Cross Blitz - PC Preview

Cross Blitz by developer Tako Boy Studios LLC and publisher The Arcade Crew and Gamera Games—PC(Steam) preview written by Richard with a copy provided by the publisher.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes.
Yarr me laddies and lassies! Are ye up fer a pirate adventure? Or perhaps an idol adventure to expose an imposter? Do ye wish to battle foes? WITH CARDS? Well then come on down to try out Cross Blitz, a card battling, deck-building adventure with some rpg like mechanics!

Cross Blitz takes an interesting stance on its gameplay. There is a sort of adventure mode that you can play for story, but there is also a sort of roguelite mode that you can play for challenge or fun. I'll start off with the story campaign and then talk a bit about the roguelite mode. The campaigns have stories based around the character you select, while the roguelite mode doesn't have a story attached, your goal is just to "make it to the end".

So let's start with the campaigns! Once you select a captain of your crew, you can begin exploring their storyline. Each captain has a different plotline, but will be exploring Crossdawn Isle in order to achieve their goals. The campaigns are in chapters, where each chapter has you exploring a series of hex-grid maps and interacting with different nodes. This mode is where the rpg mechanics can be found. You see, each captain has a player level, and fighting opponents nets you experience. Earn enough and you level up, giving you a skill point that you can use in the level grid in order to unlock cards or increase the captains' health.

As you interact with nodes, they may lead you to other nodes, or to other screens with another board to explore. Some nodes may be battles, some are treasure, stores, talking events, or more! Each node can be interacted with, and you can move around the maps. The nodes are all fairly self-explanatory, or if not there is a tutorial when you first interact with one. Now, let's take a look at the battle nodes, as this is where the bulk of the game will be spent.

When you enter a fight with an opponent, each side will have a two tile high by four tile wide "play area". This is where you will be playing the cards out of your deck. There are a few interesting twists to the usual fare, so let's go through a standard round of combat. You and your opponent will take turns laying cards down and then activating the combat phase. Each time your turn rolls around you are given a certain amount of action points to fill up a bar and draw a card. Each successive turn you'll have one extra maximum action point. Feel free to use all of these by the way, as they get fully refilled on your next turn. These points are used to play cards, which all have different action values. You can play as many cards as you have the action points to play.

Now, when you go to play a card, they may have different effects, such as "played", "death", and "combat start". These effects will take place when indicated. Thankfully, if you forget what an effect entails, you can hover the mouse over the card and any relevant effects will be described for you. Some cards are "effect" type cards, and some are creatures. Creatures will have an action cost, a power level that indicates damage, and health. Once your cards are all played, you can start the "blitz" phase, which is the combat phase.

Unless otherwise specified, creatures must wait a turn before they can attack. When you have minions that can actually attack, they will usually attack the first creature in front of them, or the enemy player directly if there are no creatures blocking the path. This applies to your enemies as well. Your goal is to have the opponents hp reduced to zero before yours is. Once you've won a fight, you are rewarded with materials, exp, and cash! There are also bonus objectives usually available for combat events, which will give a one-time cash payout if you meet them. They don't all need to be met at once, and you can rechallenge the fight for any you've missed.

So, now that you've won a fight, you're probably wondering what the materials are for, right? Well, you can actually make new cards! Once you find a card workshop you can hand over some money and materials and the cardsmith will craft the card you have the blueprint for. You can also purchase cards as well, although the crafted ones tend to be better, at least from what I've seen. There's also another vendor that you need to pay attention to, and he sells trinkets! What are trinkets? Well, that comes into play with the deckbuilding aspect!

Time to take a look at that deck of yours! Your deck has thirty cards to it, and it has to be thirty, no more no less, including any duplicates. You can add in or remove cards, and you don't need to remove an entire stack of cards, you can only exchange one or two in a set of more duplicates. Now, trinkets are a special sort of "battle modifier". You can equip up to four, but only one special trinket that's more powerful. Trinkets have wide and varied effects, some examples of which are: deals one damage to the first creature played in a turn, pirate type units get plus one attack, extra health for your player. The trinkets are attached to a deck, and multiple different decks can be set up. 

The roguelite version functions the same for battles, but is a progression through a series of nodes on a straight map instead of a grid you can freely explore. Each node is a type of event, some battles, some recruiting new crewmates, and cards. Your goal is to get to the end and beat the boss.

Now, normally I have a bit of a... love/hate relationship with these types of games, and it's still present in Cross Blitz by nature. Because a lot of how a battle goes depends on what cards you get, and when. If you get a bad string of draws and can't build your setup, and your opponent has good draws, things will start going downhill pretty fast. I had a few fights where I really struggled, only just barely winning, and then I challenged them again for the bonus objectives and absolutely demolished them. At the end of the day, luck does play a large role.

Now, on the plus side, the art style is really cute and the card caricatures are really neat. The map grid in the campaign and the leveling system is a cool take on the deck-building style, and was fun to go through. The music is also really catchy, which always helps for these types of games. In addition to that, each captain will have certain suggested deck types that you can see through the leveling grid unlocks. For example, Redcroft has some suggested decks focusing on either summoning many minions, or on cannons and firing them off. At the end of each "skill tree", a special card is also available, which will display a special effect if you meet the conditions for using, adding an extra layer to combat.

As a whole, Cross Blitz is a really interesting deckbuilder that I'm looking forward to see continue growing. I can't really say there's too much that bothered me that couldn't be attributed to RNG despising me. In the campaign this isn't an issue, but certainly can be a run killer in the roguelite mode. Overall though, I really look forward to seeing where Cross Blitz goes. I've had a lot of fun with it so far, and other than possible future balancing issues, I can't see too much going wrong here. In addition, since I've started playing this, there's been a bunch of patches, which bodes well for the future of Cross Blitz if the developers are so concerned over listening and improving on the title.

Score: N/A


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