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Browser Games: The gods must be crazy


While it was only recently released on Steam, the low-res MMO Realm of the Mad God has been a browser-based experience for far longer, having been around in beta form as far back as two years ago, and in "released" form as of mid-2011. Similar to a twin-stick shooter, the game throws players into the shoes of typical, 8-bit-style, fantasy character classes, and sends them out to combat the monstrous legions of the game's titular Mad God, Oryx, and his minions.

Gameplay consists mainly of exploration, with item drops from successful killing giving characters the ability to upgrade, or to collect items to store for future alt-characters or to sell to other players in-game. All players start the game as the Wizard class, with new classes becoming unlockable as a player gains certain amounts of levels with different classes. Amongst the more standard minions are a fair amount of larger "ringleader" minibosses, as well as lesser gods and gods of the realm making apperances, with appropriately up-leveled item drop opportunities. Even Oryx himself makes a combat appearance from time to time, sucking in all the players in a given realm for a final battle once all of that realm's quest monsters are defeated.

Death quickly becomes a way of life, especially if one sticks around long enough for said Oryx fights, but that's okay! Playing for free leaves you with only one character slot anyway, so without ponying up some cash, you'll never get to experience the variety of gameplay the different classes present. That variety, along with the sizable amount of items available for each class, the different experiences any given party can bring to battle, and the bonus goals to earn stars for each of the classes (basically an achievement system), leaves Realm of the Mad God with a great deal more depth than one might expect from a freebie, flash-based game.

I've found myself trapped in the game for hours on end on more than one occasion, with a character that's on a particularly good roll and nothing else to do on a lazy off-day. Not that you have to keep playing for fear of losing your character, mind you; you can easily log out and just hop back in where you left off, though teleporting back to the starting sanctuary before doing so is probably a good idea. The game's single, MIDI-esque soundtrack manages to never overstay its welcome, even over such long sessions, though there is an option to mute the music if you'd prefer some other audio in the background.

Personally, I love the elegant simplicity of RotMG, and that's the main reason I keep coming back. It's also why this overview is shorter than my usual walls of text; there's not much to explain or ramble on about in regards to the game, yet it still manages to quite enjoyable. In a world of big-budget, resource-intensive MMOs duking it out to be the next blockbuster, and the genre generally being afraid to try much anything new due to the costliness of breaking into the market in the first place, Realm of the Mad God proves you don't need factions, shiny things, cockfighting, overblown lore, tie-ins to existing properties, or any of the other typical MMO trappings to be a solid, fun time.

As stated at the beginning of the article, Realm of the Mad God is currently available on Steam, under their Free-To-Play category, but for those wanting the authentic, browser-based experience can head over to their website, which has the game right there on the main page, and links to a wiki if you're into playing by numbers, and forums if you want to talk Mad God shop with other players.
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About nekobunone of us since 5:17 PM on 06.29.2007

Hi, I'm Chris, though I've been going by nekobun and variants thereof for so long, I kind of answer to both anymore.

While I've kind of got my own thing going in the realm of indie coverage, at least in the form of playing through (and streaming) (and writing about) the huge backlog I'm developing of games gleaned from various indie bundles, I try to keep my more mainstream, game-related features here, as well as opinion pieces on the industry at large, out of mad love for the 'toid. When I'm not rambling here or trying to be clever in comments threads, you can catch me rambling on Facebook and my Twitter, and trying to be clever in the Dtoid.tv chat.

Now Playing:
360: Halo 4
PC: F.E.A.R.
SNES: Secret Of Mana

I suck at games: PEW PEW LASERS
Improving game communities: Collective consciousness
Nothing is sacred: These walls have torn my world apart
The wrong thing: Only cream and bastards catch them all.
Love/Hate: I love to hate -you-
Love/Hate: B(u)y the book
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E3 Approaches: It's oh so quiet
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Relaxation: Cheesy double Chief burrito
Online Passes: A spoonful of sugar
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This is what MAGfest is all about
Beginnings: Put it on the pizza
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Do the wrong thing: And do it right, for once.
Afraid to shoot strangers.
Not if you were the last junkie on Pandora
Is Jim Sterling servicing the video games industry?
Something About Sex: Unsafe at any speed.
Doing DLC right
Congress passes sweeping Elfcare reform bill
Bottom five healthcare systems in videogames.
Pushing my love over the quarter line.
When my life would depend on an eight point none.
Remember the heroes.
Every Journey begins with a single step.
It's all over now, bomber blue.
Being Social: We'll always have Rainbow Road
Labor Day: Of course you realize, this means wark.
Please, aim it higher.
There Would've Been Brawl: Show me 'round your eggplantcage.
Integration: A place for everything
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MAGfest: the (don't be an) idiot's guide
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This was supposed to be a dozen items about nekobun.
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Cheap tricks (and treats) don't come cheaper than free.
The legacy of the (unlikely) wizard.
Cheap Tricks II: Sugar rush boogaloo
Thank you, for bringing me here, for showing me Home.
Burnt flowers fallen: the tragic bitchotry of Lilly Caul
Red and blue, resolving into purple.
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