Realm of the Mad God

The internet is full of strangers, and many of them are playing games right now. And that's what you want to be doing, too. Convenient, right? They're out there waiting for you to show 'em how it's done, and the fastest, easiest way to do that is with a multiplayer browser game. Bonus: this is also the best way to sneak in some gaming time at work when you should be sending emails.

Browser games require almost no effort to get going, and some of the best multiplayer browser games don’t even require you to set up or host anything. This list is all about those no-hassle games. If you're ready to get out there and kill some time, these are the games you should play.

Vikings Village: Party Hard

Manly pixel vikings punch each other over being called a ginger (despite all of them having ginger hair) in this deadly battle of the beards. You get to play one of these vikings, kicking ass now and taking names later. There might be up to seven other vikings at the folk concert level, all equally mad and throwing punches as well. The nerve of some people! Your goal is simple: kill enough of these inferior vikings to stay at the top of the leaderboard. 

Punching isn’t the only way to bring about a swift viking funeral. You can also hurl objects scattered around the arena straight at your opponent's head—that will teach them to describe your appearance! You have a selection of abilities that unlock over time, which can set fire to the objects you pick up, or make you move faster. You can combo the deaths of enemies for extra points, collect beers for additional health, and discover ways to gain more powers. There are also achievements in Vikings Village: Party Hard and hats you can purchase with the coins found on the floor. This game is currently in development with more modes coming soon.

Blast Arena

Blast Arena is a voxel version of Bomberman, which you can play in your browser against anonymous opponents on the internet. You and three other players try to survive and destroy each other in a maze-esque area full of walls and rocks that can be broken. You start off with just one bomb to place down, which will explode within a few seconds, destroying rocks (and players) in its path. 

Sometimes the destruction of these rocks will yield power-ups, which either increase your bomb’s explosion radius, make you run faster, or allow you to carry more than one bomb. Once enough of the rocks are cleared away, you can reach the other players and hopefully catch them in your bomb’s explosion without getting singed instead. The last player standing wins. You can also say ‘hi’ to other players in the game, flashing a wave emoji above your head. Blast Arena is still in development as a beta.

LaserSharks.io 

In this game you play a shark with a laser attached to your head, swimming around the ocean. Since you have a laser attached to your head, you can zap other sharks to kill them, putting an end to their hunting in your waters. The only problem? Using your laser prevents movement and you aren’t given a particularly long time to aim. If you miss, an enemy shark can easily zap you straight back.

There are also fish swimming around in the water, which you can eat to acquire energy. You can then use this energy to swim faster and gain more XP to level up. You may also find health packs in the water, which are very useful when it comes to survival. The longer you stay alive (and the more sharks you eliminate) the higher you get your name on the ol' leaderboard.

Isleward 

Isleward doesn't look like a multiplayer game at first. It's a low-res roguelike that has you choosing what character you want to play before dumping you on your own into the city of Strathford. In Strathford you get your bearings, learn how to queue up actions and explore. There are also a few low-level monsters that you can find and kill to level up. 

Eventually you'll run into other people and hopefully convince them to adventure with you. A party of different characters is much stronger than one player alone, and significantly more fun. There's a whole world to explore, loads of islands, and lots of loot to find. Isleward is still in development and the community around is quite active and friendly.

Agar.io 

Though Agar.io looks simplistic, with graphics of colored circles on a checker-lined background, it's surprisingly challenging. Your circle starts off very small, but when you eat all of the little colored dots around you, you become bigger. As a small circle, you move quickly and are able to dodge the bigger circles trying to eat you. When you get bigger, you need larger portions of food. To grow even more than these puny dots are allowing you to, you must eat the other players.

Since smaller players move faster, you can split your circle into two different circles of equal mass. When splitting your circle, the new one will shoot out, which is useful for enveloping the smaller player running away from you. These circles grow depending on what they eat and do not stay the same size or move at the same speed. There are multiple modes, including team games. Once a bigger player gobbles you up, you have to restart as the smallest possible dot. The circle of life is brutal.

Slither.io 

Much like Agar.io, Slither.io has you hungry for small dots (this time ones that glow) to grow bigger. The twist: you're a snake. Your body gets longer as well as slightly wider as you eat the various dots that are littered around. You aren’t able to eat your enemies, but if you time it well, you can force another snake to run into your body.

This will cause them to vanish, leaving behind loads of body dots to collect. Slither.io does also allow you to customize the skin of your snake, and there are some awesome options. Consider pimping out your snake with a necklace that dangles as they slither. 

War Brokers 

War Brokers, currently in open beta, is a first-person voxel team shooter. There are sometimes missions that theme combat rounds beyond straight deathmatch, like stopping the enemy launching their missiles.

War Brokers has plenty of different guns and machines for you to unlock and use. Guns unlock over time, but you do start off with a pistol and a rifle to defend yourself with. Vehicles such as helicopters and tanks can be found around the map, which you can of course get into and control. If you log into an account, there are tons of little missions and rewards you can claim for playing. And the competition can be brutal—it's especially good if you want a challenging experience.

Skyarena.io 

If you prefer flying around planes and attacking from inside of them, Skyarena.io has you covered. This aircraft shooter is pretty straightforward to be honest: You fly a large aeroplane, desperately trying to shoot down various other craft in the sky and the players piloting them. Flying your plane around is very easy to do with your mouse, gliding over islands, water, and through clouds as you go. 

Transformice

A browser classic. It's the idiocy of the crowd, in a pure and distilled form. You are a mouse. You want cheese. Cheese is unobtainable, unless you work together with your other mice friends, and your mouse shaman, to get it. Naturally, you act completely selfishly and the entire group plummet to their deaths within ten seconds.

The only way I've ever seen a level be properly completed is when self preservation keeps the mice in line, such as being on a single platform, with no possible way to bridge the gap between it and the cheese without the shaman's help. Even then, the instant there's the slightest chance, the mob surges forward, and they (mostly) plummet to squeaky deaths.

Oh, and the best thing about it? Completely, unreservedly hilarious.

Town of Salem

If you've ever played the party game Mafia or Werewolf, Town of Salem should feel familiar. This roleplaying game challenges you to be a conniving liar and mislead other players. Depending on who you are randomly cast as, you might be a townsperson (good), the mafia (bad) or neutrals.

If you're a townsperson, you need to track down mafia members and stop them before they kill everyone in your town. There are many different roles for each category of player. Each of these different roles will give you a unique ability that you can use in the night phase of the game. At night, players plan out their moves and make notes in their will. If they die in the night, the remaining players can use their wills to, hopefully, achieve the goals you were meant to do! Town of Salem is quite complex to explain, but you'll get the hang of it soon enough.

MS Paint Adventures

There seems to be a bit of an undercurrent of collective futility going on here, but I promise that it'll clear up soon. MS Paint Adventures is a text adventure/web comic hybrid that essentially allows the audience (players) to vote by democracy on what they want to happen next. In text adventure style.

Each 'scene' is presented with an image and a description, labelling the items in the room and such, before allowing people to suggest a course of action, and then selecting the best one. Ok, not really democracy, but you get the idea.

The main issue with this one is that, while it's a great concept, if it's not one that you were with from the beginning, then you're going to either have to do a lot of homework, or have a perpetually bemused look on your face.

Gartic.io 

Think Pictionary or Drawful. One player is chosen to draw a random word while the others must watch and guess what the word is. There is a timer ticking down as everyone tries to guess what is being drawn.

The interface for Gartic.io is very easy to use, giving you a variety of tools to create the image you’d like. There is a simple chat box to input your guesses into while another player is drawing. If you guess something close to the word, the chat box tells you that you were close. The game is very simple but fun to play, especially when you have some skilled artists drawing for you.

Kingdom of Loathing

You're probably familiar with the style of Kingdom of Loathing, which has been going strong for years. It's that sort of pseudo-mmo kind of thing, firmly embedded in the web interface, with drop down menus letting you select your attacks, and page refreshes for every new area. It's a little ugly, but Kingdom of Loathing isn't trying to be pretty. It's succeeding at being funny. Really, really funny.

Take, for instance, the classes. They make absolutely no sense, but they're funny because they're pun based. So I'm a Sauceror. I fling hot sauce in people's faces, and they get damaged, because hot sauce really hurts when it gets in your face. Making even less sense, they're Disco Bandits, who dance at their enemies, fuelled by moxie. And this is all before you end up in the Haiku Dungeon, where not only are all the descriptions of your enemies in Haiku, but so are your attacks.

The whole game is consistently absurd and amusing, from the enemy types, to the genre conventions it apes so cleverly. And while you can't directly play with other people, you can steal their stuff, join guilds and interact with them. So that's something.

Wilds.io 

This hack and slash follows the core principle of killing people you don’t like the look of, and finding loot spread around the map. There are a bunch of different game modes but the most popular is Ruins, the default when you run the game.

Ruins gives you the chance to explore an area as a member of one of three teams. You can kill other players on different teams, break boxes, and find loot. Let’s be honest—who doesn’t like more loot? Armor, potions, and new weapons will help you survive longer in this desert wasteland. Your main objective is to gain bones which appear when people die. If you get enough bones you become the king of the ruins. There are a bunch of other modes, some with shorter times and easier objectives, including soccer. Yes, soccer.

Realm of the Mad God

Realm of the Mad God doesn't look that advanced, but don't let its pixelated aesthetics fool you. It's actually running in a rudimentary 3D engine, and it's a hard as nails shmup, if you head into the wrong neck of the woods. It's based in a medieval setting, but you're very much spamming whatever the attack of your chosen class is, firing out in all directions as you try and avoid the incoming projectiles.

It's an odd blend, what with having a proper inventory with potions and armor and rings and different weapons, not to mention on-the-fly quests popping up all over the place, getting you to kill this goblin wizard, slaughter that dwarven king, but the game has more in common with classic arcade titles than something like Oblivion. It could be seen as a Diablo-alike, but that's a likeness born more out of atmosphere and tone than how you play it.

You can have almost a hundred people in a zone at one time, all off in their own part of the woods, killing their own bad dudes. Sometimes you stumble upon a few, sometimes you're left alone for hours at a time, but you're constantly stumbling upon the detritus of their passing, in abandoned loot, or just the eerie silence where there once was guys who wanted to kill you.

Pokemon Showdown 

If battling trainers is the part of Pokemon games you enjoy, Pokemon Showdown is for you. You can jump straight into matches against other players without having to level up or care for your pokemon beforehand. If you die, you don’t need to go back to the pokemon center and rest up either—you can jump straight into a new battle. 

Pokemon Showdown lets you to battle using either a random team, or a custom team if you want to define which pokemon you’d like to work with. You can then quickly go through a match, selecting moves and countering the other trainer. This fast-paced game takes all of the work out of raising pokemon, leaving just gratuitous pokemon takedowns.

Squadd.io 

An isometric shooter in which you can battle with your friends against an opposing team, or fight in a free-for-all with everyone. Power-up stations placed in the arena grant different weapons. There are a couple characters to choose from off the bat, and plenty more to unlock as you bump off your enemies.

The main goal of the game is simply to stay alive and earn enough points to reach the top of the scoreboard. The more points you earn the more you level up and the more weapons you can unlock. It's very quick to get into, perfect if you are looking for fast-paced matches.

Mechar.io 

Another shooter, Mechar.io is more complex than Squadd.io, allowing you to control a giant mech that can hold various different guns and pickups simultaneously. It has the same main goal, though: be at the top of the leaderboard. 

Since you are a high-tech mech, you can easily carry around a few different weapons as you explore what seems to be an abandoned laboratory. There are a few different power-ups in Mechar.io, two of which are smaller machines that hunt enemies, looking to hinder or destroy them. Though the map seems quite small, it is a very well laid-out space where you can quickly find and destroy your enemies. 

Everybody Edits

From blind, ignorant cooperation to an actively malicious form of it,  Everybody Edits is a multiplayer platformer. The catch is that, while  the other players can't directly effect you in any way, by progressing  through the levels, they screw with you in the most frustrating way.

Key platforms into the game are tied to a key. Green key toggles green bricks, red key toggles red bricks, etc. And by 'toggle', I mean toggles their existence. So you might be running down a long, presumably safe line of green bricks,  before suddenly someone ahead of you in the level hits the green key,  and bam, you're back to square one. It's horrendous. And brilliant.

This  is all added to the fact that each level is made by a player, and then  either locked, for it to be played, or left open, for it to be played  with. There are some masochists out there.

Little War Game 

This pixelated strategy game has you building your own kingdom while trying to fight and take down others. You can construct buildings, manage units, and collect resources, all in the name of survival. At first, you need to focus on gathering resources and building up your base. Your ultimate goal is to have the best army and destroy anything in your path—you can do this on your own or with a friend (even an AI) to grow your base together.

There are quite a few different upgrades and weapons to help you fight back against attacks. You can even research different spells to make some of your units (specifically mages) stronger, or sway some dragons on your side. If you're good enough, you can even start to fight in ranked battles of Little War Game, taking on some seriously challenging competition.

Brutes.io 

What do brutes do? They punch people in the face over and over again. In Brutes.io, it's you against other muscled monsters who are enthusiastic about boxing. You can charge up your punch or rapidly flail your fists of fury to try to knock them down, and once an enemy is down you can continue to punch their bodies until their health runs out and they die in a burst of colorful orbs. 

These orbs can be picked up and count as XP, helping you grow larger and become more muscled as you increase your level. If punching isn’t enough for you, you can grab power-ups that turn you into pumpkins or birds which lets you pull off surprise attacks, because what else are birds good for?

Neptune's Pride

Neptune's Pride is the epitome of backstabbing, two-faced, genuine human nastiness. It's a real time strategy game in the same way that glaciers move in  real time, set in space and all about galactic expansion. Up to eight players start with a few star systems, and then expand outwards, until they meet someone else, and either decide to not kill each other  immediately, or have at it.

Because the fleets take hours, and  sometimes days, to get from star to star, that leaves you with a good  deal of time to play the diplomacy game, trying to cement alliances and  crumble the foundations of those of your enemies. You try to get them  alone, when you know one party is out, and just start to gently wear  away at their trust, until they're a human shaped receptacle for  suspicion, and before you know it you've got galactic civil war on your  hands, and you can mop up the pieces.

Or, I suppose, you could play it like an honourable, decent human being. But where's the fun in that?

NoBrakes.io 

Taking a break from talking about destroying your enemies, NoBrakes.io instead is a racing game where you are trying to beat other players to checkpoints along the track. If you make it across the checkpoint, you get a power-up that can boost your speed or fire a bullet that will give an enemy a little shove.

Sometimes, though, moving forwards is not the right way to go. Depending on where the next checkpoint spawns, you may need to turn around and continue in the opposite direction. No matter where you're headed, make sure you avoid the wall or else you will suffer instant death and have to respawn in a new match. NoBreaks.io is very simplistic, but has a polished and clean look complete with upbeat music as you race along.

Powerline.io 

A version of Snake... but with a twist. Powerline.io has you attempting to dominate the board with your neon snake body. Like the traditional game of Snake, you control a lone, elongated body that can move around the field on a grid. You eat cubes that appear whenever a snake is killed, lengthening your own snake’s body.

This all sounds very basic, much like any other snake-remake. Snamake? However, your snake can move faster by moving alongside enemies, causing an electrical pulse to appear between you both. With this additional speed you can move faster and avoid death. Be warned: if you charge up too much, you'll become too fast to control. The high risk/high reward mechanics of Powerline.io make it unique and challenging compared to its much simpler inspiration.

Hexar.io 

Hexar.io also takes some slight inspiration from Snake, but instead of growing your tail, you are capturing parts of the screen and expanding your color’s dominance. The floor is made of hexes, each one white to begin with. You convert as many tiles as possible to your color, selecting tiles by moving over them, before linking back to tiles that are already the correct color. All of the tiles circled will then change to your color. While you are exploring blank tiles or tiles that are not your color, a tail appears where you have traveled. Other players can collide with this tail to kill you, causing your tiles disappear and forcing you to restart.

This forces you to be careful when you leave the relative safety of your colored area, picking and choosing when to take the leap out to gain more ground. There are green circles that float around the area—if eaten, they will help you to go much faster. You can expand the area your color occupies and help eliminate other colors, but if your tail gets hit once, it's all whisked away.

Slaim.io 

In Slaim.io you play a colorful pixel slime that can wield a gun. Use it to bring ruination to other slimes, though shooting will kill them slowly and is the least effective way to destroy enemies. Never fear: like any good dual-wielding slime, you also have a sword that you can use to slash enemy slimes in close range, killing them entirely in one swoop of your body. You can also hide in the bushes, disappearing from the map completely, and observe the carnage covertly.

When you destroy a slime, they leave behind colorful splats of their body to decorate the floor, as well as some DNA that can be collected to level yourself up. The game runs on a timer, and  you must aim to kill as many slimes as you can before time runs out and resets the arena.

Foes.io 

Foes is a sleek arena shooter that pits you against enemies as the arena gradually gets smaller and smaller. Everyone starts off exactly the same, without any weapons, and you have to scavenge to find them. Once the timer is exhausted and the round begins, you will notice that the edges of the area are filled with some kind of poison, forcing everyone closer to the center. This prevents you and your enemies from hiding out on the edges of the maps, or avoiding each other for too long. Foes.io has a variety of weapons to use and a really nice map to explore before you end up killing your foes. 

Lordz.io 

The aim of Lordz is to become the dominant kingdom in the land. To do that you need coins, collected from around the map, to spend on warriors who march around with you. Archers have a ranged attack, cheaper warriors are small and easily killed, and larger warriors have axes and can take a few hits. Over time, if you don’t die too much, you can end up with a huge number of people and even dragons following you around as you explore the lands.

Though Lordz becomes challenging if you die a few times while everyone else is busy growing their force, keep trying anyway, growing your circle of warriors and then buying buildings and castles to protect them.

Treasure Arena 

This 16-bit adventure game has you battling in a dungeon over valuable treasure. There are three other players looking to get a piece of the pie, too. You can respawn as long as the time is ticking away, but once you die you lose some of your gold. The aim of the game is to have the most gold when the time is up.

Various power-ups also appear around the dungeon and can be used to keep yourself alive. You and other online players aren’t the only people hanging out in this dungeon—NPCs also guard the treasure and will attack on sight if you go near them. You have to locate more powerful weapons to even have a chance against them.

Snowfight.io 

You throw snowballs and freeze enemies until they become snow-people instead of shooting each other in Snowfight.io. Wrapped in a humongous jacket, you're looking to have the ultimate snowball fight in the middle of winter. You can quickly fire off snowballs or charge up to unleash a massive one, hitting other players and slowly turning them into snow.  Massive snowballs can do some serious damage, however, if you hold charge for too long the snowball will turn into a square and not fly very far. 

Once you turned another player into a snow-person, they drop loads of goodies like cupcakes and, um, dinosaurs? Additionally you level up over time and choose some traits for your snowballs, such as ice shards or ‘yellow’ snow.

PC Gamer
Realm of the Mad God


The team behind bonkers indie MMORPG-shooter-thing Realm of the Mad God, Wild Shadow Studios, has been acquired by social games company Kabam.

Kabam's roster of browser-based social games includes Edgeworld, Kingdoms of Camelot, and The Godfather: Five Families. Gamasutra report that SpryFox - creators of Triple Town and SteamBirds - have sold their stake in Wild Shadow but designer Willem Rosenthal will stay involved in Realm of the Mad God as it continues to grow.

"Our development resources have grown exponentially by joining the Kabam family" Wild Shadow Studios founder Alex Carobus told GamesBeat. "Look for tons of new content in the coming months. We know our fans are going to like what they see."

More resources are a good thing, but hopefully this doesn't spell the end for the game's anarchic charm. Realm of the Mad God's biggest strengths are its pace, the disposable nature of its tiny little pixel heroes, and the vast trains of players that occaisionally form to hoover up every monster, item and scrap of XP in the countryside - it'd be a shame to lose that to pay-to-progress social gaming orthodoxy. Check out our Realm of the Mad God review for more on the game.
PC Gamer
Realm of the Mad God review
The Steam release of Realm of the Mad God marks a new mainstream focus for the free-to-play browser MMO. It’s a combination of Rogue, Robotron and Diablo, an isometric fantasy shooter where quests are handed to you on the fly, where you’re never given a reason to stop running, shooting, or farming experience – until you die, and your character is deleted forever. It’s simplistic and supremely silly, but also one of the most distinctive multiplayer experiences around.

Mad God knows how rudimentary it is, and the main reason it’s enjoyable is that sense of being let in on the joke. It reduces MMO mechanics to the point of absurdity without rejecting them, revelling in the festive pointlessness of haring around with your mates blowing up an improbable number of elves.

Wide-eyed sprites and a looping up-tempo soundtrack contribute to this thrill of being swept up in a tidal wave of manic consumption. Being absorbed into one of Realm of the Mad God’s ‘trains’ is something every gamer should experience at least once: a gang of players that reaches a critical mass where no monster can stop it, then tears through the world in a leaderless stampede. Such Skinner Box game mechanics would be cynical elsewhere, but when accelerated to the point of ridiculousness they become charming, like listening to a despot give a speech on helium.



It’s easy to emerge from one of these trains with a max-level character, and for the committed this is where Realm of the Mad God actually begins. Collecting special potions from bosses maxes out your character’s stats, enabling you to take on tougher bosses and eventually several variants of the Mad God himself. Then you die, and your character’s achievements are totted up and served back to you as a ‘fame’ rating, which contributes to your account’s total score.

It’s a game that’s happy to discard your efforts in a heartbeat, and that complicates the inclusion of microtransactions. Everything you can buy with real money is cosmetic, with the exception of dungeon portals that allow you to skip straight to a specific encounter. The cheaper items – armour dyes that cost between 25p to £1 – are lost with your character, while more expensive unlocks such as pets are permanently bound to your account. The game invites throwaway spending with the same anarchic spirit that encourages players to chase pretty green numbers in the wilderness. One is harmless, the other isn’t.

If you rationalise the money you spend as a way of tipping the developers, it makes more sense. You’re invited to participate exactly as much as you want, whether that’s jumping in for 20 minutes or dedicating yourself to unlocking every class, buying every hat, and killing every god. It’s your choice, after all – just don’t be surprised if people think you’re mad for trying.
PC Gamer
Realm of the Mad God
This may well be the "first ever cooperative MMO bullet hell shooter," but I pray to the mad god that it isn't the last. Realm of the Mad God is a massively multiplayer action RPG with all of the quest text and story stripped away, leaving only a lean, arcade style blaster in its wake.

In the beginning, you're just a wizard with a weak wand, but as you hoover up experience for each kill, you'll level, grab new weapons and unlock new classes. There are a few roguelike genes caught up in Realm of the Mad God's weird, tangled DNA. If you die, your character stays dead forever and all his items are lost to the void. It's so fast paced it's hard not to just start over again instantly on death, making this very, very moreish.

It's been free to play for a while on the Realm of the Mad God site, but its arrival as a free to play game on Steam gives us a good excuse to recommend it. Its Steam debut means its scatological collection of worlds will be packed full of low level wizards rushing around shooting chickens. 85 players at a time can jump into Realm of the Mad God's instanced zones, which results in some spectacular, chaotic co-op monster slaying. Give it a go, you almost certainly won't regret it, until your clicking finger falls off.
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