4 Great Turn-based Indie Games You Can Play in 4-Coffee-Breaks Time

Listen. I have a day-time job, two kids, and I help my husband communicate his indie-game. I still manage to find, no actually, make time to play games. Because I love them. But the genre I (and you) love the most, often requires investing at least 5-6 hours, if not 50-60. OK, there are times when the day-time job is less demanding, and I get to play a game like Queen’s Wish: The Conqueror. But I usually do not have more than 1-2 hours at a time and don’t know when I will be able to play again.

So I am constantly on the hunt for my type of games. Here are my criteria:

  • I should be able to fight a battle or clear a dungeon during, OK maybe not one coffee-break, but say 4 coffee-breaks.
  • It should allow me to save when I want, or in rather short intervals, or at least when I quit, so I can come back to it without having to play the parts I played already.
  • Story shouldn’t overly matter, so when I come back to it, I don’t feel like totally estranged to it.
  • Controls should be easy, UI should be simple.
  • It should still be one hell of a good game!

Anyone of you relates to this? Then let me share my latest list with you.

1 – Rogue Fable III

This one actually challenges Criteria 2 partially. There is no manual save, it only auto-saves every time you descend into a new level, or when you quit the game. It is also permadeath, meaning when you die, you do have to start over. But the good thing about roguelikes is that when you start over, you are starting a brand new game. Vast choices of character build and procedurally generated dungeons, enemies and loot, will bring a fresh angle to it each time you play. So why specifically Rogue Fable III then? Not only because it does what roguelikes do extremely well, but it is also one of the best examples out there meeting Criteria 4: Controls are easy, UI is simple. Just look how clear the map is. Everything marked with one little dot and you know exactly what’s going on with a glimpse of the eye.

Here is a blood stained battlefield after I cleared it.

The game is not at all simple though. So get ready for depth and complexity in a really hard to crack nutshell.

2 – Mortal Glory

I had my eyes on this for a while and it proved to be even nicer than I expected. Since you are a turn-based game lover, you played CIV 4 and will hear the voice of Leonard Nimoy echo in your head when I write the following quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” This has got to be the motto of this game. Believe me, when it comes to simplicity, it doesn’t get more perfect than this!

OK, now the emperor desires that I overkill my opponents.

You are managing a group of gladiators in a fantasy world. Vampires, werewolves, minotaurs, humans, and more races, all with their unique abilities and weaknesses. There is one slot for weapon, one slot for defense and one slot for accessory. Really, what else can you possibly need? You get to choose which fighters fight at each arena battle. There is an Emperor who desires or demands to see some combat moves done. And you come across to a zillion different events that spice things further up. Each battle takes about 10 minutes but you can never have enough of it, so you may as well end up playing it 50+ hours. It just doesn’t demand that you do so.

3 – Urtuk: The Desolation

You play Urtuk, an alchemist who fell victim to the experiments of a mad alchemist. Your friend comes to save you from years of torture and despair, and you begin traveling through a land of ruin to save it one battle at a time, while trying to find a cure to the mutation the experiments caused. You recruit people along the way and get to make many strategic decisions. The game is hex-combat at its best, the terrain tiles are very well thought. I need to mention that the loot includes fallen body parts of your enemies which you can actually plug onto yourself and party. Yes, really. All brought to you with amazing art that manages to be nerving yet amusing.

Hex-combat at its best

4 – DungeonTop

So yes, truth is almost all card games give the perfect opportunity for smart type of fun during a coffee break. One battle at a game like Magic the Gathering or Hearthstone takes maximum 20 minutes to complete. So then you can walk away. Right? No, not right. When it is competitive like that, you get to do hours of reading for deck building so you can beat other people. It is a life-long study, to be honest.

However DungeonTop is not exactly a card game, it is a roguelike game you play with cards. You build a deck but you fight on a grid-based board. Meaning you place cards in your deck on the board and play them like you would with miniatures on a board. And some cards are spells or weapons you can directly inflict on the opponent, or armor you can inflict on your party member. There is a procedurally generated dungeon which you clear one room at a time. The first rooms are rather small (5×5) but they get bigger as you level up. The art is beautiful. The color scheme is one of the best you can see. Pure eye candy.

Interesting enemy

I have to warn you, this game is also permadeath. But as mentioned before, it’s fun to start all over, so that’s actually a blessing.

If you have any suggestions for me, I’m all ears. Please drop a line below as a comment ↓

Written by
Mother of two boys. Lover of books, movies and games. Turn-based enthusiast. Here to spread #indiegame love.

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