A horse racing simulation in the NFT games space was always something of a no-brainer. In fact, you can safely bet your lunch money on it being the future of sports betting in general. The links between betting and gaming have never been stronger than they are in Pegaxy. You put money in, list your horse in a race and hope you place in the top 3 for a cash reward.
But is it any fun to play? Are the Pega NFTs desirable in their own right? Does it function for both investors and gamers? And ultimately, is there a future for Pegaxy? It's time for our Pegaxy review.
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What formats is Pegaxy on?
You can play Pegaxy on PC or Mac directly through a browser. There's no native app as yet on mobile devices. However, it is on the roadmap with an expected release of Q2 2022, starting with Android.
Officially no iOS version has been announced on the roadmap, but you can get around that by playing through a browser on your device.
Pegaxy gameplay explained
When it comes to gameplay, Pegaxy doesn't have much. Not at this point, anyway. It's almost purely a simulation. Through either renting or purchasing, you acquire a Pega NFT. This is effectively a Pegasus, albeit with a Tron-like futuristic styling.
The Pega come in a range of bloodlines and element classes as well as breed types. I will go into more detail on those later. More importantly, a Pega has the following attributes that impact their performance: speed, strength, lightning, wind, water and fire. The strength of these attributes can help a Pega's chances of victory based on how well they match with the randomised attributes of the host stadium.
A Pega can race a maximum of 25 times a day, but thankfully, there is no total race limit.
Once you've selected the Pega, you need to pay a nominal gas fee to lodge your intent to enter a race on the blockchain. You then get matched against other players with a Pega of similar class until 12 racers have been stationed. While you wait in the lobby, you can click around to see the stats of other players as well as see the race distance and look at the randomised stadium conditions. Think wind and temperature.
But from there, you're pretty much hands-off.
When a race starts, the Pega set off at a gallop. Originally, the race was presented in 2D and had you looking down on static horses as they moved down a track. Thankfully, in 2022 that has been upgraded to a 3D experience where you can see each Pega racing in the stadium itself. It's a bit jolty and basic, but at least it's more immersive.
Hopefully, we'll get a much more varied catalogue of stadiums to look at in the future, too. But as of early 2022, they're all very similar.
The audio is terrible. It's basically non-existent outside of some arcade-like bleeps and blobs here and there. Where's the cheering crowd? The galloping hooves? The anguished curses of dishevelled men who just lost their life savings?
How does Pegaxy work? Race results explained
The goal is to place in the top 3. You'll be rewarded a monetary sum in the form of Vigorus (VIS). At the time of writing, first place gives you 105 VIS (~ US$12), second 44 VIS (~ US$5) and third 26 VIS (~ US$3).
The race results are primarily decided by a random number generator (RNG). However, the attributes of your Pega and the stadium itself, as well as the synergy between their attributes, have a minor impact as well.
Roadmap: How will the Pegaxy gameplay evolve?
There is no skill-based gameplay at this point; however, it is the end goal for Pegaxy. The roadmap details a plan for player-controlled 3D racing in Q3 2022. The developer has also asked the community for its thoughts on allowing defensive and offensive weapons, too. Ultimately, the hope is to take the dependence off the RNG and place it more on skill-based play.
I suspect, for many gamers, it won't be until that point that Pegaxy becomes fun in the fullest sense. However, if – like me – you enjoy data, I think there is fun to be had even in the current state. There's a wealth of data around each Pega, including previous race performances across multiple stadiums and distances. This allows you to lose yourself in the numbers as you seek to find better results.
And of course, for gambling addicts, there's plenty of "fun" to be had. The thrill of watching a race unfold is akin to that found in your local horse racing betting agency.
Others may find enjoyment in the breeding process.
Update to the Roadmap - Corey Wilton interview
I invite you to take a look at the video above. After writing this initial review, I spoke to Corey Wilton - the co-founder and CMO of Pegaxy - in a video interview. It's a must watch for people interested in Pegaxy. If nothing, else he gives a good account of his view and perspective on the NFT gaming industry and the future of his game. But he also offers plenty of insights into what's coming on the roadmap.
Here are the five biggest takeaways, but there's plenty more:
Native mobile apps for Pegaxy are a priority on both Android and iOS.
You'll need to pay for stadium NFTs with Pega NFTs.
Riders will be introduced as a new layer of NFTs that sit above the Pega NFTs, They will be called Perseus.
The final goal is to create a Mario Kart experience, but will be delivered over many phases.
XP and levelling will not be added to the game.
Pega NFTs and breeding
One of the more exciting aspects of NFT gaming is breeding. The ability to take 2 NFTs and see what comes out of them if they get jiggy with it. Cue the Barry White. This process allows a new Pega NFT to be minted and reaps the same cathartic reward as opening Pokémon card packs or a Kinder Surprise.
Breeding isn't cheap, however. Obviously, you'll need 2 NFTs to start. And as I will detail when we talk about cost, that's not cheap. You'll then need to pay both VIS and PGX to breed. You can only breed a Pega 7 times, and each successive bonk becomes considerably more expensive to achieve.
As of early January, breeding your Pega for the seventh time will cost you over US$5,000. Although the first breed is a slightly more manageable US$240-ish.
There are 4 bloodlines, which in ascending order of rarity are Hoz, Campona, Klin and Zan. These define elemental affinity and to some degree your stats. You then have breed types, which come in Pacer, Rare, Epic, Legendary and Founding forms. When you breed 2 Pega, they will take on the attributes of the least rare bloodline and breed DNA in the parents.
There's then a litany of cooldowns and timers that impact how long you must wait between breeding a Pega again and racing a new Pega. These vary based on breed and bloodline. You'll be happy to know that the developer makes a point of saying these are metal beasts, so you don't feel as weird when you breed a dad with its kid.
Overall, the breeding process is relatively straightforward. It just costs a lot to enjoy this side of the experience.
But are the NFTs cool?
They are kind of cool, yeah. They look neat and there's plenty of variation in colouring and patterns. However, there's next to no difference in the shape. Beyond the colours, there's no personality. You won't recognise a Pega you have raced against before just by looking at it.
There's talk in the roadmap about bringing gear into the picture in Q2 2022, which could jazz them up a bit. Gear will also impact stats. Weapons have also been touted, but I suspect there will be some resistance to their inclusion from the community. At least in the primary mode.
More NFT options are coming, however. In Q2 2021, you'll be able to buy stadiums, effectively renting them out to race events. I'm really hoping the developer does a good job making the stadiums feel unique not just in looks, but in the way they impact gameplay.
Understanding the Pegaxy tokenomics
As a gamer, I can't stand the multiple economy aspect of NFT games, but it's the nature of the beast. Like many games, Pegaxy has 2 in-game economies to deal with as well as a marketplace that lists external economies – namely Tether.
The main coin you'll see is Vigorus (VIS). This is what you are awarded with for success in races. At the time of writing, they're worth around US$0.12 each. Then you have the governance token, Pegaxy Stone (PGX). It's worth US$0.80 a token. So, you're looking at roughly 6 VIS tokens to 1 PGX.
While VIS tokens can be used to cash out of the game, they are predominantly spent on breeding. PGX is also required for breeding in a far smaller amount. However, PGX is more likely spent when renting other players' Pega NFTs to race in the game. You'll also be able to stake PGX for passive returns.
When it comes to the marketplace and the buying and selling of NFTs outright, the cost can be seen in US dollars. This at least gives you a clear indication of what you are spending.
How much does Pegaxy cost to play?
Pegaxy is not a cheap game to play, sadly. There's no free-to-play mode. You cannot get your hands on the lowest end Pega and grind your way into the halls of racing fame through sheer play. You'll need to buy an NFT or rent one either directly through the marketplace or via a guild.
The marketplace itself is one of the better ones I've come across in terms of ease of use and filtering options. And indeed, there is quite a bit of flexibility in how the relationship between seller and player can be outlined. Pega can be sold at a fixed rate or auctioned. Renters can use a Pega for "free" using a profit-share arrangement or hire a Pega for a fixed period of time. This can range from a day to months.
It's all crystal clear to follow. And there's plenty of data to look through as you find the right Pega for you. But come the end of January 2022, the cheapest NFT you could buy outright was US$1,195. Ouch. As bad as that sounds, by my estimations, you should be able to earn that cost back in around 1 month if you play every day. That assumes the value of your NFT, as well as VIS, stays the same.
On the rental front, you're looking at getting the most basic Pega to use for a day – which is a maximum of 25 races, remember – for around 40 PGX (US$30). However, you can use the share-profit approach; this method costs you nothing up front, but you'll be lucky to get more than 5% of any winnings.
Is Pegaxy a good play-to-earn game?
The Pegaxy marketplace, gameplay and economy are certainly set up with P2E in mind. There's an open door here for guilds and scholars to come in and give it a go.
Looking at the pure math, if you were to spend around US$50 on a half-decent Pega to use for a day, you have up to 25 races to recoup that loss and then, ideally, come out on top.
A win will get you around US$12, a second US$5 and a third US$3. Stat bonuses aside, you have a 25% chance of placing in each race you enter. So, you may place in around 6 of your matches. For the sake of argument, let's say you get 2 wins, 2 seconds and 2 third. That will get you US$40.
The house always wins, as they say – unless you get lucky or have really narrowed in on the Pega attributes that deliver more than the average. But it's still marginal, right?
If you take the share-profit approach that sits at 5%, when playing the above numbers game, you'd walk away with US$2 a day. With a bit of luck and a few extra wins, that could bump up and be worth it for some scholars.
Is Pegaxy a good investment?
There's certainly plenty of interest in Pegaxy, which bodes well for the future value of the NFTs and the economy itself. I'm reasonably impressed with the way the developer has approached its staged creation. There's not much gameplay at present, but there's a perfectly serviceable simulation that offers enough to engage and generate income as they build up to the final product. That's a lot more than what can be said for other NFT games I've come across.
The fact that the economy is set up in such a way that you can earn around US$1,000 a month from racing your horse 25 times a day means you should be able to recoup your investment without hassle. And there's an obvious pathway on how you can either reinvest that money in breeding, gear or food to improve your race success or sell it.
Food, by the way, is coming in Q1 2022. It can be purchased and consumed to give buffs to your Pega. For example, a Dragon Carrot will increase your Speed by 1% and decrease your Strength by 1% for 7 days.
A once-a-year Grand Dash Tournament will also begin in late 2022. In it, the best horses in terms of race wins each month will be able to enter a year-end tournament to earn PGX rewards.
How to buy Pegaxy Stone (PGX)?
For most players, getting into the game is going to require some PGX. As it's derived from the Polygon blockchain, you'll need to acquire MATIC first. You can then exchange MATIC for PGX via a Polygon exchange such as QuickSwap, SushiSwap or Balancer. We've built a detailed step-by-step guide for you to follow in our how to buy PGX guide and also how to buy MATIC guide.
Who is the developer of Pegaxy?
Regular readers of my NFT games coverage will know I'm less than impressed by developers who don't have a name. It breeds mistrust. Technically, the team behind Pegaxy is called Pegaxy Technology Limited and are based out of Vietnam. Not that you'll find it referenced in their whitepaper.
In better news, the team has a face. Indeed, the website shows a huge team of real humans with real faces, some of whom you can find in places like LinkedIn. So, that's something.