best indie rpg games

Best Indie RPG Games – List of Favorites

If you’re like me, then you enjoy a good RPG. Since the early 90s, I’ve loved the genre and all of the sub-genres, well, most of the sub-genres. They have been a big part of my life, and indie games have stepped in to fill the void that the larger companies have ignored.

I find myself being drawn to the games with pixel graphics, which make me feel some nostalgia, and the games that are a little weird! Indie games usually tick all of those boxes.

There are several definitions of what an RPG is, and it feels like just about every game could fall into one of the many sub-genres of RPGs. There is a lot of overlap! To me, I fall back to the games I used to play as a kid and use those as a benchmark. Does game X remind me of something I used to play?

With that in mind, I’ve gathered a bunch of the best indie RPG games that I’ve played. It’s all in one place so you don’t have to get lost in the online stores. Anyway, let’s check out these awesome indie RPGs!

Bottom Line Up Front:

If I had to pick one game from this list, it would be Monster Sanctuary. It kind of reminds me of Pokemon and I like games that remind me of things I used to play.

Selection criteria

Let’s talk about what qualifies for this list. I’m not just going to be putting any random game on this list.  Here are the selection criteria I’m going with:

  • The game has to be made by a small studio without being published by a large publisher. (i.e., EA, Activision, Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, etc.)
  • The game must have a Metacritic score of 75 percent or higher.
  • All games must have role-playing elements in them.

Now, let’s go ahead and get into it.

Undertale

Undertale

  • Developer: Tobyfax
  • Genre: RPG
  • Metacritic Score: 92

I think by now, most people know how unique Undertale is. It’s a game that sounds great, has an excellent combat system, and creates a bizarre world that begs to be explored. Also, you can just talk with your enemies instead of attacking them. There aren’t too many games out there where you can just talk to them instead of bashing, shooting, or zapping them with whatever the game’s weapons happen to be.

The idea of rewarding players for not fighting is cool and different. It’s not something you see too often, and it’s done well here. You can still fight the enemies if you want to. You’ll get more experience and gold, which every other RPG tells you is a good thing!

I like the graphics, the music, the story, and the gameplay. There isn’t anything bad I can say about Undertale. It’s one of those games that only comes along occasionally. If you haven’t played it yet, give it a try, as it’s worth your time!

Disco Elysium

Disco Elysium

  • Developer: ZA/UM
  • Genre: RPG
  • Metacritic Score: 91

This was the best game I played in 2021! It has a great story, and the characters were excellent. I wish there were more games like this, and I want to see more stories told in this game’s world. It takes a simple detective story and adds so much to it that it makes the game more compelling.

It cuts out the combat, which strangely works for the game, and just focuses on telling you a story. There are a bunch of side quests that introduce more of the history of the game’s world. I enjoyed learning more about the world this game existed in!

While it’s not as action-focused as the other games on this list, it keeps you playing by having you learn more about your character and the people around you. If you like RPGs and detective stories, then definitely give this one a try.

Slay the Spire

Slay the Spire

  • Developer: Mega Crit Games
  • Genre: Card Battler-RPG
  • Metacritic Score: 89

I wish there were more games like this! I used to play a lot of collectible card games, and video games like this make that experience much better because you don’t have to spend so much money to keep up with the game.

Your goal in this game is to move to the top of the map. There are a bunch of paths you can take, treasures you can find, and weird monsters to fight. While doing this, you collect cards that you use to fight. There are attack cards, defense cards, and unique cards which make the game more interesting.

As far as card battle games go, this is one of the better ones. If you’re a fan of games like FTL or Darkest Dungeon, then this is an excellent game for you to play.

Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights

Ender Lilies

  • Developer: Live Wire
  • Genre: Action-RPG
  • Metacritic Score: 86

This is a beautiful game! It reminds me of many Castlevania games in a good way. The story is what pulled me in. I wanted to know what happened in the game’s world and how I would fix it.

The combat in this game was different. Your character, a little girl, dressed in white, doesn’t fight. Instead, you have spirits who attack. It’s a different approach, and it seems to fit into this game. I felt like there could be this strange place out there where something this bizarre took place. I’m weird like that, though!

I liked this game a lot. It’s dark, has an interesting story, and has an art style I dug. I like this game’s take on the Metroidvania style.

Darkest Dungeon

Darkest Dungeon

  • Developer: Red Hook Studios
  • Genre: Roguelike-RPG
  • Metacritic Score: 84

Darkest Dungeon is still a great game. It combines turn-based combat with the toughness of a roguelike. This type of game can be frustrating. Everything you do is permanent. You need to think things through, gamble, and take chances. You’re going to lose your heroes; get used to it.

The art style is excellent in this game. It looks dark and dirty like you’re playing a horror comic. If you have ever seen a silent horror film or some German expressionist art, that is what this game makes me think of. There is also a bit of Lovecraft in this game as well. Things don’t look normal.

The game does take some time to get used to. Once you get into it, though, Darkest Dungeon proves itself as an exciting game.

This isn’t an easy game at all. It leans more towards a Roguelike than an RPG, but I think it still fits into the RPG genre.

Children of Morta

Children of Morta

  • Developer: Dead Mage
  • Genre: Action-RPG
  • Metacritic Score: 82

Children of Morta wasn’t what I was expecting. I feel like someone combined the art style of games like Another World and Heart of the Alien with the gameplay of Diablo. Usually, I would prefer the turn-based style of a JRPG, but this one stood out for me.

This game uses a top-down view. This makes me feel like I’m playing a game like Diable, Secret of Mana, or one of the early Legend of Zelda games. The controls are easy to learn. It’s just a fun game to play.

The only bad thing I can say about this game is the enemies. They feel a bit weak. I never felt like my character was in danger while hacking away at them. Aside from that, the game looks great, the music is good, and it’s fun to play.

Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark

Fell Seal Arbiters Mark

  • Developer: 6 Eyes Studio
  • Genre: Tactical RPG
  • Metacritic Score: 82

Fell Seal is similar to Final Fantasy Tactics, Shining Force, and Fire Emblem. The Tactical RPG is my favorite type of RPG. There are many types, and you can find one for any skill level. This has everything you would want from a game like this.

The game takes place in a fantasy setting, and it looks great. The sprites are very detailed, and the battle scenes look fantastic. It doesn’t have perma-death like Fire Emblem, so you won’t lose a character after they fall in battle. They will get wounded for some time. I like this a bit more as I hated losing a character that I spent so much time building up.

One strange thing I noticed in this game. The monsters have their own names. They aren’t called Goblin; they have their own names. I found myself wondering who named them? Did they name themselves? I’m probably overthinking this.

In games like this, the story is what I’m playing for. Fell Seal has a good one that was a bit different. The game’s world is a corrupt one where people are doing what they can to get by, and I like it!

Tails of Iron

Tails of Iron

  • Developer: Odd Bug Studio
  • Genre: Action-RPG
  • Metacritic Score: 81

This is a simple Action-RPG set in a world similar to a Redwall novel. You play as the rat prince, and you have to defeat the frogs who are attacking the kingdom. You also talk to the other rats through pictures because humans obviously can’t speak the rat’s language.

This is not an easy game. It feels like a side-scrolling version of Dark Souls. There is a weight system to your movement and attacks; it can sometimes be hard to know what you’re supposed to do, and it takes a while to get good at the game. Once you do get the controls down, it’s a fun game!

I like the setting and the art style of the game. I wish things were explained better, especially in the tutorial, but it is fun. It made me want to keep going. I wanted to teach those evil frogs a lesson!

Monster Sanctuary

Monster Sanctuary

  • Developer: Moi Rai Games
  • Genre: Adventure-RPG
  • Metacritic Score: 80

Out of all the games on this list, Monster Sanctuary was the one I enjoyed the most. It combined a bunch of things I enjoy from other games. You collect and raise monsters, there are some puzzles for you to solve, and the turn-based combat is excellent.

This game plays like a side scroller. It shifts to a turn-based RPG battle screen when you run into the enemies. You have no idea how much I’ve missed seeing something like this! I had gotten used to either seeing the random encounters or an Action-RPG format. This feels like they took something from Chrono Trigger or Tales of Destiny by having you see the enemies you’re about to fight.

The best thing I saw in this game, aside from the gorgeous pixel art, was the Catzerker. It’s a Cat holding a giant sword, and you can get one to join your party! Game of the century material, in my opinion!

Cris Tales

cris tales

  • Developer: Dreams Unincorporated
  • Genre: RPG
  • Metacritic Score: 79

The Story and the visuals are what carry this game. When I look at RPGs, I look for the story they’re telling me. If it sucks, then the game falls apart for me. Thankfully, Cris Tales has a very compelling story. It deals with time and possible futures.

During the game, you see what might happen if you don’t do anything to change it. You can also see the past. It’s a strange way to view the game. It was messing with me a bit as I kept trying to see what the future would be.

During the game, you can hop into the past; literally, you have your little frog friend hop into the past and make changes to improve the future.

Cris Tales looks a bit like a cartoon from the early 2000s. While the game looks different and unique, the combat system has a timed attack mechanic, which isn’t needed. It’s the only thing about the game I don’t like.

Indivisible

Indivisible game

  • Developer: Lab Zero
  • Genre: Action-RPG
  • Metacritic Score: 79

This is an enjoyable side-scrolling Action-RPG. It’s set on an island and has a delightful art style. The combat system is something I haven’t seen for a little while. It’s a button comb system, and I think they did a good job with it. You can also shift between the real world and a spirit world.

I like this game’s story. While it’s a revenge tale that spirals out of control, the way you get party members is bizarre. Instead of just following your main character, they are absorbed into your character’s mind, and everyone seems to accept this.

It’s not as good as some other games on this list, but if you’re looking for something a bit different, give Indivisible a try.

Nobody Saves the World

Nobody Saves the World

  • Developer: DrinkBox Studio
  • Genre: Action-RPG
  • Metacritic Score: 79

Nobody Saves the World has a good sense of humor. I like the story and the artwork. Some of the characters remind me of the characters from Ren and Stimpy and Rocko’s Modern Life. I’m sure I’ve dated myself with that comparison.

I like how the game has you changing forms to progress. It’s a pretty straightforward game once you get into it. If you told me this was based on a cartoon, I would believe you!

The humor in this game helps it stand out from the other games. It just makes me laugh as you go through this bizarre world.

Eastward

Eastward

  • Developer: Pixpil
  • Genre: Action-RPG
  • Metacritic Score: 78

This is a great game! It has an art style that reminds me of Earthbound, and it plays a bit like the 8- and 16-bit Legend of Zelda games.

I like the setting and the characters. It feels like the characters are trying to make the best of an awful situation.

I’m afraid I have to disagree with the Metacritic rating here. This is a 9/10 game in my book! If you like these top-down Action-RPGs, then play this one!

Golf Story

Golf Story game

  • Developer: Sidebar Games
  • Genre: RPG
  • Metacritic Score: 78

Golf Story is an exciting game. Instead of fighting monsters, you play golf to gain experience and get money. The quests involve doing different challenges like putting, hitting out of sand traps, and hitting the ball into other targets. It reminds me of playing golf with my dad, except this is a bit more fun; sorry, Dad!

The story is pretty interesting to me. Your character used to play golf with his dad, and then has a bit of a mid-life crisis and goes back to the golf course he played at with his dad. It’s an excellent premise for the rest of the game.

This is one of those games that you could just sit back and relax with. It’s similar to games like Stardew Valley, Slime Rancher, and Graveyard Keeper. If you are into those games, then give Golf Story a try.

Yes, Your Grace

Yes, Your Grace

  • Developer: Brave at Night
  • Genre: Simulation-RPG
  • Metacritic Score: 75

You play as the king and have to manage your castle and the relationships in your family. It’s different, and that might be why I like it. The weird games and genre combinations make for a fun game every so often. Yes, Your Grace plays a bit like Disco Elysium. However, it’s not as good as Disco Elysium, and I would recommend that game over this one.

This game replaces combat with a resource management system. I like how they do it! Each turn, you’re given many choices that come in the form of petitioners. They ask for favors or tell you how terrible of a job you’re doing.

The graphics give you a retro feel, which I love, and the controls are easy. The number of choices and changing the game provide this some replayability.

Best of the Rest

We would love to keep going but had to cut the list off at some point. Here are the honorable mentions which missed the list.

FAQ

Question: What is an RPG?

Answer: An RPG is a game where the player takes control of a character or a team of characters. I know this is incredibly broad and could be applied to most video games. For video games you also have one or more of the following:

A leveling system where your characters gain experience through fighting monsters and/or completing quests.

• A skill tree.
• Gives the player some degree of control over the story.
• Can be either Single-Player or Multi-Player.
• Active or Turn-based combat.

Question: Are these games PC exclusive or are they on console?

Answer: These games should be available on consoles as well as PC. Here is a list of what platforms you can get the games on:
Undertale
• Disco Elysium – Windows, macOS, PS4/5, Stadia, Switch, Xbox Series X/S
• Slay the Spire – Windows, macOS, Switch, PS4, Xbox Series X/S
• Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights – Windows, Switch, PS4, Xbox Series X/S
• Darkest Dungeon – Windows, PS4, Switch, Xbox Series X/S
• Children of Morta – Windows, PS4, Switch, Xbox Series X/S
• Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark – Windows, PS4, Switch, Xbox Series X/S
• Tails of Iron – Windows, PS4/5, Switch, Xbox Series X/S
• Monster Sanctuary – Windows, PS4, Switch, Xbox Series X/S
• Cris Tales – Windows, PS4/5, Stadia, Switch, Xbox Series X/S
• Indivisible – Windows, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
• Nobody Saves the World – Windows, Xbox Series X/S
• Eastward – Windows, macOS, Switch
• Golf Story — Switch
• Yes, Your Grace – Windows, macOS, Switch, Xbox Series X/S

Question: What are some Indie RPGs coming out in 2022?

Answer: A bunch of RPGs have been announced so far. Here are the five that I think look the most interesting:
Sea of Stars
Metal Slug Tactics
Arcadian Atlas
SacriFire
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising

Conclusion

If I had to pick one game from this list, it would be Monster Sanctuary. The other games are great, and each offers something unique. Monster Sanctuary feels different to me. It’s a little like the Pokemon game I’ve wanted for a while now.

Each of these games does being something a bit different. If you haven’t yet, check them out and enjoy the stories, they have to tell!

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