Ev.io is a free-to-play, web-based shooter that recalls first-person shooter pioneers like Quake and Unreal Tournament—but this one lets users earn cryptocurrency for playing, too.
Set in a futuristic world, your character is equipped with a gun of your choice and a melee weapon. You have the option of fighting enemies in a free-for-all deathmatch or battling it out in teams, plus you can dip into a sniper shotgun mode or a survival mode akin to the popular Call of Duty “Zombies” experience.
In all of the available modes, you can pick up unique weapons or health boosts from the ground. The special weapons are a lot of fun to use and have sourced some of my favorite moments in the game. There’s something so gratifying about shooting someone with a rocket launcher across the map.
You can also select a range of abilities and equipment before entering a game. In a fairly limited skill tree, you have the option to activate the abilities to teleport, triple jump, and more.
A personal favorite is the impulse grenade that can launch any unlucky opponent clear across the map. This makes for a lot of fun outplays and cool in-game moments—and sure enough, launching myself into the air and sniping someone just feels awesome.
That said, impulse grenades, teleporting, and other in-game movement controls can make the game difficult to pick up at first. Not only do you need to spend time learning how to use these options effectively, but it also means that hitting your enemy is more difficult.
Very rarely will you encounter someone standing still, and with the character models being so skinny, this can be tough to adjust to at first. For this reason, trip wires and mines are super useful. You can put them in a high-traffic area and play around them, luring your enemies into an explosive outcome or using them to protect your own back.
An NFT boost
After purchasing an optional Ev.io NFT on Solana and equipping it in-game, you’re able to earn an in-game currency called “e.” The amount of e you earn is based on your in-game score, which is primarily based on the number of kills you get. You can also earn e from events, daily quests, clan wars, and more.
Once you have 10,000 e, you are able to convert it to Solana (SOL) and then you can opt to cash out for fiat currency at an exchange. A developer from the Ev.io team on Discord told Decrypt that the conversion rate varies, but is approximately $1 worth of SOL per 2,000 “e” earned as of this writing.
I purchased the Bonk character—named for the BONK cryptocurrency, itself inspired by Dogecoin and Shiba Inu—for around $22 worth of SOL. Not only did this make me stand out and feel cool in-game, but the play-to-earn element really intensified the experience for me. I felt like I was a hitman; every kill counted to slowly earn back the money I’d put down.
After an hour of gaming—only topping the leaderboard once—I earned 124 e. That’s only worth about six cents worth of SOL when converted, so it’s clear that events, quests, and clan wars should be your main form of attack if you plan to make your money back.
Familiarity sets in
Despite Ev.io’s great foundations, it feels like there is a lack of variety that keeps you wanting to boot up the game over and over again. The weapon meta feels fairly stale, as everyone uses the auto rifle. Sometimes I’d switch it up and use the laser rifle for fun, but the other default weapons didn’t seem to get much use.
Equally, the difference between the free-for-all and team deathmatch wasn’t very apparent. It doesn’t feel like teamwork is really important, meaning both game modes have a similar feel. You could drop into the sniper shotgun mode, but you can’t earn the e currency there—and ultimately, it comes across as a restrictive riff on the free-for-all mode.
For this reason, the Zombies-like survival mode has an important place in the game to take a break from the online deathmatch grind.
The variety of Ev.io’s maps is pretty impressive. They all have unique color schemes with fun lines of sight and places to launch. Rarely do the maps fall into the typical three-lane structure a lot of shooters rely on. And there’s not a map that I groan at when it pops up.
Ev.io’s graphics are very basic in order to optimize the game for all desktop devices. That said, while simplistic, the art style is consistent with its futuristic theme, opting for sleek lines and neon colors—giving a “Tron” vibe all the while.
Overall, Ev.io is a great option amongst crypto and NFT games, especially considering that it is free-to-play and available for anyone to play in a web browser. The emphasis on movement makes it fun to traverse the map, while adding a unique skill curve to entering the game.
That said, after a few hours playing the game, it can get a bit repetitive with a lack of variety in the weapon meta and game modes. That’s why the play-to-earn element is a key selling point for the game’s longevity. With repetitive game modes, the desire to get better at the game to earn more in-game currency is crucial.
If you’re looking for a play-to-earn game with a focus on skill and rewards for those who wield the NFTs, then Ev.io might be the game for you.