Top 5 Turn-based Games I finished in 2021

Written by Charlie Norris

Gears Tactics

Normally this would be a standard “my top turn-based picks from 2021”, but for some reason, most of the turn-based games I played this year were from another year, mostly 2020. So instead of my five picks, this is more like my 5 favourite turn-based games I played this year.

Because sometimes there is not enough time in a year to finish every game I want. Luckily, it doesn’t matter when a game came out; all that really matters is that I enjoyed it last year. But what games did I play last year, and why did I love them? If you want to know the answer to that burning question, read on because number three will surprise you. (Disclaimer: surprise may not actually surprise you)

Yakuza Like a Dragon

Top 5 Turn-Based RPGs

When it comes to the Yakuza games, I am here and there on whether I like them. On the one hand, I enjoyed the gameplay, the story and all the minigames littered within the world, but on the other, I sometimes get annoyed with how long the cutscenes can be. Yakuza Like a Dragon is no different from its predecessors and has all the things I love about the series and even that one thing that annoys me occasionally. Except Like a Dragon, in a way, fixes that problem with those long-winded cutscenes by turning the game into a turn-based RPG which automatically calls for long cutscenes, if you know what I mean.

I know it is a weird way for something like that to work, but when I go into a turn-based RPG, I expect long cutscenes; a brawler, not so much. It is funny that changing the way the series was played made me love it even more. Besides the whole genre change, I even preferred the new main character, Ichiban, as I found him more likeable than Kazuma and more relatable to the average gamer; oh, and funnier, can’t forget funnier, because we all know how stiff Kazuma was. I know the Yakuza series isn’t for everybody, but Yakuza Like a Dragon has enough going for it that even non-fans of the series may enjoy this one.

Gears Tactics

Top 5 Turn-Based RPGs

I love the Gears of War Series, and I love the X-com series. Two games that are so different to each other that we could list all of them and maybe only find one or two things in common. Yet, for some reason, someone had the bright idea to fuse these two games and make something I never knew I needed in my life. In simple terms, Gears Tactics is an X-com game coated in a Gears of War skin, but also so much more than just that.

What made me love this game even more, is that it just works. When I first saw the footage, my first instinct was why it hadn’t been done sooner; then, playing it, I realised how good everything was and that maybe this might be the best way to tell other stories in the Gears world. I mean, if you prefer both franchises, especially X-com, you will love every minute of this game; it needs to be played by any turn-based fan.

Echo Generation

Top 5 JRPG

I know I said number three would surprise you, but I lied. I loved Echo Generation so much that if I made an actual list of games from 2021, this would be number one for sure. There are so many reasons why I love Echo Generation, but the main reason would have to be the story that kept me coming back. It kept me intrigued the whole way through. I didn’t want to just know what was happening, but I needed to know; it was almost life and death how bad I needed to know that I would play this every waking moment I could.

It wasn’t just the story which was maybe inspired by a little series called Stanger Things. Everything this game had going for it I enjoyed. The combat was addictive, the music was fun, graphics were beautiful. I mean, apart from one minor problem I had with it, I would dare say this game was almost perfect for me this year, possibly my favourite. If you have yet to play this game, then do yourself a favour and get to it.

Light Fairytale Episode 2

Top 5 JRPG

I will be honest, if I hadn’t played Echo Generation this year as well, this would have been my favourite, but it just misses out because I did. As a fan of old-school RPGs, I really enjoyed Light Fairytale Episode 2. Considering all that, there is something special about the game that I couldn’t help but fall in love with. From the strong but awkward main character to impending doom on a grand scale, it has everything I remember from any RPG I played as a child.

Light Fairytale is not content with being just an old-school RPG. Light Fairytale adds some modernisation, with chibi-like graphics and being divided into episodes, which an RPG maker would follow for the remake this game may have been inspired by. What makes The Light Fairytale so great is that it gave me the RPG experience in an afternoon, and for someone time-deprived, it made the experience all that much better.

Doom and Destiny Worlds


Part of me debated including Ikenfell on this list, but if I am being honest, you have all read how much I loved that game before, so instead, I will be writing about Doom and Destiny Worlds. The best way to describe Doom and Destiny Worlds is a Super NES RPG infused with comedy and bad English grammar that is so-bad-that-it-is-so-good that I can’t help but love this game.

I may not be a big survival fan, but even though I am not, I was still able to enjoy Doom and Destiny Worlds immensely. Much of what I loved about Doom and Destiny stems from the comedy. Sure, the gameplay is fun and all that. It is just when it comes to comedy in games; there are many times when I think it doesn’t work. Luckily Doom and Destiny, I genuinely laughed at most jokes, which is quite rare for me in a game. I know it is weird to recommend a game on its comedy value alone, but here, I will say it. Get it for the comedy.

Sadly, I didn’t get to play many turn-based games that were released in 2021, but I did play a bunch from the previous years and hey, maybe this year I will finally get to them; you never know. With any luck, you can expect the games released last year to be on my list when the end of 2022 comes by, because why not.


Photo of author

Charlie Norris

Charlie Norris is a lover of games, especially RPGs. When he isn't playing games, he is most likely thinking about games and which ones he wants to play next. Some may say it is an obsession, but he says it is a way of life.

7 thoughts on “Top 5 Turn-based Games I finished in 2021”

  1. Nice list. Gears Tactics is one Im hoping to find the time to play. While I doubt I get to finish it. That depends on the boss! 🙂 I may take a look at Yazuka Dragon. Somehow this one slipped under the radar for me.

    • The Boss wasn’t too bad, but it was a pain to defeat as if I remember correctly he had two phases.
      If you like turn-based RPGs, then you definitely need to check out Like a Dragon, it is so fun. 🙂

  2. unfortunately gears tactics is not good for x-com fans. we love to plan. in GT you can’t plan, you are always forced to move. and don’t get me started ON THOSE BOXES!!!!! who the hell had that stupid idea????
    not only that you have to run in almost every mission you also must try to get those boxes. and replaying missions? really? that’s their ideea for fun???
    no, the game would be excellent but for the fact that you are forced to play how the devs intended to.

    • Tbh, as an OG Xcom fan and huge fan of the new editions, I really like it and so does a lot of Xcom fans. 🙂
      Yeah, there isn’t much of planning and no base building, but the game play does scratch the Xcom itch.

  3. If you haven’t tried it yet, Mutant Year Zero is an excellent turn based strategy. It reminds me of Wasteland 2 and has excellent strategy elements as well as RPG elements with plenty of dry humor. I highly recommend it.

  4. Re: Boss I meant Marcello. 😀 MYZ was alot of fun but I felt it had the same RNG issues with the targeting rolls. I enjoy difficult but frustrating no. It didnt help that encounters were overly finely balanced with little leg room to recover from bad rolls. ^^


Leave a Comment