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Beyond Axie: The Next Generation of GameFi Projects Moving Gaming On-Chain

8 mins
Updated by Shilpa Lama
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Axie Infinity, the one play-to-earn (P2E) blockchain game to rule them all, is a lot like Bitcoin for the larger crypto ecosystem. Like Bitcoin, it is the biggest name on its market, a powerhouse that has the eyes of the mainstream public and the crosshairs of most competitors.

Also like Bitcoin, it is no stranger to controversies, from its inflation plights to the recent hack of its Ronin chain. 

As worrisome as they might be, Axie’s current struggles are unlikely to be the undoing of a P2E game that famously helped people in several emerging economies put food on the table during the worst of the COVID era. They do, however, open the door to some introspection for the industry, giving it more leeway to move beyond Axie’s model, experimenting with new approaches, tokenomics, and design philosophies. 

Driving these debates will be a new generation of blockchain games pushing the industry forward—here are a few titles that stand out in their ranks.

Kryptomon: Ready, steady, hatch!

Kryptomon, a living NFT-powered game on the BNB Chain, picks up on themes close to the heart of any 90s kid, getting Tamagotchi- and Pokemon-style gameplay up to speed with the blockchain era. It puts players in the shoes of Kryptomon trainers hatching and taking care of their creatures before venturing out to explore the game’s world in player-versus-environment and player-versus-player challenges.

The game is set in its own Metaverse and puts heavy emphasis on its lore and narrative, which players can explore through its webcomic. Those longing for more can find character logs and diary entries published on its Medium alongside the community news and new feature releases. The project aims to eventually build a 3D world that players can explore from both desktop and mobile devices. 

At the current stage, Kryptomon offers players a Tamagotchi-style experience where they hatch their monsters from eggs and take care of their needs, feeding and training them. They can also breed their NFT creatures to get new, stronger ones. The game spearheads the push into the “Living NFT” design, with each monster based on a unique set of genes that they can pass on to their offspring. Gamers met the project with a sweeping enthusiasm, buying up all of the initial NFTs in one second. 

Levana: Edutainment, crypto-style

While most games offer users nothing but entertainment, Terra-based Levana Finance takes things further, using gamified apps and services to educate users about DeFi basics. It offers users a platform for trading with leverage of up to 2X—and a whole array of games and products drawing on the lore behind its sci-fi setting.

In the Levanaverse, the year is about 2,500 AD, and humans have managed to expand to Mars, colonizing the Red Planet. But the process did not go as smoothly as planned, and now, as the way back home is cut off, the colonists have to build up their nascent civilization in the inhospitable world. Four distinct factions emerge to vie for power, as they usually do in sci-fi, from the scheming Council to the rebellious Free Martians. Oh, and there are also dragons!

Expanding its universe through new gaming projects and other mediums, from comic books to novels, Levana works to introduce more users to crypto and Web3. In doing so, it places the bet on the entertainment factor, giving its audience not just dry dashboards, but entire experiences brimming with lore and character.

Spielworks: To dungeons deep and caverns old

If Levana works to introduce users to crypto and leveraged trading, Spielworks, a German developer of blockchain apps and services for gaming and finance, took aim at something different in its own venture into the edutainment field. Its recent multi-chain Wombat Dungeon Master NFT game introduces users to the concept of NFT staking, enabling them to earn on the non-fungible tokens in their possession.

The game sees users stake their NFTs into the proverbial Dungeon and send out their Wombats on a treasure hunt. Delving deep into the great below, the Wombats mine useful resources and gain Experience points, which allow them to level up and bring in more rewards. Besides introducing the users to staking, the game also works as a showcase for NFT collections from dozens of partner projects.

The Wombat Dungeon Master game is part of the larger network of P2E services that Spielworks is building. Its other solutions include the Wombat Wallet, a multi-chain crypto wallet built for gamers, and Womplay, a platform that allows users to earn crypto and NFTs by simply playing dozens of the supported mobile and Web games. The company works to promote blockchain adoption in the larger gaming industry, with actual gamer ownership over in-game assets as its major goal.

Monoverse: Of dinosaurs and fruits

Monoverse, a leading Korean blockchain game developer, is offering users its own take on the reptilian theme we touched upon earlier with the dragons. Its own NFT game, Frutti Dino, enables anyone to become the owner of a cartoony NFT dinosaur exploring—you guessed it—the Dinoverse. Users can train their digital reptiles, craft various items for them, breed them to get new ones, and send them to take part in a variety of challenges, from battles to races.

Fruitti Dino will be just one of the blockchain gaming projects and services that Monoverse is building. The company is also working on a marketplace that will allow users to trade their NFTs. Its other blockchain project is Pieta, a social platform for digital art connoisseurs that also utilizes NFT technology.

Monoverse is expanding its gaming portfolio, too, venturing out into the casual strategy genre with mobile titles Hero Fighters and Kingdom of Warfare. 

The Six Muskotiers: Blade and bullet do the trick

“All for one and one for all,” Dumas’s Three Musketeers famously proclaimed. Now, their battlecry can ring through the crypto space, which is, as usual, upping the ante by making it double. And of course, The Six Muskotiers, a new P&E title, also throws in a dog into the equation, because anything is better when a dog is involved.

In fact, Shoki, the pup of the six Muskotiers, is at the center of the game’s lore as he kicks off an accidental shuttle launch. This sets off a string of events that pits the kids against an ominous AI looking to take over humankind. To prevent this, the protagonists arm up with their Muskogear, from swords to rifles and heavy armor, and head to the arena.

The game draws inspiration from classical multiplayer titles such as League of Legends to offer players tactical single and multiplayer gameplay. It uses procedural generation for its levels, resulting in endless replayability, and features a variety of character archetypes split across three roles: Striker, Midfield, and Defender. The developers are making their product cybersport-friendly, creating the foundation for a competitive scene to rise in the future.

XMANNA: Adding more game to your game

While e-sports are long past their obscurity stage, now garnering million-strong audiences and the attention from top advertisers and sponsors, traditional sports see their popularity dwindling—especially among younger viewers. XMANNA, a company working to bring the sports industry on the blockchain and Metaverse rails, tackles the problem with a multi-pronged approach, where gamification is one of the core pillars.

The company recently inked a partnership with the Inter Miami CF Major League Soccer team, owned by none other than David Beckham. Besides seeing its logo placed on the sleeve of players’ jerseys, XMANNA will work to help the club connect with the fans in a new way, amping up the engagement and entertainment efforts.

XMANNA’s solution gives game developers and sports clubs a toolset for easy integration, enabling clubs to offer fun gamified experiences during ad breaks in-game broadcasts. It also offers clubs a white-label loyalty platform that can be tailored to their needs as well as Metaverse stadiums, which work as an NFT ticketing solution and a stage for digital concerts and other virtual events. 

Time Raiders: Shoot ‘em and loot ‘em

While most video games tend to stick to only one historical period in their setting, that’s not good enough for Time Raiders. Instead, the P&E title sends players on an epic treasure hunt spanning a plethora of eras and locations, from China of the Three Kingdoms period to a steampunk version of Victorian London. In all of these, time-traveling gamers will be running and gunning their way through crowds of enemies to collect valuable loot and bring it back to the mother base.

Built by veteran developers, the game runs on the Unity engine, ensuring a quality user experience and great visuals. It offers players riveting and fast-paced gameplay, including player-versus-player and player-versus environment modes. Besides the regular weaponry, such as handguns and sniper rifles, it will allow players to call in the heavy cavalry—from mobile artillery to fighter planes and bombers.

The game’s economy will heavily rely on NFTs to handle ownership over most in-game assets, from the firearms and war machines to entire levels, which players will be able to lease for exclusive access. While many NFT titles come with an upfront cost for entry, Time Raiders will be free for anyone to join in and start playing. And it also has already released a dinosaur as one of the in-game boss monsters, so for those counting the reptiles, here’s another one.

BattleFly: Flutter like a butterfly, sting like a fighter jet

As cool as the dinosaurs are, BattleFly, an NFT strategy game, instead turns to creatures that are way smaller and more gentle than the primordial predators. You wouldn’t want to upset the butterflies from its universe, though, as these are not your regular peaceful insects. They are the most advanced weapons systems out there, and they are ready to fight.

After hatching their BattleFlies from their cocoons, players send them to Gardens, where they look for weapons to equip and hone their combat skills. They can also send their weaponized insects to Hyperdomes, the battle arenas where BattleFlies face off against one another to bring their owners rewards.

BattleFlies is part of the larger TreasureDAO Metaverse, a hub world connecting multiple Metaverse, gaming, and crypto projects. BattleFly aims to expand its inclusive integration with Treasure over time, adding support to its NFTs and engaging with other platforms in this space.

OVER: Virtual experiences, real world

While with most video games, whether blockchain or not, the players can usually just sit back with a controller or keyboard before them and enjoy, OVER works as the backbone for more active experiences. Its platform works as the infrastructure for Pokemon Go-style adventures tapping into the augmented reality (AR) technology to bring the users digital experiences in the real world.

OVER uses blockchain and NFTs to handle ownership over the Spatial Locations, hexagons of real-world space. Whoever holds the NFT for a specific real-world location will control the AR experiences available there. Thanks to the location scanning data the company has collected, its AR applications are very precise in terms of virtual object location, enabling intricate and detailed designs. 

OVER’s products include a robust SDK for developers to build and integrate their AR experiences with its platform. Besides the most basic projects, such as virtual objects placed at a specific location, it supports more complex applications, including interactive experiences and entire P2E games.      

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Ariel Shapira
Ariel Shapira is a father, entrepreneur, speaker, cyclist and serves as founder and CEO of Social-Wisdom, a consulting agency working with tech companies and helping them to establish connections with international markets.