Welcome to the Free-to-Play Report! This is a regular feature where I download a free-to-play game and play enough to get the gist of it. I’ll relay my adventures and misadventures to you, the reader. Hopefully by the end of the report, you’ll be able to tell if the game is worth the free download or not.
Realm of the Mad God
When I hit the download button for Realm of the Mad God , I was confronted with an 18MB download. I had no idea how any developer can fit a modern game into 18MB, and I still don’t know how developer Wild Shadow Studios did it. Don’t let the tiny download fool you; Realm of the Mad God is definitely a full game, with lots of fun to be had.
So How Was It?
After my 20-second download, I was in the game. Realm of the Mad God has you start off as a simple wizard, but you can see the silhouettes of the thirteen other classes and their requirements. Each class is unique and can be earned with premium currency or by reaching certain levels in other classes. For example, to unlock the “Trickster” class, I needed to get to level 20, the max level, in both the “Paladin” and “Assassin” classes. This can take a long time if you aren’t willing to pay for classes with real money.
Realm of the Mad God claims that it is “the first ever free-to-play Bullet Hell MMO”, and with my experience, I believe it. Combat in this game is hectic, but in a good way. I was routinely going up against a dozen or more enemies at the same time. There are always multiple enemy projectiles coming at you that you have to try your best to avoid. It really does keep you on your toes.
You can pick up items to gain stats and new special moves, but don’t get too attached to them. You probably won’t have them for long. You will die, and die, and die again. The most interesting mechanic in Realm of the Mad God is the permadeath system. Whenever a character dies, they lose everything: Gear, items and experience. I learned the hard way to not value a specific character too much, because it could be gone forever within the next few minutes. The tension I felt when trying to gain a little more EXP in order to get to level 20 with a character was something I’ve only felt in a few games. I could die at level 19 and feel like throwing my keyboard, but I would still make another character right away to give it another go. It also helps that leveling doesn’t take too long, especially if you can find a big group of players to party with.
This fast and furious gameplay does have its cons. Input delay was an issue for me. It would seem as if it takes half of a second for the game to recognize my command. This doesn’t seem like a long time, but it definitely made a difference in a game where you have to always be moving and shooting. This is a serious problem that a lot of people experience with the Steam version of the game. This can be fixed by playing the flash version on the developer’s website. The combat is also largely repetitive, with little depth to it, having just one button to attack and one to use a special ability. Some people will like it and some won’t, but I thought that the fun combat outweighed both the combat system and input delay.
How Free Is It?
Realm of the Mad God is mostly on-point with its cash shop. You can spend real money to unlock new classes immediately, new costumes, and some quality-of-life features such as more character slots. You can also spend real money to buy weapons and gear, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. Honestly, I wouldn’t even recommend it unless you are very dedicated to the game. It’s simply too easy to lose a character, and spending real money on a character that might be gone in 10 minutes is very risky. I would just recommend grinding for the in-game currency and using that to buy the gear you need. It is a grind, but one that I didn’t mind because the gameplay was so fun. Although in-game ads (and bots spamming chat) will pester you to spend money; just realize that you don’t have to in order to have a good time.
Worth The Download?
Realm of the Mad God is a great game for when you have 20 minutes to play and want to accomplish something, but I’m not sure if it will keep my attention. There needs to be a better reason to shoot dozens of enemies other than looting better gear from them. Realm of the Mad God sets a great example with its cash shop and perma-death system, but could use more innovating with its combat.With such a small download size, or none if you play the flash version, of course it’s worth a go. Realm of the Mad God comes with no risk, yet a very high reward. Give it a try, you’ll know if you like it within 20 minutes.