Realm of the Mad God Review (PC)
Realm of the Mad God or RotMG is Co-op fantasy adventure MMO set in an alter universe controlled by the Mad God Oryx. Players are summoned by the evil lord to become food for his minions. Fight for survival by using various weapons and spells. Complete dozens of quests. Explore large dungeons and slay thousands of monsters. Go against the Black Spotted Den Spider, Pink Blob, Flying Brain, and the Demon Warrior of The Abyss. Battle solo or with friends killing challenging bosses like the Cube God or raging Pentaract. Wage combat in a retro arcade-style world similar to Metal Assault or classics such as Pac-Man and Space Invader. Players unlock new classes as they level up and beat their previous scores. There are 11 different classes available in RotMG.
While beta began in January 2010, Realm of the Mad God was officially released June 30th, 2011 by Wild Shadow Studios . Calling itself a "Co-Op Fantasy MMO Shooter," the game has done an above-adequate job at classifying itself. Thrust into a world where death is uncommonly unforgiving, the Mad God, Oryx, has intended you to be food for his minions. You must cooperate with other players to battle his minions, defeat guardians, and eventually confront and defeat Oryx himself. Offered through a self-titled website , Steam, and the Google Chrome Web Store, Realm of the Mad God is a top-down shooter, very reminiscent of bullet-hell type games where dodging incoming enemy fire is just as important as dealing out damage. But how does it work as an MMO?
The game's interface is extremely simple and easy to pick up on. Movement is achieved through a WASD scheme, and your character faces and attacks the direction of your mouse cursor whenever you click. Though inventory space is limited to 8 items, this is more than adequate for carrying enough potions to keep you alive through most combats. They are all accessible through a click-and-drag system, but can also be used directly from your inventory with the 1-8 number keys as hotkeys. Equipment is also easily managed, each character only having space for a weapon, armor, a class-specific item for their special ability, and a stat-boosting ring.
The game starts in the Nexus, a hub where you can buy and store gear, hang out in guildhalls, and trade with other players. It's also a refuge. One of Mad God's key features is the ability to instantly warp back to the Nexus at any time. When your character dies, they're gone forever, and so is anything they're carrying. One of the first things you should do is hotkey the 'return to Nexus' command to the key you can hit with the absolute minimum of thought, because it's perhaps the most important command in the game.
From the Nexus there will be openings to randomly-generated worlds, each of which holds a maximum of 85 players. These are filled with everything from low-level snakes and pirates to terrifying monstrosities that can blind, paralyse, slow, one-shot, and generally make mincemeat of unwary adventurers. If you forego the joys of a train, then it's about following the on-screen quest arrow to fight a boss appropriate to your level (the arrow also comes with a helpful picture of the boss, so you always know what to look for) and gradually climbing the ranks.
As well as Oryx's castle, there are loads of smaller realms-within-the-realm to be found, which is often where the best gear is.
Impromptu little bands of players form around these, sharing the same objectives and all that sweet XP, and levelling in this manner is speedy and fun (though not quite the breakneck joyride of a you-know-what). Enemies drop loot, and each class has four class-specific gear slots that can be gradually filled with better and better stuff. As you're levelling, your character isn't just becoming more powerful, but their weapons and equipment start to improve in sync; you might get a scroll increasing the area-of-effect damage of a Wizard's spell, or a ring making your Rogue move at nearly twice his original speed.
To go from level 1 to 20 takes around 15 to 20 minutes in a train, and around 30 to 40 by the 'proper' route. The only disadvantage of trains, incidentally, is that it's difficult to stop and search all the dropped loot without losing track of your buddies. But even then, Mad God has a feature for you. You can teleport to any other player in the world instantly (with a cooldown of around five seconds), meaning that upon entering a new world it's easy to find a band that are roughly equivalent in level, warp over and join the fun. It's a simple little feature, and a great one.
As you reach the higher levels, the monsters become fearsome, and Mad God's pixel art really comes into its own. Puce-yellow Medusas fire jagged green bolts in deadly arcs, squat and thunderous golems spew out cascades of bubbles that surround entire parties as they're trying to dodge faster missiles, and ghostly soldiers engorge themselves and their arrows to gigantic sizes as they try to defend a long-dead king. The art for the character classes is also superb, not just because they look cool, but because the distinctions are obvious at a glance and you can instantly tell what kind of abilities make up your current party. In its early stages, Mad God's combat is a simple matter of moving and shooting with competence, but by the time you've started taking down the guardians of Oryx (the eponymous Mad God) then MMO tactics come to the fore: buffers, debuffers, tanks, healers, damage-dealers. Skills that were useful simply for getting by suddenly need to be used as part of a team - and if you should happen to reach Oryx's castle, achieved by killing all of his bosses in any given world, every player has a role.
Rouge – Uses speed to deliver heavy damage at medium range while avoiding attacks. They are equipped with the steel dagger and the Cloak of Shadows.
Archer – Notorious for their long range attacks. Archers are armed with short bows and the Magic Quiver.
Wizard – Masters of magic these warlocks zap enemies from far distances using energy staffs and powerful spells.
Priest – Are able to take out opponents at long range using their magical fire wand. Priests possess the ability to heal themselves and fellow allies.
Warrior – Warriors deal the most amount of damage to foes. They have an arsenal of swords and defensive armor.
Knight – Is the second most powerful class next to Warriors. Knights have the highest defense of any other character.
Paladin – Perfected the art of close range combat. Similar to Priests they also have the ability to heal.
Assassin – Equipped with Centipede Poison to damage enemies over time. Assassins perform best when taking out opponents within medium distances.
Necromancer – Has the ability to Drain Life from adversaries in order to heal or save others.
Huntress – Lays various traps and shoots arrows to defeat opposing threats.
Mystic – Fights with energy staff and uses a magical Crystal Ball to confine enemies to a distant plane.
Everything about Realm of the Mad God is so simple, yet so expansive. You have health points, magic points and an XP bar. As you kill enemies, your level will rise, and you'll be able to venture further in-land, collecting more powerful items and battling even stronger enemies.
But here's the thing - you're not restricted to where you go or how you play. If you want to immediately dive straight Into the Fray and see how long you can last with the big boys, go right ahead. All the action is real-time and the entire world is open from the get-go, meaning you can head straight for the mad god if you choose (although believe us, you won't get very far).
Here's what really makes Realm of the Mad God tick - everything you do is online, and everyone you meet in the game is a real person. You can't attack humans, but you can band together and concentrate your attacks on enemies, making team play a seriously good idea. You don't need to arrange to meet up with friends before you play, however, as random players online will have no qualms with joining forces to level the playing field.
As you kill enemies, you'll find loot such as potions, armor and weapons to use, and quests will pop up to guide you to lots of lovely XP points. You don't have to follow these guides, however, and can go where you please. Sometimes dungeons will appear that feature even stronger enemies and the opportunity to level up even further.
Level up enough, and you'll unlock other character classes. Each class plays completely differently from the others in terms of the items and weapons you can pick up and the quests you'll be given. It takes many, many hours of play to collect every class, for one main reason - permadeath.
That's right - get killed, and your character will be no more, meaning you have to start all over again from level one. It's a scary prospect, but it means that you have to play a little more conserved and actually care about your character rather than going in all staffs blazing.
What all this amounts to is a wonderfully open-ended experience that gives you enough freedom that you can go gallivanting around doing whatever you desire, but enough direction that you'll always have something to do. It's also extremely easy to get into, and grabbing a group of friends to bomb around the world together with is a blast.
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.
83out of 100
Generally favorable reviews based on 4 CriticsWhat's this?
7.8out of 10
Generally favorable reviews based on 17 Ratings
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Summary: Realm of the Mad God is a co-op fantasy MMO shooter.
Developer: Wild Shadow Studios, Spry Fox
Genre(s): Other Shooters
Cheats: On GameFAQs
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