Ev.io is a strange beast. A fully-fledged shooter wedged into a browser which prides itself on Web3 inclusion, while keeping it tucked away to one side. There’s no doubting its Web3 chops, up until very recently the game was a simple shooter, broken down into the usual match types – team deathmatch, 8-player deathmatch, Battle Royale and last team standing. Then, in the last few weeks, the developers launched an NFT collection through the Fractal platform.
By equipping an NFT player skin, currently costing a minimum of 1.10SOL (around $55), players will begin to earn crypto with each kill scored in-game. The same goes for weapon skins, which, as in other games, can be bought and applied, though here they are NFTs and are tied to your wallet. Of course, this opens up a market to resell your content should you decide to move on from the game, or invest in a new skin.
Ev.io plays a lot like Halo 2 did back in 2004. That’s not a dig, though. Remember how good Halo 2 felt to play? Everything flowed nicely, you could rush opponents or wait them out, there was variety in the weapons and the maps. You’ll recognise a lot of the gameplay mechanics and the feel of the weapons, particularly the standard rifle which feels like Halo’s BR55 Service Rifle, plus there’s the familiar sticky grenade for those clutch frags.
The sci-fi aesthetic is a welcome style which feels delightfully retro. Across the game’s twelve maps, there’s a heavy focus on bold colours, as well as geometric shapes. While Ev.io lacks that feeling of a lived-in world, the map designs are constructed to create choke points, verticality and tactical positioning.
Tactics and twitch-gameplay are as important as the weaponry. An ability to double jump and utilise upgrades opening up movement even further breaks the game wide open as you seek out areas to gain a foothold over the competition. Nothing beats double-jumping over an opponent, teleporting to the high ground before grabbing the kill.
Ev.io finds itself in a great place; because the development team isn’t aggressively pushing the Web3 side as a selling point, the game can position itself simply on the gameplay. This is not only welcome to those who find the Web3 presence challenging, but it allows the game to find its own audience through the quality of play.
That audience is growing slowly. Let’s be honest, the shooter genre is a tangled mess of huge triple-A titles, battle royales and small indie developers vying for our precious hours. Ev.io may find it difficult to grab its audience despite the accessibility of being able to play on any system, from a high-end desktop to a Chromebook.
There has been a surge in popularity for the browser-based shooter after an eSports tournament took place on 7th May 2022, offering a $10,000 prize pool split across the top three teams. The tournament ended after two days of competition with Telos XBorg taking third place and $2,000, krunkage scoring second place for $3,000 and Censored snagging the trophy and a grand prize of $5,000.
On Twitch, the game isn’t starting any fires, but without any influencer pushing, the game’s reach will be limited. Currently, the game is climbing through the Twitch ranks with a 7 day average of 28,852 hours watched, which has grown by 888.4%. Over the past seven days, the videogame saw 14,593 viewers tune in to watch, which is also a huge leap from the previous week, jumping up by 3,326%.
Ev.io deserves a little success for distilling what makes shooters fun. The potential here is vast, given the Halo inspirations, platform accessibility and character personalisation through NFTs and the ability to upgrade. Playing with friends is ridiculously easy, using a room code for parties, and Ev.io doesn’t ask for wallet connections either, you can freely play as a guest.
This game will no doubt suffer from cynical views towards the Web3 aspects, but unlike many blockchain videogames, the NFTs are simply the cherry on top, if you enjoy cherries. Remove them from the game and you still have a solid shooter that is worth your time.