Welcome to the World of NFTs in Space!*
Alien Worlds is a rapidly evolving blockchain game set in the distant future somewhere in space, where we find six planets owned by "The Federation," and advanced Bitcoin mining community which has discovered a new and valuable resource known as Trilium (TLM). This game makes use of multiple tokenized assets, allowing users to truly own the tools, weapons, and items they utilize in their adventure on the six planets. Want to learn more about how to become a universally feared space magnate in this free to play blockchain game? Let's dive in!
*Transparency note: The views expressed in this review are solely based on observations and research conducted by the author. The author has not received any sponsorship or payment from Alien Worlds for writing this article, and therefore the opinions formed are independent of any external influence.
Within Alien Worlds, users receive NFTs in the form of various cards. There are cards for weapons, land, tools, minions, and more. While the art style is consistent throughout the game, it does feel at times as though the visuals were designed by someone who hasn't seen a new game since the early 2000's. What one does have to give credit to the team for are the appealing planets and "spacescapes" in the game. The planets, although clearly defined by their patchy land areas, have a distinct look which truly immerse players in the feeling of being in a new, unexplored part of space. Currently, users are limited to a few potential avatars, but it seems likely that the team will add more options in the future, allowing users to differentiate themselves further within the Alien Worlds metaverse. While not detracting from its gameplay, the Alien World's team would benefit from revamping its in-game visuals as the games evolves.
One "spacescape" featuring three of the federation planets: Naron, Neri, and Veles
In its current state, Alien Worlds is limited in its complexity, as not all of the features of the game have been implemented. Users are limited to one main activity, which is mining for Trilium, the valuable in-game resource. In future updates, the team plans to introduce something called the "Thunder Dome," which will allow users to send their minions off to battle with various weapons they have discovered through mining. In its most intriguing planned addition, The Alien Worlds team is establishing a planetary governance system, in which users can stake Trilium on a planet, effectively becoming part of a planet's DAO committee (see section on underlying technology) and having the opportunity to influence planetary decision-making. Despite its current simplicity, the mining in Alien worlds in itself offers users the ability to create strategic mining approaches, by choosing the type of land where they mine, as well as the tools they use to do so. This has resulted in users taking up a multitude of approaches to the game, from heavy handed Trilium Magnates, to Equipment Barons who mine primarily for in-game NFTs, to those who apply a balanced approach based on their situation. The existing complexity, combined with the proposed future developments, are sure to leave gamers with a strategically engaging game which keeps them coming back for more.
This game is limited in its playability due to the fact that many planned features have not yet been fully implemented. As mentioned above, users are primarily limited to mining for Trilium, which consists of clicking a "mine" button, waiting to collect a reward, and then waiting for one's equipment to cool down before the next mining use. For users who are new to the game, this will feel a lot like "click, wait, repeat simulator 2021," but over time as they improve their equipment, users can begin to mine in larger quantities with larger cooldown times, effectively becoming a much less tedious activity and something which one looks forward to. In the future, if developments such as the "Thunder Dome" lives up to its hype-inspiring name, Alien Worlds is sure to be well-known for its fun and multi-dimensional features.
Ease of Use
At first glance, Alien Worlds' user interface is easy to use and easy to learn. However, the game clearly has room for improvement on user-friendliness. The introductory tutorial is wonky in its current state, often requiring a reconnect in order to move on to the next step. Furthermore, the need to click multiple times to mine and collect a reward would benefit from an automated process, or something which can be done all in one simple click. Another seemingly unintended aspect which stands out while playing, is the current inability to easily equip multiple tools of the same type, thus requiring user-made guides to be made as work arounds to these issues. The Alien Worlds team has work to do on the overall ease of use in this game, but at the moment the game is still enjoyable and relatively bug-free despite the small issues mentioned.
Cost Benefit Ratio
Alien Worlds has arguably one of the best cost to benefit ratios in blockchain gaming in 2021. Why, you ask? The game is free to play, and users are gifted an avatar and shovel to start mining from the beginning! The one thing which new users should keep in mind, is that the game requires CPU, NET and RAM in order conduct specific activities on the WAX Blockchain. It is always possible to stake WAX Tokens to increase these resources, but users could potentially get into a scenario where they do not have the CPU or RAM to conduct activities. This is easily mitigated by the miniscule amount of WAX necessary to increase one's CPU, NET, and RAM on the blockchain. The outstanding part of Alien Worlds is the fact that its free to play model genuinely immerses players into the game universe by allowing anyone to work their way up the Federation food chain and become an influential miner. As with many blockchain games, there will always be those who pay in for a jump-start in wealth, but this game is a great pick for gamers on a limited budget.
Alien Worlds describes itself as the only "cross-denominated" Ethereum/WAX project in the blockhain gaming universe. To explain what that means, one has to separate the elements of the game into two key segments:
- The Trilium Token (TLM), a fungible token which exists on the Ethereum blockchain (and can also exist on the WAX blockchain)
- All other in-game assets, which are Non-Fungible tokens (NFTs) which exist on the WAX blockchain
For those who are new to the tech behind blockchain games, think of Trilium as an interchangeable "currency" which exists in the Alien Worlds universe. The main difference from other non-blockchain games is that you can exchange TLM for WAX, which has an actual real world value, and can also be used to buy items on numerous NFT marketplaces, such as Atomic Hub. This is where you can convert your mined TLM to buy better equipment and in game assets. Furthermore, according to the Alien Worlds technical blueprint, the in-game assets "exist as a row in the database of the Atomic Assets smart contract" on the WAX blockchain, using the Atomic Assets protocol.
The Atomic Assets Marketplace, where users can buy, sell, and trade NFTs
All-in all the game is built on top of a unique combination of the WAX and Ethereum blockchain, which are both sound foundations on which to continuously improve the game.
As with many blockchain games, the Alien Worlds community is heavily alive on Discord! In fascinating fashion, a unique community aspect has formed organically within the Alien Worlds universe: Mining Syndicates. These syndicates are groups of land-owning individuals who have formed communities where they entice players to their properties with low mining commissions, giveaways, contests, and more. It is highly likely that these unofficial syndicates will likely come to have an even more influential role in the game when it comes to planetary governance, so it is highly advised to check the different groups out in discord before deciding which one you like the most! Alongside the excitement of syndicates, the Alien Worlds community is very friendly and supportive. For example, users have even been known to stake their WAX for new players in order to assist them with the CPU issues mentioned above, and community members always shared user-created tutorials and answers all around. While the development team is not extremely active in the community, they are always present and regularly give updates. In a nutshell, the user community is one of Alien Worlds' core strengths.
Conclusion and Final Score
In summation, Alien Worlds is yet another unique addition to the blockchain gaming universe, both with its immersive storyline and growing complexity and engagement. The visuals of the game would greatly benefit from a revamp for a more modern sci-fi look and feel, but the unique designs do not detract from the gameplay. The complexity and fun factor of Alien Worlds is currently hindered by the limited activity offering, however the proposed developments will likely contribute to a rapidly evolving complexity in dynamics, strategy, and fun with the additions of planetary governance and the "Thunder Dome" minion fights. The game is relatively easy to use, but not perfect, as a few quality of life updates would improve the gameplay for new and less blockchain-savvy users.
Alien Worlds' redeeming characteristics can be found in its All-Around Features. The free to play model immerses players in the metaverse, and provides a fair opportunity to grow and participate in the game, meaning the game is highly accessible to gamers of all budgets. Moreover, the underlying technology provides a strong foundation for future developments, and is built on sound, future-proof networks. The true star of the show is the game's user community, which is helpful and supportive, and which also adds organically evolving complexity to the game through the growth of community mining syndicates and user tutorials, thus stimulating growth and engagement on the Federation planets.
For those who are new to blockchain games or with a low budget, this game is an excellent choice. I, Sir Snorfkin, hereby decree that Alien Worlds receives a final score of THREE point SEVEN crowns out of five.
Final Score: 3.7/5 (👑👑👑)
Fun Factor: 3/5
Ease of Use: 4/5
Cost Benefit Ratio: 5/5
Underlying Technology: 4/5
User Community: 5/5
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Acknowledgements: A big shout out to Vulpes from the Alien World community for his help learning about the game, and thanks to Morty from the Alien Worlds team for his support in providing Alien World's logos for their use in this article.