The DGaming industry is evolving for the better. When I started reviewing DGames around eight months ago, most DGames felt like passion projects. They were made by a small team, sometimes a single developer, passionate about blockchain technology, but who had little experience creating a game. Most of those games leaned heavily on blockchain technology to make their game unique, instead of creating a blockchain game that’s fun to play.
This has resulted in a myriad of collectible games where you couldn’t do much more than buy digital collectibles and breed them. There’s very limited playability in these types of games. As a result, most people approach these games as investments; as a way to earn some money by surfing on an initial wave of popularity and flip digital assets before the public loses interest.
Thankfully, pure collectible games seem to be on the retreat. While the vast majority of DGames are collectible games in the sense that you buy digital assets, an increasing number of them now have added components that make them much more fun to play. From the ability to pit your digital assets in an arena against an opponent to building a spaceship so you can explore the universe, DGame developers now seem to understand that most gamers don’t inherently care about blockchain technology. They want a game that’s fun to play.
Additionally, no longer are DGames passion projects from developers with little experience in the gaming industry. Instead, increasingly, DGames today are traditional game developers dipping their toes into the blockchain pool. As a result, whether it’s design, game mechanics, or quality of documentation, newer DGames have a level of polish to them that I’ve not seen before.
CryptantCrab is the perfect example. It’s a browser DGame on the Ethereum blockchain developed by Appxplore (iCandy), a game development studio based in Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, founded in 2011. Appxplore has created several mobile games, some of which have won awards. For example, CryptantCrab is based on Crab War, a mobile app that has an impressive 4.6/5 stars with 400K+ reviews with over 5 million downloads. It’s a surprisingly deep and fun game.
Considering CryptantCrab is developed by a game studio with nearly a decade of experience, it should come as no surprise that it’s a well-made, good-looking game. The CryptantCrab name is a combination of crypto, mutant, and crab. The mutant crabs you can buy look colorful, unique, and come in a large number of different variations. I’ve not seen many crabs that look exactly the same, which is something I really appreciate. If you buy a digital crab, you don’t want thousands of other people to have crabs that look exactly like yours.
The reason for this variety is because each crab has four different parts: two claws (chelipeds), a carapace, and legs. As a DGame developer, designing twenty different types of legs, twenty different types of claws, and twenty different types of carapaces will already give you 160,000 different possible combinations.
I do wish, however, that there was a gradation of crab epicness. While all crabs should look good, doesn’t it also make sense that the most expensive crabs look better, or at least more menacing than the least expensive ones? This is something I’ve noticed in many DGames: higher-priced digital assets don’t necessarily look better or different from their lower-priced ones.
In CryptantCrab, a crab’s price seems primarily dictated by its generation (gen 0 crabs are called “pioneers”), whether its parts are of the same element (which creates a uniform look if they are) and whether its parts are legendary or not. Looks don’t seem to matter when it comes to market prices.
If you’ve given the previous two screenshots a closer look, you’ll have noticed that all crabs seem quite expensive. And they are. All of them. The cheapest crab for sale on the CryptantCrab Marketplace will set you back 0.0799 ETH (around $18.30 in today’s Ethereum price).
If you don’t want to buy a “second-hand” crab, you can buy a crab directly from the game too (in the Shop), the price of which is dictated by the average price of the last fifteen crabs sold in the Shop and the Marketplace. At the time of writing, a crab from the Shop will set you back a whopping 0.1868 ETH (around $43). You can pay by credit card too, which is nice, but why would you want to pay $43 for a digital crab?
What’s worse is that you need two crabs before you can fight them against other players. So you need to spend at least 0.16 ETH ($36) before you can use your crabs if you buy from the marketplace (and for that you only get the worst-performing crabs) or around $86 if you buy two crabs from the shop.
Alternatively, if you want to buy a crab from the Shop, you can also buy a 30-day VIP Pass for 0.1990 ETH (around $46). This will get you two crabs (instead of one for the same price), an extra 3 team slots for your battles, four times the cryptant rewards (more on that later), and double the experience points. The VIP Pass is a much better deal than buying a single crab through the shop, although it’ll also set you back $46.
So there we have it. Once again, a DGame where even the cheapest assets cost a lot of money. I don’t understand why this seems to happen to so many DGames. Am I being a cheapskate for thinking $18 for a digital crab is too expensive? For believing that $50 seems like a lot of money for 3 crabs with poor stats, when I can buy Red Dead Redemption 2 for the same amount of money?
I don’t think so. I appreciate that there might be dozens of wealthy DGame enthusiasts who drive up market prices by scooping up dozens of crabs for 1 ETH each, but it’s not a sustainable business model. You have to offer new players a way to test out your game without them having to spend lots of money. It’s how you generate goodwill, how you reduce the gamer’s risk of spending money on a game they ultimately won’t like. Otherwise, your game will be doomed to fail.
In a way, I’m surprised that CryptantCrab suffers from this, because the game it’s based on, Crab War, is free-to-play with microtransactions, but implemented elegantly. You can buy pearls from their Shop, which can cost anything between $1.99 and $99.99. These pearls are quite valuable, so you’re getting value for your money there.
What’s a Crab Made Of?
But if price isn’t an issue or if you believe you’ll be able to flip your crab on the marketplace for a tidy profit (which you genuinely might), here are the things you need to consider when buying a CryptantCrab.
To understand a crab, you need to understand its heart. Each CryptantCrab has a heart with specific properties that are unknown to all players but which help improve certain traits of the crab. More specifically, these properties make for a crab’s HP, its damage per second (DPS), its endurance, and its ability to block.
While you cannot modify these properties, you can mutate your crab to make it stronger. In order to mutate one of your crab’s body parts, you’ll need cryptant. You can buy cryptant from the Shop for 0.0187 ETH for one (around $5), by battling other players, or by logging in every day (for which you get 0.1 cryptant if you don’t have a VIP pass). Each mutation will give your crab eight experience points, which will increase the chances of obtaining a legendary part (the chance starts at 3% and each mutation increases that chance by 0.1% up to a maximum of 20%).
Another aspect of crabs are their growth points (GP). They’re indicators of your crab’s growth potential. All base stats have one to five GPs assigned to them. When your crab levels up, the number of GPs will dictate how much its base stats grow. One GP gives 0.5% of base stat growth.
Each body part of a crab is assigned an element too. There are five element classes: fire, earth, metal, spirit, and water. Each element is strong against two others and weak against the remaining two. A crab’s damage increases 50% whenever it faces its primary prey (outer ring) and 25% when it faces its secondary prey (inner ring). This damage buff is called the prey multiplier.
You can also xenograft your crab. This means you transplant a body part from one crab to another. This costs five cryptant and generates eight experience points, but it will turn the crab that had the body part removed into a fossil, which means you won’t be able to use your crab in battle anymore. But fossils aren’t entirely useless; they can boost the attributes of live crabs in combat. In particular, they can boost DPS, block, resistance, HP, prey multiplier, and GP. You can also buy fossils from the marketplace. The cheapest ones are currently going for 0.025 ETH.
There’s also a chance that the soul of your crab solidifies into an embedded relic in your fossil, which is rare and which will enhance the fossil’s attributes. Legendary crabs have a 100% chance of an embedded relic when they fossilize, while pioneer crabs and crabs with legendary body parts have a 50% chance. Common crabs only have a 5% chance.
Fighting Other Crabs
All the separate components of a crab determine whether your crabs will do well in a fight. You’ll need a team of two crabs before you’ll be able to fight in a battle zone and rank on the global leaderboard. However, you have every reason to, as even simply ranking on the leaderboard will give you 0.8 cryptant. If you get to rank fifty or better, you’ll receive more cryptant, as well as coins and even free crabs (if you get to rank fifteen or better).
You can also directly challenge other players. If you win, you take their leaderboard score, which allows you to quickly climb the leaderboard yourself. Whoever has a leaderboard score of 500 or higher will have the challenge mode activated. Consider yourself warned!
Additionally, there’s a tournament prize pool that currently sits at 32 ETH. 2% of each marketplace transaction, 20% of each crab and cryptant sold in the shop, and 20% of each item sold in auctions go toward the prize pool.
CryptantCrab is an impressive DGame. It’s very polished, the crabs look amazing, the documentation is comprehensive and well-written, and the game mechanics seem solid and fair. The only thing holding back this game is the price of the crabs. I appreciate that there are speculators who want to earn a substantial amount of money buying and selling their crabs, but that’s no reason not to have a way for newbies to ease into your game without spending at least $18.
However, if you do have the money, CryptantCrab seems like one of the better DGames to invest in. Firstly, you can improve the value of your crabs by using them. You can fight with them, you can mutate them, and you can place body parts from other crabs on them. Additionally, if you rank well on the leaderboard, you’ll get more crabs that might be worth a decent amount of money. And there’s a 32 ETH prize pool (which is likely to head toward 50 ETH soon).
So if you’re willing to spend the money, have a look at CryptantCrab. They’re good-looking assets that are likely to increase in value if you’re willing to put in the time.