This week I’m reviewing two very different fully on-chain games: Pirate Nation and This Cursed Machine. One is a bright colorful game where you sail the seas as a pirate, the other one is a brutal text-based horror game where you lose all your limbs at the start. Lovely.
Pirate Nation is one of the more famous FOGs. My impression is that it looks and plays very much like a mobile game. You have your pirate NFT(s) and your own island. There’s gathering, crafting, upgrading, and bounties. And the part that I particularly liked is ship battles or “Gauntlet”. You get a deck of cards with actions on them and a number of action points that you can spend each turn.
But let’s start from the beginning. To start playing you’ll need a pirate NFT or a playtest code. I got a playtest code link that brought me to a pirate selection screen.
After pressing Continue you need to connect your Google account, Discord account, or email to sign up. All three options connect your email address to the game.
Once you do that, the game creates an in-game wallet for you to play with. Once that’s created, you also connect your existing main wallet (with MetaMask or whatnot) to store your NFTs. So there are three accounts to connect and play the game – in-game wallet, one of your socials, and your wallet. That’s a lot.
After getting a short tutorial you start on Parrot’s Perch island. As a side note, I didn’t realize that the land you start on is Parrot’s Perch and not your island. There’s a button that you press to travel to your island. Your island is completely empty unless you decorate it with found or crafted items. Parrot’s Perch is not yours.
Once you start playing there are several things for you to do. You can use icons in the lower left corner to access those things or you can use buildings on the island to access them and some other tasks.
As of right now, I found it confusing as to what I’m supposed to do and in what order. I think the game would benefit from making first few tasks tutorial tasks. It’s not that hard to figure things out but there are a lot of things to look through.
Just so you get the picture, the actions that are available to you from the first screen are:
- The Wishing Well
- Your island
And there aren’t any directions about where to start besides the short tutorial at the beginning.
But basically, you have your limited replenishable energy to do Quests. You do quests to gain money (Marks), experience points, and crafting items. You can also do Bounties to get money, XP, and randomized loot. Bounties take real time (from two hours to six days) to complete and you send your pirate to complete them. While your pirate is searching for bounties, you can still use them for other tasks, which is great. Some Bounties require money or a crew of pirates to start.
You access your Inventory to see what you have and open any chests you’ve found. Crafting shows you what items are available to craft with the items that you’ve gathered. I assume this part is not yet finished because there’s very limited sorting of the crafting recipes available. Some of the items you can craft are used in Quests to gather new kinds of items. Some are purely cosmetic items. Most important things you can craft are definitely the ships. You’ll need ships for battles.
I’m going to leave some of the menu items out or we’ll be here all day. I think the least useful is the Log because it just shows you your in-game wallet transaction history. The most exciting one is Gauntlet, where you get to fight in battles with other ships, waves, or sea creatures.
To level up your pirate you need to farm XP AND pay Marks. Once you reach level 10 you unlock trading where you can start getting Gold and trade your items on the marketplace. The more Gold you have the higher you rank on the game’s leaderboard.
You also unlock a new card for your deck each time you level up.
To level up your ships you need to grind to gather specific items required to build new and better ships. The sea battles get progressively harder with time which makes it more exciting to play and also makes you want a better ship.
My main gripes with Pirate Nation are:
- Very surface level item gathering and crafting, like the easiest mobile game you can think of.
- Full screen mode. When you’re not in full screen, the game doesn’t scale well and parts of it are cut off by the website’s UI. You have to constantly adjust and scroll up and down. Full screen mode fixes that, but some of the game’s buttons open new tabs in your browser and bring you out of it again. Those new tabs usually open up Open Sea or an in-game shop.
Otherwise it’s a nice game especially if you like the visual style of it. It’s fun to build your deck and do Gauntlet battles. Would love to see what multiplayer options they might add and how the gameplay progresses overall during development.
This Cursed Machine
According to the game’s telegram channel, TCM is a sci-fi body horror fulfilment center simulator. First off, you can sign up to playtest TCM yourself here. I’m not spoiling anything in this review.
You start off with a text screen that gives you a glimpse of the game’s general tone. Then there’s a very lengthy loading screen. The music, or rather the ambient sounds in the game are fantastic.
There are no wallets or accounts to connect.
The first thing that happens to you in the game is you lose all your limbs and you agree to fulfil
tasks orders given to you by TCM (This Cursed Machine). You’re now a Stub living in a Pod.
You acknowledge your orders by doing a Blink. And you eat Bugs to sustain yourself. The orders generally consist of you having to make drinks. But you can’t make something out of nothing so you first need to collect your bodily fluids..
Anyway, the gameplay is not completely text based, it also has puzzle kind of mechanics. You connect your pod to the source of sustenance (bugs) and then to different kinds of factories or nodes to either collect materials or combine materials into drinks. You do that with pipes and there is a game logic behind when, where, and how you can connect those pipes.
There is a finite amount of levels to the game and once you complete them all you get ranked. Your rank depends on the time it took you to complete the game. If you did good, you can see your name (that you enter at the end) on the game’s leaderboard.
It’s a fun little game with a kind of unique setting and tone of voice. I recommend you try it out yourself so I won’t spoil more details. While there isn’t a storyline per se, it’s fun to experience the game firsthand. Just get the map.
As you could have guessed from my short description, the setting is pretty brutal so be warned. If you’d like more spoilers and strategies for the game, I recommend this article by AW Research.
Thank you for reading! What other games would you like me to review? If you want me to review yours – add it to this awesome list of web3 games on GitHub.
Like video games and baseball? Stay tuned for gamedev news from Moonstream about Fullcount, the fully on-chain game that we’re developing.