The turn-based genre has been a favourite of mine for a long time, ever since I played my first turn-based game over ten years ago. I think this is why I love Indie Games; they give me the games I want when the big publishers won’t. As a person that plays a lot of Indie games, I am always trying to find out which ones are the best in the genre. In my opinion, here are 10 turn-based games that must be played by any turn-based lover at least once.
Before you play the Advance Wars remake, play the Indie Game inspired by it. As a person who has always loved the Advance Wars games, but was never able to complete them because of how bad I was, it came as a surprise to me how user-friendly Wargroove was. Wargroove took everything I loved about Advance Wars and made the game easily digestible for any fan. If you love Advance Wars and Indie Games, you can’t go wrong with this one.
Banner Saga Trilogy
Another Indie game series inspired by another Nintendo turn-based strategy series. The Banner Saga is a game series that needs to be played even if you aren’t a fan of Fire Emblem, but it does help as it uses similar mechanics. Like Fire Emblem, Banner Saga is a visual novel in between the tactical fights. If you thought every decision mattered in Fire Emblem, then get ready for those decisions to matter even more as the wrong decision can lead to character death, loss of resources, and other dire effects. If you love a good story where each game’s decision connects to the one before, choices and consequences matter, with good turn-based tactical gameplay, then this one will be a treat.
Mutant Year Zero
As a fan of the new XCOM games, I had been looking for something to give me that XCOM feel. Thanks to Game Pass, I found my game, and in some respects, I felt this game was almost better than XCOM. Mutant Year Zero is the type of game that forces players to pick off enemies one by one, instead of jumping in gung-ho. This is one turn-based game that needs to be played just for the satisfaction of stealthily killing your enemies one by one till there is only one or two left. There is nothing more satisfying in a game.
Doom and Destiny
Inspired by Super Nintendo RPGs, Doom and Destiny is Dungeons and Dragons X Final Fantasy with good old-fashioned humour to tie it all up. Doom and Destiny is the closest one can get to the old school Final Fantasy games without being a Final Fantasy game, plus hints of Dungeons and Dragons; what’s not to love? If you were disappointed with FF Pixel, maybe give this game a go.
Citizens of Earth
What I always love about Indie Games is they give gamers the games they want, and Citizens of Earth is practically the Earthbound the world never got. Before Earthbound-like games were a contemporary genre, there was one game that was inspired by Earthbound that it could’ve been called Earthbound and no one would’ve been none the wiser. Okay, not true, but if you are looking for a game inspired by Earthbound to get your fix, this is by far one of the best on the market.
One thing Nintendo has a knack for is unique games – the only problem is they make a new game in a series every few years, or ten in some cases. Luckily we have the magic of Indie Games. One game that is heavily inspired by another Nintendo property is Bug Fables which is the spitting image of Paper Mario. From the way characters attack and the paper aesthetic, one could be fooled into thinking this was an unsanctioned sequel. If the Origami King wasn’t what you were expecting, then maybe give Bug Fables a go.
I can’t do a top 10 on turn-based games without mentioning one of my favourite turn-based RPGs in a long time, Ikenfell. This game, at least for me, revolutionised the RPG genre. As much as I loved the great story on offer, one of my favourite things about Ikenfell was the fact I could auto-win random battles. If you were anything like me back then, the one thing you hated were random battles, especially when bypassing an area with low-level enemies that were pointless to fight. As well as being accessible to new players to RPGs, Ikenfell has a lot to love for players of old-school RPGs. If you are yet to play a turn-based game and have been scared to try one, this is a great starter.
I have loved every game from Behemoth Games, and when I heard they were making a turn-based strategy game, I was even more excited. Pit People is a hex-based strategy game about a father trying to save his son, which in RPG terms, is a great story in the making. What makes Pit People an essential turn-based game is how hilarious this game is. Sure, there have been funny turn-based RPGs, but not a turn-based strategy game. If you love a good strategic game and comedy this is a must-play.
Undertale takes the basis of the old-school RPG and gives it a new-school spin. It takes all the best bits and spices it up by giving the player choice on whether they kill their enemies or spare them. Depending on how the player plays the game, they can obtain two endings.
Slay the Spire
If there is one game that bought a genre back into the spotlight among gamers it is Slay the Spire. Before Slay the Spire was released, the card-battling genre had been silent for a bit. Not long after Slay the Spire was released, an influx of card battling games were released. As well as being a card battler, Slay the Spire is a Roguelike and for anyone that loves both genres, this is a must.
This is in no way a definitive list, but if you haven’t played any of these games, you may need to change that soon as they are some great turn-based games. If you have been looking for some turn-based Indie games, I hope this list helps.