What if pong could destroy your enemies? What if you could look cute while doing it?
StarCrossed is a two-player cooperative game by developer Contigo Games. While walking the floor on the last day of PAX East 2020, this particular game caught my eye, half because of its visuals and half because even at a glance I could tell it would be a neat co-op experience. Living with a roommate, I find myself on the lookout for co-op games often, and StarCrossed seemed like it might fit the bill. The developers described their game as “magical girls in space,” but a more detailed description would probably be something along the lines of “magical girls in space who fight monsters by playing Pong.”
The world of StarCrossed largely revolves around something called the Harmony Crystal, an item that has made it possible to physically bring the universe closer together by manipulating time and space, creating a period of peace throughout the cosmos. One day during celebration of this peace, the Harmony Crystal is stolen, and the galaxies are flooded with monsters. Five girls are chosen to be the guardians of the crystal and bestowed with an amazing power, one that allows them to summon a star and use it to destroy their enemies.
Each player takes control of one of these five guardians: The Idol, The Hero, The Princess, The Outlaw, or The Weapon. General gameplay is very comparable to something like Pong, with each player hitting the star shaped puck between them. Unlike Pong, in which the goal is to get the puck past the other player’s paddle, in StarCrossed the puck will always magnetize the other player. The main goal is to put any enemies between you and your partner, as the puck does damage to any enemy it hits en route. Hitting the A button right as the puck makes contact with you will cause it to get bigger and also speed up, making it stronger and more likely to hit enemies. As you destroy enemies, a special meter at the bottom of the screen will slowly build up, and once it hits 100% you can activate your character’s special ability. Each character has their own unique special, such as a solid laser that runs between both characters or a short range homing laser that his anything near either character, and both players share one meter making communication extra important.
And that’s where StarCrossed really seems to shine: the encouraging of communication. Both players need to be in sync and make sure their partner knows what they’re doing if they wish to get anywhere in this game, as the positioning of both characters is never unimportant. Overall, StarCrossed seems to be a co-op game with some real potential, and I cannot wait to jump into the full version when I have the chance. The two modes shown off during the demo I played were the story mode, a visual-novel style story where the dev mentioned that dialogue and such would change depending on which two characters are being played, and an arcade mode that simply throws endless waves at the players until they lose. Both feature roughly the same gameplay, and the style, aesthetic, and general tone of the whole thing had me interested from minute one. If you’re looking for a co-op game, this is one to potentially keep your eye on.
StarCrossed is currently available on PC and is set to release on Nintendo Switch and other platforms later this month.