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Realm of the Mad God

Realm of the Mad God is a 2D fantasy MMORPG that features 8-bit retro-style graphics and bullet hell gameplay. Players team up with other players to take out the Mad God, Oryx, and his minions in a world where death is permanent and all too common.

Publisher: Kabam
Playerbase: High
Type: Fantasy MMORPG
Release Date: June 20, 2011
Pros: +Unique, hardcore gameplay. +Fast-paced action. +Great retro art style.
Cons: -No PvP gameplay. -Pay-to-win elements. -High learning curve.



Realm of the Mad God Overview

A deceptively simplistic take on the free-to-play browser MMO, Realm of the Mad God consists primarily of dodging and shooting bullets in bullet hell fashion as different fantasy classes to collect epic loot in a flat stylized pixel world. It strips MMORPG games down to their basics, leaving in elements that make games addictive and fun, such as its very basic loot system, its large variety in character classes, and its multiple enemy types to discover and destroy. The game’s permanent death is central, removing all items from the inventory, giving the game a very fast-paced feel, as very few items can be kept safe in the game’s vault. The game boasts over ten different character classes that can equip different weapons, armor, and special abilities, giving the game significant replayability value on top of its co-op mechanics that allow players to conquer dungeons with their friends.

Realm of the Mad God Key Features:

  • Bullet Hell-Inspired Combat – skill-based gameplay not often found in the free-to-play browser game world.
  • Permanent Death – real consequences for dying mean more thoughtful, in-depth play that is amplified by the variety of items and classes to play.
  • Co-Op Gameplay – play with friends and strangers across the world, sharing experience and working together to beat bosses.
  • Unique Art Style – visuals that call back to the 8-bit era of gaming.
  • Multiple Classes – pick from over a dozen fantasy character classes to try out new abilities and tactics.

Realm of the Mad God Screenshots

Realm of the Mad God Featured Video

Realm of the Mad God - Official Gameplay Trailer

Full Review

Realm of the Mad God Review

 By Marc Marasigan

Realm of the Mad God is a free-to-play fantasy-themed cooperative 2D MMORPG bullet hell shooter where players take on the role of heroes on a quest to take on the Mad God Oryx and stop him from destroying the realm. The game goes back to the roots of gaming with retro-style 8-bit graphics that would’ve been right at home during the Famicom era roughly two decades ago. Being a 90’s kid, 8-bit games still hold a certain charm for me. Realm of the Mad God reminds me of the old Zelda games for the Gameboy. However, 8-bit graphics might not sit well with everyone, especially younger gamers who think that polygon count is everything.

Choose Your Hero

The first thing players to do upon logging in is to choose their class. Players can initially choose from five starting classes: Rogue, Archer, Wizard, Priest, or Warrior. More advanced classes can be unlocked by meeting requirements such as reaching max level 20 using a wizard. Now, I know you’re thinking that level 20 is a bit low but trust me. Simply getting to level 10 is a chore. Since everything is out to get you and the fact that death is permanent and an all too common occurrence in the game, you’ll probably be starting over from scratch more often than you’d expect.

Sword-Throwing At Its Finest

Realm of the Mad God features bullet-hell type shooter gameplay combined with elements of MMORPG’s. Think of it as a cross between an 8-bit Zelda game and Skyforce. For those unfamiliar with the bullet hell genre, these are games where a player or a team of players, usually aircraft, shoot down large numbers of enemies while dodging an overwhelming number of projectiles coming their way. As you can imagine, melee characters would definitely be at a disadvantage which is why warriors, rogues, and other melee type classes in Realm of the Mad God get to throw their weapons instead, although at a much shorter range compared to wizards, archers, and other ranged characters to compensate for their higher defense and their ability to wear tougher kinds of armor. Basically, combat consists of holding down the left mouse button to shoot and using the WASD keys to dodge every projectile coming your way or at least trying to.

The game’s MMORPG elements come into play in character progression, equipment, quests, and dungeons. Character’s level up by gaining experience from killing mobs and completing quests. Leveling up gives players a small stat bonus, although character strength depends more on equipment rather than level. Mobs randomly drop equipment that players can use to give them stat bonuses regardless of their level. Stronger mobs and bosses usually drop better equipment but low level mobs have been known to drop surprisingly good equipment from time to time. It’s also probably worth mentioning there are no shops to sell old and unusable equipment to. Nor is there any way to trade them with other players. So if you find something that you can’t or won’t use, it’s probably best to just leave them considering the limited inventory slots you have. Even better, you can give them away to other players. Who knows, they might even return the favor or make a new friend.

Fame And Death

Unlike other MMORPGs, when characters die in Realm of the Mad God they stay dead. No resurrection stones, revival skills, ghost realm, or whatever it is your favorite MMORPG has to deal with dying characters. Everything you’ve acquired disappears unless you had the foresight to store them in your limited capacity vault. And no, you can’t ask your friend to pick up your equipment and hand them over to your new character because characters don’t drop anything when they die. The only way to get back into the game is to create a new character. Don’t worry though, your death isn’t necessarily fruitless, unless you die within a few minutes of starting the game. While death may be permanent it does come with benefits.

Dying allows you to collect the Fame you’ve earned for that particular class. Fame is in-game currency earned by killing mobs. The stronger the mob, the higher the Fame gained. Fame can be used to feed pets and to fuse them into more powerful allies. Death also allows players to play as more advanced classes, provided that they’ve met the requirements.

Realm Gold

Realm of the Mad God might look old but its adapted a particularly modern way of making money: microtransactions. Players can buy Realm Gold using real-world money which they can then use to purchase premium items from the Nexus, the only safe zone in the game. These premium items can range from common potions that restore Health and MP, to powerful weapons, armor, and even pets. It’s entirely possible to play the game without buying Realm Gold, as long as you don’t mind relying on drops for your equipment. If it were any other game, this might be considered pay-to-win but since Realm of the Mad God is purely cooperative in nature it doesn’t really matter and even becomes helpful when questing with premium users.

Final Verdict - Good

Realm of the Mad God features a gameplay concept that’s unique, fun, and highly-addictive. That being said, the game is very casual in nature and not exactly one that I would be playing for the long haul. The 8-bit retro theme is also a hit or miss. Either you like it or you don’t. Overall, Realm of the Mad God is a solid game that I would definitely recommend to friends and other gamers. I just won’t expect them to stick with it for very long.


Realm of the Mad God Screenshots


Realm of the Mad God Videos

System Requirements

Realm of the Mad God Requirements

Operating System: XP / Vista / 7 / 8 / 10
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 / AMD Equivalent 2.33 GHz or faster
Video Card: Any Graphics Card (Integrated works well too)
Hard Disk Space: 100 MB (Cache)

Realm of the Mad God is a browser based MMORPG and will run smoothly on practically any PC. The game was tested and works well on Internet Explorer, Opera, Firefox and Chrome. Any modern web-browser should run the game smoothly.

Additional Info

Realm of the Mad God Additional Information

Developer: Wild Shadow Studios / Spry Fox
Game Engine: Adobe Flash

Closed Beta Date: January 2010
Browser Release: June 20, 2011
Steam Release: February 20, 2012

Development History / Background:

Realm of the Mad God was originally developed by Alex Carobus and Rob Shillingburg as an entry in the 'Assemblee Competition' by TIGSource in October 2009. Competitors were limited to a small art and resource pool. The game proved popular and eventually launched as a full scale title. Wild Shadow Studios, founded by the two developers, was eventually bought out by Kabam in June 2012. The founders left the company to pursue other projects. The game has seen modest updates every few weeks adding a variety of new dungeons, character classes, items, monsters, pets, clothing, guilds and other features.