I get a lot of emails about blockchains and cryptocurrencies, nearly all of which are entirely irrelevant to our coverage of PC gaming. I expected more of the same when the announcement for Crypto: Against All Odds popped up in my inbox. But I changed my mind quickly when I reached what is the undeniably intriguing central concept: Cryptocurrency Plants vs. Zombies.
Crypto: Against All Odds sets players up as a blockchain security expert during the early days of Bitcoin, battling bugs, hackers, and other cybersecurity threats through PvZ-inspired gameplay. Instead of zombies on your lawn, it's blackhats on your network; instead of Sunflowers, Peashooters, and Wall-nuts, you'll stand against your enemies armed with six cryptos and four "fiat powers"—monetary policy modifiers that grant new or upgraded powers to your crypto units. OK, so it's a little less catchy than plants.
In between jobs you'll also have access to an upgradeable central cyber-hub that will enable access to additional features and new game modes, and side missions to complete ranging from chatting with your cyber-crew to trading cryptocurrencies and playing mini-games. Most intriguingly, there's also the promise of an overarching "Cypherpunk interactive story" that will unfold as you play, about a sweeping conspiracy aimed at bringing down the crypto-space—and uncovering the truth of who you are.
(Distinct from cyberpunk, a Cypherpunk, as defined by Wikipedia, "is any individual advocating widespread use of strong cryptography and privacy-enhancing technologies as a route to social and political change." The name is derived from the Cypherpunks Mailing List that existed in the early 1990s.)
It's hard to say how Crypto: Against All Odds will work out. It may be just a slightly-less-charming Plants vs Zombies tower defense knockoff with trendy-tech window dressing, but my hope is that the gameplay will live up to that of its inspiration, and that the underlying narrative will be clever enough to give it some real depth. Crypto: Against All Odds is set to launch on March 2 on Steam and GOG, and ahead of that you can find out more at cryptoagainstallodds.com and on Discord.