Shuffle a barrel of pirate monkeys in the demo for promising deckbuilding RPG Cross Blitz

Pixelated card battle from the game Cross Blitz
(Image credit: Tako Boy Studios)

A promising upcoming deckbuilder surfaced during the Steam Next Fest last week: Cross Blitz is a whimsically cartoonish pixelated deckbuilding RPG that aims to incorporate both a plot-driven story mode and a roguelike mode. 

A demo, out now, lets you take on a chapter of the story mode as pirate Redcroft. You take some time fighting against other pirates and learn about the deck customization. The story itself isn't very intrusive, mostly just serving up little cutscenes between battles. The full version promises a roguelike mode better suited to those whose real passion is in drafting, or who want to keep on playing post-story.

The game itself is a minion-driven battle where your two rows of minions attack their opposite side counterparts each round. Keeping a front of strong minions up is essential, because unblocked minions deal damage directly to the enemy's health. Card Blitz uses the Hearthstone style of resources: Each turn you get a set amount, increasing every round. Characters also have Blitz Bursts, powerful effects they're working towards over a match—like playing six of a minion type to trigger a burst of damage against every enemy minion.

I was pretty impressed by the variety of decks buildable in just the demo. I could make a deck that synergized playing more cards with the Pirate keyword, one based on playing minions to fire cannons and plant bombs, and one based on creating a snowball of ever-escalating "pyro" damage. I also bought and equipped relics, permanent gear that synergizes with cards even more. I bought one that buffed every Pirate card I played, while another boosted my armor for every Bomb card I put in my opponent's deck.

It's a game you should try the demo for if you, like me, are intrigued by the sentence "fast-paced tactical combat with loads of cards to collect and synergies to wield." I love nothing if not wielding a synergy.

You can find the Cross Blitz Demo on Steam. The full game doesn't yet have a release date. Card Blitz is developed by Tako Boy Studios and published by The Arcade Crew and Gamera Games, who also published this year's out-of-early-access tactical RPG The Last Spell.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.