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Turn Based Games I've Played

Turn Based games are categorized by a primary gameplay loop of taking discrete, alternating, un-timed turns in combat. I've played 29 games in this genre so far.

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poster for Chained Echoes

Chained Echoes

Absolutely superb. Follows in the footsteps of great JRPGs before it, modernizing and generally improving their gameplay. It's good a pretty decent story, great world to explore, cool abilities, great secrets, the works. I finished the main quest, every side quest, and a bunch of extra bits in 33 hours, which is amazing for a game like this. Usually it's dragged out much longer. It's a very focused game; there aren't that many locations, but there's a lot to explore. Doesn't hold your hand, but doesn't let you get too lost either. Very well constructed. I can't say enough good things about it.

poster for Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven

Great adaptation of a complex board game. Missions were cool and varied with only a couple of very frustrating ones. Would have been nice to be able to roll back individual actions, but being able to restart rounds was easy enough. Had a ton of fun playing with friends and exploring the world.

poster for Persona 5 Royal

Persona 5 Royal

Definitely a great RPG. Probably too long, but largely paced well. Characters were good and not too trope-y. Gameplay flowed well and had interesting mechanics. Creepy monster designs, but fun breeding and evolving them. Great gameplay for a dungeon crawler- felt much more dynamic than the dungeons of yore. Great style and soundtrack (though more battle songs would be great). Overall, loved it; wished it was a little shorter, but dang.

poster for Nexomon: Extinction

Nexomon: Extinction

Very interesting game. Definitely a modernized Pokemon. Made a ton of QoL improvements, had an acutal story, gave much more info about the systems to the player. All good changes. The moves were weird (I felt like I learned them out of order) and the character designs were fine (hard to compete with childhood pokemon), but battles were fun nonetheless. Very cool save file customizations (first party nuzlocke, etc). Now I basically want a Pokemon game that cribs from this.

poster for Beast Breaker

Beast Breaker

It was very cool! A bit grindy in the middle, but the characters were good and I enjoyed the core gameplay. A little rough around the UI edges, but it mostly got there.

poster for Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales

Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales

Really awesome storytelling and integration of gameplay with narritive. Fun to collect and power-up cards. Really liked basically all of it except the final fight, which was punishingly hard. But, good fun overall!

poster for Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Fun game. X-Com light, but well done. Some cool exploration and puzzles. Some decent variation in levels, too. Good animation and vibe on the characters.

poster for SteamWorld Heist

SteamWorld Heist

Cute game! The story wasn't really much and the levels got a little samey, but I liked the progression and the the gameplay was good. Not earthshattering, but enjoyable!

poster for Wargroove

Wargroove

Cute game. Good dialogue with a decent story. Combat is tough but fair. Great implementation of advance wars. Grooves are cool. I mostly liked the "dungeon crawling" levels. Impressive amount of units and campaign levels, plus there's a full map editor! A couple of UX annoyances, but a ton of fun throughout.

poster for Pokémon Omega Ruby

Pokémon Omega Ruby

Beat Elite 4 in 28:12. The biggest flaw is the HM system and the really messy UI for advanced training and stuff. Otherwise, wonderful. Gorgeous, good exploring, and actual story, lots of Pokémon, reasonable post game content, the works. Goes down as one of the greats.

poster for Antihero

Antihero

Neat little rts! Nice graphics, plays quickly and fluidly.

poster for Sea of Stars

Sea of Stars

I have such conflicted feelings about this one. On the one hand, the graphics and music are nearly peerless. There are some genuinely touching story moments, many good ones, and a few duds. The pixel environments are intricate, there's a lot of enemy variety, and the character design is cool. The basics of combat are good and the Mario RPG-style hit for bonus damage/block keeps me engaged. The lock system adds variety to battles, even if sometimes they don't seem totally possible. BUT. The gameplay part of this game doesn't feel well thought out. I don't mind it being simplified- a more streamlined approach was one of my favorite things about Triangle Strategy. But IMO this game strips out the wrong things. There's an equipment system, but weapons and armor just have numbers that go up. There are rings which provide a little strategic diversity, but there are a few that are strictly better than everything. The only collectables are food (for healing items) and rainbow conch's (which provide some bonuses, mostly for other side quests). It's a shame, since that makes exploration less compelling than it could be. Each gameplay system seems shallow and disparate in a way that's not satisfying. Worst of all, it's a game that doesn't respect your time. Lengthy ability animations aren't skippable, there's a _lot_ of pointless backtracking, and the boss fights are WAY too long (the final boss took me nearly a full hour and it only had 4 different moves). I feel like the developers were inspired by classic JRPGs, but learned all the wrong lessons from them. The overall package is decent but definitely tries your patience.

poster for Across the Obelisk

Across the Obelisk

Best described as "4 player Slay the Spire", there was a lot to like about Across the Obelisk. The 4 character classes and variety of perks and skills mean there's a lot of customization and replayability. Building a deck is always fun and there's a lot of card variety. Multiplayer works well and the tiebreaker mechanic on split votes was a ton of fun. But, for a game we played as much as we did, there wasn't as much variety as I would have liked. The maps always have the same layout (though the events on each node are random) and the end-map bosses are always identical. I would have liked to see more variety in regular enemies, too. The UI is decent but the descriptions on effects was sometimes lacking, making it hard to understand exactly what was going to happen (tough for a card game). Ultimately it was a great choice for my gaming group and I'm glad we played it.

poster for SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech

SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech

Really great on paper. Pretty good on execution. Ended up being a bit simplistic, and wasn't always clear with what would happen. But it was nice having a proper deckbuilder and there were pretty decent upgrade paths and power curves.

poster for Final Fantasy X

Final Fantasy X

The good parts (battle, music, overall vibe) were great! Aged very well. Other parts (the environments, the clunky UI, some animation), not so much. I enjoyed how puzzle-y the battles felt. I also liked the world. But, it felt like it didn't really respect the players time in some ways; no skippable cutscenes, endgame _super_ grindy, etc. Worth a play, but not without its warts.

poster for Battle Chasers: Nightwar

Battle Chasers: Nightwar

Pretty fun game. Great battle system, progression, and party customization. Draws deeply from old-school RPGs in a good way, if you're into that. It's not too punishing (you only lose some gold when you die), but it can be hard. Great art direction and good music. Exploration was pretty fun and the dungeons had varied designs that felt fresh. On the other hand, it stuck maybe a little too closely to old JRPGs- characters not in the party don't get EXP, so you either have to ignore 3 characters (which makes half the loot useless) or replay dungeons a lot. Now, the writing for side lore is actually surprising engrossing, but doing an identical dungeon twice in short order got old. The difficulty curve was weird, but it evened out eventually. Story itself was pretty bland, but the world was decent. Lastly, switch performance was dreadful. I'm pretty forgiving on performance, but this was _very_ noticeable. But, it seems ok on other systems. Fun game overall.

poster for Nowhere Prophet

Nowhere Prophet

Really interesting. It introduces some novelty to the Slay the Spire formula, such as units that die, a grid where only the front line can attack, and being able to backtrack through the map. Unfortunately, the story falls flat and the events are pretty repetitive. There also doesn't seem to be a lot of card variety - I only played about 3 runs but had mostly stopped seeing new (non-legendary) cards. Lot of potential here, but still needs work.

poster for Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology

Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology

I played it on easy mode, so it was basically a decent visual novel with an rpg tacked on. The gameplay itself was fine. Had a couple of neat ideas in the grid system, but felt like more of a chore than the really enjoyable part. Writing and plot were good, plus it had full voice acting. The parallel worlds unblocking each other were a neat idea, but it always felt surprisingly linear. The side quests were cool insofar as you actually had to think a little about when/where to jump. I enjoyed my time well enough!

poster for Skulls of the Shogun

Skulls of the Shogun

Neat game. Cool unit movement. Cute writing. Couldn't see myself playing it for an extended period of time (feels repetitive and simplistic) but definitely a well made game.

poster for Cris Tales

Cris Tales

Nice art, interesting time-travel-based battle system, but pretty slow otherwise. Story seemed ok, but trope-y. PC port wasn't great.

poster for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Very interesting. Certainly lots of potential, but extremely dated. The combat is pretty bad- there's a weird hybrid of turn based and live, but it feels like you don't have enough fine-grained control to do what the game asks of you. The writing is pretty good and there's certainly a lot of cool quests. But, there are too many party members and the leveling is super obtuse. I'd be curious to see what they'll do with a more modern approach.

poster for FANTASIAN

FANTASIAN

Backgrounds are nice, but navigating the world is very tedious. Story (what I saw of it) was engaging enough, but a little hammy. Combat was interesting and generally well-suited for touch controls, but had a little too much micro movement necessary.

poster for The Banner Saga

The Banner Saga

I liked the idea of this a lot, but it failed to come together for me. The story was decent and suitably grim/bleak, but the gameplay was clunky. As a tactics game, it's missing lots of QoL that other similar games have (especially FE), such as camera rotation, undo move, and attack range filters. Character upgrading is neat, but it's super stingy with poitns. Also, chracters can die/lieave at any time, which feels extra bad when you just dumped a ton of resources into them. The mechanics around the "oregon trail" part where you build strength in your crew is fine, but isn't well explained/super relevant. Some good ideas, but didn't land.

poster for Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth

Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth

Didn’t love it. The digivolution ways interesting (a big tree instead of a linear thing), but that left individual digimon feeling replaceable. Story was ok, but very slow to start. Dungeons were uninteresting and short. Script was fine, but full of cliche. Battle was either too easy or too hard, no in-between. All the quests are wandering around small levels talking to people or objects. I don’t feel like it excels in any of its focus areas. I also didn’t like how the levels were reset, so it was hard to get a sense of relative power level for your party.

poster for Dragon Age: Origins - Ultimate Edition

Dragon Age: Origins - Ultimate Edition

Character writing seems good, gameplay is fine, not excited about the amount of reading and micro management it seems like it'll take

poster for Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies

Cute monsters and writing, but a lot of systems designed around multiplayer and spotpass, which really don't exist here. Generic party members and simplistic battles don't age well.

poster for Into the Stars

Into the Stars

Cool idea, amazing graphics, but the gameplay doesn't quite come through. Very complicated systems, unclear repercussions for actions.