As we know, turn-based games come in all shapes and sizes on Steam. There are big publishers making games like XCOM and Total War. Steam is also filling up with more and more small indie teams that are making remarkable games like Oakenfold and Jack Move. But there is another place that you can go to find stellar turn-based indie games, and a lot of them are even free.
I’m talking about Itch.io. If you haven’t been there yet, you should definitely check it out. Itch.io is a great place for indie developers to post projects, demos, prototypes, or even full games for people to play. Some of them have a cost and some are even free with an optional donation. Here are some of the best games on Itch.io posted in the last 30 days that are free to play. If you enjoy the games and want to support the developer, make sure to comment and donate to help them out.
Accompany Elsa, a teen-age girl who has just moved to another town with her mother and tries to find out about its history. Set out on an unexpected quest full of mysteries to unravel.
Game Master feels like a fully fleshed out game that takes me back to the GameBoy days. There are lots of secrets to find on every level, a fun story and lots of humor. You can tell that the developer had fun making the game and wanted to share that with the player. And to top it off, the game is open-source for anyone with RPG Maker.
Check out and support Game Master at: https://great-potion-games.itch.io/game-master
I play a lot of racing board games with my family, but I have never played a turn-based racing video game before. 1-bit Rush changes the racing genre by slowing things down. The car only moves a few seconds at a time. This gives the player time to think about their speed, trajectory and momentum. Does that make things significantly easier? Absolutely not!
It took me several times to just do one successful lap. If you come into a turn too fast, your next trajectory is going to put you way off the track. Unlike most racing video games, there are no walls to bounce off of. The game simply resets and you have to try again. It can be tough, but that didn’t stop me from spending multiple hours playing. Those successful laps were a reward that I couldn’t get enough of.
Check out and support 1-bit Rush at: https://fohaze.itch.io/1-bit-rush
In this classic turn-based RPG, you have to explore the dungeon, search for treasure, defeat trolls, ghosts and undead, learn new skills, come up with tactics, and rely on your mates. Dungeon was inspired by one of the developer’s favorite games, Divinity: Original Sin 2, and you can tell.
Dungeon has a lot of loot, some great spells and effects, and of course a great party composition to start with. I liked being able to freely move and attack in any order I chose instead of being locked to one movement and one attack action like so many other turn-based games. There is already a lot in this game so far, with lots of room to grow. If you like Divinity: Original Sin 2 as much as the rest of us, then go check out Dungeon and let the developer know your thoughts.
Check out and support Dungeon at: https://heathro.itch.io/dungeon
In Paper Druids, you are a group of druids defending a grove from trespassers. Nature’s wrath shall come upon those who do not belong; from their corpses, the earth shall spring anew.
Paper Druids is definitely going for that minimalist approach. What this game lacks in visuals, they make up in gameplay. Each turn you move your druids around to kill the intruders and plant seeds in their dead corpses. The following turn you can harvest the plant to create a new creature. There are five different creatures that you can create. The trick is that each creature needs the flowers in a different formation to harvest them. I had a lot of fun trying to harvest every creature in the game to see what it does. If you like puzzly games like Into the Breach, then look this one up.
Check out and support Paper Druids at: https://rubr.itch.io/paper-druids
Turn Saga is a turn-based side-scrolling action platformer that incorporates puzzle-solving challenges. The gameplay mixes rogue-like elements with traditional platform mechanics from well-known titles like Super Mario World.
The Mario games are something that I grew up with, so I thought Turn Saga would be fun to try out. Boy was I surprised when it turned what I knew about platforming on its head. Similar to 1-bit Rush, things are different when you slow them down with the turn-based structure. And that is one of the things that I like the most about turn-based games. I have the time to be more strategic and think about my moves rather than just react. That is exactly what Turn Saga does with platforming. Now you jump and your character freezes in the air until you decide if you are going to land left or right. Turn-based platform is a combination I had never thought of before. It is an experience that you need to try for yourself.
Check out and support Turn Saga at: https://xalezar.itch.io/turn-saga
This is Turn Tanks, a fast-paced, turn-based, local multiplayer game. Best enjoyed with four players. You are fighting for mineral-rich asteroids. Due to distance and the spin of the asteroid, you only have a limited time to send commands to your drone tank. When you see the results of your actions, it has already happened.
Turn Tanks was a blast. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anyone to play with while testing out the game, so I just played with bots. The bots were great, though. This game takes me back to the Bomberman days. There were different power-ups to grab and even walls that you could blow up. You have to think fast to set up your moves for each round. Then all the tanks move simultaneously and you see what happens before picking your next move. I’m sure you will have even more fun if you have a couple of people to play with.
Check out and support Turn Tanks at: https://samwaz.itch.io/turntanks
The setting for Tempus Rail is – in the late 1800’s, a device was invented that allowed the user to create a temporal stream which would reset the user to the beginning of the loop each day. Heralded as the invention of the century, the temporal device was quickly modified so that it could be used to carry a vast locomotive through the time stream. Passengers would experience a journey free from the burdens of life whether that be limited resources, aging, or even death. The maiden voyage was only meant to last for a period of 6 months but at the end of the journey, the train never stopped.
That sounds like a great reason for a roguelike game loop to me. Tempus Rail is a deckbuilding roguelike with a wild west setting. The game is early on with the developer stating that it is still in alpha build. However, I really like the visuals and animations that they have so far and the gameplay is fun. I know that a lot of people might be burned out on deckbuilders. Before you pass this one up, give it a try. There is a free-roam mechanic after every battle. I hope it gets expanded a lot more. Plus, who doesn’t like the wild west?
Check out and support Tempus Rail at: https://pixeldripgames.itch.io/tempus-rail
Gobby’s Escape is a turn-based dungeon crawler that is still early in development. The developer does have a disclaimer that it’s only a prototype. Even for a prototype though, I still had a lot of fun with it. The visuals are tiny and minimalistic. If you are on your lunch break and looking for a quick play session, then check out Gobby’s Escape. You don’t even have to install it on your computer as it can be played in the web browser.
Check out and support Tempus Rail at: https://ross-box.itch.io/gobbys-escape
Tactic Legends is a cross platform, player-vs-player, turn-based tactical strategy game. With 10 playable characters and over 100 items to customize them with, you can form the ultimate team and strategy to fit your playstyle and test your wits against players all over the globe.
Tactic Legends is in Open Beta for PC, iOS and Android. For my play testing I battled myself using my PC and my phone, since I was not able to find anyone online to play against. What is already there is looking great. The game was fun to play with good visuals and effects. Each character that was available had abilities that all felt different. The developer does have a roadmap posted on their page and I am looking forward to seeing where this one goes.
Check out and support Tactic Legends at: https://camerondwills.itch.io/tactic-legends
Reap What You Sow
The last one on this list, and certainly not least, is another multiplayer game. Luckily this one does have a computer player to play against, if you are like me and up late playing games while everyone else is asleep. Reap What You Sow is a board game in which you have to grow more plants than your opponent. Think growing your own plants is too hard? Try claiming the plants of your opponent or place weeds in their garden to mess with them.
On your turn you will have three options to choose from. These range from growing trees, to planting flowers that claim your opponent’s land, to even placing a weed that will slowly move across the land destroying everything in its path. Hopefully that path is through your opponent’s land and not yours. Once you have enough plants, you can harvest to collect the points. It’s a fun push-your-luck game that you can play with someone on the same computer. I will definitely be pulling this back up to play with people when they are over.
Check out and support Reap What you Sow at: https://hare-software.itch.io/reap-what-you-sow
That wraps up our list for the 10 best turn-based games free on Itch.io in January. Make sure to head over to Itch.io to check out all the great games that came out last year as well. New games come out everyday and the developers want to hear from all of you on what you think of their games. So go play and don’t forget to comment and help them out. Let me know if I missed any or if there are any other lists from Itch.io that you want to see.
Missing link for Reap What You Sow: https://hare-software.itch.io/reap-what-you-sow
Some of the screenshots suffer really really badly from scaling/compression. Reap What You Sow and Tactic Legends look a lot better than what the screenshots show.
Thank you for the input. I added in the Reap What You Sow link. I can’t find any problems with the screenshots though. I have viewed them on multiple monitors on my PC and reviewed it on two different phones. The images are showing up clear to me.
Wow! My game “Dungeon”! Thank you for these words!