By: Ted Chow
What happens when you cross an angry Dutchman? The answer is easy: you’ll be going mad as you beat up fictional Saxons and anyone else who disturbs your peaceful family. Cross of the Dutchman is a hack n’ slash indie title that focuses on its short story without all the lavishness and grandeur of today’s artistic landscape. If you’re looking to play a simple game that showcases the fundamentals of the genre, Cross of the Dutchman may be worth looking into.
Standard to all other hack n’ slash titles, you will primarily be using your mouse to move and attack. Key binding is also available, although the default settings were more than adequate. One of the issues that I found to be a little annoying would be the input commands when you try to attack or interact with certain enemies or objects. The input felt delayed, especially when using stamina attacks. Overall, though, the controls are pretty standard and meeting most expectations.
Going with the stylized cartoony look, Dutch of the Crossman is a game that does a good job in showcasing the hand painted nature of most of the assets. The environmental setting can start to feel a bit stale though, as the majority of the game takes place in the same village farm setting. The soundtrack is your typical orchestral epic that is common with fantasy set games like this one.
The game’s premise revolves around the story of Pier, a farmer who just wants to live with his family in peace. That peace that doesn’t last, however, as Saxons have started to encroach upon the village and threaten their everyday life. It will be up to Pier to take back his village and protect his family.
Much of the game will have Pier pitted against a number of Saxon soldiers in hack n’ slash fashion. The combat itself isn’t as flashy or complex as other games of the genre, and as a result it can feel a bit uninspired and repetitive. While you can upgrade your special attack by purchasing different moves from the vendor, it is far too few and limited. Later, you’ll be able to equip a sword and gain new attack animations, but the vendor quickly telegraphs the limited support for the sword as well.
Aside from the combat and story, Cross of the Dutchman will keep you in the same relative village setting throughout. While there aren’t any real quest lines to diverge the experience, the linear story isn’t a negative. As an exclusively single-player endeavor, the game had a story it wanted to tell and it was done faithfully without any real distractions.
Cross of the Dutchman doesn’t break the mold by any means nor does it offer much in terms of staying power. It is, however, short enough that it doesn’t require a large time investment relative to other hack n’ slash games. While the campaign felt short, and more life is needed in the cast and general gameplay, Cross of the Dutchman is still a solid title.