While NFT games have exploded over the past year, the starting costs for some leave many prospective players wanting free alternatives.
With in-game assets in Axie Infinity, for example, selling for hundreds of dollars, there’s a growing demand for more accessible free-to-play games on the blockchain.
Free NFT Games
There are plenty of NFT games that don't have any upfront costs. Here's a selection of free NFT games you can get your hands on.
Gods Unchained is one of the most prominent free-to-play NFT games currently available that lets players earn.
When players start, they are granted a Welcome Set of 140 cards. These do not sit on the blockchain, and therefore cannot be sold.
As players level up and play games in Gods Unchained, they unlock packs that give you Common Core cards. These are also not minted on the blockchain.
However, by winning Ranked matches, players will earn Flux. Flux is a tool they can use in the Gods Unchained Forge to ‘fuse’ duplicate Common Core cards together. This process creates full cards that sit on the Ethereum blockchain, and can be traded via the Marketplace.
- Read More: Best NFT Games for Mobile
The Sandbox is an immersive 3D metaverse NFT game that let users monetize their in-house gaming creations by letting them retain the rights to the elements that they have created in the game.
The game allows users to take control of their surroundings and allows them to own plots of virtual land to build and craft new creations.
The game has been built on Ethereum and utilizes its own currency called tbe SAND which is tradeable on multiple crypto exchanges.
Guild of Guardians
Guild of Guardians is a free mobile RPG set to launch in 2022. Published by Immutable, the game’s website is critical of the current gaming ecosystem, stating:
Players spend $100 billion each year on in‑game items which they don't truly own. This is wrong. Players deserve to be able to own and trade their assets for real money.
While we don’t know the full details of the game just yet, its FAQs make clear the intention to create a free-to-play NFT game that won’t require spending. The FAQs state:
Players can play for free and earn heroes and items without spending any money.
Guild of Guardians also emphasises the game will not be pay-to-win, with its design focusing on skill and strategy. The developers also not that as the game is not focused on PvP, any money spent will not come at the expense of others.
If you want a Pokemon-style NFT game, then the MMORPG Chainmonsters could be a good option.
Running on the FLOW blockchain, Chainmonsters allows you to collect Chainmons and items, which can be sold on the marketplace.
Chainmonsters is currently in its final alpha test period, with 10,000 players having access to the game. It will then launch into open beta and, according to its FAQs, will eventually release on PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch.
Splinterlands is a free-to-play trading card game that runs on the Hive blockchain.
While it is free-to-play, if players want to trade their in-game assets, they will need to purchase a Summoner’s Spellbook for $10. This grants players access to their keys and allows them to earn rewards.
The FAQs explain the reasoning behind this decision:
The fact that traditional free-to-play games give out in-game currencies and items to anyone who signs up for free highlights the fact that the items are infinitely printable and mostly worthless. Splinterlands is different. All of the game cards and the in-game currency, Dark Energy Crystals (DEC), are limited in quantity and able to be bought and sold on various platforms. This means that it’s not possible for them to be handed out to anyone who signs up with an email address, and in order to start earning them players need to put a little bit of skin in the game.
Coin Hunt World
If NFTs aren't your thing and you prefer pure coins and tokens, Coin Hunt World could be the crypto game for you.
Using the Pokemon GO-style of geo-exploration gameplay in the real world, players can earn cryptocurrency by finding keys and unlocking vaults. After finding a key and vault, the game asks players a trivia question, rewarding them either with in-game items or cryptocurrency if answered right.
Players earned a collective $1.5m in 2021, walking a collective 35 million kilometres in the process.
The slight downside to Coin Hunt World is that it is only available in a limited number of countries. These are the US, Canada, El Salvador, and the UK, with the Philippines coming some.
Axie Infinity Scholarship
Given how this article started, it may be odd to find Axie Infinity on this list.
However, through the unofficial Axie Infinity ‘scholarship’ feature, many long-time Axie Infinity players (known as Managers) will lend out their Axies to new starters (Scholars).
In return, Managers and Scholars will divide the rewards earned through the Scholar’s play, with players usually receiving 60/70% of the rewards.
As Axie Infinity is among the most popular NFT games, Axie Infinity Scholarships can be hard to come by, especially as they require a significant amount of trust between parties.
Described as an open-world exploration, NFT creature collector, and auto battler game, Illuvium is one of the leading crypto games available in recent times.
Built on the ethereum blockchain, the play-to-earn game is filled with enriching graphics that allow users to explore 7 alien landscapes in their quest to restore Illuvium.
The gameplay involves users collecting 100+ illuvials or deadly beasts who rule the alien realms. As far as Illuvium game release date is concerned, the users can already register with the website to access its beta version.
Are Free-To-Play NFT Games Too Good To Be True?
As with every aspect of cryptocurrencies, it is always necessary to do your own research and due diligence before investing in any project.
Even if these projects don’t require any fees to start, there are always risks or issues that can crop up.
Some free NFT games may rely heavily on RNG mechanics, while others may feature pay-to-win mechanics that lock the best assets behind paywalls.
Aside from this, depending on the tokenomics and set-up of the NFT game, your in-game asset prices can fluctuate or lose their value quickly.