Realm of the Mad God Review
by Guest Writer Darius Black
What happens when 8 bit graphics meets a browser based massively multiplayer shooter? Realm of the Mad God happens. This online game is brought to us by Wild Shadow Studios. Oryx, the very angry god, wrangles the player’s character to his world to be eaten by his minions who protect him while destroying the land. It is up to the heroes of the nexus to destroy all of the Mad God’s monsters, culminating in defeating him in glorious combat. The story is fairly thin. It serves mostly as a means to get players into the game.
In Realm of the Mad God we are given an overhead view of our character. Starting out as an archer, the player learns the basics of how to move and attack. There is a main screen inside the browser for gameplay, and the player’s equipment, loot, and stats are located to the right. The focus of the gameplay is simple, stay healthy while defeating quest monsters and anything else that crosses your path. Character death is permanent and forces the gamer to start over. The max level for characters is 20; it takes about an hour or so to reach this level. All the characters are unique but possess a layer of familiarity which makes it easier to switch from character to character. Although this game might look like something off of your old NES system, the client will remember your character should you ‘reset’ your browser by accident while playing.
Remember how Vindictus showed us action combat could modernize a game? This is action combat at its simplest. Stats do take a role in this but the player’s skill at both aiming and dodging will determine who survives. Moving is simple with the wasd control scheme. Clicking the left mouse button will send your attack bullets in the direction of your cursor. Each class also has a special ability that can be used with the spacebar from the priests area heal to the assassins poison cloud. When enemies die they yield experience and randomly dropped loot. Those items can either be equipped or held in your inventory. A cash shop is available for those gamers who feel like spending some real cash for nexus items. These items are mostly aesthetic and unnecessary for gameplay.
The Nexus serves as the hub village of the Mad God’s world. It is also the only place you can truly feel safe. This is a lobby for players to heal, group, and buy items. Characters can also trade items they find in the game. In the middle of the nexus there are portals. These portals serve as a gateway to and from the main questing realm. Players can teleport back to the nexus at any time to save their characters. This is also where equipment can be purchased to strengthen your toon. Realm of the Mad God has a great community of friendly players who tend to drop loot in the nexus for others to snag too.
Equipment is important in Realm of the Mad God. As you progress the game grows harder and harder. The first monsters are simple snakes and pirates, but once the demons, pentracts, and cyclops gods start attacking from the woodwork it is a real challenge to stay living. The higher bullet attacks from these creatures not only deal substantial damage but can also blind, confuse, or silence your hero.
The best way to stay alive around end game is to join a group. When other adventurers are close by they appear under your inventory. The player has the opportunity to teleport to anyone within close proximity. Thankfully, every player in that immediate area gains experience points when a monster dies. Group battles are hectic and exciting. Seeing a fellow player die while in a group definitely sets an exhilarating and foreboding tone.
The entire game feels like a pixilated Nintendo era rpg. The background, terrain, characters, monsters, bosses, bullets, and items are all pixel goodness. Sometimes the pixel look can be a little boring; the armor for instance is just different color switches. Weapons however change color and shape. The backgrounds, while barren in a few areas, are very well done. Usually, the terrain has many different objects to look at and hide behind. The terrain also changes to resemble deserts, valleys, mountains, forests, and swamps.
Breathtaking or not, the sprites for this game are well made. In a game with a plethora of monsters who want to wreck the world in chaotic battles, you will never have issues differentiating yourself from the baddies. From skeletons, to goblins, to dwarves, to demons, every creature looks unique. Character sprites likewise all have a familiar size but wear separate costumes by class giving them all a varied look.
If only they had put a similar effort into the game’s music. The sound effects are standard but forgettable. There is only one song and it goes on forever in a loop. This definitely can grate on the nerves. Just remember to bring some tunes for this trip. Happily, the in game music can be turned off at any time via the browser screen.
This browser game is very unique. Realm of the Mad God isn’t without flaws. Its one song can be distracting after a few rounds of it. The permadeath feature will also make many players feel a little cheated. When every game seems to be running on the unreal engine it is somewhat of a letdown that such a well-made game as this is stuck in a pixel shell. Regardless, graphics aren’t everything. Game play is addictive. Fighting alongside a group with monsters attacking from all sides makes for such a classic experience.
But hey, this game is free and requires no download! In a market where many online games released these days following cookie cutter World of Warcraft and Everquest inspired builds, it is refreshing to see a fun, free, addictive game that plays by different rules. Oryx the mad god wants to destroy all life on the planet to feed his minions. Don’t let him win!