We first took a look at Wild Shadow Studios’ brilliantly original F2P arcade-shooter MMORPG Realm of The Mad God back at the end of 2010, and the game has only grown since then. The developers are probably dancing naked in the streets with glee right now, as what started out as a development-jam contest entry over at TIGSource (amusingly only winning 3rd place at the time) has now grown into the latest game in the rapidly expanding free-to-play library on Steam.
The game has been polished, refined and generally tuned up quite a bit from when we last saw it, too. Hardware acceleration now comes as standard, so those those folks with fancy GPUs will be able to run around the (formerly very CPU-dependent) 8-bit world and zap critters without a hitch. Netcode seems to have been improved somewhat as well, which is good, as the last thing you want to lose a character to is a bite from the dreaded lag-monster. The game now also boasts a range of official Steam achievements, and integrates with your Steam account, meaning you don’t have to remember an additional login anymore.
For those who haven’t played it before, RoTMG offers a very unique blend of high-speed arena shooter and persistent-world RPG. Every player is working towards a shared goal – slaying enough boss monsters to summon the Mad God himself and rebuild the world atop his broken body – but there’s an a twist: You’ve only got one life. Die, and that’s it. Roll a new Level 1 character and rise up the ranks once more. RoTMG was doing Roguelike-Meets-Shooter before The Binding Of Isaac, even.
Of course, the blow of permanent death is softened by your previous incarnation’s progress unlocking new player classes and features to use in your next stab at the big-leagues, so expect to die quite a few times before you’ve seen all the game has to offer even at lower levels. It’s addictive stuff, free (there’s a few microtransaction options, but they’re mostly aesthetic stuff to show off with), and really rather clever.