In case you haven't read my article the other day, I'm a bit dissatisfied with the way things are going in the blockchain gaming world right now. Many so called games don't really deserve the name, being more about staking or earning cryptos in other ways. Now I'm obviously not opposed to the idea of earning crypto through gaming, I do the Play2Earn Report every week after all, but I want my games to be fun and entertaining first. I've spend a bigger portion of my Sunday looking through the new and upcoming titles in the crypto world and while there was much rubbish, some stood out to me. One of them is Neon District which is going to be today's topic.
As always with these kind of articles, I'll give you a short introduction to the game first, highlight where things are heading and what could make the game interesting, and finally answer the ever important question - Is it worth your time? Let's get right into it!
Neon District is set in your classical cyberpunk setting like you might know from Cyberpunk 2077 for example. The game itself is going to be a RPG tactics game. If you know games like Darkest Dungeon or Star Traders, you will immediately know what to expect and how to play. Squads of up to 4 are facing each other in round based combat where they take turns attacking each other, buffing their teammates, healing, or debuffing the opposing team.
At the beginning of each battle, turn order is randomized and each of the 8 combatants gets to perform one action. Each action has a certain "tick" cost which is added to the character. When all characters acted once, the character with the lowest tick count gets to act next. So you could focus on performing many smaller actions with a low tick cost or go for the heavy hits at the price of having to wait longer before you can act again. It's a pretty interesting way to set up combat and allows for some deep plays where you try to position your crew in a way that will allow the right character to act at the right moment. Your healer should really only act when there's someone to heal for example. At the same time, you might be able to string your actions together so that you can take out an opponent before he has a chance to react to your actions.
Each character has his own set of 20 actions in total. Each turn, he is presented with 3 random options among the actions in his deck and he can also always choose to do a base attack for normal damage but also costing a rather high amount of ticks. These action cards are dictated by the character class and the weapon he is using.
Both your characters and your items can be leveled and each time they gain a level, you also get the chance to replace one of your cards with a new one. As you can see from the screenshot above, Neon District is going to be deep... pretty deep. It's a completely different beast than an auto-battler like Splinterlands. Characters have different stats with different effects and your items can gain hundreds of different attributes and passive effects when leveled. The game wants to be an actual RPG, not just in name, but also in reality.
This obviously is not going to be for everyone. So far, blockchain games have mostly been lightweights in terms of complexity. While Splinterlands is a really deep game once you dive in, it's super easy to set up and get going. Pick your monsters, have them battle, look at the results. Getting into Neon District is probably going to take a lot more afford. Nevertheless, I applaud their courage to try something different instead of doing the next copy of a proven concept.
As with many games I talk about, Neon District still has a long road ahead of it before it should be considered feature complete. It currently is in an early Alpha state and only parts of the gameplay are already functional. Right now, it features an idle game called Neo Pizza and the opportunity to do practice matches without ranking or leaderboards.
In Neo Pizza, you send your agents to either deliver pizza or try to ambush other teams delivering pizza. This part of the game is fully automated and a way to earn some ingame currency for free. In case of an ambush, combat is fully automated but you get to watch the replay if you want to.
The practice matches work fine already but there's obviously still a lot of issues to be fixed. Animations not playing correctly, things not being animated when they should, or the animation simply not matching the action. At the same time, everything seems to be a little slow right now, the game's responsiveness needs to be improved as well. Nevertheless, these are all issues that are to be expected that early in development and they all can and will be fixed eventually. From what I can tell so far, combat is really complex with many different attacks, buffs, and status effects all changing the way combat will play out. My first match I was totally overwhelmed by all the different options and I mostly just went with direct attacks, which most likely is not the ideal thing to do.
So far as to give a first impression to the game and back to the initial question! Is it worth your time? It's been a while since I was able to give such a clear answer to that. It absolutely is! Yes the game is still early in development, there are many things missing, but it's already clear to see that this is another kind of beast. Neon District is no money grab that's trying to gobble up as much money as possible without showing any actual gampelay. The game is (very) complex, the art is looking good, tactic games are great and have a lot of fans. In short, this could be one of the titles with an actual shot at the mainstream market. They even have a Steam site set up for them hinting at a release in July so they definitely don't aim at the blockchain world only, these guys want to actively target the mainstream market.
Neon District is going to be one of the games I actively follow from now on, so expect regular updates as soon as anything is happening on their end. I'll also make it a part of the Play2Earn report in case something noteworthy happened during the week.
And that's all from me for today, thank you all for reading and see you next time!