The Top RPGs
Sometimes you want to play a game that’s all about flashing lights, high scores, and unlockable pants. Other times, you want to grab your favourite flagon, put this on repeat, light up your skull candelabra, and play RPGs until your friends think you’ve died. While a lot of people think RPGs are solely the domain of consoles or a big price tag, you and I know better… we know that some of the biggest, most entertaining RPGs are free online, and available right here in your browser at Armor Games. Here are just a few of our very favourite epics, and feel free to suggest yours!
Crystal Story II – Emmanuel Salva Cruz
I don’t know why so many mystical civilizations seem to think a society based around easily stolen magical crystals is such a great idea, but, well, MacGuffins gotta MacGuff I guess. Many years after the defeat of a wicked witch who stole the Crystal of Power (see?) for her own use, a young boy with a tail falls from the sky in a blaze of light. He may have a bit of a bad attitude, but he claims to be a dragon, and he may just wind up saving the world. Crystal Story II is one of those games that feels very classic with its tropes and concepts, but executes them in a way that feels streamlined and modern rather than just endlessly calling back to its roots. You want animated cutscenes? Lots of sidequests and a massive story? Strategic turn-based battles? Spiky hair, perky heroines, and level grinding? Aww yeah you do.
RPG Shooter Starwish – Anonymous D Studios
While some people like their RPGs very straightforward (huge swords, evil empires, flashy attacks that take ten years to execute), others like to get a little fancy. A little visual novel-style story and choice here, a little side-scrolling shooter there… it may sound like a weird formula, but this unique hybrid absolutely works. The gameplay swaps between classic side-scrolling spaceship blasting, and sequences where you explore and talk to people to direct the story as you follow the leader of a group of space pirates who inadvertently gets caught up with the fate of the universe. There are many different endings, even including the potential for ~romance~ if you get close to certain characters, and the fact that everything except the music was made by one person makes Starwish more than a little awe-inspiring to behold.
Castaway 2 – likwidgames
Despite the bluster I put forth while watching any of the survival shows on the Discovery channel or National Geographic, in reality, I know I’d be dead and covered in bug bites and mud inside of the first few hours if I were ever actually stranded anywhere. But hey, that’s what fantasy is for! The Castaway series actually makes getting lost seem exciting, as you explore a vast island filled with monsters, treasure, dungeons, bosses… and of course, pets to train to fight by your side! (Not that the capture and combat of tiny, cute monsters have ever been something gamers were interested in, of course.) While Castaway 2 is easy to pick up, it also offers a lot of depth to its gameplay and the island’s exploration that will make it something you’ll love to lose your hours in. That it’s bright and eye-catching doesn’t hurt either!
Seedling – Connor Ullman
“All this is very well and good,” I hear you saying, “but where’s the classic retro Zelda-like action adventure?” Child, we’ve got you covered! Seedling is a very old-school feeling top-down adventure about a small boy who comes to life one day in the middle of a tiny village. Soon, he discovers that he’s been brought to life to fulfill one very special purpose, but is the good or evil that he may do really as inconsequential as the Oracle says? Much of the gameplay revolves around exploring the dangerous places that surround the town, and figuring out how to get past most enemies using cunning more often than brute force. Navigating some of the insta-kill pitfalls may take some getting used to, though you’ll just respawn back at the room’s entrance, and the endings don’t necessarily pack the biggest punch, but if you want an adventure that will take you right back to your childhood, Seedling is it. For everyone who is too young to remember when pixel-based graphics were the height of technology, get off my lawn! Stop playing your music so loud! Where are my hard candies?
Super Adventure Pals – Jay Armstrong Games, Corrupt3d
You remember when you were a kid and you had that one toy you took with you everywhere? This platforming action RPG is like that, only with more pet rocks in peril from jealous, evil gentlemen who challenge you to fisticuffs. What follows is a crazy, bouncy romp through a world filled with bosses to thwart, quests to complete, new levels and equipment to unlock, and so much more as you earn rubies by helping people out to progress further into the game. Super serious RPG fans who prefer their games steeped in philosophical meaning may find their monocles popping out the moment they start racing down exploding walkways or fighting giant mecha fish, but the rest of us will shed a tear, for we will know we are finally home. Say, perhaps there’s even more adventure coming this way for our giraffe-riding hero very soon… ?
Epic Battle Fantasy 4 – kupo707
Raunchy, weird, and filled with humour and gleeful absurdity, the Epic Battle Fantasy series has gotten bigger and better with every installment. In the latest, the heroes from the previous game find their reputation for pillaging isn’t so great when they come under suspicion for stealing a precious magical gem. Naturally, they have no choice but to track the jewel down to save the world, which of course means slaying their way through a whole lot of big, nasty baddies, and completing a sidequest or twenty if it means earning some sweet rewards. Make no mistake, Epic Battle Fantasy is very campy, but for some players, that’s not a bad thing. While we are talking about a game that introduces one of its, ahem, bouncy leading ladies as “the hot chick”, it’s packed full of ridiculous costumes, gags, upgrades, surprisingly strategic turn-based combat, and flashy attacks across hours and hours of gameplay. And hey, if you’re looking for even more, check out the premium version on Steam to support the developer!
Sonny – Krin
Well, that’s all she wrote, folks! There are a lot more awesome RPGs here at Armor Games, but that’s all I feel like talking about for nOH GOD PUT DOWN THE PITCHFORKS, HERE’S SONNY. (Geez, can’t you take a joke?) Originally released nearly ten years ago, Krin Juangbhanich’s RPG and its sequel about a hero who wakes up dead has had one of the most enduring Flash game legacies around, and for good reason! Sonny uses a classic turn-based combat system with customizeable skills to make something that feels simple but smart and strategic to play, and in addition to its intimidatingly hunky zombie hero (you could eat brains off those abs!), it has a complex and engaging story full of great characters and intrigue. Maybe, just maybe, there’s something more coming soon? Hm. Hmmm. Hmhmhmhmhm!
Writer: Dora Breckinridge / Dora has been writing about games for the better part of a decade, and playing them for even longer, using the glow of the monitor to keep her warm in the frozen wilds of her native Canada. Her website is here!