This year, a number of new games with NFTs and crypto tokens splashed onto the scene with a mix of early access releases and full launches. From shooters to trading card games and RPGs, there’s now a wide range of games in the blockchain space for both PCs and mobile devices.
Here’s a look at the biggest blockchain games that really broke out—and generated excitement—in 2023.
The interplanetary sci-fi trading card game Parallel is, without a doubt, one of the games that made the biggest impact in blockchain gaming in 2023. From its closed beta launch to gorgeous card art and deeply strategic gameplay, Parallel is setting a higher standard for what NFT-enhanced games can look like—making it not only one of the biggest Web3 games of the year but also GG’s 2023 Game of the Year.
While many TCGs can feel like little more than Hearthstone clones, Parallel has really set itself apart from the competition with its unique factions or “parallels” that offer special abilities, like Augencore’s ability to “upgrade” cards and Kathari’s cloning abilities. Furthermore, Parallel is already expanding its world with a separate “Colony” game in development that plans to use AI-powered characters that interact with the blockchain.
Illuvium is an ambitious sci-fi fantasy project that currently spans four games and tons of NFTs. Its open-world RPG and pet collecting game, Overworld, is still in beta but already offers gorgeous, immersive environments and some seriously fun flying mechanics. Its pet battler arena mode, Arena, also looks promising as esports giant Team Liquid has promised to help advise the Illuvium team on Arena’s development.
This pixelated browser game is one of the few titles on this list that’s been fully released. Pixels generated a lot of buzz on social media after it migrated to Axie Infinity’s Ronin blockchain—and fans are looking forward to the project’s anticipated second token launch and airdrop.
While browser games often leave a lot to be desired, Pixels’ minimalistic, retro 2D look and chatty community that grew substantially this year make it one of the biggest blockchain games of 2023.
Shrapnel is a first-person extraction shooter with serious promise. It’s among the 6% of blockchain games that have actually gotten AAA-levels of funding, recently raising another $20 million for its game development back in October. The game’s sci-fi dystopian world already looks cinematic, offering more varied color palettes and atmosphere than your typical Call of Duty game.
The Shrapnel team has also built its own blockchain tech, GameBridge, to facilitate its NFT items—and has truly taken an all-in approach to high-stakes crypto gaming. With its early access rollout planned to begin in January, Shrapnel is positioned to compete with the likes of Escape from Tarkov and other high-budget shooters.
Off the Grid
The upcoming crypto-powered battle royale shooter Off the Grid has dystopian “District 9” film director Neill Blomkamp as its chief creative officer. This year, the Off the Grid studio launched its own dedicated Avalanche-based blockchain subnet’s test network, which will power all of the upcoming game’s crypto transactions. A mobile companion game was also launched, offering players the ability to race around virtual industrial spaces with a drone to collect loot that will be usable in the main game.
With its visionary CCO, continued progress, and ambitious battle royale plans, Off the Grid is without a doubt one of the biggest blockchain games of the year—even though it’s still in development.
Deadrop is an upcoming first-person shooter that has offered up multiple playable early access builds to fans this year. The game is being created by ex-Halo developers as well as the YouTuber Dr. Disrespect, who’s already cultivated a passionate community around the game. At a Las Vegas event, fans showed up in Deadrop-themed cosplay—and the latest game build unveiled car races, putting a new twist on the extraction shooter.
My Pet Hooligan
My Pet Hooligan (MPH) is a quirky, colorful battle royale shooter that offers optional NFTs and tokens alongside its game, which was released on the Epic Games Store this year. Like many of the other games on this list, MPH has a passionate group of fans on social media who love posting their edgy rabbit avatars in Twitter reply sections. The game itself is also a lot of fun, offering weapons like paintball and water guns as well as a cartoonish map that feels as if Futurama met Fortnite.
Year in review
Overall, this year represented a real step forward for the space, but many of the most appealing games are still in development and are far from being feature-complete. Out of the games that have been released this year, many still feel unfinished or a little too pay-to-win to be fun long-term. But there are a lot of strong starting points.
Will 2024 finally be the year that we see a breakout game that brings blockchain to the masses, as some industry proponents believe? Stay tuned to GG as we continue to closely cover this growing industry.
Edited by Andrew Hayward