Everybody loves a good bargain, particularly if said bargain can keep you busy for many, many hours after that initial outlay. So here’s a freshly picked selection of role-playing games from the depths of Steam that you can grab right now for less than a tenner — even when they’re not on sale!
Final Fantasy XIV (£9.99)
While not everyone after an RPG to get stuck into may be up for a massively multiplayer online affair, Final Fantasy XIV has always struck a great balance between its single-player, narrative-centric aspect and its solid, exciting and challenging multiplayer action. Make no mistake; this may be an MMORPG, but it is first and foremost one of the best Final Fantasy games in years — and one that pays frequent homage to other installments in the series, which will delight longstanding fans.
The base game and its first expansion Heavensward are now just £9.99, which should provide you with a good hundred hours or so of playtime at the very least; after that it’s up to you if you want to keep up with the story through the Stormblood and Shadowbringers expansion packs. Be warned; you may well be hooked by that point!
Ys: The Oath in Felghana (£9.99)
Falcom’s cracking Ys series consists of some of the best action RPGs there have ever been, and The Oath in Felghana, a reimagining of the third game Wanderers from Ys, is a longstanding fan favourite. Featuring fast, fluid combat, challenging bosses, a great story and one of the best soundtracks you’ll ever hear, this is one of the best Ys titles from the era before it went party-based with Ys Seven.
It’s also pretty short and highly replayable, too, those who enjoy wringing every last drop of enjoyment out of a game will find plenty to like here.
Criminal Girls: Invite Only (£7.99)
This controversial RPG from Nippon Ichi Software and the sadly defunct Imageepoch raised eyebrows on its initial release for its provocative S&M-themed content — and the notorious “pink fog” of its Western localisation. At heart, though, it’s a really interesting RPG that comprehensively explores the concept of trust through its mechanics, its narrative and its saucy content.
Give this one a chance — it’s a much more intelligent game than a lot of people have given it credit for in the past.
Monster Monpiece (£7.19)
The first game in Compile Heart’s endearingly lewd Genkai Tokki series, Monster Monpiece is an RPG with a really fun card game-style battle system, plus a wide variety of super-cute monster girls to collect and train.
Sadly the Steam version lacks the online multiplayer of the original PlayStation Vita version, but the single-player game here is more than enough to keep you occupied for a significant amount of time.
Moero Chronicle (£7.19)
Technically the follow-up to Monster Monpiece, Moero Chronicle is quite a different game — this time around, it’s a more conventional first-person dungeon crawling RPG, albeit one that still has a hefty number of monster girls to collect, add to your party and train up in the art of battle. And spend some quality time “rubbing”, of course.
There’s a ton of dungeons to explore, lots of skills to learn and plenty of equipment to collect, so this one should keep you busy for quite a while.
Re;Lord 1: The Witch of Herfort and Stuffed Animals (£7.19)
This highly unusual, memorable RPG features beautiful artwork, pretty girls, puzzle game-inspired exploration and an exceedingly peculiar “strip battle” combat system that plays like an odd combination of a light-gun shooter and a gesture-based hack-and-slash game.
The game has its origins as an adults-only 18+ game; the 18+ DLC actually doubles the price of the game, but may not be to everyone’s taste due to some non-consensual content. For those who wish to avoid that sort of material, the game’s main narrative is intact and can be enjoyed fully without the 18+ content — and for less money, too!
99 Spirits (£7.19)
Another interesting “hybrid” game that features creamy puzzle game mechanics layered atop a buttery RPG biscuit base, 99 Spirits challenges you to use the power of words to best your foes — a bit like a certain puzzle and adventure game hybrid we’re rather fond of, only with more kimonos and magic swords.
Described by some as “Pictionary meets Pokémon”, 99 Spirits is an intriguing and unusual game — and if you want to brush up on your Japanese skills, the Steam release comes with both the English version and the original Japanese “Tsukomogami” version, making it a fun way to test your language learning skills!
One Way Heroics Plus (£4.49)
Are you tired of roguelike RPGs always unfolding in deep, dank, dark dungeons that probably smell bad? Well, now you can play one that takes place almost exclusively outside thanks to this super-cool Japanese indie game. Only one problem: you’re being constantly chased by the Darkness that is slowly consuming the world, so there’s not really much time to stop and sightsee, let alone dungeon crawl.
Featuring a huge variety of character classes that all play very differently from one another, super-enjoyable mechanics based loosely on the conventions of the Mystery Dungeon series and an exceedingly obtuse set of requirements to get the “best” ending, One Way Heroics Plus is a game that is both friendly to short play sessions, and deep enough to keep you engaged for the long term. Definitely a solid investment for the price.
Phantom Brave (£3.99)
A classic PS2-era Nippon Ichi game got a surprise release on PC a while back, and it’s one of the most affordable RPGs on the platform. And if you know how sprawling and enormous Nippon Ichi RPGs tend to be, you’ll know that £3.99 is astonishing value for the potential amount of gameplay there is here.
Phantom Brave combines the strategic-style combat that Nippon Ichi’s famous Disgaea series with a few twists — most notably the fact that you can move in circular areas rather than by tiles. If you like making the numbers that pop out of things when you hit them get really, really big, then this is definitely a game you should have on your “to play” list.
This rather sombre, bite-sized game unfolds across three distinct chapters that were originally released separately, but which are now collected together in one package. The narrative explores the relationship between a young female dragon who can eat lies, and her caretaker who keeps changing form (and name) with each new part of the story.
Featuring some beautiful pixel art and a haunting soundtrack, LiEat is an unusual, memorable game that may not keep you busy quite as long as some of the other games on this list — but the time you do spend with it will be special indeed.
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