Darkest Dungeon sort of scratches the wizardry itch for me. Not the same, but not that far off either.
I had never heard of this and I’m very glad you mentioned it, it looks like something I might really enjoy.
It’s a neglected subgenre :(
I forgot Amberland. It’s more like Might & Magic, which may or may not be your thing. Not bad, although it felt like classes there were wildly imbalanced.
I forgot an older title: Paper Sorceror. It’s not bad, but a little different. You are, uh, maybe an evil wizard trying to escape the dungeon? You’ll pick monsters to be in your party and stuff. It’s pretty good.
As for Wizardry 8. . .patched and with the fan speed patch it’s a far less problematic game than it was on release. But IMO it’s got some issues. The move to a fully 3d world, with monsters cruising around it it, had unpleasant side effects. This could really slow down combats in some areas and in a few specific areas make it impossible to get out of them in some circumstances, although they might have corrected that in a patch. The speed up really helps here but it could still be a little obnoxious. It features Elder Scrolls style enemy scaling and this killed the game for a non trivial amount of people on the various forums I was observing on release. I mean leaving the starter dungeon - which could trick you and cause problems itself, if you stayed overlong - just broke a bunch of people’s wills to continue. It was pretty bad design IMO.
On release I remember fighting this unique alligator monster in a swamp area and I slowed it without thinking. It’s hit reaction animation was so exagerated -and properly slowed down because, you know, it’s under a slow spell - that it was taking minutes to resolve combat rounds. LOL.
It also, for me, committed some sins in terms of design. I Say this as a fan the classic Wizardry “tiered class” system (which hits its peak in Wiz 6/7). But they wanted “all classes to be viable” and as a result they basically gave a ton of steroids to e.g. the Fighter and another class or two and it was pretty lame overall. They also wanted to fix class change abuse but in so doing just made the system less interesting (e.g. they added a lot of hard level requirements to learning spells in different tiers, as opposed to just making it a skill requirement).
That said, it’s still easily recognizably Wizardry 6/7 and has a lot of that going for it and the patches help. The formation system I don’t think quite worked but it was an interesting idea. The last time I poked around in it it felt like it wasn’t running great on Win 10, but I didn’t really get into tweaking. Assuming it runs fine you’ll definitely scratch an itch with it.
@WarpRattler we simul posted earlier. I didn’t realize Sapphire Wings was basically it’s own game (I thought they were calling the remaster Sapphire Wings). That’s interesting. I will buy it.
As I understand it, Saviors of Sapphire Wings itself is a remake of a game that never came out in English.
This is a de facto sequel to Iga-era Castlevanias (Symphony of the Night and all the GBA/DS installments). It’s very good, but does seem misplaced alongside those other games. I don’t think it counts as a blobber, but it does have character stats and inventory management, so it does not seem out of hand to count it as an RPG. But yes, it is very action focused as it’s basically a 2D action platformer.
I’ve never played this one, but I’ve always read good things about it and the developer designed a tennis game I love, so I always enjoy seeing it get brought up.
“Blobber” is another embarrassing entry in the list of “genres that gamers should not be allowed to name”, along with “walking simulator” and “metroidvania”. Dungeon Crawler is preferred, Gridder is ok.
A lot of these games introduce puzzles, it’s been a genre staple since… well, Dungeon Master. :) But some definitely buck the trend. IMO Grimrock 2 is the best game in the genre, it’s not really as puzzle heavy as it’s made out to be, but it is more open and puzzle solutions aren’t necessary staring you in the face. The hardest puzzles are also optional. But there are better options for you.
I’d strongly recommend dungeoncrawlers.org which is a database/community centered around them. There’s an active Discord as well if you’re into that. There’s also the Steam group “Grid-based first person RPGs”, they have a list of most examples on Steam, but it hasn’t been updated for a few months by the looks of it.
To your list, I’d add…
The Keep - One of the better, recent Grimrock / Dungeon Master alikes, but it’s simpler, there’s a greater focus on combat, and the puzzles are generally pretty straightforward.
The Fall of Dungeon Guardians - An even more combat-focused traditional gridder; despite a couple of easy, early puzzles this is all about the combat which owes more to World of Warcraft than Dungeon Master. I enjoyed this a lot for a while, but I admit I found the combat a bit much by level 7 or 8, although there’s a “lite combat” option which apparently better balances things.
Heroes of a Broken Land - Not sure if you’ve played this, but it’s a cool 2d overworld with 3d dungeons game, mostly combat focused but there’s also a town builder layer. Sequel in early access but sounds like it still needs work.
Der Geisterturm / The Ghost Tower - a tough, combat focused gridder with mostly basic puzzles (keycard / door variety), but turn-based combat is deeper, you need to consider position, stance, which weapons to use, which enemies you face, when to run away, atmospheric wire-frame graphics and a great soundtrack. It’s tough because you need to pay serious attention to your armor, shields and energy in addition to the above if you expect to get through a level. There’s a prequel (“Das Geistershiff / The Ghost Ship”) which is more open, but I think it’s mechanically inferior (and slooow).
Heroes of the Monkey Tavern - a lot people like this more traditional dungeon-based gridder, with the usual Dungeon Master / Eye of the Beholder mix of combat, traps and puzzles. But I guess I found it a bit bland.
Dungeon of Dragon Knight - I’m only mentioning this because I got Steam gifted it by my sister who enjoyed it, but having not played it the trailer implies that it leans heavily into puzzle traps! So, moving on…
Vaporum - I loved this one. Yes there are puzzles, but they’re all logical, and the game has a “stop time” feature which turns the “real-time” combat into a tactical affairs (and makes timing-based puzzles a lot simpler). Vaporum 2 leans more heavily into puzzles, it’s not as good IMO.
Bard’s Tale IV - This is a really great game which, if you enjoyed MMX, you should love (and which it reminds me of). It has a similar atmosphere and old-school approach, and the combat is excellent. BUT… ;) It is definitely not free of puzzles. Oh no. Grimrock 2 has nothing on this game’s puzzles, although they’re not really that taxing to be honest. Well, maybe some are.
There is a song in BT4 that lets you bypass most of the puzzles if they’re not your thing. I didn’t use it, so I don’t know exactly which puzzles it doesn’t let you skip, but it’s there. Personally I loved BT4, and it has one of my all-time favorite game soundtracks.
Oh yes sorry, I completely forgot about that. It would indeed improve the game if you hated puzzles, although I enjoy them a lot.
Thanks! The Keep is actually on sale right now (for 2 bucks!) so this is great timing. But it’s really becoming apparent that I should just put Bard’s Tale 4 to the top of the list as I originally intended.
Has anyone brought up Etrian Odyssey yet? Probably my favorite of these in recent years - though they are only on the 3DS for now, I believe the next entry is supposed to be coming to the Switch.
The thread title has PC right there in it, hence the lack of EO.
Jeez, relax. My bad I guess.
Yeah but @Scotch_Lufkin is right to bring it up because Etrian Odyssey is so good it transcends platform restrictions, and I say that as a PC gamer who bought a DS solely to be able to play those games. I guess I may have to get a 3DS for the later ones? Or would it be better to wait for the Switch? But is there any way to do mapping on the Switch?
It has some puzzle stuff, but Infinite Adventures might scratch the combat itch.
I’d say 85% combat, 15% puzzle.
As far as I know there’s been no word of Etrian on Switch since a tiny teaser trailer in July 2018, which people assumed was for a Switch version.
Ah, bummer. Well, something to keep an eye out for, I guess. Thanks for the info, I don’t really follow Nintendo stuff very closely (at least not until the kid’s older…)
Does Alt254 count?
All of the ones on 3DS are excellent! I do recommend them. The newest one is extra cool - it’s the last that will be on the 3DS according to the Devs (I think that’s why everyone assumed the teaser was a Switch title), but it covers all the classes from the series iirc and is just a huge, awesome game that’s the peak of the franchise in every way that I can think of.
EDIT: I have a “Galaxy” themed “New” 3DS but my son scavenged the stylus and power cord out of it, or I’d let you have it. EDIT2: It looks like replacement Stylus and power cable wouldn’t be more than like $15 total, if you do want this DM me where to ship it and it’s yours.
Hadn’t heard itll bundled with Stranger of Sword City, thats a nice value-add, as I don’t have that one.
Grimoire isn’t that bad.
It certainly isn’t good, but the first few hours can be worth the 4$ it goes for on sale… if you can handle the UI and graphics. Don’t expect to finish it (you’ll need a guide) and quit when it stops being fun.
A lot of the things I didn’t love about it were pretty standard with the genre in the late 90s. It intentionally tried to be like them.
I love blobbers and will be back sometime later with a good response to the thread. :)
There’s always Unlimited Adventures mods (FRUA) if you want to play old stuff.