Grab your Rubik’s Cube and your Wham! cassettes — Realm of the Mad God is going to feel like a frenetic blast from the past. A friend of mine spotted it in the Steam catalog (or “catalogue” for our Canadian friends) and said I should review it. Since I take requests, I agreed to check it out. Plus, it’s free. And I know how much you guys love free.
Oh wait, that’s me. I love free!
Realm of the Mad God is an MMO (massively-multiplayer online game) so you can play it with your friends — and about a gazillion other people. You can chat and you can group. You can even make a guild. All of these features are nice, however, I guarantee you won’t be doing much chatting. In fact, you’ll be lucky to find a half second to loot. Realm of the Mad God is a shooter. It’s fast-paced and, if you want to survive, you won’t stop moving.
The best way for me to describe this game is this – if an Atari 2600 and EverQuest got together, Realm of the Mad God would be the product of their union.
You start out as a level 1 wizard. (Of course I named my character “Dorktastic.” I’m surprised that you’re surprised.) There are no other class choices to start. From there, you shoot and adventure your way up.
If you can.
There are plenty of random creatures of varying difficulty running around the large maps, and they shoot a lot of projectiles. Hence the need to keep moving. And if that wasn’t difficult enough, the map has obstacles that you can actually get stuck on. Realm of the Mad God doesn’t make it easy; this isn’t like other video games where you run through trees and buildings like a ghost.
And then there’s the death penalty. If you die, you’ll go right back to where you started at level 1 with newbie gear. It doesn’t matter if you die at level 5 or 50. You can be level 1 in no time flat. The game intends to kill you a lot. In fact, in a recent welcome message from the game developers to all the new Steam players, they said:
Please note that you will be dead soon. And it will hurt.
Is it weird that I got a little excited by that?
The game does provide you with a quick escape route. If you find yourself in hot water and need to evacuate, there is a small white button above your health bar that you can click and instantly be teleported away from danger and into a safe zone called “The Nexus.”
If you miss your chance to evac, you’re back in Noobville, population: you.
Should you manage to level up, other classes will become available. Once your wizard makes level 5, the priest class is opened. If you get a priest to level 5, two more classes are opened. And so it goes, with the requirements getting more difficult as you progress.
There are no traditional quests in the game, but you won’t miss them. The action is fast and furious so you won’t have time to think about it. Killing bosses is the rough equivalent to completing quests and these varied encounters appear all over the map. Small indicators will appear on the edge of your screen, pointing you to the nearest one so you can seek and destroy.
Or be destroyed.
You’ll also come across random dungeons that you can enter. (They’re supposed to look like little brown caves, but they really look like little brown turds.) Inside the dungeons are more quest-like bosses.
What I like the most is that this game rewards grouping. This is done loosely and simply by proximity. Killing monsters while having other players in your immediate area will add a big experience bonus, and the more players, the better. But even if you find yourself out on your own, you’ll be so occupied with running around, fighting random monsters, and getting neat new loot that you won’t care either way. This is a terrific little game that I especially like to play in short bursts of about 20 minutes or so. (The quick evacuation really lends to that play style, as I can get in and out of an area in an instant.)
As long as you aren’t sent into a rabid foaming rage after dying and being sent back to level 1, I recommend this game. It’s fun, it’s fast, and, despite the misleading, 1980’s graphics, it’s a challenge. But if you aren’t a skilled gamer, don’t be discouraged by that; the difficulty level can be modified by hanging out in different areas. Take it easy by the ocean or head into the deep wilderness. Or somewhere in between. It’s totally up to you.
Realm of the Mad God is available on Steam, or even in your browser. Check it out. You’ll love it… if your stay in Noobville doesn’t cause you to throw your computer out the window.
Stay tuned for more! Next week I will unveil the February Sci-Fi Pinups! In March, I’m hosting another epic showdown between two hotly-contested science fiction hunks. Subscribe to my site via RSS. The link is on the sidebar.
9 thoughts on “Games You Should Be Playing: Realm of the Mad God”
This game sounds really cool! I’m really glad I don’t play these things. I’d disappear without a trace for months if I did. Ha! Way too addictive for this addictive personality. 🙂
My wife and I still grumble about WoW making MMOs too easy. They really don’t know what it was like in Our Day. Dail-up, for chrissakes!
Awesome review, as always. And part of me is happy that the KoA demo blackscreened on you, because after paying for and playing it, I’m bitter and angry and wish I could write a review of it, but I can’t for political reasons. Which is weird, but whatever. This looks like a lot more fun.
I actually did get to play Kingdoms of Amalur (the demo), and I even wrote a review. It was supposed to go live last week. Unfortunately, The Editor read it and felt that, while the first half of the review was good, the second half became personal and mean.
I really, really hated Amalur.
Did you ever play Conan Online? Remember how each character spawned in a beautiful training area all by themselves, and the story was compelling, the art was beautiful, and the game play was wonderful? Many glowing reviews of Conan Online were based on that solo training area. However, after that training area is complete, the player is teleported into the main world with the other players, and the game is like night and day from what you experienced. The two are completely different games. As you run toward the gray, ugly city, you’re looking around at the world thinking, “What the fck is this sht?”
That’s Kingdoms of Amalur to me.
If you’d still like to see the review, let me know. I can still take another crack at it and put it up after the February pinups.
I would love to see that review, since I’ve only seen one other review of the game that reflects how I feel about it (X-Play’s). Every other one is this glowing awesome piece of sunshine blown straight up… anyway, they’re overwhelmingly positive. I have not been so bitterly disappointed in a video game since E.T. on the 2600. The Conan analogy couldn’t be more spot-on. I get angry just thinking about it.
Awwww, hours camping Wilton… missing work because he didn’t spawn… that long ass boat ride gave you have time to nuke your Hot Pocket at least… And the oh so wonderful corpse runs, good luck finding your body and gear… The good ole days of EQ (sigh)
PS – You guys need an anonymous blog site to post the reviews for KoA!
Boo hiss – I can’t edit my own posts – typo!
It’s funny that after all this time away from EQ, we still think fondly about the time we spent there. Ah, abusive relationships.
I’m not really afraid to post my review of KoA — but I must admit I am pretty curious about Alan not reviewing it for “political reasons”. Not sure what kind of ties he has to KoA, or if he’s just concerned about annoying some of his friends. No one pays me to post reviews so I fear no one. Even if they did, I’d still have to be honest.
(I’m friends with one of the people involved. Many of my other friends are also friends with him, and I don’t need a bunch of people hating on my opinion. I seriously think they’d crucify me for it. Literally and/or figuratively.)
I didn’t even know what MMO was until I read your post! Thank goodness I have you to help me in the gaming world, Jen! I don’t really “game” but this does sound like fun…