Realm of the Mad God has finally arrived on Steam, and it’s making waves in the free-to-play 8-bit bullet-hell MMORPG world. This Wild Shadow Studios indie title boasts massive raids, co-op play, dungeons, epic loot, dodging, shooting, and a wealth of special characters to unlock and enjoy.
It’s like Gauntlet had a baby with Ikaruga and decided to become a giant massively multiplayer experience that can be enjoyed for 15 minutes or 15 hours, depending on player investment. Oh and one more thing – There’s permadeath.
That’s right – Realm of the Mad God is a fast-paced multiplayer roguelike.
You’ll start your journey into this quirky adventure as a wizard, blasting enemies from afar and using a potent area of effect special move to take out packs of baddies. Starting at level 5, you’ll unlock the Priest class. Getting a Priest to level 5 unlocks another class, and so on and so forth. Players will have a regular cast of traditional fantasy archetypes to pick from in short order.
The game’s system is simple enough, simply keep moving toward the outer regions of the map to encounter harder and harder monsters. A convenient boss system highlights where appropriate challenges are located on screen and minimap, so players are never more than a few seconds away from “epic” combat.
Encounters get significantly more challenging and resemble more of a traditional “bullet-hell” as players move on to harder areas – Don’t expect to be handling Ikaruga style spam screens while fighting the newbie zone denizens.
And speaking of challenging combat, how about the Mad God himself? Players of all levels are ported to the lair of the Mad God in a huge pack and have to stave off swarms of lethal monsters. Oftentimes, half of the players are dead within the first wave and it’s all downhill from there. It’s an awe-inspiring sight to watch the minions of the Mad God slaughter 20 player characters in just a few seconds and knowing that those guys are never coming back.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As is the case with many roguelikes, death is simply the cost of doing business and a normal occurrence. Leveling a character to cap (20) doesn’t take days and can be done easily in a few hours. Epic loots can be safely stashed in your account vault for safekeeping, and items are easily transferred from character to character using this system. Upon death, accounts are awarded with in-game currency called Favor based on the character’s history and performance.
It’s not without faults. The autogrouping aspect of Realm of the Mad god that awards all members around with equal experience points is wonderful, but the looting component of the game does allow for some “ninja looting” to occur. Combat can get repetitive, but the wide variety of classes and play styles does do quite a bit to alleviate that.
Since it’s now free-to-play on Steam and the download will likely take about a minute, give Realm of the Mad God a try. It’s a unique experience.