Kingdom of Loathing. Just the mere sound of the name automatically makes you think that this will be a horrible game. To tell the truth is not; it will be one of the quirkiest and satirical MMORPGs you will ever play. It relies on text-based interactions rather than the commonly accepted graphical and musical interactions. While it lacks heavily in aesthetics, it makes up for outlandish humor.
Be forewarned: This game does not have much of an "MMO" feel to it; for the only section of the game you work with others comes from clans fighting their way in an instance dungeon-type area, while competing against fellow players comes from the PvP. Aside from those two, you play by yourself for a large amount of the game.
Fans of turn-based games, like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, or Etrian Odyssey will immediately understand the mechanics of this game, for it consists of a drop-down menu to attack (And a more streamlined version if you choose on the options panel). Primarily, the artwork of the game can be very crude (For one, your character is a stick figure and a monster is basically a basic, hand-drawn figure) but it holds its own unique charm. The aspect that drew me into the game came from its references to popular culture, ranging anywhere from the song Disco Inferno to the videogame Zork.
A screen from one of the "endgame areas." Unfortunately, the game itself will not let you see the final boss.
The classes in Kingdom of Loathing are very, very unique twists on the common classes you see in MMOs these days; your "berserker" is now the fearsome "Seal Clubber," the bane of all aquatic mammals, while your "thief" is now your "Disco Bandit," dealing swift strikes with the combination of dance moves. The skills in the game, however, are completely original in names; yet rely upon normally accepted effects. For instance, instead of a "weakening strike" one commonly sees in games, it transforms into the dreaded "Disco eye-poke," which injures you opponent and also weakens them.
The turtle tamer. The tank of the game.
The PvP in Kingdom of Loathing is quite unique: because the game is text-based, the PvP is also text based, where the one with the higher status than the other wins. For instance, a PvP "arena" can focus on the different types of food one character may eat, and the one who consumes the most eclectic amount of food wins. Granted, the PvP retains many of the "normal" aspects of MMOs, an example being "Who has the stronger strength." Largely, the PvP remains quite fun and it also limits the user to several PvP fights per day.
The community aspect of the game is also very satirical, but very jovial and kind, for there exist many moderators of the chatrooms (all of which strictly adhere to the rules) that keep the users in check. Furthermore, the community is very small; Unlike the common "2 million players registered" of MMOs, Kingdom of Loathing prides itself with less than 2000 active users, all of which are cordial and will always assist one, should they be looking for assistance.
Even though Kingdom of Loathing greatly lacks an MMO feel, lack of "good" graphics and a complete absence of sound, this game is one of the best games I have ever played. The satirical and completely original feel to the game brought me into the world in such a way that other MMOs did not. It makes fun of popular culture to the point that I laugh at their ludicrous writing.
Kingdom of Loathing is a pick-up-an-play game. My review clearly is the tip of the iceberg of a truly unique game. I highly recommend this game to anyone and if you play this game long enough, you can truly lose yourself in the Kingdom of Loathing.