Most videogame RPGs cite Dungeons & Dragons as their primary inspiration, but few directly adapt its rules. In a world of cooldowns and mana bars, D&D’s dice rolls, bonus actions, spell slots, and long rests can feel clunky and restrictive when applied to a videogame. Even Baldur’s Gate 3 makes many notable changes to make D&D more user-friendly, while indie RPG Solasta wears the 5e ruleset as a badge of honor, warts and all.
This is a game where combat is on a grid, where every d20 rolls on screen, and where jumping away from enemies is a sometimes-treat rather than a regular part of every meal.
While it may forever lurk in the shadow of Baldur’s Gate 3, its crunchy, dice-heavy combat is just what I want in a lean adaptation of the tabletop RPG.
Stardew Valley was my personal game of the year in 2016. Like so many others, I’d paid zero attention to farm-sim games before falling completely in love with the 16-bit art-style, charming characters and town, and endless variety of gameplay.
Ooblets, available now in Early Access via Epic Games Store and Xbox One, may lack Stardew’s pixel art, but it’s every way an effective farm-sim successor, along with its own unique charm and gameplay courtesy of the titular creatures.
Video game RPGs owe much of their DNA from the classic tabletop RPG. Despite Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition catapulting the tabletop RPG into mainstream popularity, there’s been a stark lack of officially licensed D&D video games in recent years. Indie studio Tactical Adventures hopes to change that with Solasta: Crown of the Magister.
“We’ve been a big fan of tabletop RPGs for 30 years,” says Mathieu Girard, CEO and creative director at Tactical Adventures. “We have a D&D campaign running every week – currently playing Descent Into Avernus. Making a D&D RPG is a passion project for us.”
Poor Iratus was struck down on the eve of world conquest, his undead horde scattered to the earth. But a good villain never stays dead, least of all a master of necromancy. Starting from the deepest bowels, Iratus must raise a new army of undead monsters to scour dungeons in this compelling tactical-strategy roguelike RPG, Iratus: Lord of the Dead.
Iratus plays like a reverse Darkest Dungeon. Instead of grim heroes delving into dungeons and braving increasing horrors, Iratus is hell-bent on bringing those horrors to the surface.
Playing Good Company taught me that I do not have what it takes to run an electronics manufacturing business, even when the employees are little more than autonomous drones. When production is stalled due to a missing component in my increasingly complex logistical chain, I’m more likely found hiding in a corner hugging my knees than addressing the problem.
Good Company is a sim management game currently available via Steam Early Access, putting the player in charge of a burgeoning tech company making everything from calculators to advanced drones and robots.
In late 2013, InXile Entertainment ran a backer-only poll for its then-upcoming crowdfunded tactical RPG, Torment: Tides of Numenera. The poll addressed whether the combat system should be turn-based, like the original Fallout games, or real-time with pause, like Baldur’s Gate.
The final result was a nearly even split — 48% turn-based to 47% RTwP — with over 14,000 voters, along with some heated discussions and commentary. Ultimately InXile decided to go with a turn-based combat system, and half the fanbase wasn’t happy.
At the time, both systems offered benefits. But after years of playing Pillars of Eternity 1 and 2, the Shadowrun trilogy, and the Divinity: Original Sin series, the advantages of turn-based combat for tactical RPGs have become more pronounced, and it’s a good thing that Baldur’s Gate 3 is following suit.
Deep in the laboratory, a new enemy that looks like a Bane cosplayer teleports next to me, slamming into the ground and knocking out half my health in a single strike. I scramble to unload a quick series of sword strikes before he disappears. I roll to the side this time when he warps back, finishing him off with a shotgun blast. Unfortunately I rolled too close to a pair of sword-spinning goblins, forcing me to jump into a stream of bullets from a nearby minigun-wielding soldier. I curse as my body is vaporized, showering the ground with hard-earned gold and crystals and sending me back to the outpost to try again.
Death is a frequent and frustrating occurrence in Foregone, a challenging 2D action-platformer out on the Epic Game Store’s version of Early Access this week.
Shovel Knight was one of the most popular and well-received indie games of the last several years, lovingly ripping off NES-era pixels and gameplay.
With fun abilities, excellent level designs, and a charming art style, I’m declaring Kunai the Shovel Knight of 2020, though Kunai shoulders the much more expansive (and oft-overused) genre of metroidvania, and not without some significant growing pains.
My mage and rogue creep through a patch of tall wheat fields before stumbling into a gigantic steampunk soldier, who brutally cuts my team down in a hail of machine gun fire. Instead of grunting through a Game Over screen or reloading a save, I enter Trance Mode and slide back in time several seconds, just before my terrible blunder.
“It’s like Save Scumming: The Game,” says Antti Kemppainen, game designer for Iron Danger. The tactical RPG, from Finnish developer Action Squad Studios, is built around a unique form of quick-loading that’s more interactive than mashing F9, thanks to a little time magic. It’s like editing a video of your game while you’re playing it.
In many ways Planet Zoo is a successful combination of Frontier Developments’ last two games: Planet Coaster and Jurassic World Evolution. The sim park management and robust construction tools from Planet Coaster are all here, but we’re trading in our Teacups and Giga Coasters for African Buffalo and Reticulated Giraffes. As in Jurassic World Evolution, these animals have a complex list of social, environmental, and dietary needs, and taking care of them is the most important element of running a successful zoo.