Stick-figures and poorly-drawn (don’t worry, it’s intentional!) monsters await in the ever-popular online game, Kingdom of Loathing! Never before has so much rampant sketching been involved in so much debauchery since the appearance of Stick Figure Death Theater just before the turn of the millennium, and it doesn’t end there; Satire is the name of the game for content creator Jick, and he does it well, mangling dialog and concepts from all manner of popular shows, film, and books. In Kingdom of Loathing, nothing is sacred; From Indiana Jones to Interview with the Vampire, from Hillbillies to Hot Topic, and from Mad Max to Final Fantasy, you’ll find some hilarious trait of it in the Kingdom of Loathing.
Perhaps the biggest joke inherent in Kingdom of Loathing is that, while it has some elements of a serious RPG (Roleplaying game), the bulk of it’s material has been made as corny and abused as possible; how could you ever take a game seriously that calls major locations such bland and arbitrary things as “Desert Beach,” “Seaside Town,” or the “Big Mountains?” The truth is, you’re not supposed to; like all satire, the aim is to kick back, have a laugh, and just generally relax while doing something that would otherwise be meaningless.
As you begin in “Kingdom of Loathing,” you’re required to choose from six hilarious classes: Will you be a powerful Seal Clubber, a sturdy Turtle Tamer, a mysterious Sauceror, an illustrious Pastamancer, a smooth Disco Bandit, or perhaps a dreaded Accordion Thief? After you’ve chosen, it’s up to the aptly-named “mount noob” to learn some basic skills and off to the council in Seaside Town to learn about what heroic deeds need to be done for the helpless citizens of Loathing. As you get further in the game, you’ll uncover the seemingly obligatory “rat-killing quest” that appears in so many RPGs, as well as depose the king of Cobb’s Knob, help the “L337 Tr4pz0r” clear a path to the Icy Peak, summon the “UB3r 31337 HaX0R,” save the wealthy Baron Rof L’m Fao from the foes of the English Language, and “undefile” the “Cyrpt.” After that, it’s off to the lair of the Naughty Sorceress for the epic confrontation and a whole new bundle of hilarious references to everything from Star Wars to Army of Darkness.
Kingdom of Loathing also features an interesting and well-thought out (not to mention large!) bank of available Familiars, or pets that help you in different ways; featuring such clever and hilarious creatures as the violent and deadly Clockwork Grapefruit, the nimble Levitating Potato, the rapidly deflating Inflatable Dodecapede, the powerful Ghost Pickle on a Stick, the endlessly useful Blood-Faced Volleyball, and even the old standard of Zork, the Grue. If that weren’t enough (there are over 30 Familiars to collect!) Each familiar “gains weight” as it becomes more experienced, meaning it is possible to have a twenty-five pound Mosquito or Sabre-toothed lime at your side wherever you go! Add to that the ability to name your familiars and train them at the Cake-Shaped Arena, and you’ve got something that’s truly amazing to behold.
But, in the interest of leaving the wide (and hilarious) world to be explored in Kingdom of Loathing relatively unexposed for those of you fortunate enough to be able to experience it for the first time, I’ll stop there. The best part about the game is learning all the nifty tricks and tips yourself, and remember: it’s always either painfully obvious, or what you’d least expect!