When discussing NFT games, we need to look at the broad platform that these games exist on. NFT games are not limited to a single type or genre. Instead, they are defined by their use of blockchain technology. This can be as simple as having cryptocurrency support or as complex as a play-to-earn model. Given its still in its early stages, developers are still getting a feel of what game genres would benefit most from this structure. The result is a line-up of quality titles that mirror popular multiplayer titles. At a glance you might think that these games simply rip off winning ideas from other games and make them their own, but the reality is way more positive.
NFT games embrace the new technology they employ, adapting their genres to create new and better ways to play.
So, what makes a good NFT game? And what are the best NFT games out there?
We’ll be looking at the NFT games that have really managed to stand out from the rest. These titles found new and exciting ways to implement blockchain technologies, creating their unique experiences in the process. And its not just about blockchain technology. The studios behind these gems have tailored their games’ gameplay to provide enjoyable experiences beyond the scope of crypto and NFTs. Even players who aren’t necessarily interested in the financial side can still play these games and have a great time. So, without further ado, we present to you our top picks for the very best that NFT gaming has to offer.
Spearheaded by former Magic: The Gathering game director Chris Clay, Gods Unchained has clamed the top spot in the NFT trading card genre. Following in the footsteps of giants like Hearthstone, Gods Unchained has players putting together a card based on one of six available gods. Different card passives and abilities will bolster your chances of winning, as you vie for success against the enemy’s deck. A purely PvP game, Gods Unchained lends way to a strategy and tact, with the more formidable player finally emerging victorious. This essentially means that even though your deck might be technically weaker than your opponent’s, the right choices can still turn the tide in your favour.
This engaging gameplay is presented through wonderful visuals. Gods Unchained is a sight to behold, with fantastic art direction and visual fidelity that allows it to stand tall with its non NFT competitors. The arenas you duel in are a sight to behold, with incredible designs and fiery animations that screen as the battle ensues. To top it all off, Gods Unchained is completely free to play. Players can sign up and receive their initial card packs for free. As an NFT game, this means that any rewards you earn in game will immediately count as a profit. Additionally, Gods Unchained adopts a play-to-earn model, giving players plenty of opportunity to make some cash. The more players engage in battles, the better their chances of both increasing their experience level and earning more in-game currency. This can in turn be used to purchase rarer cards which are sold on the blockchain for a profit.
Its one of the most complete NFT games around, giving future titles a clear example of how to combine great gameplay with stunning visuals and intuitive use of blockchain technology.
Banking on the nostalgia it brings about with its retro visuals, DeFi Kingdoms is a pixel art role playing game centred around the use of cryptocurrency technology. The familiar visuals strike a note with gamers who remember the likes of Pokémon, Final Fantasy and CastleVania. In recent years many indie developers have gone back to this iconic art design, spawning games like Shovel Knight, Enter the Gungeon and Terraria. DeFi Kingdoms capitalizes on this trend, building a game that harkens back to the earlier days of gaming.
Its brilliance lies in the way it mixes standard RPG elements with NFT tech. Players can enjoy the same gameplay that they got used to playing in role playing titles, questing around the world, completing daring dungeons and levelling their character. But underneath the surface is a guide to the world of cryptocurrency. It’s a fantastic way to introduce people to the concept of crypto by simply playing the game. DeFi Kingdoms runs on the Harmony blockchain and all JEWEL tokens you earn in game can be exchanged for Harmony One crypto. Its an incredible concept that combines rich storytelling with ground-breaking tech to educate its players on what these new technologies are and how to go about using them.
Perhaps the only downside here is the fact that players must buy their way into DeFi Kingdoms which can cause an issue for some sceptical users. We hope to see a free-to-play version of some sort that will hopefully bridge this gap, providing not just a fantastic game, but a tool that intricately introduces its players to this wonderful technology through play.
The most popular NFT game on the market, Axie Infinity is the brainchild of Vietnamese developers Axie. This monster breeding RPG combines the monster battle aspects of Pokémon with the species evolution mechanic of Spore, to create a fresh, new experience. Players must raise their very own Axie creature, before pitting it in battles against other monsters in both PVE and PVP battles. You can also breed your Axies, creating new species that vary in both ability and rarity.
PVE takes on the form of a roguelike game, with the player facing off against a variety of AI until they are finally taken down, starting again from the bottom. PVP on the other hand is more direct, with players simply fighting other players in 3v3 Axie battles. The most valuable resource you can earn here is the SLP, Sweet Love Potion. This ingredient is used to breed more Axies and can fetch a great price on the marketplace. The marketplace is where players get to turn their hard-earned play time in to cash. Here they can buy and sell Axie characters, eggs, ingredients, and you guessed it… Sweet love potions. With a play-to-earn model at its heart, Axie Infinity has many players who dedicate enough time to make some decent cash from their play time, with some players reporting an income of over $1,000 every month.
Although players originally had to buy their way in by purchasing three Axie eggs, the system has now been revamped, with a free-to-play version that unlocks the initial barrier. Still, with the value of Axies constantly fluctuating progressing is very dependent on the ever-changing value of these NFT critters.
Fantasy football has always managed to create a buzz among football fans the world over. It combines the fantasy of being a pro football manager with the excitement of match day football. Sorare captures the essence of this beloved practice, combining it with the efficacy of football team stickers to add a collectible aspect. Players can buy and collect their favourite player cards every season and with over 230 teams already onboard, Sorare is on its way to NFT fantasy football glory.
Cards come with a variety of rarity levels, and all of these can then be sold or traded for a profit. Players will need to put together different teams for each real-life match day, combining the skills of their players to hopefully gain a high score. The player’s scores are based on the actual performance that they give in the real matches and there are plenty of tournaments to take part in each week. Sorare also offers an incredibly personal approach to its players with constant updates and additions that keep the game reaching for bigger and better heights. This sort of commitment from the developers has built a high level of trust in the players who are constantly treated to new player cards, tournaments and game modes.
It’s also a free to play game, meaning that players can simply sign up, receive their initial cards, and start playing. Yet, the rarer cards are not offered for free and if players want to upgrade to a higher tier, they’ll need to fork out some cash.
Over the years, video games have branched out into different genres and platforms, creating all manner of virtual experiences. But perhaps one of the most notable are the game creator platforms. Otherwise known as sandbox games, these titles allow their players to take on the role of creator and game builder, weaving characters, environments, and story arcs accordingly. The likes of LittleBigPlanet and Minecraft pioneered this style of game, giving player even more agency to create the worlds they envisioned. The Sandbox takes this concept and adapts it to the NFT gaming platform.
Having originally started off as a mobile sandbox game, The Sandbox eventually moved on to the Steam platform. From there it was bought out by Animoca who have taken on the great task of adapting it into an NFT game. In The Sandbox, players can design and create in-game characters, items, equipment, and environments. Each piece is then minted into an NFT and can be sold to other players. Through the game’s world builder, players get to put all these assets together, combining them with gameplay rules to create vast levels and game worlds. Players can earn resources by playing the game and creating new assets, which can be sold for a profit on the marketplace.
The game is currently still in its alpha phase, testing out new gameplay mechanics and functionality, with constant updates that are getting fans more excited as the weeks go by. The Sandbox’s potential has led to any incredible partnerships including the likes of Adidas, Snoop Dog, Avenged Sevenfold and Atari. The support behind The Sandbox is huge and the company has already invested millions in artists and creatives who will be creating some of the most impressive assets for the game. The Sandbox is also building its on metaverse increasing the game’s potential to draw in big investments and an even larger playerbase.
Another NFT trading card game, Splinterlands follows in Gods Unchained’s footsteps to create a set of NFT cards that can be collected, sold, and traded online. Having kicked off back in 2018, this is one of the first NFT games to hit the market, laying down much of the groundwork for other titles to follow. The entire Splinterlands ecosystem runs through the Hive blockchain, with plenty of rare cards to give players more reason to bolster their decks. The gameplay loop here is similar to other card games. Players must amass a powerful deck which is then used to face off other players in direct PVP battles. Strategic cards can turn the tide of battle, so players must learn the best ways to deploy and manoeuvre their respective cards.
Unlike Gods Unchained, players must buy into Splinterlands. An initial pack must be bought, with a random set of mixed rarity cards included. As players progress through the game, they earn more cards and packs which allow them to expand their deck’s capabilities. Perhaps the biggest difference between Splinterlands and Gods Unchained lies in its style. While Gods Unchained structures itself closer to games like Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering, Splinterlands has more of a Pokémon, Digimon and Yu-Gi-Oh! feel to it. Both games offer a fantastic ride and players can choose between one or the other based on relative preferences. Splinterlands has also managed to cater to various audiences. Apart from the usual game client, it can be played on both desktop browsers and mobile devices. This level of accessibility allows it to stand out from the rest, giving players more varied ways to enjoy the game.
Although it still hasn’t fully launched yet, Treeverse has NFT fans and crypto people excited with its ambitious scope. Endless Clouds HQ promises a sci-fi MMORPG that combines the fast-paced action of a MOBA to create a deeply engaging experience. The ball is already rolling on this game, with a lot of early investments to secure characters, items and even plots of land. So far, the game has a seed investment fund of $25 million, so we’re expecting to see some pretty high standards of quality in both the game’s visuals and gameplay loop.
We have already had a taste of the sort of visual direction and quality that Treeverse will offer, and we must admit, we like what we’ve seen so far. The hand-drawn anime style is comparable to the sort of titles released by top indie game maker Supergiant games. They depict a wonderfully vibrant work, complete with all kinds of environments, characters, NPCs and enemies. The studio claims to be taking the play-to-earn model a step further, creating an experience that transcends the blockchain technology that lies at its heart.
The project is wildly ambitious, but some elements of the game are already available for play, giving us an incredible appetite for what is to come. Players can already start investing in the open world fantasy, with many items and elements already on sale.
The very best in NFT Gaming
That brings us to the end of our selection. The games we have chosen found ways to creatively implement NFT technology into their very fabric, setting an example for others to follow. From card games to fantasy football and beyond, these pioneers have built unique experiences that will shape the platform itself. Rather than treating NFTs and cryptocurrency as a gimmick, these NFT games have found fantastic ways of building strong gameplay loops around them. Their high quality of presentation and gameplay extend their audience beyond crypto people, introducing a new batch of players to this exciting technology.
If blockchain technology continues to be implemented in a way that contributes to the game experience rather than taking anything away from it, then NFT games might very well hold the key to the future. By creating play-to-earn models that complement an engaging gameplay loop, NFT games give their players more agency, allowing for a more rewarding experience. Combining all of this with AAA game visuals is exactly what makes these titles stand out. Big names in the industry have already mentioned their interest in the platform, looking to jump in on the success that these titles have already achieved. With more of these mainstream companies joining the fray, it’s clear to see that NFT games are here to stay. As long as the technology continues to be used wisely, with player experience at the very heart of the projects that get developed, it will continue to be a great asset to the game industry. We can’t wait to see what the future holds and what lies ahead for both blockchain technology and video games.