Chibi Fighters is an action RPG and PvP browser game where you put your Chibi Fighter against monsters and other Chibi Fighters. In terms of Daily Active Users (DAU), the game ranks top 10 on the Ethereum blockchain and top 3 on the TRON blockchain. That’s right, Chibi Fighters runs on two blockchains. It launched on Ethereum early 2018 and came to TRON in March 2019.
In the game’s whitepaper, lead developer Garry Runke explains that TRON is a more user-friendly blockchain, because there are no transaction fees for players. While Runke clearly favors TRON over Ethereum, you can still play Chibi Fighters on both blockchains. Ultimately, the game wants to enable cross-blockchain battles between Ethereum and TRON Chibi Fighters.
The announcement that Chibi Fighters was coming to TRON was yet another indication that TRON might be gaining an edge over Ethereum. TRON DApp users seem to be bigger spenders than Ethereum users and they seem to be more active DApp users as well.
Mind you that many of these stats should be taken with a pinch of salt. For example, Chibi Fighters ranks reasonably high in terms of DAU, but DAU is measured through interactions with the blockchain. Much of Chibi Fighters runs off-chain, meaning there could be many more people playing Chibi, who aren’t measured because they don’t interact with the blockchain all that much.
My First Impression of Chibi Fighters
Much of a decentralized game’s (DGame) immediate appeal will come from how quickly you can actually start playing. Most DGames today will require you to purchase an asset upfront. If you don’t have any cryptocurrencies available, this often means spending hours purchasing crypto on an exchange and waiting for everything to process.
Not so with Chibi Fighters. You can claim a free (off-chain) Chibi Fighter and jump into the game right away. In fact, I never had to buy any other Chibi to write this review, as I could explore the entire game with my free Chibi.
That made a good impression. What also made a good impression is that the game has good instructions to guide you around. There’s a lot to explore in Chibi Fighters, but every new tab was accompanied with some useful information to help you understand the basics.
Finally, the game is fast. I don’t quite know how it works technically, but some DGames feel significantly slower than others, particularly when it comes to interacting with MetaMask. But every on-chain transaction in Chibi Fighters had MetaMask pop up quickly. Additionally, GAS fees (because I was playing on the Ethereum blockchain) were relatively cheap too.
Although I feel that these are things every DGame should get right, it’s an unfortunate truth that many DGames require an upfront investment that’s often quite expensive. Additionally, many DGames are still somewhat clunky when it comes to interacting with crypto wallets. As such, Chibi Fighters made a good impression by providing a free Chibi, guiding me through the game, and by being smoothly integrated with my crypto wallet.
Playing Chibi Fighters
What I like about Chibi Fighters is that it’s a work in progress, but the developers are upfront about it. Hovering over the stats of your Chibi provides you with an informative tooltip of each stat, but it also says whether the particular stat has been integrated into the game already. For example: threat, poison chance, stun chance, and bleed chance aren’t yet integrated into the battles, and it says so in the tooltip.
Currently, what matters most for your Chibi are its HP, its armor, its damage and its crit chance (i.e. the chance to land a critical hit). You can influence these stats by leveling up your character and upgrading either your Chibi’s physique, reflexes, or brainpower. You can also (quite dramatically) influence these stats by equipping your Chibi with armor and weapons.
Of all the items you see underneath my Chibi’s avatar in the screenshot above, the blood-tipped spear is the only item I bought for Ethereum. All the other items I found by fighting my way through caves or by sending my Chibi on adventures. In fact, Chibi is quite possibly the most generous DGame I’ve ever played when it comes to its lootboxes. Simply logging in daily provides you with coins and items. Browsing through the many different tabs and interacting with the game will provide you with many lootboxes to open, some of which will have excellent gear you can equip your character with.
The game’s core feature is called The Hunt, where your Chibi battles its way through Orks. Every dead Ork will give you a lootbox, and every twenty Orks you’ll encounter a tougher boss. After your Chibi has defeated a boss, it’ll need to rest for a few hours, after which it can go at it again. Everything is animated and it’s quite fun to watch your Chibi fight, particularly if you’ve just equipped them with new armor and they’re much stronger than they were before. What I thought was particularly impressive was that the weapons you equip your Chibi with show up in the fight, something that isn’t the case in any other DGame I’ve played to date.
If you have a look at the bottom left of the above screenshot, you’ll see a “Summon Axie” button. Chibi Fighters partnered up with Axie Infinity so players could summon their Axies in a Chibi fight. Currently, all you need to do is click the button and an Axie will appear that will help you in your fight against the Orks. Ultimately, it would make sense that you’d be able to summon your own Axies, and I’m sure that’s what the developers of both games are working towards. Regardless, this is an example of the ambitious crossover gameplay that blockchain technology allows for.
The other big game mode of Chibi Fighters is called Adventures, which is more of an offline activity where you send your Chibi on an adventure for a few hours, after which they return with loot and gold. What’s cool is that you’re encouraged to bring other people’s Chibis with you, which you can do for a few gold coins, as you’ll get much further with more Chibis, and they’ll return more experienced and with better loot.
Then there are several mini-games scattered throughout Chibi Fighters. The coin tapping game is exactly what it says it is: you have ten seconds to tap as many coins as you can, after which the tapped coins will be added to your coin balance. The zeppelin game is a version of Angry Birds, where you control a spaceship by tapping on the screen. You have to avoid mines and rocks while taking as many coins and shards as possible. In the butcher game, you use keyboard controls to slice open chests in exchange for coins. Suffice to say there’s quite a lot to do even if your Chibi is in cooldown mode.
The Economics of Chibi
There are two ways to buy a Chibi: you can either have the game generate a new Gen0 Chibi for 0.18 ETH (approx. $30) or you can buy a Chibi from another player through the OpenSea platform. I love this, because it’s another great integration between blockchain projects.
When I reviewed OpenSea a few months ago, I learned that it wanted to position itself as a ready-made marketplace for smaller blockchain projects, so these projects don’t need to create an internal marketplace themselves. And that’s exactly what Chibi Fighters has done. OpenSea is an easy-to-navigate and robust platform for browsing through the many Chibis players have set for sale.
The lowest Chibis are currently going for 0.0234 ETH (just under $4). The difference with your free Chibi is that these are all on-chain Chibis that you have full ownership of and that you can buy or sell as you please.
There are four main currencies in Chibi Fighters. Coins are an easy-to-gather off-chain currency easy that players can use for non-premium items like health and energy potions. ETHShards or TRXShards are the smallest currency and used for battles on Ethereum or TRON, or for premium items. You can also earn glass shards by restocking “the shady merchant”, which is the merchant selling consumables, although the use of these glass shards is yet to be revealed.
Finally, you can also earn gems, which you can add to the Crystal Cave in exchange for ETHShards. Five gems will get you one ETHShard. There’s a weekly payout and I currently have 78 gems in the Crystal Cave, or around 18 ETHShards, which I can then exchange for ether or spend on armor in the loot market.
Considering you earn gems by playing the Hunt or going through your daily tasks, you can play the game for free and receive money in return. Small bits of money, but money nonetheless. The development team funds the Crystal Cave with 20% of their profits.
There’s an armory market, where you buy weapons, and a loot market, where you buy armor. Both markets are on-chain, which means you buy items with ETH or TRX (for the weapons) or ETH/TRXShards (for the armor). One minor gripe I have is that the search functionality of both markets could be better. Currently, there’s no way to list by price, which makes it harder to discern whether you’re buying something that’s good value for money.
I found the prices to be reasonable for both armor and weapons. Sure, legendary and particularly infused legendary weapons are incredibly expensive (often costing > 1 ETH), but most weapons cost somewhere between 0.01 and 0.1 ETH.
Although Chibi Fighters explicitly mentions in its (excellent) Gamepedia that it’s not really a breeding game, there is a way for two Chibis to create a third Chibi. The Fusion Lab in Chibi Fighters allows you to fuse your (on-chain) Chibi with someone else’s Chibi, which can be done for 0.05 ETH (around $8.40).
This is particularly useful if you want a Chibi with particular traits, as the resulting Chibi will combine the traits of both parent Chibis. You can also offer your Chibis for fusion. If other players fuse with them, you’ll receive 80% of the ether in return.
There’s also the possibility to join a Clan, although the game is clear this is still a work in progress that does nothing beyond giving you bragging rights. Still, your Chibi gets a cool banner to indicate which clan they’re a part of. Chibis can also gather clan experience by defeating other players in PvP. It’s clear that the developers are working on creating an engaging game mode for groups of Chibis.
Playing PvP in Chibi Fighters is tough, and you want to make sure your Chibi is leveled up and well-equipped. You will only be matched against PvP fighters that have a higher rank than you, so be ready. Winning a PvP match will give you PvP points and will put you on the leaderboard. Every week, the leaderboard resets. You can see the Chibis who are currently top of the leaderboard, as well as the players who own them.
Chibi Fighters is a really fun game that gets many things right. I can’t say I have any major gripe with it. You can start playing right away, it’s well-integrated with crypto wallets, there’s an abundance of items to gather, buying items is relatively cheap, and there’s always plenty to do. The game feels honest and fair, and developers are upfront about the aspects of the game they’re still working on.
The game also shows its ambitions with its OpenSea and in particular with its Axie Infinity integrations. It wants to enable cross-blockchain battles between Ethereum and TRON, a difficult technical challenge, but a seeming inevitability for blockchain technology in the future.
If you’re in the market for a new DGame, Chibi Fighters has zero upfront cost and is one of the best DGames I’ve played to date. There’s little reason not to try it.