Yes, folks, it’s time for Yet-Another-Card-Game, this time starring Cross Blitz. What’s peculiar about this fad that’s been going on since Slay the Spire made a splash is that while creating a card game appears easy, standing out from the competition isn’t. Here, we have a preview for Cross Blitz, a game with a charming, cartoony art style and a healthy scoop of polish. I had the chance to force some landlubbers to walk the plank in the couple hours I spent with it. While I’m going to withhold judgment, I definitely have some initial impressions that may reveal where the treasure lies.
A renowned pirate, Redcroft, is believed lost at sea, though this isn’t quite the case, obviously. After surviving his ill fate, he realizes that since they thought him dead, some lesser pirates have tried to take his place in notoriety. What better way to shake things up than card battles?
First and foremost, I have to highlight the style. Everything pops, bounces, and wiggles with a charming momentum and gravity one might expect from old online Korean games (i.e. Gunbound, Survival Project, etc.) While the style certainly won’t suit everyone, the quality and polish the art team have accomplished is inarguable. Similarly, the music suits the light-hearted mood with jaunty tunes, higher-pitched strings, and jovial piratey banter in the background when appropriate.
Navigating the map in Cross Blitz appears hex-based in a way we might expect from a strategy game, but this is purely showmanship as getting from one battle or shop to another is a matter of clicking the destination and watching Redcroft walk in that direction. Regardless, the presentation works. Upon reaching any destination, quite a bit of chatter occurs between Redcroft and his crew or the person at said destination. The prattling carries on a bit much, presumably to add personality and voice to each character, though little of it has depth or consequence.
While in battle, each player has a 2×4 grid with which to play minions. Battles are heavily weighted towards minions, but instant effect spells, equipable items, and traps occur here and there. The front row allows melee minions to assault the minion across for them or, if the path is clear, the enemy hero; likewise, the back row allows ranged minions to do the same, while magic users can fight on either row. Play a minion, give them a turn to wake up, and then smash cards into each other in turn-based fashion.
Each minion comes with a variety of abilities shockingly similar to Hearthstone with names like “battlecry,” “deathrattle,” and “rush.” While the inspiration is brazenly obvious, the way in which battles play out is unique, but simple. Yet the simplicity is strangely addicting. Early on, customization, leaning into synergies, and finding a deck that suits the player’s style create a sense of authenticity in how one approaches battle. Although creating something like a pirate minion deck might seem obvious and the decision making limited, I found myself opting to throw in a couple non-pirate minions because I thought those critters might help me more than just throwing in every pirate I could find.
Decision making is made ever more difficult with a thirty-card deck limit and enemies whose own advantages may force players to rearrange their deck. Fortunately, the user interface is incredibly easy and brisk to navigate. In fact, the entire game feels snappy with little load time and fast menu transitions. Watching animations play out in battle may bore some players, but since everything is so visually appealing, I never fussed over this.
Near the end, I found myself losing a few times to one particular battle, but it never bothered me. Sure, the enemy had what I believed to be an overpowered relic to give them an early advantage, but battles are never drawn out and it gave me an opportunity to try out a few other deck styles until I found one to land the killing blow. Luck plays a part, of course, but that’s to be expected when playing a card game.
I like what I see after playing Cross Blitz’s demo. Redcroft’s story appears to have three chapters and other characters will be available in the full version, as well as other ways to play. Here’s to hoping the developers can maintain the level of quality upon release, because my first impressions are promising.