A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Fighting against oppression, standing up for what's right, coming to the aid of others in need.
Positive Role Models
Pier Gerlofs Donia is a historic Dutch folk hero who inspired, led a rebellion against the Black Band, Saxon mercenaries who laid waste to the countryside, threatened its people.
Ease of Play
Though point-and-click controls are pretty straightforward, combat feels clunky, cumbersome.
Violence & Scariness
Combat is a big part of the game, with Pier, his followers fighting Saxon troops with fists, swords. There's some blood, but the animated style reduces overall impact.
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Minor language (particularly "hell") occasionally.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Cross of the Dutchman is a downloadable action-adventure game based on the Dutch folk hero Pier Gerlofs Donia, though it's portrayed in an exaggerated video-game style. The game even breaks the fourth wall, mentioning Life and Stamina bars to Piers, much to his confusion. The tale shows his initial rise from a simple farmer to the leader of a rebellion against Saxon invaders. A focus of the game is Pier's confrontations with Saxon soldiers, usually resulting in fights with either his fists or, later in the game, a sword. There's a flash of some blood shown when characters are hit, but it fades quickly. Also, the animated look of the game reduces the impact of the violence.
Is It Any Good?
The larger-than-life tale of Pier Gerlofs Donia is almost tailor-made for a video game. The Dutch folk hero supposedly stood more than seven feet tall and would swing a blade with one hand that most men couldn't lift with two. But most people outside the Netherlands likely have never heard his story. Cross of the Dutchman uses this to great advantage, taking more than a few lighthearted liberties with history. It's good for a few laughs when characters explain to Pier (and the player) things such as Life and Stamina bars, breaking the fourth wall to the player but leaving Pier confused. Lots of other tongue-in-cheek moments make for fun entertainment but don't exactly support the historic accuracy of the story.
There's a lot of running around, getting from quest to quest, with little to do in between. When you do finally run into some action, the combat feels somewhat off. Clicking on enemies is about all you can do to control Pier's fighting. Lots of times, even though you're clicking on an enemy, Pier swings wildly and completely misses your target. Despite this frustration, Cross of the Dutchman is still generally fun, but unfortunately it's also a relatively short experience. This wouldn't necessarily be much of an issue if not for the fact that the game takes a while to really build any sort of momentum. As a result, by the time you really start to get invested in the story and the characters, it's all but finished.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.