Cue the intro music – it’s time for another installment of Keep An Eye On It, where we showcase exciting and intriguing turn-based RPGs & Strategy games that are in development. Everything old is new again, and we’ve got games that are sure to stir up nostalgia this time around. Classic D&D PC games are becoming available again for the first time in years, and Front Mission 1 and 2 are both getting Switch remakes.
Better yet, new JRPGs based on black-and-white cartoons and on the golden age of pro wrestling are also in the works. From games based on classic literature to entirely original stories, here’s our roundup of the games we’re putting on our Wishlist. At the end of the article, take a moment to watch the video version of this episode with game trailers.
For a certain subset of gamers, a pixelated JRPG featuring classic ’80s wrestlers would be the best thing that’s ever happened. Their dreams are about to come true when Mega Cat Studios’ WrestleQuest enters the ring this summer. Stepping into the spandex of an up-and-coming wrestler, the player will face the likes of “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Andre the Giant, and Jake “The Snake” Roberts in high-flying turn-based matches.
Of course, this is pro wrestling – it won’t be enough to just win your matches. The crowd was promised a great main event, after all, so you’ll need to keep the audience hyped up with show-stopping moves and dramatic reversals. To borrow a catchphrase from Booker T, we can dig it!
Recently announced for a release next year, Whalefall is the latest title from Whitethorn Games. It’s a story-focused RPG whose tale unfolds through a visual novel, and the game sports two different combat systems. Small-scale skirmishes are fought through traditional JRPG battles, but when armies clash the player is instead treated to hex-based tactical combat.
Whalefall promises an original fantasy world with Whitethorn’s signature hand-drawn art style. Their titles are generally well-suited to players who are looking for low-stress games, so we can probably expect the battles to be more relaxed and intuitive than complex and challenging. We’ll find out in 2023 when the game launches.
Support Whalefall on Kickstarter (ends 15 April 2022)
Ash of Gods: The Way
Ash of Gods: The Way is a sequel to Ash of Gods: Redemption, taking place twenty years after the events of the first game. (I played it few days ago) An intrigue-heavy story where the player’s choices impact the outcome, The Way brings its combat from the battlefield to the arena. When a rival kingdom circumvents a peace treaty by training new soldiers in the guise of gladiatorial games, the protagonist is sent to compete in the hopes of slaying dangerous officers before they can become a threat.
The Way brings back Redemption’s card-and-grid battles and expertly-animated moves. Whether you played the original or not, the latest Ash of Gods title is definitely worth a look. No release date has been announced, but a free demo is currently available.
Ignis Universia: Awakening of the Erudite Empress
Ignis Universia: Awakening of the Erudite Empress is a visual-novel JRPG centered on the Chosen Sisters, four young ladies destined to save the world. It continues the story of the (completely free) Ignis Universia: Eternal Sisters Saga and keeps the same snarky tone. This is a game that knows how ridiculous JRPGs can be and pokes loving fun at the genre.
Combat in Ignis Universia is combo-driven, so you’ll need each of the four sisters to set one another up for success. The more they work together, the more Friendship Points they’ll build up allowing for more powerful abilities to be unleashed. The release date is listed as “Coming Soon,” but in the meantime you can always play the first game and try the demo of Erudite Empress.
Soul Hackers 2
The sequel to a spinoff of a spinoff, Soul Hackers 2 follows in the footsteps of 1997’s Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers. Like the other games in the SMT franchise, gameplay revolves around capturing and summoning digital demons to prevent the apocalypse.
The game was only just announced in February, so details are scant thus far, but from the trailer we can tell that Soul Hackers 2 is going to be a great-looking game full of neon-drenched environments. Luckily, we don’t have long to wait as the game is scheduled to release on all major consoles and Steam on 26 August – who knows, maybe by then we’ll have gotten to 100% on Shin Megami Tensei V.
Monochrome RPG Episode 1: The Maniacal Morning
As its name implies, Monochrome RPG is a black-and-white slapstick adventure through a town inspired by 1920s cartoons. Otto, a shy comedian who once dreamed of making it to Vaudeville, just wants to get to work on time, but a series of increasingly absurd circumstances make this mundane task a challenge.
The story is full of jokes and puns, and the game’s episodic nature means that more mayhem is in store for poor Otto. Monochrome RPG Episode 1 is currently available in early access, and a free demo can also be downloaded. According to the devs’ early access notes, the full version could be coming in the next few months so if the game interests you then it could be worth picking up early.
QUIJOTE: Quest for Glory
Even if you don’t know the details of the story, chances are you’ve heard of Don Quixote de La Mancha, the fictional Spanish nobleman who dreamed of reliving the chivalrous days of a bygone era. In QUIJOTE: Quest For Glory, players see the story from the Don’s deluded perspective, engaging in epic battle against giants as sturdy as windmills to win the hearts of noblewomen as humble as farmers.
Fighting the villainous foes that plague Spain uses card-based head-to-head battles, meaning players will have to adapt to unexpected situations at every turn. The game was even funded by Spain’s Ministry of Culture and Sport! It enters early access on 31 March, so saddle your horse and lower your lance for adventure soon.
Hard West 2
Desperados 3 is great, but it’s missing two key elements; for one, it’s not a turn-based game. Nobody’s perfect, I guess. Second, there’s no sorcery. Hard West 2 solves both those problems. When a train heist goes wrong outlaw Gin Carter has to pursue the Devil himself across the Wild West to recover his stolen soul, leading a band of witches and gunslingers along the way.
Whether you’re in a deadly shootout on the top of a moving train or a sorcerous duel at high noon, Hard West 2 offers dynamic environments that force you to adapt your strategy on the fly. The game’s Bravado system rewards risky moves, and managing your posse’s loyalty is of critical importance between fights. This will definitely be one to check out when it launches later this year.
Dungeons & Dragons: Gold Box Classics
As D&D dusts off more classic settings, the digital adaptations of those settings are also returning to see the light of day. Dark Sun, Krynn, Ravenloft, and Forgotten Realms Archives are all classic old-school RPGs in some of the most iconic settings ever to be ransacked by player characters.
If you’re a veteran gamer looking to relive the good old days, or want to try the games that the middle-aged guy at the card shop keeps going on about, the Gold Box Classics are releasing to Steam on 29 March.
Front Mission 1st & 2nd: Remake
Originally released on the Super Famicom in Japan, Front Mission came west on a PS1 port and is finally getting a proper remake for the Switch. Not only that, the sequel is getting a makeover as well! Set in 2090, the games put tactical mech combat front and center and the remakes are a perfect entry point for newcomers to the franchise.
The games aren’t yet available to Wishlist on the Switch eShop, but Front Mission 1st Remake is expected to launch this summer.
Let me know what you think about these 10 Promising RPGs & Strategy Games in the comments below. Wish you the best.