In this series of Best Web3 Game review we’ll be reviewing Skyweaver. I’ve played more than a few blockchain games over the past few years. While some of them are perfectly fine and entertaining, the great majority of them are “works in progress” or otherwise incomplete while siphoning money out of players into whatever currency the game uses, usually one the developers themselves have invented.
So when I began to dig into Skyweaver I was not only impressed, but delighted. I’m going to dig into the mechanics of Skyweaver and what makes it special in a moment, but first I want to get this point across: Skyweaver is fantastically fun, super polished, and is more accessible and easy to understand than just about any blockchain game I have played. And I don’t even particularly gravitate toward card games of this nature. Let’s soar into Skyweaver in this review.
What is Skyweaver?
Skyweaver is a browser-based, free-to-play card trading and battling game developed by Horizon, a blockchain game development company. The game leverages the blockchain in a way that actually makes sense, and doesn’t at all feel like a forced way to earn revenue, which is much appreciated. Players can battle both AI and live opponents, earn experience, and rise through the ranks as they unlock and collect new cards and sharpen their skills.
This is pretty common fare for card-battling games, but Skyweaver’s additional layer of blockchain integration via Horizon’s Sequence Wallet makes it feel like the future of these types of games.
As a card game, Skyweaver’s visuals live and die by the quality of its art. Thankfully, it all appears to be pretty high quality. I don’t think it comes quite close to touching the art in games like Hearthstone or Gwent, but I think most would agree that the art in Skyweaver is either on par or slightly better than what you would find in Griftlands or Slay the Spire.
Let me put it this way, I found myself scrolling through the cards I had collected in just a few hours of gameplay for a while. Just taking in each character and appreciating their designs. Considering the nature of the game and previous experience with both blockchain games and other card games, I was surprised to see how harmonious all of the card art is.
There appears to be a mix of styles between some cards, but they all feel as if they fit together somehow. For instance, I had the Flank Rider card that reminded me of Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal right next to the Flurry spell card, which has a creature front and center that wouldn’t look out of place in a Mike Mignola comic. It’s noticeable but doesn’t feel offputting.
Trust the Cards
In terms of gameplay, if you’ve played Hearthstone or any of those other card-battling games, you’ll know what you’re in for with Skyweaver. You’ll select a hero deck, draw cards, and use a mix of luck and skill to overpower your opponent. You can of course build custom decks with any of the cards you have in your possession as well, which can negate some of that luck factor.
Skyweaver throws some interesting mechanics into the mix, like the card abilities and enchants. Cards can either be a Unit or a Spell card, but they can also have extra effects tied to them in the form of keywords. These are things like “Banner: Your hero gains +1 power”, and “Guard: This hero can’t be attacked”, among others. They all serve to spice up battles.
The other interesting part of Skyweaver’s combat is the enchants. The game has 16 of them in total, two for each element represented in the game (one positive and one negative). Without getting too heavy on the game mechanics, the positive enchants can have a range of effects such as giving +1 attack and health to a hero or unit or removing keyword effects on a card.
Negative enchants, on the other hand, can cause you to take additional damage or even prevent you from attacking at all, depending on which one is used. Units that get stuck with positive enchants can have them removed for a fee of Mana, which is a stat that builds up during matches.
Juggling all of these mechanics and paying careful attention to keywords gave every decision a significant amount of weight. Leveling up and gaining access to ranked matches (these are unlocked until you reach rank 1 by completing practice matches) was a lot of fun, and I can see the potential for a large mainstream community for Slkyweaver in the future.
Bringing in the Blockchain
Skyweaver does some interesting things with its combat and mechanics, but the game is largely the same as other card games. It uses basically the same gameplay formulas. What makes this game special, is how it handles its blockchain integration.
In order to play Skyweaver, you need to create a Sequence Wallet. This wallet was also created by Horizon, so it has the same level of polish and accessibility as Skyweaver itself. Now, Skyweaver is, in fact, completely free-to-play. You don’t need an NFT or any kind of crypto investment to dig in. Once you create the wallet, you can actually start playing the game, and there was a point when I even forgot about the blockchain features.
The wallet is only really used to store your cards (which are NFTs) and facilitate trading, buying, and selling on Skyweaver’s marketplace, which is something you could completely ignore if you wanted to just enjoy it as a standard card game. However, having true ownership of your cards and being able to trade with friends in this way feels futuristic, and it might even become necessary in high-rank gameplay.
Additionally, Skyweaver doesn’t have its own convoluted currency, and it doesn’t use something that is difficult or expensive to acquire. If you want to buy cards from the Skyweaver market, you’re going to be using USDC, a stablecoin. So, when you see that a card is 1.73 USDC, it’s going to run you around $1.73. No need to go to another tab to run calculations, it’s just easy to understand. I think this is definitely an asset for Skyweaver.
A Magical Experience
Skyweaver is beautiful, fun, and smartly designed. I had a great time with it despite not spending any money, and the avenues of monetization that are present seem fair and completely optional for any level of play. This feels like what free-to-play should look like for Web3, and I highly recommend Skyweaver to anyone who enjoys a good card game.