Sir Snorfkin Reviews: Upland

Welcome to Blockchain Real Estate!*

Upland is an up and coming blockchain game based on trading properties which coincide with real properties in the real world. The game brings a unique approach to blockchain gaming by allowing people to truly own virtual properties on the blockchain. The game also shows a lot of promise, with a strong development team and clear roadmap for future updates which will bring more life to the game. In this article I will be reviewing the gameplay and all-around features of Upland, so let’s dive in!

*Transparency note: The views expressed in this review are solely based on observations and research conducted by the author. The author has not received any sponsorship or payment from Upland for writing this article, and therefore the opinions formed are independent of any external influence. 


Gameplay 

Visuals

Upland is smoothly designed, and aesthetically pleasing. Plus, who doesn’t love llamas?!? Upland’s llama mascot is inviting for users, and the artistic style of the game is mostly aligned with its fun-but down to earth look. Alongside its looks, Upland features a very attractive in-game map, which is easily navigable and can even show you where you are on google street view. With this clear map and nice visuals, you are likely to hear your friends and fellow uplanders beating the proverbial dead horse of “hey, I can see my house from here!” as the game’s user base grows. Despite these visuals, there is one aspect which does stand out: the user’s “Explorer,” which is effectively your character in the game. Upland is currently limited to 6 different explorers with 5 varying background colors. Not only do the explorers’ designs not vibe with the overall art style of the game, some also seem unrelated to the game theme (looking at you, Mr. flashlight). The only way for users to obtain unique explorers at the moment is through Upland contests and auctions, which for the time being seems limited to a very small grouping of wealthy users or pay-to-players, or people with a lot of time on their hands.
Β 

Mr. Flashlight: One of the 6 basic Upland Explorers

Complexity

Currently, Upland is a fairly simple game in terms of complexity. Users are able to buy and sell properties located in multiple geographic locations (currently San Francisco, Fresno, and New York, but more cities are on the way). While simple, there are many elements which contribute to the complexity of the market. Upland makes use of collections, where users can group their owned properties to gain UPX (in-game currency) as well as earning multipliers. This makes certain locations a hot market to get a hold of specific properties, and also results in some interesting marketing dynamics which require users to do some homework before making their purchases. While the game currently remains relatively basic in its offerings, the team’s future developments suggest a promising, robust game which will continue to add features and complexity over time. In an future update, users will be able to develop buildings and businesses on their owned properties, thus adding complexity to the gameplay and earning strategies users can employ. 

The Fun-Factor

What Upland lacks in story is made up for by the game’s engaging events. The Upland team continuously organizes regular events, and activities which stimulate community growth and fun for everyone. There are also often contests and giveaways, so keep your eyes open! These activities range from auctions on NFTs, to weekly challenges, and much much more! However, there is a slight catch: players must reach “uplander” status before being able to participate in many of these challenges and activities. The early stages of the game therefore require some patience or investment up front (or some shilling in discord channels) before overcoming the so-called “uplander status” hurdle. 

Ease of Use

Upland is very well designed, and easy to use! The game is easily playable through its mobile app, and can also be played via a web-browser. Buying and selling properties is straight-forward, and the game’s user-friendliness makes it easy to get into from the start. Additionally, Upland features a short but sweet in-game tutorial which is very good for helping new users understand how to play the game. One of Upland’s most shining aspects is arguably its user-friendliness, so don’t be afraid to jump in and learn the ropes.


All-Around Features

Cost Benefit Ratio

Upland offers a decent cost-benefit ratio, with the current going rate being a flat $1=1,000UPX. This means that when combined with the starting UPX bonuses which can be obtained through frequent contests, users can easily reach the aforementioned 10,000 UPX “uplander status” threshold with a few dollars spent. For those who are not able to spend money, Upland requires some more patience, but is still playable and enjoyable. For the highly proactive, Upland offers numerous benefits for “broadcasters,” who are content-creators driving consistent engagement with users and referring users to sign up to the game. Upland’s team plans to make UPX exchangeable for other cryptocurrencies in the future, but the current one way street of fiat in and nothing out means that all expenses made in game will remain in-game. Keep this in mind before jumping in!

Underlying Technology

Upland primarily makes use of two tokens:
1. UPX, a fungible token (FT) which can be bought with fiat currency (and soon cryptocurrency).
2. Virtual Properties, these are non-fungible tokens (NFTs), each having unique value on the blockchain. 

Both of the tokens exist on the EOS mainnet. In short, EOS allows individuals or organizations to create Dapps for real world use cases. Games are just one of these uses, and there is much more which can be done. With EOS being backed by block.one and sitting at a current market cap (as of 20 Feb, 2021) ranking of 18th, Upland’s team seems to have chosen a credible, transparent, and hopefully future-proof network on which to base their game. 

User Community

As with many blockchain games, the Upland community is thriving on discord! The market is very hot, with users actively promoting their properties, as well as the justifications and numbers behind their offers. Moreover, the user-base has a very helpful mentality, often visiting new users’ properties in order to bump them above the 10,000 UPX threshold needed to gain uplander status. It is very evident that the Upland team has fostered a strong and active community through events and their own presence in community channels. This has resulted in a wealth of useful tutorials, blogs, and other community-created content which is valuable for all users, all the way from the beginners to the real estate moguls in the Upland universe.


Conclusion & Final Score

In summary, Upland uses a simple formula, but executes it in an engaging way which adds complexity to the gameplay. The proposed future updates will only further strengthen this, allowing users to get involved from day one of their Upland journey. While there is room for improvement on the visual explorers, it does not take away from the overall gaming experience. Where Upland truly shines, however, is in its ability to bring new users to the blockchain gaming space in a easy to use, easy to learn setting. 

Upland has a good cost-benefit ratio and is playable without any initial investment, but the 10,000 UPX threshold means that free to play users will have to be patient whilst many users will be drawn into paying to kickstart the true Upland experience. This, combined with the current inability to exchange UPX for cryptocurrency, leaves room for improvement in the cost benefit ratio. Regardless, the tokens used by Upland are built on a legitimate, credible network, and hopefully will continue to remain future-proof. The all-around aspects of the game do not stop there. Of all Upland’s features, its true strength lies not in the game itself, but in its active and friendly user community. 

I highly recommend that you try this blockchain game! I, Sir Snorfkin, hereby decree that Upland receives a final score of FOUR crowns out of five. 

Final Score: 4/5 (πŸ‘‘πŸ‘‘πŸ‘‘πŸ‘‘)

Score Breakdown

Gameplay
Visuals: 3/5
Complexity: 4/5
Fun Factor: 4/5
Ease of Use: 5/5

All-Around Features
Cost Benefit Ratio: 3/5
Underlying Technology: 4/5
User Community: 5/5


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Thank you for Reading!

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