With Cross Blitz, a new card game is in the starting blocks. The full-fledged release is planned for 2024. eSport spoke to the developers at gamescom, who have one well-known game in particular as a role model.
One developer likes card games, the other role-playing games. The result is Cross Blitz. The RPG deckbuilder is developed by Tako Boy Studios, a two-man team consisting of Phil Giarusso and Tom Ferrer. “I had no contact with card games until now – that’s more Tom’s core competence. We can complement each other well because I focus on the RPG elements,” Giarusso tells eSport.
When the term card games comes up, top dogs like Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh! or Hearthstone are emblematic of this genre. Role models for the developer duo? “There are definitely parallels to the three mentioned, but also differences. We were most strongly oriented towards Hearthstone. That was a great inspiration,” Ferrer explains. Veterans of this classic should therefore quickly find their way around Cross Blitz. For example, many key words and principles of the cards are the same. One difference, however, is immediately recognisable: The playing field.
Mechanics require tactics at a high level of difficulty
This is divided into two rows of four squares each. Cards in the front row can protect those behind. Unless there are special abilities, the front objects attack their opposite item. The sword, bow or staff at the top left of the card indicates how much damage the attack does. The heart symbolises life. If your monster has a strength of two, but the opponent on the other side only has one heart of life, you defeat it in the first turn.
You win or lose once you have defeated the opposing player – or he has defeated you. If there are no monsters on the field in the way, your cards attack the opponent directly and drain his life points.
The goal is to defeat the boss at the end of the journey through several challenges and battles. Along the way and between rounds, cards can be upgraded and new ones acquired. The aim is to build a good deck around a combo, as is usual in card games. The final boss will test your idea in a particularly difficult fight.
Tusk Tales: Right decisions not only needed in the deck
Which brings us to the two modes. As already mentioned, there is a story mode. In this mode you can experience two stories. One is that of the pirate Redroft, who wants to win back “his stolen freedom from the merciless princess Eingana”. The other is that of pop star Violet, who is in search of a mystical artefact “to stop the evil antics of a mysterious doppelganger who is stealing her rum.”
An “endless replay value”, on the other hand, is promised by the second mode: the Tusk Tales. In this mode, you can choose any mercenary and must master the island of Crossdawn. Select a region and defeat the boss. However, not only do you have to make the right decisions regarding the deck, but also the path. Each path has different challenges, and the level of difficulty increases from round to round.
Both Tusk Tales and Story Mode are intended for single player. The developer duo does not currently envisage multiplayer or even eSports. “For us as an indie studio, it is simply not financially possible to bear the costs of the servers or their maintenance, for example,” Ferrer explains. Cross Blitz is scheduled to appear in Early Access in 2023, and in full on the PC next year. There are no plans for a console version yet. You can already play it yourself in a very extensive demo.