Best blobbers and/or 2d RPGs available right now on PC (no roguelikes/lites or puzzlers please!)

Apologies for the loaded the title, but I wanted to cram in as much info as possible.

I’ve been playing Legend of Grimrock lately and while I found it enjoyable (level 6 right now) I have to confess that the ratio of exploration/combat vs puzzles isn’t quite what I was hoping for, and yesterday after playing for a few hours I realized I was starting to see hidden buttons on the walls where there weren’t any.

Anyway, the game did get me to start thinking about relatively unknown RPGs that I might have missed, so I started googling on my own, and it seems that these two genres are absolutely saturated by games that either have a heavy focus on puzzles or the core gameplay loop is of a roguelike nature. So I’m curious if I might have overlooked something.

I’d love to play something like MMX: Legacy, which I found to be a relatively standard RPG using a grid based model, or Salt and Sanctuary which was a pretty cool 2D souls like (not a requirement, but I guess what I’m looking for would skew towards metroidvanias a bit). I’ve also played Unepic and I remember enjoying it quite a bit at the time.

So far I’ve come across several promising candidates:

  • Blasphemous (tried briefly, if I wanted to express how much I hate pixelated graphics - especially to this degree - they’d have to update the Oxford dictionary)
  • Dex
  • Bard’s Tale IV (probably the most appealing of the bunch)
  • Operencia (heard it has some class/balance issues)
  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (seems a bit more action focused?)
  • Death’s Gambit and other 2d souls-likes in the same tier - seems a bit underwhelming based on reviews
  • Star Crawlers - tried briefly, did not like the game’s structure
  • Vaporum - looks interesting, but there seems to be a lot of focus on puzzles, same as Grimrock
  • Legend of Grimrock (currently playing, will probably finish)
  • Legend of Grimrock 2 (apparently they went all in with puzzles, will likely skip).
  • The Quest - played on mobile, was quite ok
  • Fall of the Dungeon Guardians
  • 7 mages (briefly tried on mobile)

And…that’s about it. I realized I specified two genres but if you happen to think of any other rpgs that don’t strictly fit the bill, maybe top-down 2d RPG in vein of ToME, or an RPG with overworld view and blobber-like combat such as Lords of Xulima, or a grid based RPG with only one character - by all means, put your suggestions forward. I’m mostly interested in the mechanics and essence that those two genres generally nail, which are satisfying exploration and progression (either character or world)

All I ask is that no one puts Dead Cells as suggestion forward :).


I don’t think anyone would classify Bloodstained or Blasphemous as “RPGs”.

I don’t know about Bloodstained but Blasphemous is a souls-like which qualifies as RPG in my book.

What is a blobber again?

Zanki Zero

by spike/chunsoft of Shiren The Wanderer fame. I have not played it other than the intro. I need some time with it, but it is certainly something special,entity%20in%20the%20game%20world.

Check out Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk, from Nippon Ichi, the studio behind the Disgaea series. It’s a blobber, but with a similar visual design to Disgaea and a similar “reincarnate your characters to give them access to new skills” mechanic, and it’s balanced in a far more interesting way than the usual Japanese blobbers that directly copy the mechanics and overall brutality of the older Wizardry games. I’ve played quite a bit of it and loved it, and I’m looking forward to NIS America eventually announcing a western release for the sequel, Labyrinth of Galleria.

It’s not out until March, but I’m also looking forward to Saviors of Sapphire Wings, another Japanese blobber that hews closer to the Wizardry style, but with some of its own stuff going on. The English version will be bundled with Stranger of Sword City Revisited, a remastered version of another blobber from the same developer with a bunch of additional content and refined balance.

Both of these games are/will be available on Steam and Switch, and Labyrinth of Refrain is also on PS4.

This is on Steam, too. IIRC, I originally played it on a Palm Pilot

Yeah I know, but I’m not really looking to replay it. I just put the name forward because it has a lot of things that I’m looking for.

For Blobbers, there just aren’t a lot of options. This is a thriving sub-genre in Japan but we don’t get many ported, and they all have large dashes of Anime to boot.

Among those that have been, on the PC:

Wizardry: Labrynth of the Lost souls - This will scratch the itch to a degree, but it has a loot of baggage. Super crazy grindy, and unlike the classic Wizardry games you’ll need to grind to survive since everyone and their mother in the back half of the main dungeon (and allegeldy the DLC dungeon) will kill you with a sneeze. I don’t recommend it, but it’s not expensive. Also, it does feature some nice feastures like a quality map.

Elminage Original/Gothic - the latter was the first one we got ported. Prepare to hack some data filesif you want permanent access to an auto map or suffer through the dumb design decision to make maps a usable item that’s not exactly common (note: it’s easy to do this, at least). These feature a ton of dungeons that typically have 1-3 levels each. I had some fun with them - I had some fun with Tales of the Lost Souls, to be sure - but they’re not great either.

Zani Zero: can’t comment as I haven’t purchased it yet.

Mary Skelter - just purchased it. It’s got some quirks that might be pleasant and some Persona like visuals. But holy shit this fucking game is talky as hell and these idiotic animu characters don’t have anything interesting to say. You cxan fast forward through dialog but I once sat there for 30 seconds while it rapid fired through responses and I can’t imagine sitting through all of that. It features many jobs, gear upgrading, and a weird system that seems like it’s not dissimilar from Etrian Odyssey foes except more obnoxious.

Labrynth of Refrain: Coven of dusk - animuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu. I have barely touched it, but keep meaning to circle back around.

Grimoire: Heralds of the Wingyding Exemplar: Loooooooooooool don’t. Just don’t. Being extremely fucking anime would have improved this.

New Tokyo Legacy: Operation Abyss/Babel - can’t remember which one is “first” or was even released first or what. I got maybe 40-50% of the way through both of these. Ok, not great. And Anime, as the Japanese products are.

Stranger of Sword City: two things about this one. It’s sort of grimdark anime aesthetically, as I recall. So that may or may not be your thing. And it had a weird system for gear acquisition I didn’t like. Something to do with ambushing monsters on special squares and maybe how you went about the battle. Probably better than the Eliminate games. There’s a remastered version of this coming in March this year, with new content.

for non anime, you’ve got Bard’s Tale Iv (decent), Operencia (decent), and Heroes of a Broken Land. I never really played the latter although I own it. There’s a sequel that has been in EA for two years. Some of the UI screenshots give me unpleasant feelings.

For Metroidvanias/2d, I will recommend Cathedral

Weirdly enough, the Elminage game I’d recommend is the English PSP version of Elminage Original, which came out long before the PC ports. The reason I’d recommend it is a bit odd: the English version is a buggy mess, but in a way that actually makes it a better game. The studio that handled the English version managed to completely break some of the most frustrating gameplay mechanics, like randomized permadeath - you’ll now always succeed in reviving a character, instead of having a chance to turn them to ash and lose them forever. It also has an extremely poor English script, so you’ll run into things like ladders that the game calls “a stairs.”

Thanks for all the suggestion, but this part made me legitimately curious - I’ve read a few posts about the it here and there and the general impression I got was that it’s not a bad game? Would love to hear more of your thoughts on this one.

Found Cleve’s alt!

Sadly I don’t have a drop of neanderthal blood in me.

I really like the spirit of this thread!

I just played Grimrock 2 recently, and concur that it gets a little too puzzley for my taste, where as GR1 I thought was just about right, and reminded my of some of my old favorites like Dungeon master (which honestly, the only things I remember about that game were dropping doors on mobs heads, eating worm chunks, and throwing many many things and then picking them up.)

There does look to be a steam curator for these sorts of games, if that’s useful:

[perhaps, this curator is not to be believed!]

Whew, a whole 11 titles. Talk about an overwhelming selection :). Out of curiosity, how does Wizardy 8 play when stacked against modern games (QoL/balance wise)?

There’s Legend of Amberland it looked very inspired by Might and Magic 3/Xeen.

It’s fucking terrible. It could scratch a Wizardry 7 like itch, sort of, but there’s a lot in the way of that IMO.

Firstly, mechanically it’s more complex than 7 but to no benefit. Now, I personally don’t care for games like Skyrim morew or less ditching ability scores and simplifying their RPG mechanics. I find Wiz 7 satisfyingly crunchy without being needlessly complex. But this game goes farther. There’s more races and classes and not a lot of clear reasons to pick specific classes. There are 11 ability scores. No game needs 11 ability scores. 14 races and classes. The additional races, and all the additional powers, and the additional skills, it just feels super try hard but the meal isn’t more satisfying. It’s like you have to work harder to get the same meal.

Secondly, the UI is super fucking garbage. Like I get why games in 1995 were the way they were. Even “AA” or “A” games. Grimoire’s interface sort of lends credence to the rumors that it started life as a cancelled Wizardry project called Stones of Arnor, with the UI design being exactly out of that area to the point where the viewport/viewable game world area is embarassingly bad. But it’s not just this. Inventory management is a nightmare - a shared party inventory is displayed on a band across the main UI and you can only see a few items at a time in it. So once you start to acquire shit it’s just a nightmare to use. And then general navigation of the UI always felt janky to me. I don’t recall the game being auto battle friendly but I may be remembering wrong. I found having to select different types of attacks - Wizardry 7 does this, I didn’t like it there - tedious.

And I generally found it janky overall (with a non trivial number of crashes). Mind, this was on release. I don’t know how much it’s been patched since then. But the UI is still what it is, and no amount of patching fixes bad design decisions like “I’m going to put 11 attributes into the game because moar = moar depth”.

Cleve, you well know and I won’t go into. Needless to say, mere Homo Sapiens such as ourselves probably aren’t equipped with the cognitive capacity to understand him anyway.

This list might be better:

I mean, how can you resist this?

Wow, thanks for this. I’m staying as far away from the game as possible.