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Looking for an NFT-enabled game with an Overwatch-like hero shooter vibe? Bushi from Web3 studio Onenet may fit the bill: it's a fast-paced, third-person arena combat title with game mechanics reportedly inspired by the likes of Spellbreak, GunZ The Duel, and battle royale smash Fortnite.
Although it’s currently in open alpha, the game already feels surprisingly polished, built as it is atop the powerful and industry-leading Unreal Engine 5 development suite. It’s clear that considerable effort has been invested in making Bushi look unique.
The main character is Son Goku, a Japanese interpretation of the Monkey King from Chinese legend, while the game itself has a feudal Japanese setting paired with a slightly cartoonish cel-shaded aesthetic that recalls Borderlands and Overwatch. Arenas include a temple, dohyō, and bridge that’ll be familiar sights from countless martial arts films.
In action, the gameplay is frenetic and athletic, with characters double-jumping, sliding, and pirouetting off walls. Ranged and melee attacks can be charged with a long-press, while headshots deliver substantial damage without necessarily resulting in an insta-kill.
There are some balancing issues in the mix, as you’d expect from an alpha build. The one ranged weapon, a bow and arrow, is a bit feeble (and tricky to aim for this rather rusty player), meaning that battles tend to devolve into close-quarters affairs. With just one slash attack, melee combat can feel a little unrefined, too; blocking is simply a case of hitting slash at the same time as an incoming strike.
Special moves include a shield, a dash, and a hilariously overpowered sliding slash—the latter of which is directional, so it can be used to whoosh yourself up to a higher level. It leaves the user vulnerable to a well-timed shield, though, which results in the attacker taking half damage. Depending on the move in question, you have one or several abilities “banked,” with all three recharging over time at different rates.
For the time being, the alpha is confined to testing out gameplay. Web3 elements such as an in-game economy have yet to be introduced—a refreshing change, frankly, given that many past Web3 titles seem to position themselves as an earning opportunity first and an actual game a distant second. Bushi, Onenet assures players, will be fully free-to-play.
The game is designed to be “chain-agnostic” and supports integrations with multiple blockchains, though it can also be played as a purely Web2 title. An integration with Secret Network enables holders of Catyclops or Anons NFTs to access unique character skins based on the NFT collections (disclosure: the author holds SCRT, the cryptocurrency of Secret Network, and Anons NFTs).
Character skins are accessed by plugging your Keplr wallet into the Onenet website and approving a couple of transactions, before opening the Onenet launcher. Or they would be, if it worked; try as I might, I couldn't get the wallet to connect.
Future plans for the game include additional in-game cosmetics as NFTs, plus an in-game currency, ONET, that will be used across Bushi and other Onenet titles. Partnerships with other Web3 platforms are in the offing, with Onenet’s game launcher being built atop layer-1 blockchain Sui—which will support a dynamic battle pass NFT that tracks your in-game statistics.
It’s a little unfair to judge a game based on an alpha build, but with a little additional refinement, Bushi could be a fun, accessible title. I’d like to see more focus on how characters move through the game world.
As well as double jumps and wall-running (slightly broken in this build), there's a whole array of athletic martial arts moves that could be incorporated, such as cartwheels, wall-crawling, backflips, and pole vaults; chained together in a fluid sequence, that’d go a long way towards making the player feel like a bona fide ninja warrior.
If the game does end up being more melee-based than a straight shooter, it’d be good to integrate some more sophisticated combat mechanics, too, such as directional attacks and blocks, plus combos.
Did you enjoy our first Alpha Phase for Bushi?
Don't worry if you missed out, there's still two more to go! The next one will be even better than the first.
P.S. We have some big news brewing... Be ready, warrior 👀👀👀 pic.twitter.com/NvQwUvRwMJ
— Bushi (@playBushi) March 6, 2023
Could this be the Web3 title to win over mainstream players? It has potential, certainly; the (extremely crypto-skeptic) gamer I enlisted to test the alpha with me gave it a cautious thumbs-up, while the Japanese twist on the Overwatch-like hero shooter/combat approach could grab gamers who couldn't care less about NFTs.