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Animoca Brands and nWay’s Wreck League might be the NFT fighting game you’ve been waiting for—as long as you don’t get “rekt” by Ethereum transaction fees.
Decrypt's GG playtested the NFT game version of Wreck League, which is currently available in early access. Wreck League is already off to a solid start for a pre-release game, offering a simple yet satisfying core fighting loop that can appeal to both casual and competitive players.
NWay VP of Creative Steve Kuroki told Decrypt that Wreck League will eventually release via two separate versions of the game: One for NFT buyers that has a focus on tournaments, while a second edition offers no crypto integrations whatsoever.
Wreck League’s early access version has a sparse interface with just a few game modes: the main fighting mode, practice mode, and a custom “duels” lobby mode. But there were no Bored Apes in sight yet—something that might be coming with the full release.
But once you’re in battle, you’ll find that the fighting gameplay requires lots of practice, knowledge of enemy abilities, and a fast reaction time to win matches. Here’s our first look into the blockchain version of Wreck League.
If you aren’t buying a fully assembled mech NFT, you can buy mystery boxes of mech parts on third-party NFT marketplaces and unlock the boxes through Wreck League’s website, revealing a random selection of parts from each of 10 categories required to assemble a fighting mech. (NWay granted Decrypt’s GG one mech parts box for the purposes of testing the game’s blockchain components).
Assembling mech parts online was a relatively easy and straightforward experience, but unfortunately you will have to pay Ethereum mainnet transaction fees (gas fees) a few times. This can be costly.
Depending on network traffic, this can be $30 or more just to “open” a parts box after you’ve bought it. Minting your assembled mech as an NFT will cost even more—we were quoted $100 in gas fees alone just to mint the mech we’d assembled as a complete NFT.
Thankfully, however, you don’t have to mint your assembled mech as an NFT to play the game, but nWay does plan to offer some NFT mech-exclusive events in the future. So if you’re trying to actually play Wreck League and show off your assembled mech as an NFT, expect to spend hundreds of dollars if current network demand continues.
This initial mech assembly process occurs entirely on a web browser outside of the game’s main application, which was a bit disappointing as it led to a slightly disjointed feel overall. But as with many blockchain games, having to use both a web browser and a desktop application to play an NFT game is pretty common, and is for now a part of the friction that comes with blockchain gaming.
Wreck League’s core game loop—the player versus player (PVP) 1v1 mech battles—is already solid and lots of fun. The rounds feel like just the right length to allow for some satisfying fights without dragging on for too long.
— GG (@ggDecrypt) November 10, 2023
Depending on the mech parts used, each mech will have slightly different stats and abilities, allowing players to really customize their mech to their own preferred playstyle. In the early-access blockchain version we tested, there were three free mechs to try out, as well, each with different accessories and weapons to give players an opportunity to “try before you buy” any NFTs.
In our playtest, it didn’t feel like the game was “pay-to-win” because of how important player reaction time and basic strategy are to actually securing wins. In other words, buying an expensive NFT won’t guarantee that you’ll always wreck the competition.
One of Wreck League’s strengths is in its animations. Swinging the sawlance, for example, is a unique experience with a satisfying sound effect that feels really different compared to other weapons. During matches, abilities reveal splashes of color, flashes of damage numbers, and other comic book-like visual effects that make fights feel lighthearted and fun.
But unlike other fighting games, Wreck League does away with any type of “blood” and keeps its animations bright and colorful instead. Because of this, Wreck League is suitable for fans of games like Super Smash Bros., as it’s missing the gore component that’s so front and center in fighting games like Mortal Kombat.
Room to grow
Right now in its early access stage, Wreck League is a pretty simple and straightforward fighting game that might be better suited as a mobile game than a PC title. While the mech NFT parts are not necessarily expensive individually, the sheer cost of Ethereum gas fees could keep some players from trying the game. Kuroki told Decrypt that the game is exploring the possibilities of migrating to a lower-fee network, however, so the situation could change.
That said, Wreck League’s developers have already laid a solid foundation for a fighting game. This title has potential for both casual players and a more competitive scene, because the matches are short but still reward strategy and practice.
Overall, Wreck League’s flashy animations and exciting mid-fight cinematics are sure to draw in players who love colorful fighting games—and customizable NFTs.
Edited by Andrew Hayward