Many people would probably be surprised to learn I enjoy trading card games (TCG). I swap my Discord avatar to a different TCG icon almost weekly, watch card openings, though I no longer buy cards, or actually play. So when I had the opportunity to try Cross Blitz I was happy to see everything it had to offer. With multiple characters to explore, tons of unique cards, and even a roguelite mode there is a lot to be excited for. Will the cards work in Tako Boy Studios LLC‘s favor, or is this adventure an unfortunate mulligan?
While the main draw of Cross Blitz is the expansive card game, players interested in the world have Fables to explore. This is a story mode that gives some insight into notable characters like the pirate Redcroft, or singer Violet. These are the only characters currently selectable, though it looks like three additional adventures are planned as part of the Early Access concept.
The narratives themselves work as a rather informative tutorial. Both characters have their own charms, complete with amusing expressions, that help give the world context. Players will need to navigate through various locations with battles, events, and opportunities to collect additional cards. I can’t say the stories were groundbreaking, which can be skipped if they’re of no interest, though I found the gameplay loop interesting.
Tusk Tales is what Cross Blitz calls their roguelite mode, and also where you’ll likely spend the most time. In this mode there are five different mercenaries that can fight seven different bosses, each with random world’s to overcome. What I like about this mode is the amount of risk every option has.
Forge a Path Forward
Fighting enemies might cost some health, though winning gives additional resources/cards. Selecting a shop might add something good, whereas other times you’ll end up short. Cross Blitz also doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is part of what makes this mode so engaging.
Certain locations can modify cards for the duration of your run. It’s entirely possible to have a high attack, bottom cost card, just like it’s possible to make a mean card infuriating to the your opponent. It really allows each run to feel different, even if you’re using the same deck options. Each mercenary also has their own card types and selection that makes certain runs easier/harder. Despite this having the potential to be extremely complicated, I found Cross Blitz to be rather straightforward.
This is Extremely Overpowered
At the start of a game players are given three cards with the option to discard as many of them as they want. After confirming, both players get one mana, with the player going second getting a free single use mana. The idea is to give both sides a temporary advantage.
Each turn the total usable mana increases by one. Cross Blitz is designed to be fast paced, and this makes long matches incredibly risky. Come turn 10 players have the ability to use up to 10 mana a turn. Since there is no disadvantage to using your mana, as you’ll get 10 on the following turn whether you use zero or 10, players will quickly burn through their cards.
So Many Options
To help keep things fair, most newly summoned cards cannot attack on their first turn. Even if you play eight cards and want to steamroll your opponent, it won’t work unless they have rush. Where things get interesting are cards like Admiral Brass. He can give pirate types one attack and rush, so if he is on the field it’s entirely possible you’ll get steamrolled.
Like all good card games it comes down to how well you understand the cards and their quirks. In a lot of ways it reminds me of Magic the Gathering. Cards come in different colors/types that work similar to Magic‘s color system. Going back to Admiral Brass, he is downright mean in a pirate deck, but generally worthless with any other type.
Every set has their own gimmick/function. Green cards generally have a poison loop. This is an interesting effect where players are given a poison card that deals one damage per turn. It can be discarded for one mana, or ignored if the mana is more valuable than life. Another fun type are purple where the loop centers around death, sacrifice, and Necromancy. The idea is to either loop death buffs, or spawn multiple Groupies, followed by reviving what you can for a completely unexpected blitz.
There is also a lot of depth beyond this quick explanation. Some cards also function as traps, pad health, or offer forward momentum. The latter can be a lot of fun, or extremely frustrating, as a lot of games ultimately limit/ban cards centered around drawing more. This is also something rather important in long matches.
Since it’s actually a disadvantage to play fewer cards, a lot of matches end with players relying on the heart of the cards. If I have nothing in my hand I’m limited to whatever card I draw next. This is where forward momentum becomes extremely important. Some of the hardest fights are against opponents with several cards that allow additional draws that increase their options. I would say this is a flaw, but I like that there is an in-built advantage/disadvantage. In Fables the 30 card limit makes it risky, whereas the lack of said limit in Tusk Tales makes them invaluable.
In a lot of ways this is the biggest concern I have with Cross Blitz is its future. Many are no doubt familiar with the term Power Creep, which is the phenomenon that happens in long term games where new options make old options obsolete. It’s a very common problem with TCGs because companies need players to cycle out older cards to maintain sales.
It’s something Cross Blitz will need to deal with, as Tusk Tales alone suggests 20 mercenaries are planned. A lot of variety will be needed, along with new cards to make the adventure interesting long term. This will undoubtedly impact balance, which could make things deeper, or certain tactics outright broken. It’s impossible to say what the future holds beyond the launch version of Early Access is fun.
Cross Blitz Review Verdict
Cross Blitz: Based off the initial Early Access version of Cross Blitz I am hopeful for its future. The cards are cool, mechanics are deep, with each loop being unique enough to carry the experience. Its future ultimately depends on how new content fits into the universe. It will be interested in seeing what ultimately gets added, but even now I could easily see a TCG fan getting $20 of enjoyment from it. – Grant
Editor’s Note: Cross Blitz was reviewed on PC, and a copy was provided to us for review purposes.