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Preview: Cross Blitz

20 Jun 2023

Ahoy mateys, it’s your local pirate friend (I’ve been known to engage in a little pirate action of the swashbuckling variety….) here today. Break out the sea shanties, because we’re doing a preview today, and yarrrrr…. it has pirates. And cards!

The game today is Cross Blitz, developed by Tako Boy Studios, a retro-styled deckbuilder with more than a slight resemblance to Hearthstone and a dash of Magic: The Gathering thrown in as well. But…. PIRATES!

If you’ve played other CCG-style deck-building games (such as the ones I mentioned by name), you already know the basic formula, and Cross Blitz will be pretty easy to pick up and play, though the game offers plenty of help if you need it. Two sides form a deck of cards of varying types, stats, and effects, and you spend mana to play those cards, trying to reduce the opponent’s HP to zero before they do the same to you.

One of the more notable game mechanic distinctions is the game’s combat phase, referred to as Blitz. Unlike many of the games it resembles, every minion you have in play that can attack must do so, rather than picking and choosing. Also, the HP of cards is not restored after combat. So where you place your cards on the battlefield and when you choose to play them is a key part of success or failure, as once you set things into motion, you’ve got to stick with it. These mechanics also help battles tend to be rather quick, which is nice as card games often take a long time to play.

While the core mechanics sound pretty typical, and while there are various differences to other similar games, what set Cross Blitz apart from its competition for me was its charm. In the demo I played, I took on the role of a pirate named Redcroft, who was imprisoned by a Princess Eingana, who takes an offer to do a job for her in exchange for his freedom if successful.

Joined by his crew and sidekick Rigbeak, along with the princess’ chaperone Abraxas to hold them to the agreement, you march across a colorful themed pixel-art map and interface, with some excellent (even if a bit stereotypical) pirate-y music, and enjoy many event scenes telling a fun and humorous story. On the map you’ll encounter enemies to battle, shops selling new cards to play, and relics which offer significant modifiers to your gameplay.

In the demo, only one of the two main characters was available for play and only the story mode was accessible. When the game launches (No date was available at the time of writing), it will offer both main characters, along with a battle mode and a roguelite-style mode that is randomized and different every time you play, which I find particularly enticing, so it’s a shame I didn’t get to try that.

Now, I have said in the past that the card battler is an oversaturated genre. However, I think that Cross Blitz makes strong use of its theme (ARRRrrrr) and is is both charming and fun, so it may just have the potential to stand out in a sea (Yarharhar…) of similar games when it reaches full release. I might just be a sucker for anything with a pirate theme, but if you ask me, this one be worth watching, mateys!

Preview access provided by The Arcade Crew for PC. Screenshots courtesy of The Arcade Crew. Cover image courtesy of The Arcade Crew.