Strategy games have come far from the board games people used to play before the invention of the modern computer. Many years later, although somewhat dated, many games still use a board-like field for their characters/pieces to be played in as it offers enough constraints for the game while letting players still develop their strategies with the different elements designed to move in these spaces. Aqua Farms is a game that aims to do this with an ocean theme. Oh, and have I mentioned that the sea creatures fight out of the water in this universe?
Aqua Farms despite having the word ‘farm’ in its name is not about growing and multiplying fish. Inspired by Pokemon and a popular P2E game Axie Infinity, Aqua Farms is a Play-to-earn Adventure RPG game where players explore the Aqua World using NFT fairies called Arees, which are the ocean fairies boarding Guardians to take back the Power of the Deep Ocean from the creatures that disturbed their peaceful waters. Developed by South Korea-based Be Soft and published by The Mars Corp. The developing team is led by Reo Lee and Inca Oh with the project being conceptualized in Q4 of 2021.
One part Animal Crossing and one part Clash Royale is the initial impression I had when I first saw the graphics for the game. It features brightly lit islands (which surprisingly are situated on the back of a giant whale called Guardians) and cute cartoonish characters. The gameplay is more akin to a strategy board game where you have to properly place your units before you send them to battle since you will not be able to change them to your liking after you deploy them in battle.
Players build a team of Aree to be able to battle and/or explore in Aqua Farms. Aree have different traits and specialties depending on their area of attack (melee or ranged) and their attributes which include: Wave, Ice, Ground, and Magma. Each attribute has a one-way correlation with each other (think Rock, paper, scissors but with elements) so players have to be smart about their team compositions and build teams according to their strengths and not just because you just want a cute, blue-colored Aree-squad.
Aside from their attributes, Aree also comes in different rarities ranging from Normal to Legendary status. The rarity affects the growth of your Aree and how high you can level them. Ideally, you want them all to be legendary but it will also come with a higher cost.
Aqua Farms will feature both PVE and PVP game modes in the form of Adventure and Treasure Hunts for the former and an Arena and Guild battle for the latter. Both game modes’ main gameplay is an idle-like combat game where you have to set up your team by placing them on a 3 x 3 grid. This will reflect the formation your team will implement when you deploy them in a battle to see how long they can last with your formation.
Although idle battlers are nothing new, Aqua Farms is trying to create a game that is both enjoyable and profitable. With blockchain gaming showing promise of enabling people to earn by just playing games, creating a game that will be enjoyable for a long and repeated amount of time is the challenge that most blockchain games have to face in order to make a name for themselves in the ever-growing basket of P2E titles. I believe that idle games are a double-edged sword when it comes to P2E games since they tend to become stale very quickly if there aren’t enough customization and avenues for self-expression in the core gameplay which I hope will not be the case for Aqua Farms.
Overall, I think that strategy games wrapped in a cute, colorful package are a staple in the gaming world and Aqua Farms can be in the blockchain gaming space if they play their cards right while developing the game. I just hope they strike the right balance of executable strategy and laid-back gameplay for the type of game they are trying to pursue or it will be another dead fish following the stream of games trying to go play-to-earn.