Top 20 Best Indie RPG Titles

The Frog from "Everhood" sits and holds his guitar. Don't be fooled. Beyond that gaze and humble demeanor is a frog whose skills rival those of Jimi Hendrix.

Nothing beats sitting down, grabbing your controller, and immersing yourself into the role of a hero who needs to save a magical realm from an evil wizard or demon king. Sometimes slaying slimes and laying waste to bad guys gets old, so you reach for a new role-playing game that doesn’t fall into the typical pitfalls that litter the more prevalent titles. Luckily, indie game developers have new ideas to entice and ignite your creativity and sense of adventure. Here’s a brief selection of 20 indie titles that break the boundaries of RPG games.


20) Loop Hero - (PC/Xbox One/Xbox Series X|S/Switch)

First up on the list is an RPG that I never thought I’d talk about, especially considering its mechanics. But hey, developers have surprised me before. “Loop Hero” is a unique RPG released in March of 2021 developed by Russian studio Four Quarters and is one of many games on this list published by video gaming powerhouse Devolver Digital. The player is shown a world after an evil lich destroyed it, and assumes control of a hero who wishes to restore it. From there, the player must guide their hero to their goal, helping or fighting those left behind from the lich’s path of destruction.

What surprised me about the game wasn’t the pixelated art style but the deck building and card mechanics it applies for exploration and combat. The hero is on a pre-generated path at the first dungeon in-game and goes after enemies like any RPG. Once an enemy is defeated, they will drop landscape cards, which the player can use to unlock new paths for the hero and their party.

Each of these landscapes offers a unique effect, i.e., healing at the expedition’s finish, gaining speed, etc., while introducing new enemies with more significant difficulties. They, in turn, will drop items that can be equipped to the hero as upgrades and weapons, and the player will soon find themselves caught in the same loop as their hero. Whether or not either will overcome the loop depends on how far they will go to breathe life into a dead world. Well, if it’s worth saving.


  • The gameplay style is very strategic, as you must use your landscapes and items wisely to keep going forward. You are building the world around your player, so the endless possibilities need a modicum of sense. 
  • The story is an added tale of tragedy and lore to a game that will entertain you for hours just by recreating one run with your hero!

The Hero’s party tackles an enemy while the player handles their stats and item usage. I’m gonna fight the moon!


19) Oneshot - (PC/Switch/Xbox One/Linux/MacOS/PS4)

This next game is an exciting example of how innovative a game can be if given the right amount of metafictional application. “Oneshot” is an indie RPG that dropped in December  2016. The player is introduced through a computer to Niko, a young cat person, and their world, which is on the brink of death.

You can help Niko deliver the world’s sun through rough terrain and dark scenery, being careful not accidentally use or lose the sun. Between interactions with robots, bird children, and the mysterious forces, you’ll soon be wondering whether or not you’re doing the right thing by guiding Niko to save the world. 

While there is no combat system, progression is made by exploring the dark world, solving complex top-down puzzles, and interacting with items. Among these items are computers, which connect the player’s computer to the game itself. From here, specific actions will need to be taken to progress, such as finding content outside the game’s files or moving the game’s screen off the desktop as if developing a photograph.

Combined with your detached feeling of the world Niko lives in and Niko themselves, you have a game that embraces a new kind of fourth wall breaking.  However, you should still take the game slowly and be careful with your decisions. You do only have one shot.


  • While the game can be a short experience if you know what to do, it is still a charming little game with an exciting story. 
  • On an interesting note, it will suddenly close when Niko falls asleep in the game. If you reboot it, a dream sequence will occur. Whether these dreams have meaning depends on your thoughts about the story and how far you go.

Niko, controlled by the player, moves to a side of the cliffs around them. For a game that touches on some dark content, it does look bright.


18) The Longing - (PC/Switch)

Idle games aren’t meant to be RPGs, but one can be said to be an exception. “The Longing” is an idle real-time RPG from Studio Seufz and Application Systems Heidelburg. The game was released during the CoVID-19 quarantine.

A lone Shade, an underground creature, is told by his King to wait for him to awaken from a 400-day slumber. After which, the King will reward the Shade with a “world without longing.” So begins a game that is mired with both regret and depression as the ticking of the clock and the darkness underground become the story's true villains.  

This is a unique case where choice is not an illusion but a fundamental factor in the Shade’s journey. Time marches on, even when you are not playing the game. Every activity you perform also causes time to pass, but whether or not you choose to do those actions is up to you.

Whether you explore deeper in the caves, stay put, build a fire, freeze, or only open the game once and let the timer tick down depends on what you want to do and what you encourage the Shade to do. However, something lies beyond the darkness, but only if you look and go further can you overcome your longing.


  • The core part of this game is classified as an idle game, so patience is a must. Those who want a more fast-paced game may be deterred, but the story is rewarding, and the emotions it carries are worth the time spent.
  • An anti-cheat measure is in place for anyone who tries to force their way through the game. If you fiddle with your computer clocks and boot up the game, the Shade will be locked in an eternal dungeon and asked to repent 400 times by clicking “I repent” before you can play again. Just because you have the option doesn’t mean you should use it.

The Shade finds a piece of flint they can use to build a fire in their home. How many days has it been?


17) Boyfriend Dungeon - (PC/Switch/Xbox One/Xbox Series X|S)

And so the trend of turning inanimate objects, countries, or mascots into people continues. This time around, you can romance them. “Boyfriend Dungeon” dropped on PC in August of 2021 from Kitfox Games. The game starts with the nameless main character moving into their cousin’s former apartment for the summer, with their cousin offering to help them (finally) get a date. It’s not until the player finds a damaged weapon that the story gets started.

Not only is it sentient, but it can transform into a handsome man, and other weapons like him exist in the world. However, someone has been stealing them and damaging them in a nearby dungeon. The player has to team up with a myriad of weapons and find out who’s behind the thefts and stop the hostile activity before the summer’s over. Oh, and finally, score a date. 

The game is similar to the “Persona” series in how relationship growth feeds into ability growth. The higher the level of relationship with one of the characters, the more skills and abilities they have access to. Each character represents a different weapon, which means various attacks and specialties. For example, Sunder, the talwar, can give enemies the status effect Bleed, and subsequent abilities do further damage once that status effect is in place.

Whomever the player decides to bring into the isometric dungeon-crawling sections depends on their preference of weapon. Still, the dating simulation sections send the game over the top. Every character has personality and charm; between nature and ability, it’ll become harder and harder to pick any single partner. Luckily, polyamory is encouraged. 


  • The dungeon sections are fun and challenging, and each character's visual novel dating simulation segments are well-written. This game is a good balance of story and gameplay, and it never overstays its welcome.
  • The relationship with the cat is platonic. And he’s a good boy.

The player charges in a dungeon against massive bugs while wielding a weapon of their choice. Hey, watch the handle, baby.


16) Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion - (PC/Switch/Xbox One/Android iOS/PS4)

And now for one of my personal favorites on this list. “Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion” is a fun little indie RPG game that dropped in October 2020 from Snoozy Kazoo and Graffiti Games. This game has elements of a hack-and-slash and a roguelike and fully embraces its creative and cartoony nature. The titular Turnip Boy refuses to pay his taxes to Mayor Onion, so he must perform a variety of tasks for him to pay off the money. The player assumes control of Turnip Boy and sets off to perform tasks, find hats, make friends, and fight monsters, all while trying hard to stop ripping up essential papers.

This RPG  revels in its setting and writing style, creating an atmosphere of wholesomeness that covers the dark core of the story. One minute the player will be walking in an abandoned cabin from a time long ago, pondering the more profound implications it holds, and the next, they’ll bump into a macaroni noodle who spouts a copypasta. The adorable art style and music ease the player into a false sense of security as they find strange beasts and clues that lead to the true nature of the world around them and several key characters.


  • This is a game you can beat in less than 3 hours, but the jokes land every time, there’s a myriad of references, the characters are adorable, the hack-and-slash elements are entertaining, and the boss fights provide necessary lore.

Turnip Boy is talking to Mayor Onion about how he is in trouble for not paying his taxes. Well, in a not-so-friendly way. Kids, don’t look!


15) Weird West - (PC/PS4/Xbox One)

Whoever said the West and RPGs don’t mix has never played “Red Dead Redemption” or “Weird West.” WolfEye Studios developed “Weird West” after founding their studio in 2019, while Devolver Digital chose to publish the title. The game officially dropped on March 31st, 2022, to gamers who wanted to sink their teeth into a Fallout-inspired RPG.

The story is divided between 5 characters: a retired bounty hunter; a Native American protector; a wild west werewolf; a man whose brain was stitched into a humanoid pig body; and a practicer of magic from the Onerism faith. Each character leads their own life and weaves their path, and the player is just along for the ride. Time will tell if these five strangers will meet in this small world or if they have more to do with each other than any of them thinks.

There’s an intriguing feature for this game: upon completing one character’s chapter, the player rotates to the next character in the line. Quests are different, environments change, and enemies will gather and disperse according to who is on screen. Once an action is done in-game, it cannot be undone. If a barrel gets blown up, it stays blown up. Many game elements are the same way, including a permadeath mechanic.

As soon as one character dies, they are gone for good in the game’s run and cannot be resurrected. Their actions will remain, but the character will remain unplayable until the data is reset or the game ends. The same can be said for NPCs who are killed on purpose or accident. The game's realism adds to the atmosphere of desperate desperados, magic-wielding agents of chaos, and the evils that lurk deeper in the desert. The created story will have the player want to ride off into their sunset and tout their pistols for as long as possible.


  • Each character brings something new to the table, not only in mechanics but in story and personality. Choosing only to play as one robs the player of a massive narrative and gaming experience.
  • Every action means something that cannot be undone once done. Play with care, or go guns akimbo.

The werewolf sets many people on fire as they go about their quest in "Weird West." Someone wanna get the extinguisher?


14) Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan - (PC/Switch/Xbox One/PS4)

Don’t write this game off as a Cuphead rip-off. Despite the art style, this is completely different from what most people may expect. “Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan,” a modern cartoon-inspired RPG, was developed by Manavoid Entertainment and published by Skybound Games, known for the run-and-gun shooter “Cuphead,” the hand-drawn fighting game “Skull Girls,” and fellow indie RPG “Disco Elysium.” The game was released on October 5th, 2021.

The player is introduced to Billy, an eight-year-old boy who must sail the world on his tugboat, the Friend Ship, to restore the world’s color after an evil Leviathan’s curse steals all of it. To restore it, Billy must befriend creatures great and small from each island and locate color cores, each necessary to defeat the dread leviathan and bring bright colors back to the Land of Imagination.

This is one of the cuter games on this list, made evident by the adorably drawn characters, pie-cut eyes, and great use of bright colors - at least when they’re returned to the world. Combat in the game is turn-based, but instead of actual fighting, a conversation is encouraged, where the “enemy” will reveal their insecurities and the colors needed to recolor their hearts.

Once those are exposed, you can make friends with the opponent, and they become allies for the game. The preference to talk instead of resorting to violence is refreshing in a genre built on turn-based physical combat, and even I enjoy listening to these beings' troubles and helping them out. Not only is Billy restoring the colors of the world, but the player is restoring the colors of their own heart in the process.


  • The story doubles as an inventive collection RPG as well as a coming-of-age story, and that is a combination I can get behind.
  • Communication is a must in this game, so listen and talk to everyone you can find. It never hurts to make a new friend! 

Billy and a massive beast are atop the cardboard battleground, ready to fight with their creatures. However, violence isn’t always the answer!


13) The Hex - (PC)

Metalepsis is becoming more prominent in video games. Still, only so few games seem to weave a story that encapsulates it without creating too many plotholes or worries. “The Hex” is a positive example that breaks the fourth wall and  the concept of video game genres and stories. This complex game was developed and published by David Mullins Games, the developer of the horror coding game “Pony Island,” and more recently, the scale-weighing card game of fate, “Inscryption”; both titles also carry their level of fourth-wall-breaking narrative structure.

“The Hex” sees six characters brought together at their local Six Pint Inn for a dire reason: one is planning to commit a murder. The player must assume control of each character and work through their games to find their motives and clues before accusing the true culprit of murder before it’s committed.

To call this game ambition is nothing short of a compliment. Each character has their set personality and in-game segment: Super Weasel Kid, a humanoid weasel kid who stars in a series of platformers; Chef Bryce, a former star of a cooking game who went on to become a key fighter in a fighting game; Chandrelle Starblaze, a fighting game star who gained a fantasy RPG series with her as the main character; Rest McClain, a character from a supposed open-world western RPG; Lazarus Bleeze, a Space Marine from a top-down shooter; and an unknown mime from a walking simulator with puzzle solving mechanics.

Every segment contains references and shout-outs to each genre it covers, acknowledging the good, bad, and ugly of their tropes and game design. The more time spent playing as each character, the more the genre changes, and the more the characters’ rage and anxiety are shown to the player. With that much rage and hatred directed at one source, there may be more than one culprit among the six characters, possibly including the player.


  • Some of the character’s games are stronger than others, which, while being the point of the game as a whole, can take away from the player’s enjoyment.
  • The story’s conclusion ties the game up nicely, and there is DLC that can be played to flesh out the world's lore and offer an epilogue. I highly recommend it be checked out with the whole game.

Chandrelle Starblaze stands in a dungeon and notes how the tutorial was awful. Is it me, or does she look tired of this?


12) Shadows of Doubt - (PC)

Nothing beats a good mystery, except the chance to participate in one. “Shadows of Doubt” is a detective stealth RPG from British developers Colepowered Games and Fireshine Games. It was released on April 23rd, 2023, and is still in early access, but this game’s potential is already evident.

The player is immersed in a world so close but far from ours, taking on the role of a detective in a sprawling city. Every case they take on is not only a check in the bank but a step closer to solving a string of serial killings plaguing the city. Every day the killer isn’t captured is another day they can kill, and only the player can capture them before someone else dies.

I’ll admit, I’m not entirely sold on a game where the world is too massive for its own good, but the game’s size is tangential to the player’s actions and cases. There is an enormous amount of freedom in the game when it comes to investigating cases: bust down doors, pick locks, look in trash, scan CCTV footage, match dates, pick up cigarette ashes, interrogate witnesses, etc. The player’s investigative style never interferes with the rest of the game world, benefiting their playstyle and enjoyment of each case.

The reason for this is groundbreaking: “Shadows of Doubt” sports a fully immersive world that carries on when the player is not even interacting with it, meaning characters and events transpire without any trigger. The player can use this to delve deeper into the neo-noir pixelated world of an alternate 1980s, where the only thing that needs to be done is to pick up the pieces of a criminal’s life.


  • Mystery fans will adore this game for its innovation and open investigation styles. With many paths to find the truth behind a single case, the player will want to explore every option without rest. Combine that with an overarching plot about a serial killer in the 1980s with advanced sci-fi tech, and you have a game that everyone will want to sink their teeth into.

The player sits and reads the paper about the current events and the city's serial killer. I’d be more concerned about where that apple is.


11) Chicory: A Colorful Tale - (PC/Switch/Xbox One/PS4/PS5)

I always have a soft spot in my heart for games where artistic expression is encouraged for the player. So making your game a giant coloring book on top of an adorable RPG is the equivalent of screaming into a megaphone for me to buy it without question. “Chicory: A Colorful Tale” is a wholesome indie title that came out in June of 2021 after being previewed in the Wholesome Indie Direct of 2020. The game was created by indie developer Greg Lobanov and published by Finji, who also had a hand in publishing the indie classic “Night in the Woods.”

The player assumes control of a dog they can name after their favorite food, whom is given a magical paintbrush from their master, Chicory. The rabbit has long been a wielder of the brush, but with an abundance of color lost and corruptions appearing, they decide to pass down the mantle to a new wielder. It’s now the responsibility of the player and the dog to bring color back to the world, assist the citizens, and try not to succumb to the demons of past wielders.

Wielding the brush and splashing paint on everything while relaxing is necessary for plot progression and puzzle-solving. From crystals that glow in the dark when given color to vines that allow instant teleportation when colored in lines, anything that can be colored serves a purpose or assists in progression. Puzzles rely on the introduction and removal of color, and some areas require the player to think outside the box with the brush, such as specific rooms in the hall of wielders. Side quests are plenty in the world, as are characters with delicious-sounding names. The circumstances surrounding the corruption become the player's new focus, alongside bringing life and color to the now dulled world.


  • Most of the game can be spent giving the world color, as everything is left monochrome due to the corruption in-game. There’s something relaxing about coloring things in, so combining it with a complex RPG  gives it a deeper sense of completion. You are creating a world with your art, and nothing is more precious than that.
  • The topics the game touches on deal with emotional stifling, trouble with expression, and toxic expectations, so take the cute with the dark appropriately. 

The dog runs past a formerly blocked area with their Brush, ready to color the rest of the world. It’s so cute I can’t take it!


10) Darkwood - (PC/Switch/PS4/Xbox Series X|S/Xbox One/Stadia)

You just can’t keep me away from horror games. Whether or not you can keep me away from solid horror RPGs depends, though. “Darkwood” is a top-down survival horror with RPG elements that dropped from Acid Wizard Studio for early access in 2014 but was entirely released on August 17th, 2017.

The game takes place in an alternate version of the Polish People’s Republic, where a massive ethereal forest has begun to consume land at an alarming rate. As the forest spreads and grows, massive trunks and twisting roots swallow the surrounding cities and villages. People are lost in the dense wood, while others are mutated into beast hybrids or left for dead by other creatures. The only way to endure the forest and possibly escape is to survive by any means necessary, even if it costs your humanity.

This is not a game of leisure. Every moment is tense and packed with planning; the slightest moment of relaxation or letting your guard down can be met with attack, robbery, or death. Resource management is applied with every step, and each decision carries its own weight. Fuel can power a light generator, but using it for power means it can’t be used for fire or weaponry. The night is dangerous; anything that can stalk and kill comes out for prey.

There is the added decision to brew strange hallucinogenics from the debris in the forest for ability acquisition, but the effects may not be worth the effort. Decisions need to be made with the long-term in mind to escape the forest and its supernatural pull, if possible.


  • The game forces the player to get good with item allocation and resource management. Little moments of tension are explicitly crafted to test the boundaries of your moral character when faced with horrors beyond comprehension. 
  • Helping certain NPCs will drastically change the story's outcome, and anything done with a hint of good intent can backfire just as spectacularly down the road.

The Stranger searches an abandoned house in The Forest for supplies to stave off the coming Darkness. May want to board that window.


9) West of Loathing - (PC/Switch/Stadia/Linux/Mac OS/iOS)

Absurdist humor is and always will be a treasure. No other game captures that sense of random yet enticing humor than “West of Loathing.” This is another indie RPG that takes place in the wild west, much like “Weird West,”  but with a tone that’s more comparable to an SNL skit given life in animation form. Asymmetric Publications developed and published the game in August of 2021.

The game’s plot is as bare as the stick figures: the main character heads off to the town of Frisco to seek fame and fortune. Shenanigans and hijinks ensue with every step of your Stupid Walk cycle as you assist the sheriff, collect meat money, and carve your name in the annals of history.

This is a game where the player’s freedom and lack of direction can create a prime breeding ground for anything hilarious, whether digging into a spittoon to find a key or exploring a “haunted” pickle factory. Turn-based combat is prevalent, but party members have eccentric means of attacking and healing, making every turn fun and strategic. Some summon demons of beans, others use alcohol to heal themselves every turn, and some may just offer scathing criticism of the opponent and the player. With so many options and things to do, this is a must-play for RPG or indie fans and for any gamer in general. 


  • Everything in this game, at one point or another, will make you laugh. Every piece of information, every detailed note, every footnote has a joke or a pun that will catch you off guard and make you giggle in delight.

The player fights an army of skeleton warriors wielding rifles by summoning a bean demon. I could not make this up if I wanted to.


8) Spookware - (Switch/PC)

And now for something fun, mild-mannered, and possibly capable of causing mild anxiety attacks. "Spookware" is a WarioWare-style game with RPG elements that dropped back in August of 2021 from BEESWAX GAMES and DreadXP. The story follows skelebros Lefti, Midi, and Righti as they realize they’ve spent most of their afterlife on a couch binging horror movies. They decided to take a road trip through the afterlife and take whatever comes at them, whether it be forming a band in a ghoulish high school, solving a murder mystery on a cruise, or running from some abomination that may want them to die again.

While the game has RPG elements and the story is centered on the road trip of the skelebros, the real takeaway from the game is the minigames it offers. Each is framed as a horror film, with the speed gradually increasing as the player improves their time. Every minigame mechanic changes, although some mini-games will remain the same for certain story beats, i.e., the rhythm games for the band recruitment. Bosses will appear after a set number of minigames with increased difficulty and time limit, and other minigames appear in the story to tie segments together. Whether each minigame is passed depends on the player's skill and ability to act quickly and not be chilled to the bone.


  • Each minigame has a new mechanic, and you hardly ever see the same minigame in the chapter twice. Every time it’s something new, and it’s as fresh as a knife that slices a leg in half at the knee!
  • The skelebros are the game's lifeblood, and their banter between tapes and during adventures is a treat! 

Lefti, Midi, and Righti explore a dining room on the road trip. Wait, what the heck is that thing, and why is it stop-motion?


7) Minit - (PC/Switch/Xbox One/Android/Linux/iOS/Mac OS)

Sometimes all you need to make a hit game is a weird idea. In this case, what would happen if you could only play a game in intervals of 60 seconds? “Minit” is the result. This game was created by what I can only describe as a round table of developers: Jan Nijman, one-half of Dutch development studio Vlambeer; Kitty Callis of “Horizon Zero Dawn” fame; “Fall Guys” composer Jukio Kallio; and artwork director of “Crows, Crows, Crows,” Dominik Johann. Familiar gaming icon Devolver Digital published the title on April 3rd, 2018.

The plot follows a small duck creature who finds a cursed sword washed up on the beach, causing the poor being to die after 60 seconds. However, they wake up in their bed the next day, ready to tackle the journey to rid themselves of the cursed artifact and save themselves before someone else gets hurt.

The entire gimmick of the game is how the player dies after one minute and respawns in their bed at the start of a new day. Many things will take approximately one minute, so some runs will be spent doing those things, i.e., listening to conversations, making decisions, or gathering allies. The game has an interesting anti-frustration feature with items remaining in the character’s inventory after each death, so there’s no need to regather items or dive back into areas where said items were before. Throw in teleporters and permanent environmental actions, and you have a game that can be mastered swiftly and enjoyed thoroughly.


  • This simple and fast-paced game is reminiscent of earlier Zelda titles and carries a certain charm that cannot be missed by either RPG fans or indie game fans!

The player finds a sword washed up on the beach! You got the sword! What do you mean it’s cursed?


6) The Witch’s House MV - (PC/Switch/Xbox One/PS4)

If you go up to any random gamer and ask what their first real indie game was, and told them to exclude anything made in the past five years, there’s a solid chance you will hear this game come up. “The Witch’s House” is a horror RPG-maker title first released in Japan in October of 2012. It was rereleased with updated graphics and higher resolution on October 18th, 2018.

The player is introduced to Viola, a young girl who wakes up lost in the woods with every possible exit blocked by massive rose bushes. She is forced to enter the titular Witch’s House and with a talking cat, must brave the horrors within and solve the mystery of who she really is and why she’s now at the witch’s mercy.

This game came out around the same time as other RPG-maker titles, such as “Ib,” “Misao,” and “Mad Father,” and the influences can be seen clearly. The only source of companionship in the game, the black cat, is the only source of conversation, as Viola stays a silent protagonist the entire runtime. The game is littered with complex puzzles that require multiple tries to complete.

I remember it took a while to figure out the bear puzzle, but then I was stumped by the butterfly in the display case. Often the simplest answer will not lead the player out of trouble, so all thinking needs to be done outside the box. However, perseverance is rewarded with plot progression and interesting - read horrifying - visuals. Moving through the house becomes a challenge, with the answers lying at the end of the game being the player’s sweet and satisfying reward. 


  • There are plenty of ways to die in the game, and some deaths are necessary to learn how to solve puzzles or progress through segments, i.e., the hallway scene. 
  • Like the previously mentioned titles, this game is a short horror experience, but what it lacks in length, it makes up for in story and puzzle complexity. 

Viola looks at a massive hole in the wall with a mouth drawn around it with eyes at the top. Don’t go in there. Trust me.


5) Eastward - (PC/Switch/Xbox One)

From haunted houses in the woods to the vestiges of humanity being driven underground, we come to an entry on this list that is equally mysterious and heartwarming. “Eastward” is a pixelated indie RPG title from developer Pixpil and published by “Starbound” developer Chucklefish Limited. The game dropped on September 21st, 2021, and was well-received by gamers and critics alike.

After a deadly toxin called the MIASMA wiped out humanity on the surface, the remaining humans hid underground and reforged society, only coming up once nature has reclaimed the world and the MIASMA has dissipated. A miner underground in Potcrock Isle, Miner John, finds a girl suspended in animation in some wreckage, swiftly adopts her, and names her Sam. Sam’s adventures in Potcrock Isle lead her and some friends into trouble, and soon she and John are sent on a massive journey that will take them across the world’s surface and through several towns touched not only by MIASMA but by something darker.

This rare game combines combat and a strong story with a humble slice-of-life overtone. John and Sam are connected at the hip, and their relationship is brilliantly woven through the story and the game’s unique mechanics. The cooking mechanic allows John to bond with Sam and heal both of them, and can be improved through repeated actions and new ingredient gathering. Foods found can create items that will give new abilities to the duo. Progress is even saved in refrigerators by placing memories in them, highlighting the importance of food creation and the bond between them.

The player controls John and Sam, each with strengths and weaknesses. John’s movements focus more on weapon usage and offensive capability, while Sam is more defensive, with support skills being her bread and butter. Only together can they find their way across the nature-claimed surface, avoid horrid monsters of all kinds, solve puzzles, and possibly discover who the mysterious Mother is, along with finding the truth behind Sam’s origins and abilities.


  • This RPG is a fun and surprisingly down-to-earth take on the found family trope and typical RPG elements, such as exploration and item crafting. The game has many things to do, people to meet, and items to collect. The soul of the game shines like a diamond through the layers of rock and dirt, needing to be seen to be believed.

Miner John faces off against two slimes in the dungeon, wary of his trusty frying pan weapon. Time to go Rapunzel on these gooballs!


4) Lil’ Gator Game - (Switch/PC)

I cannot sing this game’s praise enough, but I will try my best here. “Lil’ Gator Game” is a 3D RPG game developed by Mega Wobble and published by Playtonic Games, and it only came out in December of 2022. A little gator is chatting with his older sister, reminiscing about the game they made up when they were younger. The older sister, now in college for what is heavily implied to be video game development, is too busy to be bothered, but that does not deter the lil’ gator from making a game that will captivate her attention and finally get her to play with him. The world of this nameable gator becomes a sprawling RPG, complete with cardboard props and NPCs, and the fun is only beginning from there. 

For gamers out there who recognize the style and mechanics, there’s a good reason for that. One of the inspirations for “Lil’ Gator Game” was the 2019 indie hit “A Short Hike,” creating the glide mechanic and art style, while a second inspiration, the Japanese hit “Yakuza” series, contributed to the eclectic cast of animal characters. Compared often to the “Legend of Zelda” series due to the similar RPG mechanics, this game is a visual delight and a familiar make-believe tale.

The little gator and his friends indulge in the fantasy world they create, becoming merchants and crafters, and offer side quests for the tale's hero to pursue. It soon becomes apparent there’s another reason the little gator recreated his childhood game and why it means so much to his sister. But for the absolute truth to be expressed, the hero must grow and find the right words to say at the right time. 


  • This game can be played by young and old, with the plot giving rise to nostalgic emotions and senses of childish wonder. Playing the game will make you feel young again, reminding you why you never wanted to lose your imagination or inner child. It still brings tears to my eyes.

The little gator glides from one place to another with his coat of legend to complete his game. Again, too cute, no comments.


3) Everhood - (PC/Nintendo Switch)

If there’s one thing I love more than anything, it’s rhythm games. Combine that with horror themes and surrealism and you’ve made a game that I will never stop playing the soundtrack of. “Everhood” is a dark rhythm-based RPG that dropped on March 4th, 2021, from Foreign Gnomes and Surefire Games, which also published one of my favorites, “My Beautiful Paper Smile.”

The story of “Everhood,” subtitled “An Ineffable Tale of the Inexpressable Divine Moments of Truth”, takes place in a land where the player is forced by an odd voice to shed their preconceived notions of humanity and accept immortality. From there, the player assumes control of a red-cloaked puppet on the quest to get their arm back from the Blue Thief. Combat becomes a rhythmic battle of agility and wits, and progress can only be made if the player has the magic of music. 

The game is similar to “Undertale” in many aspects, from a colorful cast of characters to a stark, depressing undertone - no pun intended - about the complexities of existence and choice. It differs in how the game executes the plot and how universal truths can be obtained when taking separate actions and paths. Upon reaching these areas and battling these beings, the player must continue playing the rhythm game as the entity they were first introduced to reappears and takes them through a psychedelic transcendence of self.

The entity will reveal the universal truth, vital for assisting the red puppet on his journey, then lead the player back to where they were as if nothing happened. Only when all of them are collected will the effects be seen, and only when the beat is mastered can the story make sense.


  • The first battle with Frog is a gauge of the game’s difficulty and your ability to handle it. If you fail too many times, you will be given the option to change the difficulty. There is no shame in needing to ease up the rhythm difficulty.
  • This is a full-scale rhythm-based RPG that carries every tune and character with care, and there is something for everyone in the game.

Frog tests the Puppet, Red, to see if it can defend itself in the world through rhythm. Dance, puppet, dance.


2) OMORI - (PC/PS4/Xbox One/Switch/Xbox Series X|S/Mac OS)

No other game on this list has as much support and admiration as this one does. “Omori” is a unique indie RPG that dropped on Christmas in 2020. The game had a tumultuous development time of 6 and half years, starting from the desire of an artist, Omocat, to turn their comic about a social recluse into something more. A Kickstarter was launched in 2014, funded within a day, and was planned for initial release in 2015. However, trouble with changing development platforms and exhausted funds caused the game’s further delay into the 2020s. The game was finally published by the development team, now called Omocat, to a massive flood of praise and positive criticism.

The player is introduced to Omori, a young boy who awakens in a room with no darkness and only light. After leaving through the door, he’s greeted by his best friends, Hero, Kel, and Aubrey, and soon encounter Omori’s sister, Mari, and their other friend, Basil. After a strange incident, Basil goes missing, and it’s up to the quartet to find him. However, certain things make less and less sense, and what looked and felt like a beautiful life becomes reality's harsh constraints. 

The game's combat is turn-based, but status effects hold a rock-paper-scissors style of play that needs attention. Attacks and support skills can be stronger or weaker depending on the emotional state of the party member. For example, if a member is happy, they will be strong against angry enemies and have increased luck but will be susceptible to sad enemies. Conversely, an angry party member will have increased attack power and stand firm against sad enemies but remain wide open for happy enemies.

Energy can be gathered from all party members and be released as a follow-up attack either by themselves or as a party. Combine this with typical RPG elements of exploration, item collection, and puzzle solving, and you have a game that relies on emotional release and expression as a method of progression. How this applies to the story is far more profound than the player will immediately realize, and only when it's too late will things finally become clear.


  • There are elements in the game that I will not talk about here because they are best left to be experienced by the player. 
  • This is an emotional experience; the characters' actions and the choices made will move even the hardest heart. 

Omori looks into the mirror to see his friends Hero, Kel, and Aubrey. He’s not alone, so why is he not happy? 


1) Disco Elysium - (Switch/PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Xbox Series X|S/Stadia)

The last game on this list has not only the most replayability but the most complex story and lore I have seen from any video game. “Disco Elysium” is a complex RPG from developer ZA/UM that dropped on October 15, 2019. According to the writers and developers, the story takes place in Elysium, which sports over 6,000 years of backstory and closely resembles the real world if it were skewed in a mirror.

The player is asked to define themselves and choose skills initially, giving their specific run a flair of individuality. The main character then awakens, revealing themselves to be a drunk and amnesiac investigator who arrived prior in the port town of Martinaise. With the assistance of Lieutenant Kim Katsuragi, the detective, and by extension the player, will navigate the world, solve the original mystery the detective was sent to investigate, and discover their true identity.

The game's art style is grungy, splattered, and reminiscent of fauvism if combined with post-modern realism. The color scheme matches the strange world through vivid oranges, muted grays, and reds. The combat in the game is almost nonexistent, with encounters and conversations being done as D&D skill checks. If the player’s stats are high enough, actions are available. If they aren’t, but the player still goes for an action, it has the same result as rolling a nat-2 on any given skill check: immediate fail, no action taken, and possible physical damage being done.

As if that weren’t enough, the player will encounter various voices in the main character’s head, often emotions or ideologies of thought given sentience thanks to the delirious state of the investigator. Some prove to be more harmful than others, and others offer conflicting advice and choices that lead the player down a path they would never have expected. Choices will need to be made, stories will need to be matched up, and grit will be needed to complete the story and the game. 


  • I cannot recommend this game any harder than I already am. The story is wild, the characters are amazingly written, everything in the game is possible for any run, and no two runs will have the same results. This game will send you on wild goose chases for hours if you aren’t careful. 
  • The mystery elements that drive the story are exceptional, and your choices can make or break your chances of finding the truth hidden in the gray.

The detective internally battles whether he should lick the alcohol off the counter. This is the least weird thing you can do in this game.

A bard down to the last letter, Kay is consistently writing and drawing new worlds of fantasy, magic, and intrigue. Her only known weaknesses are a can of Dr. Pepper and a new manga.
Gamer Since: 2010
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: 13 Sentinels
Top 3 Favorite Games:Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance , South Park: The Stick of Truth, Undertale

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