‘Hamster Kombat’ and Beyond: You Can Earn Crypto by Playing These Telegram Games

Notcoin led to this year’s biggest and buzziest gaming token launch so far, but the Telegram mini app will not be a one-off sensation.

Hamster Kombat has already surged to greater heights in terms of pre-token players, claiming more than 150 million users already ahead of its launch on The Open Network (TON), while other games on Telegram are gaining steam with the same kind of model.

Like Hamster Kombat, games like PixelTap and Yescoin are expanding upon the basic “clicker” or screen-tapping premise in entertaining ways, all while teasing token rewards ahead for players who put in the time and invite their friends along.

Looking for the next big thing in Telegram play-to-earn games? Here are the buzziest games at the moment, and we’ll be updating this list regularly with new entrants—so stay tuned.

Notcoin

Launched on mainnet less than six months ago, Notcoin is the O.G. of this list—the Telegram mini app turned crypto phenomenon that started it all. Notcoin spun simple screen tapping into a diversion tried by some 35 million players before the “mining phase” ended ahead of the airdrop, and then converted that into the NOT token with a more than $2 billion market cap.

As of this writing, Notcoin still has yet to bring back its classic tapping gameplay. But it has offered passive earning opportunities through in-game missions that let you learn about other projects and the TON ecosystem in the process—and it plans to add new token-fueled social games in the future as it evolves into a Netflix-like platform for such experiences.

Hamster Kombat

Hamster Kombat takes the core screen-tapping premise of Notcoin and takes it in a truly unexpected direction, placing you as the CEO of a rising crypto exchange—and you’re a fuzzy hamster, of course. What does that mean? The game lets you invest in upgrades to grow your exchange, which in turn earns you more passive in-game income over time.

It’s simple stuff, yet that’s enough of a secondary layer on top of the tapping core that it gives Hamster Kombat more depth to keep you coming back. And it appears to be working: the game claims more than 150 million players now ahead of the TON airdrop planned for July, and it has seen massive social growth of late.

Catizen

Catizen takes a totally different approach than the other games on this list, scrapping the tapping gameplay in favor of something inspired by puzzle games like Threes and 2049. You’ll simply pair and merge similar cats, which gradually helps you earn more coins, all while people come and claim cats from what’s either a shelter or daycare up top.

It has a fun vibe, plus it’s gaining steam: Catizen says it has more than 20 million players now, plus it plans to launch on both TON and Ethereum layer-2 network Mantle. Catizen has increasingly been announcing a larger share of airdrop rewards for players as the hype grows, and says it’ll also donate 1% of revenue to nonprofits that help stray cats. Do it for the cats!

Screenshots from Catizen. Image: Decrypt

TapSwap

We can keep this one simple: TapSwap is, more or less, the version of Notcoin we saw before the game paused its gameplay ahead of the airdrop. It’s really all about tapping a golden coin, though you can shell out for upgrades to enable passive earnings or earn more coins per tap.

There’s not a ton to it, but as a simple diversion that could eventually pay out tokens, it’s worth popping into for Telegram fans. The game claims some 50 million players to date, and has announced plans to launch its token on The Open Network.

Screenshots from Telegram games Tapswap (left) and Yescoin. Image: Decrypt

Yescoin

Yescoin riffs on the Notcoin premise not only in its amusing name, but also by swapping tapping gameplay for swiping. It’s simple: You’ll see little pixel coins fill up the screen, and you can claim them by swiping over them. Every so often, you’ll grab a treasure chest that opens to reveal a pouring rain of coins. And then you repeat.

While not exactly reinventing the wheel, Yescoin does shake things up a little bit and has a cool vibe, making it an easy game to keep on your radar ahead of the TON token airdrop. Note that it currently isn’t playable on iOS devices as the team has to make changes to support Telegram’s new TON-linked Stars in-app currency, but is set to return soon.

PixelTap

PixelTap is a clicker-meets-combat game from a project called Pixelverse, which is developing a larger cyberpunk-themed exploration and crafting game but first opted to launch this Telegram game. This mini app lets you earn in-game coins and then use them to buy and upgrade robots, which you can then take into battle.

Screenshots from PixelTap. Image: Decrypt

It’s hands-on, too, as you’ll frantically tap parts of the screen to attack your opponent’s bot, as well as craft special attacks and try to defend yourself. Pixelverse is planning a token launch and is also giving away $220,000 worth of USDT stablecoin to top referrers as of this writing. A project rep told Decrypt that the team has not yet settled on a chain for the token.

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