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Kryzyacy Knights of the Cross Review

Krzyżacy: Knights of the Cross Review


Knights of the Cross is a deck-building game loosely based on a historical novel written in the 1900s called Krzyżacy. I say loosely based because the game does follow the events portrayed in the book regarding Medieval Poland. However, It also features magic and busty elven women in string bikinis.

If you find the game’s artistic direction off-putting, the game does have a free DLC that swaps the skimpy fantasy-esque clothing for a more realistic look.

The Payat elf archer character
The game certainly isn’t shy about fanservice.

Knights of the Cross features a story-based campaign and a more traditional rogue-lite mode that unlocks after you beat the main story. The game shares familiar trappings with popular deck-building games, but centers that familiarity around a unique teammate mechanic, where the type of cards you play dictates the skills your companions use in battle.

You can find a video version of this review on my YouTube Channel!

Gideon’s BiasKnights of the Cross Information
Review Copy Used: Yes, provided by Evolve PRPublisher: Olive Panda Studio
Hours Played: 15+Type: Full Release
Reviewed On: PCPlatforms: PC
Fan of Genre: YesGenre: Deck Building, Rogue-lite
Mode Played: Knight (Normal)Price: $15.99

Lost in Translation

You take on the role of Henry an up-and-coming warrior who becomes a central figure in the war against the Teutonic Knights. That’s pretty much all I can tell you about the story, not for the sake of spoilers, but because it’s nearly incomprehensible due to severe translation issues. To be fair, I didn’t dive into a deck-building game for its story, but be warned, if you have any interest in it, it’s going to be difficult to navigate.

I was far more interested in the game’s rogue-lite challenge mode, but it had to be unlocked by completing the main story first, and I found that to be a pretty big bummer. That said, I did enjoy the way the story mode was structured. You take on a variety of random, side, and main missions in the order you choose. Victory earns you gold, and cards as well as relics that impart a variety of buffs.

A small cutscene with an otter, although the game refers to it as a beaver
Ah yes, a “beaver”

Between missions, you can visit the camp to buy new cards, hire companions, lower your maximum deck size or heal your team. There are a couple of interesting mechanics at play here, however. Not every vendor appears at the camp each time, and it forces you to manage your resources with a bit more scrutiny than you otherwise would.

You have to think carefully about whether or not you need additional team members in reserve, new cards, or healing whenever a given NPC is at camp, because you don’t know how many missions it will be before that specific NPC will show up again. On the difficulty I played, I could only use the healer ten times for the whole campaign, I really enjoyed that extra bit of pressure.

A poorly translated scene
Confused? Me too.

Some events also carry choices for you to make that can have rewards and consequences. These choices can have a bit more impact than they would normally have in a game like this, simply because you’re playing through a 10-hour campaign, and you might feel the ripple effects of a poor decision later on.

While the story mode was an essential stopgap between me and the rogue-lite experience I was looking for. I found it enjoyable all the same, even though I did end up clicking through a lot of the dialogue, as any attempt to follow it gave me a headache.

Carding Companions

Knights of the Cross doesn’t stray too far from other deck-building games. You have five energy per turn to play cards. The cards usually deal damage, block damage, or impart various buffs and debuffs. Unlike most deck builders, you can keep up to two cards in your hand between turns, rather than discarding the whole thing. That’s an important difference due to the focal point of what makes Knights of the Cross different. The Companion system.

A four on four battle in Knights of the Cross
Most cards are split between attack, support, magic, or prop categories.

You can have up to three allies with you in battle, and you don’t control them directly, you only ever play your cards. However, each ally has three skills, and by playing certain combinations of card types, they will activate those skills.

For example, maybe a fire mage will unleash a firestorm if you play five magic cards, or an axe-wielding barbarian will deal heavy damage and inflict bleed if you play five attack cards. Different allies have a variety of skills that require differing combinations.

It works quite well and forces you to think about your deck and hand of cards in two ways. You have to juggle the effects of your cards with the skills you want your allies to activate and play. The ability to keep two cards in your hand between turns helps you set up synergistic combos at opportune times. The whole system is pretty clever, and a lot of fun.

A boss battle in Knights of the Cross
Activating the skills of your allies is essential to winning tougher fights.

Sadly, as great as the companion system is, the card play itself doesn’t hold up quite as well. The deck building in Knights of the Cross feels incredibly bland and generic. The cards feel basic and uninteresting with very little in the way of cool combos or strategies. I rarely cared about what my cards actually did. For me, it was the type of card that mattered for the sake of activating my allies’ skills.

I had that same feeling of blandness when it came to most of the game’s enemies. The boss fights were clever and usually turned something about the game upside down. The regular enemies, on the other hand, were incredibly forgettable, literally. As in, I literally can’t remember the differences between them.

Sure, some hit harder, and others had beefier health pools. But it rarely mattered. I simply looked to see who they were attacking, and that was it. In most deck-building games, you come to know each enemy’s playstyle and personality. In Knights of the Cross, I never felt the need to care.


Knights of the Cross does manage to be fun and entertaining for its inexpensive price. Its story mode is structured in an interesting way, and the companion system is indeed a clever mechanic to strategize around. However, the game simply falls short compared to the established quality of numerous other deck-building games that are all vying for your time and money.

The Ely character
The companion system is neat, it’s a shame that the deck building is so shallow.

There’s just so little depth to the game’s actual deck-building and card play, and outside of some clever boss fights, the enemies felt equally uninspired. Combine that with translation issues, and Knights of the Cross is a bit of a hard sell unless you’re completely enamored with its fanservice. And let’s be honest, even that’s hotly contested ground with plenty of other choices out there.

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Pick up Knights of the Cross from these stores


  • Clever Companion system
  • The story modes resource management structure is interesting
  • Difficulty settings present
  • Optional free DLC that makes the art direction more realistic
  • Inexpensive Price


  • The writing is nearly incomprehensible due to poor translation
  • The deck building feels bland, generic, and shallow
  • The rogue-lite mode is locked behind the campaign
  • The enemies are forgettable and routine