Chris Hubbard

Chris Hubbard

A fan of RPGs above other genres, Chris has been playing video games for as long as he can remember. Some of the games that had the most influence on his gaming preferences have been the Final Fantasy and the Diablo series. More recently, most of Chris' gaming time has been going toward Gems of War and Clicker Heroes (give it a try, it can be addicting), along with open-world RPGs such as Skyrim and ESO. He's also dabbled with RPG Maker software, and it is a goal of his to someday create an RPG.

Even though combat is a tad repetitive and the freedom to explore and deviate from the linear progression lacking, WORLD OF FINAL FANTASY remains enjoyable. The multitude of mirages to collect and features like "stacking" add much value to gameplay, with the Coliseum and Tearoom going a step further by providing additional battles to tackle. If you’re a fan of RPGs or of the franchise, you’ll want to get this release.

Nights of Azure 2 offers players a rich story with tension and intrigue, but there are mechanics in place, such as freezing time limits and retaining XP and loot even after death, which still protect an enjoyable playthrough. Without straying too much from the Atelier playbook, Azure 2 results in a fresh yet familiar, classic JRPG experience.

Even those who don’t normally play point-and-clicks can enjoy Darkestville Castle, but only the die-hard devotees of the genre will be able to persevere past the inevitable and frequent bouts of frustration from struggling through convoluted puzzles. An intriguing story and captivating art style round off this puzzling puzzler.

Although Pylon: Rogue provides fun, the lack of upgrades that carry over, aside from unlocking more items, may deter players. Enjoyment might diminish after so many runs, depending on what you’re looking for in a title, but that’s simply the nature of the genre. However, if you like roguelikes, such as The Binding of Isaac, and enjoy difficult titles, you’ll likely enjoy this.

Blue Reflection is an excellent release in both design and execution. The title, and what it means, run along the story and plays a prominent role in nearly every aspect. Not unlike the Persona series, this is not an RPG where your main focus is nonstop battle. Unlike that series, however, there aren’t deadlines about which you must worry. For a JRPG that balances its combat with school life and befriending classmates, while providing a relaxing time, look no further.

Accel World VS. Sword Art Online Deluxe Edition is a superb JRPG that features a wide array of characters, depth of customization and leveling, and fairly smooth combat. You might feel overwhelmed at first with all of the controls and skills this has to offer, but it’s worth it. If you’re unfamiliar with either series, you might not be able to enjoy the story as much, but the RPG mechanics offset this; if you like RPGs, or the series which this title covers, Accel World VS. Sword Art Online is a must.

As you familiarize yourself with Sine Mora  EX, difficulty declines: bosses and normal enemies have predetermined flight and attack patterns, the structure of the map doesn’t change. But avoiding a barrage of incoming missiles is nevertheless a tantalizing pursuit. One piece of advice: Know your target and its trajectory, then concentrate on your ship. Concentration and quick reflexes are a must, but if you’re up for a challenge and enjoy this genre, you’ll enjoy Sine Mora EX without a doubt.

Warriors All-Stars is a superb title, with relatively no issues whatsoever. The entire roster of playables come from a fairly wide array of Koei Tecmo titles, nearly guaranteeing you’ll find someone with whom you’re familiar, unless this is your first Koei Tecmo game — but you needn’t necessarily be familiar with the studio to enjoy this release. The RPG elements, hero cards, and regard (friendship) levels, combined with over a dozen different endings, ensure replayability and sustained play value.

Four worlds don’t seem like much to explore, but each one is packed with Golden Tape to collect, challenges to complete, and areas to investigate. Any bugs encountered were relatively minor – really, the only problems dealt with achievements and puzzles. Unbox: Newbie’s Adventure is an enjoyable 3D platforming experience, and a must-get for irreverent boxophiles and box-wannabes the world over.

For an open-world, immersive experience replete with quests, fishing, farms, and more, look no further than Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles. The design is apt to please any gamer interested in what Yonder has to offer, while nightfall and the gloominess of a heavy rain ensure that players who might otherwise avoid overly bright hues don’t feel left out -- a sure recipe on Yonder’s part for broad appeal. However, as an exploration-heavy title, especially one that does not offer combat, the allure is counteracted in part; ultimately, though, all -- save the hardcore -- can enjoy Yonder.

The smoothness of play and the multitude of fighters from which to choose provide a near excellent time. But, unless a friend’s available for a local versus match, or you’re willing to play online, the initial excitement diminishes after the fourth- or fifth-dozenth round — though this not atypical for the genre. Regardless, fighter-gamers amongst us will walk away satisfied from The King of Fighters XIV.

There are noticeable problems that detracted from the enjoyment of Rezrog: especially the mana consumption/potion issue. Despite the issues, Rezrog is an engaging experience in its current state, if you stray away from problematic classes and can avoid a glitch mid-run until the bugs are all worked out — but, the frequency that a glitch occurs makes the title borderline unplayable. This RPG shows promise, and it’ll be great, a go-to, even, once fixed.

Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada is superb and easily drags you into the gameplay, with the ability to train multiple characters and play as them, along with the replayability of the stages. Spirit of Sanada comes highly recommended to fans of the Dynasty Warriors series, or fans of hack-and-slashers, RPGs, or strategy titles, especially ones with a historical theme.

Between the graphics and exploring this abandoned world and piecing together what happened, Empathy: Path of Whispers is incredible and highly recommended, even if you might not usually play an exploration-driven title.

Dead Cells is not only for those who yearn for a Castlevania-esque side-scroller, but also for any who love rogue-lites or side-scrollers with RPG elements. Dead Cells holds its own; it’s great, and it’s certainly promising with the content already offered. The developers have plans to introduce even more content down the line after release, such as more levels, bosses, and a stats feature. Although there are some hiccups in its current state, it’s dubious that these could become issues down the line, given the active developers. The difficulty, combined with the upgrade system, makes this release a solid choice for both the most experienced and novice players alike.

Idle Evolution takes a novel look at how one can develop an idle clickers, and implements the concept exceptionally well. This release also sets the stage for future idle titles, and sets the bar rather high; Idle Evolution arguably heralds the dawn of a new era for this genre.

If you are a fan of platformers, you might want to pick up Voodoo Vince; between its rather unique spin on a theme and setting (setting aside whether or not it depicts the culture and religion of Vodoun, as people often spell it, accurately) and its dark, thematic humor, this is worth having.

Despite clumsy camera work and few bugs along the way, Shiness: The Lightness Being is a delight to play. Colorful and enchanting, it’s a role-playing game that offers an engaging story with numerous cut-scenes and a combat system you’ll find entertainingly challenging. If you’re a fan of action-driven RPGs and can enjoy a good tale, and are the forgiving type comes fluidity and smoothness in gameplay, then consider the purchase.

Yooka-Laylee is a wacky 3D-platformer and the spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie, after nineteen long years. Ultimately, nostalgia alone should never be the reason behind a purchase; nor should it ever overshadow gameplay and mechanics so much that care about how the release actually plays falls by the wayside. It definitely brings the 1990s era to the modern day, but some things just should be left in the past.

For the King is a strategic RPG that features procedurally generated maps, so each playthrough is palpably different from the last. However, the randomness dampens appeal as the results are frequently unforgiving or unjust. The hit to replayability is a shame, as this title has much to offer to the patient – or the masochists. Diehard RPG strategists, however, will appreciate this title.

NieR: Automata contains twenty-six different endings, which inevitably incentivizes those who want to see all possible conclusions. But, the apparent lack of story, which drops off for a good while after the introductory level, is stinging, and you must have enough commitment to see past this.

Toukiden 2 is exceptionally well-made and can readily provide countless hours of entertainment for those who enjoy an action-packed hunting-style game with a sprinkling of RPG. There's ever more to unlock as you progress, granting some new feature to play with, rewarding you for making your way through the game.

Although the concept of a procedurally-generated skill tree is unique and broadly appealing, Asura's roguelike genre, where nothing carries over from one run to the next, does not enjoy widespread favorability. But, though the potential audience is limited, the title flawlessly executes what it sets out to accomplish: the variability from one run to the next keeps us playing, along with the collector-perfectionist appeal of trying to unlock everything this title has to offer.

Given the current state of the stat system, there is a definite need for some tweaking; and this is desperately needed in light of Chaos Drift’s description on Steam, which specifically mentions this customizable stat system. This feature drew me in, but high expectation quickly gave way to disappointment as my head began to spin, trying to make sense of what was going on with the incorrigible stat system.

Atelier Firis is a great addition and continuation to the Atelier series at large. The series may not appeal to players who prefer nearly non-stop action and combat, though if you enjoyed previous Atelier titles, there is a high chance you will come to relish Atelier Firis. The drive for pushing through the story builds slowly, but, once you reach this point, it's unlikely you'll be able to put this game down.

For what Northgard sets out to do, it does well, and with the content that is soon to come, the title is promising and worth getting at its price point, especially for those who enjoy empire-building titles. One may, however, be dismayed by the fact that there are not that many buildings to construct (there is a lack of a stable, for instance), but given the relatively quick gameplay, this may not be entirely necessary.

Atelier Sophie offers a fantastic experience, with a refreshing motivation behind the story and the ultimate goal of the main character. Good character depth and development pairs well with a playful yet intricate alchemy crafting system to guarantee hours upon hours of great gameplay for Atelier fans and newcomers alike.

Disagea 2 is a fantastic release that plays quite smoothly and has a tremendous amount of depth and playability to offer. Granted, the combat mechanic can seem repetitive, but there is a staggering number of classes to recruit, along with new abilities to unlock and level up, and new maps and aspects to explore. As a Prinny might say: download the demo and check it out, dood!

Card Quest is innovative in combat mechanics, and while its competitors can be fun to try, this card-based RPG especially left me wanting to play more. The system in place for progression gives exciting edges in combat, and it's somewhat addictive. With each battle and every turn, you must plan to survive. You must beat the level. You must complete your quest... Yes: if you enjoy card-based RPGs, definitely check Card Quests out.

Overall, Indie Game Sim is worth getting, especially for fans of platformer and/or simulation style titles, but a couple of things could be tweaked to allow for a more realistic experience. It is pretty innovative, as I have not seen other games that allow you to create something that is interactive and can be played and even sold, which is the cornerstone of this title.

Secrets of Magic: The Book of Spells is an indie match-3 type game that features more or less the same mechanics as the popular Facebook Candy Crush Saga; note, that this is not simply a mere duplicate of Candy Crush Saga or any other similar ones you might find online or as a mobile app.

Given that World of Fishing is Free to Play, check it out. It's a relaxing way to pass some time, on top of its RPG elements that let you become bigger, better, stronger.

Overall, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain is different from typical RPGs and offers a substantial amount of potential—the developers did say they are working on adding more content and this is partly why I am more inclined to recommend checking it out.

D.N. Age is a tough one to recommend, but for an RPG fan who is looking for a casual experience or is interested in the DNA merging feature which is the cornerstone of this title, check this one out. One may be underwhelmed by the inability to explore and the similarities between this and browser or mobile "freemium" titles, which hopefully the DNA merging will help make up for.

Dead Age is a must have for any RPG fan who has always hoped for a post-apocalyptic theme replete with realistic graphics and an awe-inspiring soundtrack.

If you're looking for a puzzle game to pass some time, check this one out. However, I can only recommend it if you are a patient person, have quick reactions (perhaps playing this would be easier with a mouse!), and are completely fine with having to re-do a puzzle after a mistake.

In puzzle RPGs like Gems of War (which I have spent countless hours playing), or Puzzle Quest (which I have yet to play, unfortunately), it may seem at first that some of the main keys to successes are luck (particularly since what falls after a match is made is random) and grinding to level up. But this is not entirely true; rather, I believe that there is much more than what meets the eye when it comes to games such as these. A strategy should be a key component to the player.