Alongside the booming crypto art and collectible scene, 2021 has seen the emergence of an exciting NFT gaming space. Successfully integrating crypto technology into gameplay mechanics that we all know and love, NFT gaming provides a way to relax for a couple of hours while also profiting at the same time. By trading and selling items, characters, and tokens with other players, these games are not only a source of entertainment but a viable method of earning. Through this earning potential and immersive gameplay, these games mean any time invested is rewarded.
Whether you’re looking for a play-to-earn NFT game or just something a little bit different that utilizes crypto technology, here’s our list of the top 20 NFT games of 2021.
1. Axie Infinity
One of the biggest and best, Axie Infinity pits players against each other in Pokemon-style battles involving teams of 3 monsters called axies. Winning battles rewards players with Smooth Love Potions (SLP), the game’s native ERC-20 token, which can be used to feed and breed Axies and trade on the marketplace. Through platforms like Uniswap v2, SLP can even be sold for fiat.
With card-based mechanics and an additional adventure mode, Axie Infinity has a lot of content to keep players busy.
Available on PC, Mac, and Android, and iOS, Splinterlands is a tradeable card game with play as you earn mechanics. Splinterlands has players build a deck of virtual cards depicting different fighters, each with varying stats and abilities. Similar to Magic the Gathering, players pit it out on a virtual battlefield, with each trying to trump the other. With some elements of luck mixed in with a great deal of skill, Splinterlands is a great introduction to NFT gaming.
With players owning the cards in their deck in NFT form, they’re free to buy, sell, and trade as they see fit.
3. Alien Worlds
Simulating interplanetary trade and exploration, Alien Worlds is an NFT game that sees players compete or collaborate in acquiring Trilium (TLM), the game’s cross-chain token. Players can buy or earn NFTs and TLM by mining on Alien Worlds in a DeFi metaverse. NFTs range from land, tools to weapons and avatars, each with unique values, statistics, and abilities.
The most unique thing about Alien Worlds is its Planet DAOs system, where the direction of the game can be dictated by the election of Councillors.
4. League of Kingdoms
League of Kingdoms is an MMO strategy game where players fight, trade, and collaborate in a medieval-style fantasy world. All assets in the game are stored as NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain, including food, land, materials, and in-game currency, meaning they can be traded freely.
Available in-browser or as a mobile app, League of Kingdoms is one of the best NFT games to passively earn as you play.
Decentraland is an enormous metaverse where players can play, interact, explore, and develop plots of land. Similar to the popular social game Second Life, Decentraland has an active community that sells animations and in-game assets through the marketplace. In Decentraland, you can play games, visit each other’s property, roll some dice at a casino, visit an art gallery or just go for a walk.
The most groundbreaking aspect of Decentraland is that the game is divided into 90,000 plots of LAND that are bought, sold, and outright owned by players. Owning a plot of land lets you develop on it as you see fit.
6. Gods Unchained
One of the most top NFT games of 2021, Gods Unchained is a great introduction to blockchain-based gaming. The game is a familiar card-based strategy game with players matching up in PVP-style battles. Cards are acquired through direct purchases and winning matches. Unlike some other card games, however, the game places an emphasis on skill rather than luck, incorporating a ranking system to keep things fair.
With each card existing on the Ethereum blockchain as an ERC-721 token, they can be bought, sold, and traded as you wish.
7. Zed Run
If Tron and horse racing had a baby, Zed Run would be the result. The aim of the game is to breed and train virtual horses to compete against others in races. Each and every virtual horse exists as an NFT, with each completely unique thanks to a DNA system. The DNA system dictates speed, endurance, rarity, and bloodline.
Zed Run is available as a mobile app and in-browser.
Sorare is a fantasy football (soccer) game where players collect digital cards to form a complete team. With each card representing a real-life footballer, the card’s statistics are dictated by the real-world performance of the player. Winning matches with your team sees you move through the leagues, with your team becoming more valuable as a result.
With a thriving card market that can be influenced by real-world events, Sorare is an exciting opportunity to use football knowledge to cash in.
Based on the auto-chess gameplay concept popularized by the hit games DOTA and League of Legends, Illuvium is an NFT version of the same. Upon release, players will journey through a huge landscape, collecting and battling Illuvium creatures.
Set to release in 2021/2022 backed by Ethereum and with pokemon inspired characters, Illuvium is set to be one of the biggest things to hit the space.
10. Town Star
From the makers of the massively popular mobile games Farmville and Words with Friends, Town Star is a farming simulator where players hire workers, sow seeds, harvest crops, sell for profit, and aim to be the best farmer they can be.
The game runs on a six-day cycle, resetting each week. The most productive farmers at the end of each cycle are rewarded with tokens and NFTs.
11. The Sandbox
Similar to Decentraland, The Sandbox is an open-world metaverse where players build and trade NFT assets. Being voxel-based, however, The Sandbox sets itself apart by allowing players to manipulate the world directly, akin to Minecraft. With in-game tools allowing animation and programmability, players can then sell creations on the marketplace.
As well as the native SAND ERC-20 token used as currency, the game also has NFT plots of land that can be bought, traded, and sold.
12. Chicken Derby
As the name suggests, Chicken Derby is a racing game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. With 33,333 chickens in the market, each with unique stats, each race is fast and exciting, giving players the opportunity to earn ETH as a reward.
The gameplay loop is simple, buy a chicken NFT from the marketplace, put them in a race, and watch them compete against other players live. With the ability to breed chickens, the game also gives players the chance to get lucky and land themselves a rare bird.
13. Crypto Raiders
Set to release in Fall 2021, Crypto Raiders sports 16-bit graphics similar to Zelda and looks to be one of the most exciting NFT games coming our way. The game is inspired by rogue-likes where perma-death is a constant threat raising the stakes considerably. Players will choose one of only 7,5000 raiders and brave the pits of a dungeon, emerging (hopefully) with some NFT rewards.
With the risk of permanent death balanced by the opportunity to earn some lucrative rewards, Crypto Raiders is definitely one to keep a lookout for.
14. Nine Chronicles
A role-playing game where you assume the role of an adventurer, Nine Chronicles involves looting, fighting, exploring, and battling monsters. With beautiful side-scrolling graphics and the ability to direct the game’s focus through governance tokens, Nine Chronicles is one of the most polished NFT games currently out.
Fully decentralized with NFT technology incorporated throughout, the game enables the ability to earn while you play and even create in-game assets.
15. Lost Relics
Sitting somewhere between Diablo and Warcraft, Lost Relics is an action RPG where players explore dungeons, kill monsters, complete quests, and earn themselves some NFT loot. Through exploration and mission completion, players can land themselves virtual items thanks to the Enjin network, such as rare weapons and armor. These can be used to tackle harder dungeons and earn rarer loot, or sold on the marketplace for a profit.
16. Battle Racers
An arcade kart-sim like Mario Kart, Battle Racers is a blockchain racer that utilizes NFTs of weapons and parts to let players create the ultimate racing vehicle. Aside from the fast and furious gameplay, mixing and matching these parts is where strategy comes in, allowing players to prioritize handling over speed, for example.
Decked-out cars can then be sold on marketplaces like OpenSea for real-term profits. As well as in-browser, Battle Racers is accessible within Decentraland as a virtual game
Osiris is described as a “living breathing 2D decentralized metaverse” that uses Opal (OPAL) as the game’s currency. Within Osiris, players select a “Cosmis Kid” avatar which exist as ERC-721 tokens (10,000 currently available) and can inhabit the virtual world known as the Nexus, explore and play games such as Mini-Golf, Hopper, and Star Saber. Winning these games rewards players with currency tokens.
Osiris players can also own property that can be rented out or used for other purposes, providing a form of passive income.
18. Crypto Fights
Inspired by Dungeons and Dragons, Crypto Fights uses the same attribute mechanics as its tabletop counterpart with characters bearing different characteristics such as strength, dexterity, intelligence, and more.
Players complete quests and with other players, earning real cash through in-game tournaments. Playing the game earns rewards in the form of character progress, better weapons, and other useful items.
Crypto Fights is currently available on PC and as a mobile app.
Another soccer management sim, Rabona puts players in the position of a team manager and head coach, trying to steer their team to victory. The aim is to scout for untapped talent and develop your ground, increasing your income. The gameplay involves building a strong team and competing against others and management of the stadium. The most successful teams of each season earn Hive Rewards.
20. The Six Dragons
Self-proclaimed as the “world’s first blockchain open-world RPG,” The Six Dragons puts players into an enormous fantasy setting called Nemberus, measuring 256 square kilometers. Utilizing the Enjin blockchain, The Six Dragons allows players to explore the vast land, farm for materials, and collect unique items, all of which are tradeable as NFTs on the marketplace.
With NFTs giving a better sense of ownership, The Six Dragons sets itself apart from its more commercial alternatives.