I’ve been prattling on about my love of Roguelikes for years, with Cardinal Quest - see below - the latest dungeon crawler to get under my skin.
But when I found out about Realm of the Mad God - an online Roguelike with a twist - I just had to check it out.
Described as a co-op fantasy MMO shooter, this free-to-play browser-based gem throws the player into an online world, where fast-paced action and joyful 8-bit visuals are the order of the day.
A short tutorial explains the game mechanics and then the player is promptly whisked off to the Nexus - a hub which houses a market selling a range of tempting items and a place where fellow players mill around, haggle for goods and snaffle up free items.
Using the WASD keys to move and clicks of the mouse button to fire, the player initially skitters across beaches and thick forests in the purple robes of a wizard, dispatching enemies with bursts of magic.
Every so often, a pictogram will pop on the side of the play area, directing the throng of players towards a boss character. Everyone scrambles towards these showdowns and once the foe bites the dust, the rush is on to be the first to grab the leftover loot.
But the Roguelike twist to this frenetic action is that when your pixelated character pops his clogs, it’s game over. It’s then back to the Nexus to start a new character and do it all over again.
You might think this rinse and repeat formula would get boring but it never does as there is always something to aim for, be it unlocking new classes, plundering pirate caves for new loot, taking on heavy-set bosses or boosting all your toons to lvl 20.
But while wandering over the map blitzing foes is great fun, the ultimate aim is to gain access to the Wine Cellar - the place where Oryx, the Mad God resides.
Getting in there is no easy task, as you first have to get your grubby paws on an incantation, which has a .6 per cent drop rate from certain dungeon bosses. However, even if you don’t find this spell, someone else surely will.
At this point, every player in the game is summoned to pit their wits against Oryx and his minions in a crazy battle of epic proportions - and a place where you’re sure to meet your maker.
The Realm of the Mad God is a brilliant experience and has bags of charm thanks to its old school visuals, not to mention the smattering of blocky hobbits, elven archers, stone golems and furious crabs.
It’s free so give it a try. Just be warned, it could take over your life.
Play it HERE