amusingmusings on CROSSNIQ+ (PC)

amusingmusings is a feature from Counterzine contributor, Secat, that riffs and digresses on recent, exciting releases in music, games, television, movies, and more. Today’s amusingmusings covers the new game CROSSNIQ+, released on October 4th for PC and Nintendo Switch.

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>A conversation with one of the many small ants in my car about CROSSNIQ+.

secat: ugh! Another ant on the dash.. How did you guys even get in here, anyways..

ant: do you remember when you got drive thru krispy kreme a few weeks ago? Well. Your fool ass spilled a few flakes of that sweet, wonderful glaze in the passenger well during the box’s transition from the car to your apartment

secat: you know what? I could just SMUSH you right now if I wanted to

ant: what does it matter? There are so many of us in your car. you little idiot. It will not even be a “drop in the bucket” for you to smush me, to use a human expression

secat: that’s only a human expression? What’s an ant expression sound like

ant: we do not have any. We communicate our ideas clearly and directly. Unlike YOU.

secat: ah.. That stings, ant.. Prepare to meet my “smushing finger” (author’s note: I’m assuming every other human also has a designated “smushing finger” for crushing small annoying ants or other miniscule bugs that end up on their person or in their personal space .. I know *i* do.. as always, like and comment if your experience is different.. alright, back to “reviewing”..)

ant: wait! Before you smush me. you write such wonderful reviews for COUNTERZINE..

secat: aw shucks

ant: such, um, *cough* “unique” takes on the format..

secat: hahaa.. oh my gosh, stooppp.. well, I try my best.. one word at a time, ya know.. :3

ant: why don’t you talk to me about something you’re reviewing

secat: ah, but of course! Let me talk to you about CROSSNIQ+

ant: ok! What’s that

secat: it’s a puzzle game slash lucid y2k dream slash the only reason I’m getting outta bed in the morning!

crossniq2
Pre-battle screen

ant: what? I thought you had a job

secat: shhh now. The object of CROSSNIQ+ is to survey a grid of colored squares and move them around to form a cross.

ant: and?

secat: and that’s it! But, oh, such depth! Such style! SUCH style. This is one of the most consciously and lovingly designed games I’ve ever played, yes – it’s like being transported back to 2000.. the very cusp of the digital age.. ah, when the world was good, and cool, and everyone was much more fond of translucent plastic and chrome..

ant: were you even alive to appreciate the original aesthetic you are now so lavishly praising, you goober

secat: yes! I was three

ant: ugh

secat: anyWAYS. See, look at these MENUS. This USER INTERFACE. It is pleading with you to interact with it. Click one of its tiles.. hear the pleasing “blomp”s and “boomf”s it makes.. they don’t make things like this anymore..

ant: oh! This is nice

secat: and don’t even get me STARTED on this beautiful drumbreak-ass, lush summer nostalgia-ass SOUNDTRACK..

ant: it seems like you want to get started

secat: right you are! GAZE upon the marvel of such tracks as “MECHANIQ” and “CONFLIQ”. Gaze with your little beady ant eyes

ant: I am not equipped for this sensory experience quite in the same way you are but I appreciate it nonetheless

secat: playing this game is a pure and honest good time. Like the very goodest of times. The best time, I mean. When you are in “THE ZONE” of sliding back and forth these little rows of colored tiles and you hear the bassy lil POW! after you make a cross. you think to yourself, “Everything should feel like this. This is what games are meant to do to me”

ant: is it tough?

secat: it is! At least, I kinda suck ass at it so far. It requires the same kind of spatial awareness and clarity of purpose that solving a rubik’s cube does, and I am frankly just horrid at rubik’s cubes

crossniq3
A competitive race to cross

ant: oh I hate those

secat: ugh, me too! my mind, it was not molded for the manipulation of colored squares across two or more planes. But you know what it WAS molded for.

ant: Overwrought reviews

secat: yessir! On PC, the game offers you multiple control schemes – mouse, keyboard, gamepad – but none of them feel *quite* correct for the task at hand (to me, at least). frankly, this is a moment where I find myself craving a touchscreen interface – it seems like it would be so satisfying to manipulate the playing field with a few flicks of the ol’ fingies.. in other words Why oh why do I not have a Nintendo switch to play this on

ant: get a switch lite then

secat: heavens no! My friends would make fun of me 🙁

secat: there are a couple of different modes for you to goof around with, too. there’s your classic Endless mode, where you slide around tiles and make crosses ‘till you can’t keep up – a Time Attack mode, where you make as many crosses as you can in a given amount of time – a Versus mode where you take on another human player (I didn’t have anyone to play this with at the time so I didn’t do so much of it. There are lots of cute fashionable characters and cool powerups and such in it. Hopefully there’ll be an AI to play with someday, or some kind of random online matchmaking) – a Chillout mode where you can just make crosses at your own pace without ticking timers and also talk to a charming little beret-wearing cat.. oh, and a shop where you can buy outfits for those Versus characters and new songs to play in the background (you earn coins as you complete more and more activities and games in CROSSNIQ+ world).

crossniq4
CROSSNIQ+ features several modes

ant: any negatives?

secat: i’m glad you asked! On occasion, I kind of wondered how much I was enjoying the *GAME* versus enjoying the sensory spectacle of its existence. Making crosses is certainly fun but I never booted the game up saying “hell yeah! Let’s make some crosses!”.. more like “Yes! Time to throw myself into the meticulously crafted y2k-core appreciation box”

ant: hm, I see..

secat: also, I wish there were more music tracks to select from when I play any given mode.. but that’s just because I love this soundtrack to bits, oh goodness

ant: seems like pretty much a great game all around, though!

secat: absolutely! Well worth the $8, plus an extra $4 for the soundtrack. It’s a wonderfully special experience. To be incredibly trite .. it’s a Love Letter to a Bygone Era..

ant: boooooooo

secat: oh, stuff it! *smush*

 

CROSSNIQ+ is developed by MaxKreigerVG and is available to purchase on Steam and the Nintendo eShop for Switch.

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Secat is a musician and writer based in Houston, Texas. To see more of their work, you can follow them on Twitter (@secatsecat) or check out their personal blog at secatsecat.home.blog.

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