Parallel sets a new standard for NFT card games while breaking free of the broader genre mold—and that’s why it is GG’s Game of the Year for 2023.

The space opera trading card game (TCG) is free-to-play with optional NFTs and requires an incredible amount of strategy and card knowledge to climb its highly competitive ranks. Unlike some other blockchain games, Parallel doesn’t feel like a “pay-to-win” experience. Instead it offers an eye-catching, elegant sci-fi world with intense matches and unique cards spread across different factions.

One of the best parts of Parallel is that its five factions don’t feel like reskins of one another. The Earthen parallel is designed for defensive, healing-based strategies, the Marcolian parallel is designed for glass cannon-style, quick, aggressive gameplay, and the Kathari parallel is perfect for players who love overwhelming enemies with a large number of low-HP clones (which can quickly gain HP if you play your cards right). 

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A single Parallel match is all it takes to realize that this game isn’t trying to copy Hearthstone, like so many other NFT trading card games. Instead, it’s breaking out of the mold and creating a new one of its own—one that adopts a darker, more mature aesthetic that’s perfect for the adults who play it. 

Parallel exists within its own niche in the TCG category—for fans of dark sci-fi films and games that aren’t afraid to have characters that act and look a little angry, or ethereal, or just generally stern. 

The game already has its own crypto token, PRIME, as well as tons of Ethereum and Base card NFTs. Parallel’s avid fans on social media support Parallel-related posts by simply spam-commenting its logo, which consists of two slash marks: //. 

While Parallel is still in closed beta, it’s very much open to play. All prospective players have to do is sign up via Parallel’s website—it didn’t take press privileges for us to get access to this game. 

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In October, the Parallel team released its Planetfall expansion, bringing fresh new additions to the card game in an effort to shake up strategies and add further levels of complexity to the game.

Parallel Studios Head of Game Development and Design Koji Nagata told Decrypt that the team decides which types of cards to add to the game by focusing on, first and foremost, what will bring the most fun to players.

“We think of new, interesting things we can do with the cards, no matter how crazy,” Nagata told Decrypt. “Then we look at the current set and where the gaps are.”

With the Planetfall expansion, Nagata said that the new cards will evolve some “mid-range strategies.”

“Up until now, we've seen a lot of early and late-game dominant win conditions. With the addition of these cards, we'll be trying to round out the middle a bit more,” he added. “Also if you like the game up to this point, you're going to see those things turned up to 11.” 

In the new year, Parallel will begin supporting its cosmetics in-game, launch a battle pass with two new cards, and fix some known bugs, among other updates.

Screenshot of two Parallel cards showing their art. One is a cybernetic man flying in a dystopian gold lanscape and the other is a woman is purple royal clothing raising a staff into the air. They are Ishkur, Arak's enforcer, and Noura, Hand of Unity.
The two new cards coming January 1, 2024. Image: Parallel Studios.

Beyond its flagship TCG, Parallel is also developing Colony, an AI-powered crypto game where your AI characters interact with the blockchain on their own. Players will have to train their respective AI avatars and work with them to achieve various tasks in the simulation game, where each AI character has their own crypto wallet.

The team has also announced collectible figures and released comics inspired by the game’s characters and lore, which takes place in a distant future where factions return to Earth 10,000 years after it had been all but destroyed.

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“Our plan for 2024 is to continue to push the gaming space forward by utilizing cutting-edge tech to provide new and innovative experiences to our players,” Nagata told Decrypt

“On the card game side, we have new sets and mechanics coming that will continue to set us apart—not only from games in Web3, but in the card game space in general,” he added. “We also have Colony coming. It’s the convergence of gaming, AI, and blockchain. It’s going to be the future.”

Edited by Andrew Hayward

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