whimsical and nostalgia-fueled brawler “Crossing Souls.” 

“Crossing Souls” is an action-adventure video game developed by Spain-based indie development studio Fourattic and published by (the publisher of all good games) Devolver Digital.

It follows a charming tale of friends in small town 1986 America being witness to a strange paranormal anomaly, setting them on a grand adventure to save the world.

Now, a description like that immediately reeks of unoriginality. “Crossing Souls” is aware of such and runs with it.

From the opening shot to the final boss, the game is drenched in an ‘80s aesthetic. Ripped straight from kid-adventure films the likes of “The Goonies,” “Explorers,” with a pinch of “Stand By Me,” it captures such a warm, inviting tone that has unfortunately been haphazardly grouped into the “Stranger Things” tone.

It hits all the checkmarks, from the treehouse fort plastered with “Star Wars” posters to the neon-soaked arcade illuminating the desolate street corner, which is amplified by the already set-sun painting the sky dark blue and orange.

But “Crossing Souls” is not style over substance. It packs a compelling narrative that takes the player on a fulfilling 10- to 12-hour story.

Normal everyday teen Chris is enjoying his summer with his younger brother Kevin in suburbia when a storm shakes the town one night, leading Chris with his posse of teenage friends – Matt, Charlie and Big Joe, to venture out of town after hearing reports of a dead body near their treehouse.

They – in ‘80s movie fashion – head out to find the body first for bragging rights, only to find a corpse holding a purple floating stone. They confiscate such and discover it possesses the ability to let the holder see the ghosts of the underworld walking among them.

Not exactly “Hellraiser” levels of creepy, rather the “Ghostbusters” amusement of “Oooohhh spooky ghosts!Soon after, the typical ‘80s kids movie antagonist – the Soviet Union – comes to town who sieges the town in search of the mysterious stone, a key component of its rumored super weapon.

The gang then flees to the woods in “Red Dawn” fashion, later finding their town completely occupied. To save their captured families, they embark on a quest to stop the Soviets and discover the truth behind the magic McGuffin stone.

It’s a comfort food plot that’s aided by an incredibly well-composed score reminiscent of the ‘80s works of John Williams and Danny Elfman, filled with triumphant horns and emotional swells of strings.

It’s a very unique era of music not often complimented with establishing the era of film it accompanied, overshadowed by the cinematic synth wave of other action-oriented films like “Die Hard” and “Predator.” 

All in all, “Crossing Souls” is a fun romp that achieves nearly everything it sets out to be. A nostalgic adventure starring kids meant for adults. If you’re in the mood, you can’t go wrong with a game like this.

“Crossing Souls” is available on PC, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.

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