PC Game -- Kingdom of Loathing

Kingdom of Loathing (KoL) is a unique HTML-based Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG). While most great MMORPGs end up costing you time and money, KoL will only cost you the former, because it is absolutely free and utterly compelling.

The object of the game is to adventure through the Kingdom of Loathing, developing your skills until you have the ability to defeat the Naughty Sorceress. It may not be the most original storyline, but the beauty of this game lies in the interactions with the massive player base of approximately 120,000 adventurers and the bizarre sense of humour throughout the kingdom. The character classes which you can choose from include Seal Clubbers, Turtle Tamers, Pastamancers, Saucerors, Disco Bandits, and Accordion Thieves. All have special abilities, some of which need to be combined in order to create special items.

Graphically there isn't a great deal going on, since the game is primarily text based, yet it has become renowned for its stick figure drawings (two players actually have KoL tattoos in the real world).

The developers have done a fantastic job of keeping things interesting by balancing the many facets of the game. For example, each day (real time) you are limited by the amount of adventures you can take, and the actual days will have varying effects on your stat points depending on the kingdoms lunar arrangements. Stat points are also well balanced and there are a phenomenal amount of items, which can be purchased with the kingdom's meat currency! You can buy anything from goofballs and beer to martinis and meatcars.

To foster the sense of community that's key to KoL, incentives are provided for the formation of clans and shops to speed your progress. The Kingdom even has its own 24-hour radio station which takes requests from the in-game chat frame. However, community isn't for everybody, so the option for playing in the more extreme player killing part of the Kingdom is there for those that live on a sharp razor's edge.

Click here to view a screenshot.
Visuals: Primarily text with some extremely well rendered stick figure JPEGs.
Audio: No audio unless you tune into the KoL radio station.
Gameplay: Not incredibly pacey, but lots of fun.
Score: 4
Developer: Asymmetric Publication, LLC
Distributor: www.kingdomofloathing.com
URL: www.kingdomofloathing.com
Price: Free

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Damien Donnelly

PC World
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