I’ve been exposed to a lot of card and strategy games like Slay The Spire, Inscryption, and Oaken, and even had a brief stint of competitively playing Hearthstone and Legends of Runeterra as well as tabletop games like Dominion. This brought me to Cross Blitz, which is a polished early-access game that combines a chess-like map exploration and RPG deck-building.
Cross Blitz is a wild game idea that I’ve never seen before, fusing the mechanics of the games that I mentioned above. Surprisingly, it meshes them really well, resulting in quite an addictive game loop. No wonder this game got over 50,000 wishlists on Steam. With that said, let’s hop into my first impressions.
Graphics & Presentation
The game’s pixel art style, the maps, and the card arenas all complement each other. I also like the fact that it’s pirate-themed. I felt like I was playing in an alternate universe of One Piece.
All the cards and mercenaries that I’ve gone through have different personalities, and I like how they have a theme. For example, there are different types of card affinities like Pirate, Fortune, Balance, Pyro, Poison, and the like.
My initial impressions of just browsing through the card catalog felt like I was playing and collecting Pokemon cards. Cross Blitz currently has two game modes: Fables and Tusk Tales, and each of these modes has their charm.
Fables is like the game’s story mode where you get to go on a heroic adventure with five pirates to experiment with. The first time I opened this game mode, I saw two heroes were already unlocked. Between Violet and Redcroft, I chose to live the adventure of Redcroft and I was already invested in the Pirate deck.
I liked the unique presentation that this game mode brings. The closest map-level design that I could think of while playing Cross Blitz was that of Oaken and Dorfromantik.
The AI in this game is pretty smart. Kudos to the devs for giving me a challenge to try and beat my opponents in Cross Blitz. I sometimes felt that even the minions in this game gave me a bit of a headache thinking about how to beat them quickly.
I’m too lazy to read dialogues nowadays when it comes to RPG card game adventures unless it’s a visual novel. The only thing that I wish they added to the adventure mode is voice acting, though I heard their promo trailer had Redcroft’s voice. I’m not sure if they would add this to their early access roadmap in the long term but it could’ve made Cross Blitz more immersive so that I would be more invested in the characters.
Tusk Tales Gameplay
Tusk Tales is where the game shines and it’s probably my favorite due to its endless replayability. One session will probably take you around 45 minutes to an hour to complete. It will also depend on your experience with card games in general. If you’ve played either Runeterra or Hearthstone, you’ll feel at home with Cross Blitz.
While my first attempt lasted more than an hour, I’m surprised by how many mercenaries you can unlock. When I finished one run, I was taken to this Mercenary screen where I saw around 20 more pirates that you can unlock.
For an early-access title, it sure feels like a complete game, and you already have around 30+ hours of content to explore. Even without the story mode (Fables), I think Cross Blitz can stand on its own. You get to explore hundreds of cards and you can freely experiment with the decks that you want to build.
Cross Blitz is a great single-player experience that gracefully mixes RPG and deck-building mechanics. While I don’t expect the devs to add multiplayer anytime soon, I’m already happy with its current state in early access. It’s a great time-sinker if you don’t want to stress yourself with online competitive card games.
The AI difficulty is just enough for you to get hooked along with the charming pixel art of each card that you discover. Get your hands on deck and grab Cross Blitz on Steam.
This preview is based on the PC version of Cross Blitz. The key was provided by Indigo Pearl and Tako Boy Studios.