Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds is a free-to-play mobile title that looks downright adorable – from its cute and cat-like protagonists to its wholesome story of friendship and adventure. But beneath the surface, the game is hiding something rather sinister: a predatory cryptocurrency exchange feature that essentially transforms the game into a crypto mining scheme.
In Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds, you enter a fictional game-within-a-game set in a land of gorgeous proportions. High towers, castles and fields dot an idyllic landscape, and your job is to choose a class and get to work on forging a path through a high fantasy realm to save kingdoms and uncover the larger mystery of the world.
You can take on tasks at your own pace, or even use an auto-questing system to automatically send your character off to complete tasks, fight enemies, and earn in-game rewards. This system is largely where the problem lies.
See, while Ni No Kuni: Cross Worlds holds up a cutesy facade, it contains a number of features that mean wily players can likely exploit the auto-quest system to, essentially, mine crypto. As spotted by Kotaku, developer Netmarble has actually released a handy guide on its website that explains how to exploit the game.
‘Territe Token (NKT) is a utility token existing on the MARBLEX platform. Users can exchange in-game currency from Netmarble Neo’s Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds for Territe tokens and freely distribute them outside the game (store, exchange, sell, purchase),’ Netmarble explains.
Territe is an in-game currency item that can be earned in daily play by jumping into tasks, taking on adventures, or hunting monsters in the Chaos Fields. Once a certain amount of Territe is earned (capped per day, based on your character level), you can then trade your in-game cash for Territe Tokens – which appear to be unique cryptocurrencies compatible with Netmarble’s Marblex Wallet.
Once the Territe Tokens are in your wallet, you can freely exchange them for other cryptocurrencies, which all have real world cash value. In that regard, Ni No Kuni: Cross Worlds is actually a play-to-earn game that appears to be easily exploitable.
According to players on Reddit, Netmarble has skewed the game towards the crypto market, with many of the games most powerful items and upgrades reportedly locked behind the need to grind for crypto.
‘Territe (a currency which is on the MBX exchange) has been added to almost everything in the game gating it heavily … This added an additional layer of grinding that isn’t in the KR or other versions. Its slowing progress down heavily unless you buy in,’ user Tezoze wrote.
The comments on this Reddit post contain a host of voices complaining about Netmarble’s tactics, and how the game has changed since launch. Many have expressed surprise that Netmarble chose to wait so long before launching its Territe exchange, while others have claimed they never bothered to install the game for this very reason.
As it stands, it appears Ni No Kuni: Cross Worlds is now leaning heavily into these play-to-earn mechanics by locking the game’s action behind the need to grind for Territe, an item which players are encouraged to transfer to Marblex Wallets – artificially inflating Netmarble’s crypto coin in the market. It’s a clever tactic, but one that essentially renders the entire game a gambling-heavy crypto grind.
While the game’s marketing has leant away from these key features, you should be well aware of what you’re getting into, should you choose to download and play the game. It appears Ni No Kuni: Cross Worlds isn’t as cute as it first appears.