Portal Fantasy Beta Impressions

I’ve written about Portal Fantasy in a previous post where I discuss my impressions of the game and Web3 gaming. Since then, I was given beta access and have had a deeper exposure to the game.

Portal Fantasy is a pixel art monster capture MMO coming to your favorite browser. While Portal Fantasy will have some Web3 features that will require a digital wallet, the game will be free to play. The beta is only available if you have a digital wallet, but setting up a wallet is very easy if you follow these instructions. Access to the beta isn’t guaranteed, so make sure you follow the game on Twitter or join the official Discord for news on when keys will drop. They hold regular contests and competitions for beta keys, so make sure you check in regularly.

The beta has you play as an adventurer who must travel the land catching porbles and completing quests. There is a story, but I recommend you go read the official webcomic instead. The story quests follow the same story as the comics, but the webcomic has a bit more flavor. I love the art for the comic, and the story is a lot darker than I expected. Reading the comic isn’t necessary, you will get the same story if you play through the game, but I appreciate the attempt at making the IP more than just the video game. 

The game plays more like an RPG than a traditional Pokemon game. Catching, trading, and healing porbles play similarly to Pokemon, but the combat feels more like a traditional RPG. Each porble comes with unique abilities, but in battle, you only have access to the basic attack until you can generate enough mana to cast stronger abilities. Type advantages do matter, so make sure you learn them as soon as possible. I will say that the initial grind is a bit steep. In the early part of the game, I kept having to pop potions or run back to the fountain in the main town to heal my Porbles. If you’ve played any grindy JRPG or even the original Pokemon games, the grind isn’t bad. 

Outside battles, you will be traveling to unique lands and solving puzzles. The puzzles are manageable, and the different ecosystems are unique. every location has its flavor, and exploring them was relaxing. When the architect class releases, players will get a chance to design their own maps, quests, and bases. I am very excited to see what the community will come up with.  

As far as the performance goes, it ran pretty well for a beta. It is unfair to talk about the bugs and other issues because the game isn’t finished yet. I will, however, commend the dev team for its diligence in fixing bugs. Bugs I would encounter one day would be gone the next. I tried repeating to break this game and found that it wouldn’t always break the same. It is clear that the game still needs work, but I have faith that there is enough passion, love, and diligence to get it done. 

The art style gives me Scott Pilgrim vibes, and the porbles are cute and cool enough to make me want to collect them all. I like that the game plays on a browser because players won’t need an expensive machine to run the game. I am always in favor of games that don’t limit access to those who can’t afford it. It reminds me of the time when the only source of gaming I could afford was on the library’s computers. I know that this design choice was made to accommodate the Web3 side of things, but the resulting accessibility is a huge pro for me. 

Portal Fantasy will have NFTs, but they are entirely optional. Porbles will be mintable and the game’s license will be an NFT you can purchase for $19.99. With a license, you will get a unique avatar to play and some to-be-announced quality-of-life bonuses, but nothing pay-to-win. If you ever choose to exit the game, you can sell your NFTS and make back some of the money you spent on it. I wouldn’t go into any game with NFTs thinking you’ll turn a profit, but it is nice to have the option to transfer assets when you’re done. 

Gamers might dismiss this game because of the negative connotations surrounding Web3. While I understand the position, it is becoming invalid. We have entered the Web3 era of gaming, and there is no going back. Big companies have been slowly implementing these changes and will continue to do so. If you think about your gaming history, you have already purchased digital assets in the form of skins or digital licenses. The only difference between the skin you buy for your League of Legends character and an NFT is that you can’t sell your skins when you no longer want to play League. I am not here to sell you NFTs or even on Web3, but I do want to dismantle some of the apprehensions. It’s time to accept Web3 as the future of gaming. But before you dive into any game, make sure you do your own research. 

So what do I think? I enjoyed my time with this game. I enjoy the lore and world, the art is cute, the music is fantastic, and the gameplay is relaxing. This might change for the PVP side and end game, but I wasn’t able to try either to be able to speak on it. I’d say that if you’ve enjoyed classic Pokemon or RPGs, you should look into this game. It certainly has potential. Make sure you follow them on Twitter and Discord to keep up on all the news, but in the meantime, go read the comic and get hyped. 


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