Crossfire does about everything right, that rare Indie effort that makes you wonder why it is not a wider release on the Live Arcade, coming across more polished and refined than a lot of junk selling for $15 (Crossfire is $3).
It is sort of the hallmark of the great Indie Games, brilliant and rightfully limited in concept. It doesn’t exceed its bounds or elevate its complexity; why should it? This is a 2-D shooter that judiciously “borrows” the art style of Geometry Wars, but does with a different concept.
Imagine Space Invaders, the simple left to right movement and hypnotic droning of the approaching alien horde. Ramp of the speed to appease any modern gamer, but then add the quirk that you can zip up behind the invaders via short warp drive, and rain down bullet hell on these Earth-sucking freaks. That’s satisfaction.
But, you say, if you’re behind them, how hard can it be? This is where Crossfire adds its final element, the variety of foes mixed together in bunches to make this as exceedingly difficult as possible, requiring a much rapid fire thinking as it twitch skills. Some enemies flip in patterns, some reflect your bullets, some pop into a shower of ammo when destroyed, and others fire in multiple directions at once.
Add in another player and the intensity of the free-flowing sparks, the generous glowing ammo, and techno soundtrack combine for one of simplest yet ingenious efforts since the service launched. Crossfire needs nothing else short of more levels, because it never loses its touch, and it wouldn’t over the course of multiple level packs either.