Free Realms review

  • Kid-friendly MMO gameplay
  • Tons of variety to minigames
  • Can play for free
  • Need to pay for the best stuff
  • Too cute and friendly for some
  • Kinda creepy to play as an adult

Picture a world where there’s no death, no fighting (unless you ask politely) and nothing unpleasant like swears, elves with big breasts or Apprentice contestants. Welcome to fantasy MMO Free Realms, brought to you by the makers of EverQuest. It’s designed with tiny people in mind, and, most importantly for cash-strapped gamers, you can play for free.

You’re a human or a fairy, and if you want to fit in you’ll go for face paint and fluorescent pink hair. It’s the standard MMO setup: a big open world full of quest-givers and missions that include everything from fetching towels to battling giant bees. Some are specific to the different careers on offer, such as kart driver, treasure hunter and miner (you can swap between them all at any time) and a lot of the quests tie in with those classes.

To be a good chef, for example, you need to collect ingredients in a Bejeweled-style challenge, and then prepare them properly, chopping them, stirring, all against the clock. It means masses of variety, and you burn up happy hours just wandering around trying out minigames.

Violence is optional, but an essential part of the Brawler career path. Everything from the wolves to the yetis is very polite, and waits to be asked before trying to knock you unconscious. That’s right: this place is so family friendly, the D word is never even mentioned. You can team up with friends for quests and chat, but there are strict restrictions for the under-13s.

If you want to pay there are two ways. A $4.99 per month membership will grant you access to up to three different characters, leaderboards, new items and quests, plus five members-only careers to follow, such as the wizard. Hear that strange wail on the wind? It’s the cash-hungry cries of young Harry Potter fans. If you just want to purchase a glow-in-the-dark sword or some really fancy clothing you can fill your wallet with Station Cash. Real trading cards that link to virtual objects are also on sale.

You can play for days without having to put your hand in your pocket, you can’t turn around without finding a new quest, and the world feels massive and populated. It’s only as you progress further through the game that life as a fairy freeloader can start to feel a bit stifling, because the items that help you advance are for members only. Just bear in mind as you skip merrily through the flowers that behind every pretty fairy selling trousers is a wizened old businessman, rubbing his clammy hands with glee at the thought of your credit card details.

Jun 17, 2009

More Info

Release date: Apr 28 2009 - PC (US)
Apr 28 2009 - PC (UK)
Available Platforms: PS3, PC
Genre: Simulation
Published by: Sony Online Entertainment
Developed by: Sony Online Entertainment
ESRB Rating:
Everyone 10+: Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence


  • Elbo444 - July 12, 2009 8:47 a.m.

    this game is pretty terrible, like, really terrible, I guess it might be fun if you're 6
  • jar-head - June 18, 2009 5:40 p.m.

    lmao, "kinda creepy to play as an Adult" haha, gr still kicks ass
  • Burn - July 9, 2009 6:57 a.m.

    You know what, Zed45? You're weird.
  • zed45 - July 6, 2009 10:44 p.m.

    Free Realms is celebrating the summer with plenty of spirit! These fun features include: -Seaside Summer Splash with a treasure hunt that rewards players with Seaside Stickers that can be redeemed for fireworks and other prizes. Also, a TCG scenario that rewards card duelists with the exclusive Star Shot Candle item -The Summer Sparkler Bundle is available now for Members only! Members must log in and claim this blue and green sparkler Find out more about these cool features here:
  • Maxstats69 - June 23, 2009 8:10 a.m.

    I got a 7 year old who has trouble keeping up with the more complex rpg's out there and he's been playing that god aweful Wizarding 101. This may be a good choice for him to help him get the hang of real MMO's. Sounds good for a 7 year old, I may play it to see what he'll be doing but I couldn't imagine a teenager or adult enjoying this. BTW, the D word I believe is "Death" . . . .
  • allthegoodnameswheretaken - June 22, 2009 9:38 a.m.

    another mmo why do we even need another one
  • joesocwork - June 22, 2009 3:10 a.m.

    I'm a parent. This looks like an RPG version of the money-soaking Webkinz. So what in the world is the "d" word anyway?
  • teamRAMrod37 - June 21, 2009 5:28 a.m.

    No eye-candy elves? Not interested.
  • Hobojedi - June 21, 2009 5:06 a.m.

    Well.. it shouldn't be too much longer until we stop seeing Free Realms commercials.
  • DeadGirls - June 20, 2009 11:03 p.m.

    "You'll love Kid-friendly MMO gameplay" Get the fuck out!
  • Cyberninja - June 19, 2009 5:26 p.m.

    this gets the owrld record for gayist mmo ever i bet you can do this (3rd) Player: can you stand still whille i bet the shit out of you Monster: ok
  • AntistaIsTheLight - June 18, 2009 11:40 p.m.

    Im sorry GamesRadar but I HATE this damn horrable MMO. 2nd!

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