I’ve been experimenting a little bit with free-to-play games lately, as the siren call of costless gameplay has become too much for me to resist. I tried my hand at Tribes: Ascend and even gave Bloodline Champions a short test-run, but neither sustained my interested for very long. After uninstalling the aforementioned titles, I decided to try one more game before taking a break from the free-to-play model. Looking across Steam’s featured games, Realm of the Mad God jumped to my attention, so I decided to give it a quick try.
At first glance, Realm of the Mad God has a lot going for it. Retro styled graphics (very chic right now), simple yet addictive gameplay, and a strong cooperative online experience. Players pick from an array of pixelated protagonists, enter into a large 2D fantasy world, and then proceed to blow the crap out of various enemies using a mouse controlled ranged attack. The more foes you dispatch the higher your level climbs, all the while collecting powerful equipment from destroyed opponents.
The entire game experience is played online, and players enter realms with capacities of about 80 PCs. There is no PvP, although things can get a little chippy surrounding equipment drops (which are essentially picked up on a first come first serve basis.). Asides from the occasional equipment issue, players in RofMG generally get along splendidly. Most servers have large “trains” of characters who blaze across the countryside, defeating enemies and providing easy experience for all those involved, and old equipment is often left in common areas for new players to pick up.
Firstly, the amount of content that requires payment is absolutely staggering. Additional save slots, basic shops and even item storage all require financial investment. These are game elements that I would consider standard, if not required, for normal gameplay. The lack of save slots is especially aggravating, since it forces you to commit to single class at any given time. Want to try a priest? Well, you’re going to have delete your 20th level warrior and start from scratch.
Secondly, the gameplay is a little too repetitive for my liking. Games like Minecraft have found ways to make a simple clicking mechanic consistently engaging, but RofMG fails greatly in this regard. After a few hours you feel like you’re playing a slightly souped up version of Asteroids, dodging incoming missiles while spinning around in circles and firing recklessly. Each class has virtually the same strategy, with the only variation being a special ability of fairly limited use.
Now before I start sounding too gruff, I’d like to say that Realm of the Mad God is still a pretty fun game. I thoroughly enjoyed it for a few hours before the repetition and aggravation began to set in, which is pretty solid for something I didn’t pay a penny for. I would suggest giving it shot on the game’s website first, and only installing if you are absolutely enthralled with the experience. There isn’t a lot of depth to the title, but it could prove to be an excellent browser game for those who have a few hours to kill.