In celebration of Woman’s Day 2022 (just a little late), I want to list the ten best and most well-known turn-based games with females in the main role. A few I’m yet to play – still, I thought they looked too good not to write about, and are highly recommended. Also, I’ll focus only on those games where the hero is always female – not those where you can choose to play as one. This means no Pokémon, or anything like that, with character creation. Now, with all that out of the way, here are Ten Games with Female Characters to play today!
Final Fantasy XIII
Final Fantasy XIII may not technically be the first Final Fantasy game to have a female protagonist. It is, however, the first official mainline Final Fantasy game (FFVI is technically the first with a female protag), with a female protagonist – which is a big difference. The story follows Lightning and her friends, on a quest to rescue her sister, while going against fate itself. The game did receive some criticism, concerning some characters and gameplay choices. Yet, over time it achieved an almost cult following and now is a must-play. The game had a sequel, that did improve on some aspects of the original. But – the developers removed Lightning, which was definitely a mistake. It looks like they themselves soon realized that – and brought her back in the third game.
Final Fantasy X-2
In Final Fantasy X-2, the players once again find themselves in the world of Spira. The story follows Yuna and her companions: Rikku and Paine, on a quest to understand the mysterious image, seen in a sphere. While the game does play similarly to X, some actually consider X-2 as being superior to its predecessor. It expands on most of the aspects of the first game, with better gameplay and characters. I personally can’t be too sure about that – as I only played this sequel.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
This is one of those popular and very much recommended turn-based games I am yet to play. However, I’ve heard that if I must only play one of those – then this is the one. The main characters are Estelle and her adopted brother, Joshua. The duo must work together to rescue the man they call father – Cassius. The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is the first game in the long-running series. It is also well-known for being the longest and also the best game in that series. Well – don’t take my word for it, but that’s what the critics and the fans say. They can’t both be wrong, right?
Othercide is a bit different from the other games on this list: Its main female character is technically a collective, known as the daughters. They, as a whole, are the hero, and the humanity’s last hope for survival. Players must send their daughters through all kinds of horrific situations and use tactical skills, if they want to finish this one. While I haven’t played the game, we do have a review on this site! And, the consensus is that people love this horror tactical turn-based game.
From what I know, this entire series follows not one, but several female protagonists: each with their own games and sequels. It’s also quite popular, and very anime story-wise. To be honest, it’s rather hard to choose just one game to write about. After all, there are fourteen of them, or even more, in the series. Well, for the sake of this top ten, I’d say: start with whichever you like; Or, maybe the latest one – Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream. All of these games look like turn-based RPGs, with beautiful and colorful worlds to explore. Plus, with so many of them in the series, it must be somewhat good.
Indivisible is an interesting game. It mixes Metroidvania platforming and exploration with turn-based combat. Combining the two genres may have been done just to stand out – but it also works. Indivisible is one of those turn-based RPGs every gamer has to play, just to experience it. It has fun characters, a good story, and a surprisingly solid gameplay: both in terms of combat and platforming. It’s like they spared no expense on this. The only problem is that we may never see a sequel to this gem, as the owner of Lab Zero Games got involved in some shady business practices and, sadly, still retains the rights to the game.
Child of Light
Remember when Ubisoft was going on about starting an indie development department, in order to commission small projects from smaller teams? No? Neither do they, by the look of things. That label has published just two games – and then went on to making more Assassin’s Creed. Well, one of those two games was the beautiful and charming Child of Light. In this turn-based RPG, players experienced the story of Aurora in a fairy tale world with storybook graphics, that could be enjoyed by children and adults alike. I will always remember Child of Light as a short and beautiful game, that deserved more recognition than it got. It lasts but five hours, yet it will resonate with players for a much longer time after completion.
Crown Trick is a turn-based roguelike, and for those that love that genre, it’s certainly a fun one. The main character is a princess, exploring a procedurally generated labyrinth. What makes Crown Trick unique is that when the princess moves – all the enemies move, at exactly the same time. The game feels very fast-paced and, like any roguelike, must be replayed multiple times. For roguelike fans, this is absolutely a solid title with addictive gameplay.
The story of this 2D turn-based RPG follows the adventures of the time mage Crisbell. I’ve only played it a bit, through Game Pass, but, from what I’ve seen, it looks pretty good. What makes it special is the unique time mechanic. It allows Crisbell and friends to fight enemies in the future, the past or the present. Do something in the past – and it’ll also affect the other timeframes, leading to advantages or disadvantages in combat. While these battles may be the most interesting aspect, the story isn’t that bad either; And, from what I have gathered, many other players also enjoyed this game. Even the crew here on TBL did.
I wasn’t sure whether to include this one, or Octopath Traveler. Ultimately, I chose this one – as Octopath has multiple main characters and stories. In Bravely Default, on the other hand, the main hero seems to be Agnes – being the leader of her ragtag group of friends. The fact that I haven’t tried either game doesn’t really help the argument. Both of them, however, are on my list to play; And especially Bravely Default, which is regarded as one of the best RPGs around, even more so than some later Final Fantasy games! It’s also seen as the real comeback from Square Enix, and a spinoff of sorts to the Final Fantasy series, making it a must-play for its fans.
The ten games on this list are considered the best to feature female protagonists, by fans and critics alike. While not all of them get the highest scores, they are still loved by a vast majority. So, if you want to play a turn-based game with a female in a leading role, these are definitely a good start. Are there any games missing from this list, that you think deserve a place? Let us know in the comments below.