Shin Megami Tensei Vengeance On IG

Top Sci-fi RPGs With Turn Based Combat

Written by Harry Ted Sprinks


The genre of role-playing games is a saturated market, having existed in video game format for decades, and having roots in tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons. Due to the genre’s origins being mostly fantasy-themed ventures, it stands to reason that video games would follow suit in their adaptation of the RPG. While some managed to successfully break the mold in the 90s with games like Fallout, RPGs have remained fantasy-dominant. However, this has changed in recent years, and there’s now an abundance of RPGs for science fiction fans.

From old-school RPGs in the Fallout franchise, to sandbox games developed by small indie teams, there are a variety of fun and engaging experiences on this list that are packed with strong RPG systems and in-depth progression. Most importantly, however, while not all of the games on this list are combat-focused, all of them feature tactical turn-based combat that often rewards players for careful planning and, in the case of grid-based systems, positional awareness.

10. Star Traders: Frontiers

Release DateAugust 1, 2018
PlatformsPC, Android, IOS
DeveloperTrese Brothers
PublisherTrese Brothers
Available OnSteam, Google Play, App Store

This open-world sandbox RPG tasks players with commandeering a spaceship, managing a large crew of officers and deckhands, and making a living across the universe. While Star Traders: Frontiers does feature plenty of quests to complete, there are often multiple ways to go about them, and there is an abundance of things to do in between.

Star Traders: Frontiers features highly tactical turn-based combat in two forms: ship-to-ship combat and ground combat, the former of which can transform into the latter via boarding mechanics. Star Traders: Frontiers has a major focus on planning and efficient crew management, with much of the player’s success in combat coming down to team synergy and timing. Star Traders: Frontiers is full of small simulations that help to make the universe feel grounded, including rules for trade law and a simulated economy. Overall, Star Traders: Frontiers offers a great deal of freedom to explore and often allows the player to play the way they want.


Quasimorph Logo
Release DateOctober 2, 2023
DeveloperMagnum Scriptum
PublisherHypetrain Digital
Available OnSteam, GOG, Epic Games Store

This darkly unique RPG features a grim-dark world with a gritty atmosphere and great pixel art that tasks players with delving into horror-infested facilities in search of valuables, trying not to starve to death in the process. In Quasimorph, players consume calories as they move, adding a soft timer to the game that pushes players forward. To add to the game’s intense atmosphere, players lose everything they’ve gathered upon death, making Quasimorph a unique combination of RPG and extraction shooter.

Quasimorph’s combat is simple, but the game’s variety of items, weapons, and its damage simulation help to add depth, particularly the latter; injuries in Quasimorph must be treated in order to prevent infection, and the game even features a stun mechanic in which players become immobilized if they take too much damage at once. However, this also works on enemies, allowing players to stun them if they hit them hard enough.

8. Stellar Tactics

Release DateSeptember 23, 2016
DeveloperMaverick Games
PublisherMaverick Games
Available OnSteam, GOG

This RPG may be in Early Access at the time of writing, but it already features an abundance of content and character customization, allowing players to create and manage a unique crew of mercenaries in a large universe. In Stellar Tactics, players explore the world via a spaceship, which they control in real-time, and even customize; Stellar Tactics features over thirty types of ship, and players can even board and capture ships via space combat.

Stellar Tactics particularly shines with its turn-based ground combat, primarily because it leans on the game’s strong RPG systems. Stellar Tactics also features systems for mining and trading, bounty-hunting, and plenty of encouragement for exploration with its broad variety of loot.

7. Colony Ship: A Post-Earth Role Playing Game

Colony Ship Key Art
Release DateNovember 9, 2023
DeveloperIron Tower Studios
PublisherIron Tower Studios
Available OnSteam, GOG

This party-based RPG features turn-based combat, a dark and gritty narrative and setting, and takes place entirely on the titular colony ship. Colony Ship is a dialogue-heavy RPG, but fans of narrative-driven RPGs will likely appreciate the game’s well-written characters and branching dialogue trees.

Despite Colony Ship’s focus on narrative and dialogue, the game also features a solid and tactical combat system that’s often tough as nails. Weapons feature their own abilities, and the combat allows players to aim for specific body parts when attacking enemies. Colony Ship also features stealth, and sometimes avoiding combat is the best solution, particularly because the game likes to outnumber the player often. Overall, Colony Ship is a great experience for fans of dialogue-heavy RPGs, but those looking for a faster-paced experience may want to look elsewhere.

6. Space Wreck

Release DateOctober 11, 2023
DeveloperPahris Entertainment SIA
PublisherPahris Entertainment SIA
Available OnSteam

This retro-inspired role-playing game features a wonderfully old-school, pixelated aesthetic and tactical turn-based combat that uses grid-based movement and a system that relies on dice rolls and action points. However, Space Wreck’s combat is entirely optional, as the game allows players to complete the game without killing anybody.

Space Wreck is a short game, but manages to have high replay value with its multiple endings and well-crafted quests that can often be completed in a variety of creative ways. It’s worth playing Space Wreck multiple times, as there is a variety of ways to play the game, and the game’s end slides help encourage players to pursue quests from different angles.

5. Encased

Release DateSeptember 8, 2021
DeveloperDark Crystal Games
PublisherPrime Matter,
Black Tower Entertainment,
Available OnSteam, GOG, Epic

Similarly to Colony Ship, Encased is a dialogue-heavy RPG, but its setting is dramatically different, taking place in an alternate version of the 1970s. Encased allows players to talk their way out of certain situations, and features non-violent options, but players will often be directed into dangerous turn-based combats. Thankfully, Encased features a variety of weapons and ways to fight that help add depth to the combat.

Although players control a main character, and can play as a ‘Lone Wolf’, Encased has a focus on party-based gameplay, with several unique companions to meet and recruit. Encased also features a variety of voice work, most of which is both talented and immersive, and helps to ground the game world.

4. Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader

Release DateDecember 7, 2023
PlatformsPC, Xbox, PlayStation
DeveloperOwlcat Games
PublisherOwlcat Games
Available OnSteam, GOG, Epic, Xbox,

This CRPG takes place in Games Workshop’s storied Warhammer 40,000 universe and leans on the systems of the company’s old tabletop RPG of the same name. This allows the game to feel old-school while maintaining modern, streamlined RPG gameplay. When it comes to science fiction, the world of Warhammer 40,000 is arguably one of the most iconic and complex worlds, with an abundance of lore already existing in the form of several books.

As its title may suggest, this RPG puts players in the shoes of a rogue trader, a powerful and noble member of the Imperium permitted to do as they wish. Rogue Trader allows players to explore and exploit this power, choosing just how corrupt they want to be.

3. Wasteland 3

Release DateAugust 28, 2020
PlatformsPC, Xbox, PlayStation
DeveloperinXile Entertainment
PublisherinXile Entertainment
Available OnSteam, GOG, Xbox,

This post-apocalyptic RPG features science fiction elements in the form of nasty creatures and a variety of strange weapons that range from a shrink ray all the way to a photon cannon.

Wasteland 3 takes place in a post-nuclear version of Colorado, dominated by frozen wasteland and a broad variety of enemies that range from crazed bandits and powerful robots, to horrifically mutated creatures. The game’s multiple endings dramatically boost its replay value, and the game can even be played in multiplayer.

2. Fallout 2

Release DateOctober 29, 1998
DeveloperBlack Isle Studios
PublisherBethesda Softworks
Available OnSteam, GOG, Epic

This old-school RPG released back in 1998, but its current version on Steam is still relatively playable, and still worth playing for those that haven’t already, as the game holds up even without the nostalgia. Due to its age, Fallout 2 can be a less streamlined experience than modern RPGs, but there are plenty of ways to play and well-written quests to complete that make playing through multiple times worthwhile.

The game expands upon the original Fallout’s world and lore, with plenty of places to go and content to explore, and players can even acquire a vehicle, though it’s somewhat limited. Fallout 2’s turn-based combat is relatively simplistic, however, the variety of options, traits, skills, and the game’s iconic karma system make Fallout 2 a strong roleplaying experience that’s great for fans of old-school RPGs.

1. Shadowrun Returns

Release DateJuly 25, 2013
PlatformsPC, Xbox, PlayStation,
DeveloperHarebrained Schemes
PublisherParadox Interactive
Available OnSteam, GOG, Epic, Xbox,
PlayStation, Switch

Based on the classic tabletop RPG system, the world of Shadowrun combines cyberpunk with fantasy. Shadowrun takes place in a futuristic world packed with deadly gunfights and melee weapons alike, hacking, a corporate-controlled society, and a variety of fantastical races. Shadowrun also features a magic system, along with several classes that make for a variety of ways to play.

Although there are a handful of Shadowrun RPGs available, Shadowrun Returns is arguably the best point of entry. The combat of Shadowrun Returns works similarly to that of XCOM, with a cover-based system that focuses on positional awareness and flanking. Shadowrun Returns is also squad-based, though players do control a main character that progresses in traditional RPG fashion throughout the game.


All in all, there are plenty of immersive and complex experiences being released every year in the world of turn-based RPGs, many of which creating their own diverse and interesting science fiction worlds to explore in. Each of the RPGs on this list hopefully provide a different kind of experience, making each of them worth playing in their own right, so with any luck there is something here for every kind of player.

If there’s a well-crafted science fiction RPG that didn’t make it to this list, be sure to let us know on Discord, Twitter, and on our YouTube channel.


Photo of author

Harry Ted Sprinks

With a deep love for strategy games that began when he first played Stronghold as a kid on his parents’ home computer and a passion for linear narrative games like Telltale’s The Walking Dead and old-school shooters like Blood and DOOM, Harry loves video games of all shapes and sizes. His knowledge of games new and old is broad, but Harry’s biggest passion is indie games, which he loves to champion in his writing. Harry’s favorite games include old-school rogue-likes like Caves Of Qud, older RTS titles such as Red Alert 3, modern classics like Halo 3, and survival-horror games like Resident Evil. When he isn’t writing or playing games, Harry can likely be found developing small games of his own or making music. Although Harry enjoys the occasional AAA game, his attention is primarily focused on representing indie games.