Hytopia’s revenge on Minecraft, ‘janky’ Otherside demo: Web3 Gamer

NFT Worlds’ creator to launch Hytopia beta, after being ghosted by Minecraft

Brayden Batungahal, the co-founder of NFT Worlds, says that ever since Minecraft unceremoniously dumped his game in 2022, he’s been building Hytopia, a blockchain open-world game that aims to give Minecraft a run for its money. The beta version of Hytopia is due for release next month.

In October 2021, NFT Worlds integrated with Minecraft as a blockchain-based modification to allow users to access crypto and NFT features. Minecraft scrapped it eight months later, in June 2022, despite amassing around 100,000 users.

Batungahal tells Web3 Gamer he was a bit shocked that the team at Minecraft, which is owned by Microsoft, didn’t even give him a heads up or anything ahead of the move —just a sudden cold shoulder.

“It was bewildering; we kind of just heard from the grapevine that they decided to shut down blockchain because they felt it was unfair for the younger audiences playing Minecraft, who were on these services, that they needed these tokens to buy content,” he explains.

Batungahal tried in vain to find out what was going on directly from Minecraft.

“We did not ever hear from them. I sent probably two or three follow-up messages and emails to our contacts and never got a response, it was radio silence.”

He believes the developers didn’t like users having more control in the game.

“The team at Minecraft feels that Minecraft is their game. They don’t want people modding or creating spin-off instances of custom content. That breaks away from their vision of the core survival game mode, where you can run and break things,” he states.

Hytopia post on X (Hytopia)

Hytopia has already garnered 1.1 million pre-registered players and has a trading volume exceeding $11 million.

Just another 165 million players to go to catch up to Minecraft, then.

The game will initially launch as an invite-only rolling beta, but there will be lots of invites to identify any problems.

“The issues that you don’t see with 50 people can arise when you throw it out to 1,000 or 10,000 people and we just want to make sure that we polish up any bugs,” he says.

Could this cricket game explode when the Indian Premier League kicks off?

The founder of Cricket Stars, a new cricket NFT mobile game on Tezos, hopes this year’s phenomenally popular Indian Premier League will give user numbers a big boost.

Cricket Stars has only been around for a couple of months and has a modest 5,000 active monthly users. But creator Ravi Kiran reckons it could scale up fast when the IPL kicks off in April.

Cricket Stars is gaining traction in India (Cricket Stars)
Cricket Stars is gaining traction in India (Cricket Stars)

“We are just getting started with the game, and plan to grow this game to millions of cricket fans over the next couple of years,” he states.

The 2023 edition pulled in half a billion viewers, and Kiran believes the crazy amount of online searches will drive users to the game.

“With the upcoming tournament, we anticipate substantial growth, projecting a 2-3x increase month-on-month till April, and an overall 8-10x growth in just three months,” Kiran stated.

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There is precedent for similar games taking off. NFL Rivals, a mobile NFL game created by Mythical Games, had its magic moment in September when it broke 2 million active users after being featured as the game of the day on the App Store.

Bowling a classic spinner on Cricket Stars (Cricket Stars)
Bowling a classic spinner on Cricket Stars (Cricket Stars)

Kiran says that being a pro at cricket isn’t necessary to do well in the game, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt. “FPS and RPG games are more about reflexes and accuracy of a player, while our game is more about strategy and knowledge of cricket,” he declares.

“With a finite number of shots to be played, players can understand which shot is best to counter which bowling card over a period of time.”

Those who excel can win real-world prizes too, like “cricket bats and cricket kits which help them follow their passion to pursue cricket in the real world by winning in the virtual world,” he states.

Hot Take: Battle Derby

If you’re getting a bit tired of the same old car racing games and crave more guns and explosive action, Battle Derby might just be the game for you.

The car combat blockchain game Battle Derby was developed by Triple O Games and is available for download on both Android and iOS devices. It is set to hit Immutable later this year.

It’s free-to-play and play-to-earn (P2E).

Battle Derby Post on X
Battle Derby shared this Immutable post on X, saying they were stoked to be part of the crew (X/Battle Derby)

The aim of Battle Derby is simple: drive around and destroy as many cars as possible.

The game kicks off with a compulsory tutorial that, even if you’re as impatient as I am, no amount of screen tapping — believe me, I’ve tried ten times — will let you skip.

Just like when you’re first learning how to drive as a teenager, when you’re completing the tutorial, you get given the worst-looking car possible — except this one’s got a gun mounted on top.

During the tutorial, you’ll get the rundown on everything from using the joystick to drive around to accessing different weapons and using them to blast other cars to bits.

Once you’ve finished the walkthrough, you’ll upgrade to a *slightly* more attractive car before having the option to go into battle mode.

Battle Derby Red Car
The not-so-fancy red car you receive after completing the tutorial (Battle Derby)

The first one you’re able to access is Deathmatch. The aim is to be the first to take out seven enemies in under five minutes.

As you climb up the levels and rack up more points, other battle modes become available. At level 3, Find and Destroy unlocks, and at level 4, Battle Royale opens up.

The developers tease the Capture the Flag game mode, but it is not available until the next update.

Even though the game is still a work in progress, the controls are super smooth and responsive.

There’s basically zero input lag, which has always been a major frustration for me with mobile car racing games. It feels fairly effortless to drive around, with no major issues with navigating the weapons too.

Battle Derby dodging cones on the road
Dodging cones on the road (Battle Derby)

One thing that can be a bit off-putting is the bird’s-eye view while you’re in the game, as most car racing games offer either a first-person or third-person perspective.

The aerial perspective while driving makes sense, especially with the mounted gun on top, so you can get a clear shot.

But it can lead to some surprises around corners, including enemies, which would have been visible in the first or third-person point of view. 

Having an enemy grid map at the bottom left of the screen, especially after they’ve taken a recent shot, would be super helpful. It’d give you a much better idea of your bearings.

As the game is still developing, you’ll start to notice there is a fairly limited selection of weapons and maps and the repetitive nature of the three game modes.

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I mean, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 offers 12 game modes and after a few back-to-back weekends of non-stop gaming of that, the gameplay can still feel same same.

Battle Derby features more than 150 cars which you can get by leveling up and spending coins that you’ve acquired throughout the game. 

The developers get that grinding for hours just to try out new cars can be annoying. That’s why they’ve added the option to use your coins to rent cars from other players.

As you progress and build your car collection, you’re able to put your car up for rent, too, so you can accumulate more coins.

Battle Derby isn’t about letting wealthy players come in and buy the best upgrades to dominate everyone else.

There are upgrades available as NFTs, but they’re mostly for looks rather than giving you a gameplay advantage.

Yuga Labs’ Otherside demo gets mixed response

Yuga Lab’s highly anticipated metaverse game, Otherside, recently got tested by some Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) holders, and the responses ranged from excitement to, well, disappointment.

Otherside has been in the works for almost two years since it was first announced back in March 2022.

Yuga Labs held an event called “Apes Come Home” for select BAYC holders to test out Otherside but warned that it is not a “finished product being launched.”

A user on X named White-house.eth who’s part of the Yuga Labs gaming council, shared with his 5,460 followers that the game still feels a bit rough around the edges, despite having loads of cash and two years of development poured into it.

X post on Yuga Labs Otherside
White-house.eth X post reviewing Otherside (X/white-house.eth)

While he criticized the audio and the in-game “janky” camera, he praised how “beautiful” the elements looked in the game.

Meanwhile, BAYC holder “Jpegflippa” told his followers that he was “truly 1000% underwhelmed” with the experience.

“I shoulda sold this all a long time ago,” he stated.

Another user on X, who goes by Gabe8bit, pointed out the confusion among some investors who splashed cash into Otherside based on an unconfirmed rumor that it was using metaverse technology from Improbable.

“Many invested in Otherside because Yuga Labs promised a metaverse built with Improbable technology, a feature well-known among gamers. However, Yuga Labs/Otherside is now offering a different product, one without Improbable,” he says.

Other News

— Immutable Games launches F2P tactical card game Gods Unchained on mobile.

— The Axie Infinity Origins Season 7 Final Era has commenced, offering double the rewards compared to the previous Rare Era, with 18,900 AXS and 13,732,070 SLP up for grabs.

— Readygg appointed Shawn Layden, former chairman of Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios and Web3 gaming skeptic, as an adviser and secured $4 million for its Web3 gaming company.

— Web3 infrastructure provider Helika has partnered with Ubisoft to offer cutting-edge analytics, user acquisition, and game management infrastructure products.

— Solana-powered card racing strategy game MixMob has acquired the IP rights to integrate the original stormtroopers from Star Wars: A New Hope into the game as Stormtrooper NFTs.

— Circle, the issuer of USDC, has announced a partnership with South Korean game studio Krafton for its upcoming metaverse game titled Overdare.

Ciaran Lyons

Ciaran Lyons is an Australian crypto journalist. He's also a standup comedian and has been a radio and TV presenter on Triple J, SBS and The Project.

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