Illuvium Game Overview: The Alien Creature Collector NFT Juggernaut

Glowy aliens await to be captured, trained, and battled in Illuvium. Built on the Ethereum blockchain, I cannot wait to get my hands on the game. I’ve played various crypto titles and explored the good, the bad, and the damn right ugly.

Every now and again, a title catches your attention, you can see color and passion exploding from a project, and it gets you excited to see more. While Illuvium isn’t out yet, there is a ton of information covering it from tip to toe of the game.

Here is a thorough game overview of what you can expect as an Illuvial Ranger to give you an edge in the crypto gaming space.

Welcome to Planet Illuvium

You’re not in Kansas anymore; you’re on Illuvium! I know, I know Avatar is so 2009, but I can’t help but make references. Illuvium shares similar beauty in aesthetics. It’s an alien world teeming with colorful flora and fauna. If I had to choose one blockchain game to represent crypto gaming, it would be Illuvium, and it’s not even out yet.

That may sound like a brash opinion, but the fact of the matter is that Illuvium is unique. Its high-quality graphics and art style are practically oozing with style. A quality that the crypto gaming space has been lacking in there are so many rushed projects that are husks of games; believe me, I know I’ve had to review a few of them.

Illuvium takes the best parts of blockchain gaming: ownership of assets, and combines it with the familiar creature collecting gameplay popularized by Pokemon.

However, you can tell that the developers are committed to the Illuvium project and that this is not just some carbon copy or surface-level mobile game. Check out the gameplay trailer below. It will surely get your gaming senses tingling:

Yes, little mudskipper cutey fish, come to me! Illuvials, the creatures that inhabit Illuvium, are all unique while conforming to an overall art style that looks alien and cool!

Okay, Atlas, the small cute aquatic Illuvial seen on the beautiful bioluminescent beach early in the trailer, looks a bit like a Mudkip. However, I’m not complaining. It’s unique and stylized to look like it has evolved on Illuvium, a detail that you solemnly see in AAA titles.

The blockchain elements of owning NFTs and assets within the game will surely make your Illuvials more personal. That’s right; Illuvium comes with all the trimmings of a blockchain game, such as land ownership, trading, auctions, and minted resources. However, I’ll go over this in much more detail later!

There is no release date for Illuvium at the moment. However, you can apply for the Battle Arena Beta if you’re eager to get hands-on experience with the game. Remember that access to the beta is pretty restricted to a select few at the moment.

Story Synopsis

illuvium game story synopsis

There is little information regarding the story of Illuvium. However, the gameplay trailer and Whitepaper reveal a few details. After investigating a distress beacon from the planet, a burst of radiation disables your transport ship.

Your ship burns up in the atmosphere, and parts burn and break off, waking on a beach cascaded with beautiful rolling bioluminescent waves, you crawl out from the wreckage to discover a curious illuvial investigating you.

The Whitepaper states speculatively that the planet may be the cradle of your civilization, long destroyed by the planet’s hostile climate. It goes on to state that Illuvials are imbued with powers that your civilization has only just begun harnessing, enabling you to capture these mythical god-like creatures.

It’s yet to be discovered why the survivor (Arlen) is shown in the gameplay trailer fighting another survivor. This may be linked with the story, or it may serve to show off the gameplay.

The trailer shows the survivor and M0Z4RT, her companion bot exploring the regions of Illuvium. Powerful cracks of thunder and lightning fork off in every direction on the horizon, and animated waves charged by storms crash upon the land and tall black obelisks that may hold the key to discovering the secrets of Illuvium.

illuvium game

  • After crawling out from the wreckage, Arlen discovers an almanac called the “Illviary.” The whitepaper suggests that it was once owned by one of your people but was lost long ago. The entries are locked until you register Illuvial captures, much like how the Pokedex works.

Although there is little information regarding the story of Illuvium, the numerous trailers and videos released to highlight a rich world full of mystery, the gameplay footage video shows narrative hints at the planet’s history, as cave paintings can be seen all over the sandy cave explored by Arlen.

Of course, it’s possible that Illuvium is not a narratively-led game. However, I’m optimistic that it will deliver a sound story that incorporates the gameplay and web3 mechanics into the narrative after reading the Whitepaper.

It explains that the Illuvials have climatized to the hostile climate of Illuvium, where intense radiation pulses all around the planet. Both Illuvials and your civilization have harnessed this energy.

I’ve sunk hundreds of hours into Ark Survival: Evolved, a game with a similar premise to Illuvium. To the casual player, it may seem shallow and a buggy survival game with dinosaurs and creature gimmicks.

However, search deeper; there is lore to be read and stories to uncover. Illuvium has great narrative potential, and perhaps much of it will be discovered exploring the fascinating regions of the planet.

Gameplay Breakdown: Becoming an Illuvial Ranger

Capture, train, battle, and explore are just a few of an Illuvial Ranger’s duties. However, there is more to Illuvium than collecting Illuvials. You will need to explore all seven regions to build a powerful team.

Because the game is built on the Ethereum blockchain, it has the advantage of web3 features. Every item you harvest items, every drop of fuel you extract, and every Illuvial you capture is owned by you. It will have its own intrinsic value being an NFT of Illuvium.

You can encounter Illuvials in the game overworld; however, here comes my biggest criticism; most likely, Illuvials won’t be seen directly in the overworld, interacting with their environments like feeding and roaming.

Instead will manifest themselves in strange balls of energy that can disappear as easily as they appear. These balls of energy are called Illuvial Wakes; the player can stall these Wakes to track Illuvials and battle them.

Like many other blockchain games, you can fuse NFTs into more valuable NFTs in Illuvium; you can fuse Illuvials of the same species into evolved forms through Fusion.

There are three stages of Illuvials in an evolution line. Some Illuvials are rarer than others making it harder to get higher stages of Illuvials. The Fusion process can be seen in the gameplay trailer when the survivor fuses three Axons to create an Axodon!

  • To translate that into crypto terms, catching Illuvial mints the Illuvial as an NFT in your wallet. At the same time, fusing Illuvials together to obtain stage 2 Illuvial burns NFTs to create a more valuable NFT.

gameplay breakdown - becoming an illuvial ranger

Illuvials and Battle Strategy

Illuvium is an auto-battler RPG, meaning you won’t have direct control over a battle. Instead, you are given a grid with you and your opponent on either side.

Before a battle, you must place your Illuvials on the grid and choose a weapon for yourself. The formation, distance, and typing of your Illuvials can all determine the outcome of a battle. Devising a solid strategy can lead to victory even when the odds are against you!

You heard right. There are a bunch of different Illuvial types that all synergize depending on their abilities, common affinities, and classes. The whitepaper calls it the Hybrid Synergy System.

The system is broader than just the placement of Illuvial and whether it’s ranged or melee, as the system will enable you to bestow buffs to your team depending on the synergy of Illuvials.

There are five types of Illuvial affinities:

  • Fire
  • Water
  • Nature
  • Earth
  • Air

However, Illuvials are not restricted to one of these affinities, just like Pokemon; they can constitute additional types or affinities. For example, a Magma Illuvial will feature both Earth and Fire affinities. Analyzing the Private Beta 2 Arena video on the official Youtube channel. I found there to be a myriad of affinity combinations.

Moreover, your team’s synergy will increase for every illuvial with the same affinity. For example, a Nature synergy will increase your team’s health regeneration. However, it goes deeper than that. Composite synergies are affinities from more than one affinity type, such as Steam (Water/Fire).

These composites can even be from Illuvials with two of the same primary affinities, Such as Fire and Fire, which can create an Inferno synergy. Long story short, there are a colossal amount of combinations to test, and of course, affinities have strengths and weaknesses with one another.

It’s not just affinities that you’ll use to strategize your team. Each Illuvial features a class that determines its combat role.  These are:

  • Empath
  • Psion
  • Fighter
  • Rogue
  • Bulwark

illuvials and battle strategy

Thats not all. The Illuvium battle arena gets even deeper with Augments. There are over fifty augments to apply to your Illuvials, all changing how your Illuvial behaves in the arena, from increasing an Illuvial’s stats to giving them new abilities.

You can’t expect your Illuvials to do all the work; in battle, you can equip your Ranger with various weapons that also feature affinities. You can further bond your ranger with an Illuvial and, depending on your weapon’s affinities, create new synergies!

I love the look of these critters. They have so much personality, and with over a hundred to collect, I cannot wait to go on an Illuvium safari. However, the game will not be limited to its features on release.

The developers have stated in the Whitepaper that they will be releasing new Illuvials and regions to expand the game in the future. All voted by you! Of course, as a Web3 game, governance is a huge aspect of many blockchain games.

Land Ownership: Your Piece of Illuvium

Land ownership is a common feature in blockchain gaming. It usually is used to generate tokens to build experiences for players and, in some cases, be rented to other players.

In Illuvium, land can be developed to allow you to extract Fuel, a resource used to play the game. When extracted, Fuel is transferred directly to your crypto wallet, which can be used by you or sold to another player.

Moreover, Illuvials can sometimes be found roaming your land, which can be scanned to get blueprints for unique Illuvial skins.

However, before you build your dream log cabin on Illuvium, just like in real life, there are many important factors to consider when purchasing land. While you won’t have to worry about mold or water leaks, you will have to consider the plot of the land’s location, region, and tier.

Higher the Tier, the Better the Rewards

There are five tiers of land in Illuvium. The higher the tier, the faster Fuel can be extracted from the plot of land. Moreover, tier three and above can feature rare landmarks that increase your fuel extraction.

Therefore the higher the tier, the more expensive and valuable the plot of land. In addition to Fuel, you will also be able to extract different kinds of elements from your land; therefore, you must take a look at a land’s features before purchasing a plot. Note that landowners will receive 5% off all in-game revenue!

To develop your land, the developers will release a companion app called Illuvium Zero that can be accessed via computer or the power of your hand through mobile.

The developers are pushing the play to earn the model through land ownership, stating that selling fuel could earn you a big bag of tokens, depending on the demand for fuel. And as a resource that is required to play the base game, it’s worth looking into.

  • Tier 1 Land – Includes 1 Fuel Site and 3 Element Sites with a 0% Production Boost.
  • Tier 2 Land – Includes 3 Fuel Sites and 6 Element Sites with a 33.33% Production Boost.
  • Tier 3 Land – Includes 6 Fuel Sites and 9 Element Sites with a 100% Production Boost and features 1 Element Landmark.
  • Tier 4 Land – Includes 9 Fuel Sites and 12 Element Sites with a 300% Production Boost and features 1 Fuel Landmark.
  • Tier 5 Land – Includes 12 Fuel Sites and 15 Fuel Sites with a 900% Production Boost and features an Arena Landmark.

The Seven Regions of Illuvium

the seven regions of illuvium

Most of the Illuvium planet is covered in a crystal sea, leaving only seven regions of land to explore. However, this land is dense with life the volatile climate has created contrasting biomes; the seven biomes are:

  • Abyssal Basin – A swampy region with giant mushrooms that lift ground into the air giving verticality to the region. The region has a dense forest with all wispy and crooked trees. In addition, the region is covered with big bodies of water that glow at night due to bioluminescence.
  • Brightland Steppes – A strange and magical region suspended in the sky due to strange energy. The land has immense scale and verticality and is covered in lush green fields. Beautiful waterfalls rain down onto blocks of land underneath.
  • Crimson Waste – Located in the center of the map, an unpleasant dry desert filled with orange sand and jagged rock formations that crack open into deep chasms.
  • Crystal Shores – A region that the developers have sparingly revealed. The Crystal Shore is covered in pink and purple landscapes of crystals in all shapes and sizes. Reminds me of the Eridium Blight in Borderlands 2.
  • Halycon Sea – My favorite of the regions, the Halycon Sea, is a giant land-locked area that has tropical and surf vibes. This region has beautiful glowing blue water that will make you want to bring a beach towel and a six-pack of beer. You can bet that I would purchase land here!
  • Shardbluff Labyrinth – A rocky region that is dark and features the highest mountain peak in the game. The mountains are covered with orange and yellow fungi. It reminds me of flat fungi you see growing on trees.
  • Taiga Boreal – This region is covered in ice and features a giant frozen lake that is cracked and can be explored. The region is covered in terrifying frozen waterfalls and crevasse-like holes on a huge scale. You can explore through gigantic ice caves.

You can view and purchase available plot land on Immutable X marketplace and Illuvidex. However, I’d recommend using the Illuvidex to get more in-depth information on the coordinates and location of the plot on the Illuvial map.

Game Specific Aspects

For a game to draw me in and sit on the shelf of my favorite games, it’s got to either got to do what every other game company is doing but better. Or be unique enough to stand alone in the current era of gaming’s sea of on-demand titles. So I’m going to answer what Illuvium does do that other games and companies do not.

While this is a pretty hard question, as we don’t have full access to the game yet. Illuvium has already intrigued me from watching the countless leak videos and updates on their Youtube channel.

illuvium specific aspects

I mean, look at the fur on this guy. Don’t you want to give him a big hug? Who’s a good fuzzy wuzzy wuzzy, Ehem, sorry got a bit carried away there!

The Illuvium team is showing that they can do creatures better than most video game development companies, but how about Illuvium’s unique features? Do they hit the bar? Well, it’s difficult to tell at this stage as they haven’t been fully revealed in all their shininess. However, they do offer great insight into the final product.

Iluvium: Zero: Your App Companion for Developing Land

There’s more to it than just purchasing land and sitting on it. In Illuvium, you must develop your land by adding structures to resources to extract and mine resources. Illuvium Zero has not been released yet but will be available soon for landowners. For clarity, Illuvium: Zero is a base-building mini-game that interacts directly with the main game.

In an interview with Grant Warwick, it was announced that land plots should be akin to the overworld in the main game. There are many different structures to build, and depending on the land tier, how many structures you will be able to build.

Showing off your NFTs will be a big part of Illuvium Zero, as NFTs can be placed on your land in the isometric view. Researching passing Illuvials will also be a big part of Illuvium Zero, and you’ll be able to get new skins for Illuvials and Arlen.

While you don’t need to own land to play Illuvium, you will need it to play Illuvium: Zero. As it serves purely to develop your land, the game can be played on computer and mobile, so you can look after your base, sell Fuel, and research Illuvials on the go.

It’s clear from the Illuvium: Zero Showcase video that the team has spent a lot of time trying to create a “AAA mobile game.”

I found images of what Tier 1 and Tier 2 land plots could look like once developed on the official Illuvium Discord. Check them out:

tier 1 land plot

tier 2 land plot

Battle Arena: Gotta Battle them All

The Battle Arena is unique to Illuvium. While auto-battlers aren’t a new concept, the Illuvium team has created a unique battling system that has depth and requires strategy. There are currently three game modes that have been announced for Illuvium:

  • Survival Mode – Currently the only available arena mode in the private beta. In Survival Mode, you will face progressively difficult waves of enemies. It’s your goal to survive as long as possible.
  • Ascendant Mode – Illuvium’s PVP Ranked Mode; Grant Warwick stated that because the game is an auto-battler, the team came up with the idea that your M0Z4RT bot’s health will drop each round depending on the player’s performance. However, Warwick stated that this is in very early development, so this detail isn’t guaranteed.
  • Leviathan Mode – Leviathan Mode is the game’s fun, over-the-top mode where players can battle each other without limiting rules.

Dynamic Movement: Hop, Skip, and a Rocket Jump!

The world of Illuvium is treacherous. Its wildlife will not only try to kill you but its environment too. Andrew Wall and Rogier, Lead Concept Artists, quickly mention this in their show off of the seven regions leak.

Deadly acid, lava, nauseating heights, and other alien landscapes can lead to your doom. As a result, Arlen, the survivor, is aided by a jetpack and rocket boots-like features built into her suit. This makes it a lot easier to navigate the overworld of Illuvium.

This has been done before in games such as Mass Effect: Andromeda and Anthem, but who wants to play those…

As you can see, Illuvium has a big emphasis on movement and scale. The Lead Concept Artist, in an interview, explained that it was important that players would not get bored or frustrated with exploring the world.

Moreover, Grant Warwick stated leaked an animation and graphical overhaul for Arlen the survivor. So expect even better movement in the finished game.

IlluviDex: The Go-To Marketplace for Illuvium

The IlluviDex isn’t a game mechanic but a feature unique to Illuvium. The Illuvidex is the official Illuvium marketplace, where you can purchase and trade NFTs. Such as land plots, Illuvials, and Illuviators.

The Illuvidex recently upgraded and now offers much more detail and information on NFTs. For example, the in-depth land filtering tools and analytics allow you to find plots of land that excite you and meet your requirements.

Crypto gamers will be happy to know that they won’t have to worry about gas fees when minting NFTs due to the partnership with the Immutable X marketplace.

This is brilliant for Illuvium, as high gas fees are one of the significant reasons for the decline in NFT trading. People will not exchange NFTs where they must pay $15 for an asset fraction of the cost, and rightly so!

  • You won’t simply be given a crummy JPEG, either. The NFT will represent the Illuvial in a fully rendered 3D model using cutting-edge technology usually used in the film industry.
  • Illuviators are another form of NFT in Illuvium that acts as avatars for the game. Illuviators can be customized and minted on the blockchain and will cost the least amount of Eth.


Illuvium isn’t out yet, but it is one of the most anticipated blockchain games in the crypto gaming space. Many are calling it the first AAA blockchain game.

To get a scope of the game’s size, 100,000 plots of land will be available to purchase. However, the Illuvium developers released only 20,000 of these plots, and over 72 million dollars has been raised from land ownership alone.

  • Currently, $151,830,101 has been staked, and the majority of it is staked with the Illuvium token.

Illuvium Game Background

I briefly mentioned Iluvium’s narrative might be discovered through exploring the world. Although highly speculative, the developers have shared fantastic insights into the game’s development.

If you’re interested in Illuvium, I highly recommend staying up to date with the game’s socials, especially Twitter and Discord. In a recent post on the Illuvium Discord and YouTube channel, concept art of environments was shared, as well as the cool process behind creating Illuvials.

It was revealed in an Illuvium official leak that the artists of Illuvium draw inspiration from real-world animals and extinct creatures. I love this, as many of my favorite and arguably best Pokemon designs were created through this process.

Splash the talent of the Illivium artists on the Illuvials, and you’ve got some fantastic designs. Moreover, each region’s environment has been carefully designed with this in mind.

illuvium game background

The results are stunning; the world looks amazing and alive. Giant structures look almost organic, and many florae have issues of oceanic wildlife embedded within them, such as corals, kelp, bioluminescence, and spines.

This all adds to the overall aesthetic of the game. If the developers spend as much time and effort on the narrative as the art, they are on track to a winner in the blockchain space.

In a leak reveal video hosted by Andrew Wall, Host and Executive Producer at Illuvium, sat down and chatted with Co-Founder Grant Warwick showcasing the nitty gritty details of concept art, NFTs, and Illuvials that will inhabit the game.

Grant Warwick explained a sad story where his complete set of 151 original Pokemon cards was stolen when he was a kid. He explained that he wanted to create that Pokemon magic with Illuvium that was stolen from him all those years ago.

My Thoughts on Illuvium

I’m incredibly excited about Illuvium; the gameplay looks great, and the graphics and animations are to die for. The environments and creature design will always be the most critical aspect of a creature collector RPG, let alone jazzy Web3 features, and from what I’ve seen so far, they’ve nailed it.

However, I do have a criticism that the team has created such a fantastic world that looks alien and beautiful. I worry that Illuvial Wakes will reduce the game’s liveliness. I’d love to see Illuvials interacting and walking around the overworld, like in the gameplay trailer and in other similar games such as Ark Survival: Evolved.

  • That said, it’s an aspect that might not be completely ruled out.

Illuvium Alternatives

ark survival evolved gameplay

Suppose you’re super excited about Illuvium and cannot wait for it to release like me. Why not check out these games while you wait? Note that these games are not all blockchain-based games. I based this list on games that match gameplay first:

  • Ark: Survival Evolved – A multiplayer survival game where to survive, you must tame and train dinosaurs and creatures to either defend your base or siege tribes.
  • Splinterlands – An auto-battler built on the Ethereum blockchain that can be played on desktop or mobile. Plan your strategy by creating a lineup of cards complete with synergizing attributes. While this is a 2D card game, it’s a lite version of similar mechanics that will be seen in Illuvium. However, to play, you must purchase a Spellbook.
  • Axie Infinity – The notorious creature collector Ethereum blockchain game. In Axie Infinity, players must collect and train Axies and battle them against other players. Although similar in structure to Illuvium, it’s a barebones mobile version that offers no exploration RPG element.


Question: Will Illuvium be Free to Play?

Answer: Yes, Illuvium will be free-to-play. Co-founder Grant Warwick said he will catch all his Illuvials for free. Moreover, you will freely be able to explore the game overworld in the tier 0 regions of the game. However, it’s stated that this won’t feel like an “abridged” version of the game.
You will find it a lot more time-consuming and challenging to catch Illuviuals as Fuel is required to play the game. A resource that can be mined on land. The NFTs in the free-to-play version will be worth significantly less than premium NFTs.

Question: What Platforms will Illuvium Release On?

Answer: It has been announced that Illuvium will release sometime in 2022 for PC and Mac. However, no set date has been released yet. A mobile game version will be released after its release on PC and Mac.

Question: How to Buy Illuvium Land?

Answer: Land can be purchased on the Illuvidex, the official marketplace for Illuvium, or the Immutable X marketplace. Transactions will be based on the Layer 1 Ethereum network.
However, minting NFTs will be based on the Layer 2 network via IMX, the Immutable X marketplace. So land is purchased with either Eth or the sILV2 token using Metamask on Layer 1 with additional gas fees. Minting the land on IMX will cost no gas fees.

Conclusion: Keep Your Eyes on the Halcyon Horizon

In conclusion, Illuvium is on my radar as my most anticipated game. If you’re interested in the Web3 blockchain gaming space, I highly recommend keeping an eye on Illuvium and its socials.

New content is always being revealed, and in a game where there are finite NFTs in the form of land, Illuviators, and Illuvials, it’s essential you stay updated.

Illuvium could be the next big NFT game, regardless of its web3 features. So if you like Pokemon or Ark Survival: Evolved but want a thousand percent more detail, Illuvium will be for you!

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