Remember when RPGs were, you know, role playing games? Games about deep stories, playing a role, and having ridiculous hairstyles with really big swords. These days, it's popular for games of all kinds to slap in an experience point/levelling system and call themselves an RPG for it. Don't worry, this isn't a purist rant, just an observation of changing times and evolving genres. When you're old and decrepit and subsisting entirely on Wurther's Originals and angry letters to magazines, what will kids then consider an RPG? Here are three games that take on the moniker in a variety of different ways.
- Elona Shooter - Noa's defense game leans more towards the "RPG elements" end of the genre spectrum, but manages to provide enough of them in such a way that they feel integral to the system rather than tacked on to appease those of us who aren't interested unless we see a progress bar going up somewhere. You, a "famed officer", are in charge of defending a castle against incoming enemies, and in addition to using your own trusty rifle to shoot manually, you can recruit and train various soldiers to help you. With tons of unlockables, upgrades, equipment and more, Elona Shooter is story-lite and yet still intensely addictive in that "one more level" way the very best combat-oriented RPGs can be.
- Ge.ne.sis - With a heavy anime/JRPG sense of style and flair, An Lieu's turn-based strategic RPG adventure about a surly young woman who finds herself pulled into another world and wrapped up in an enormous conflict between good and evil because of course she is. The game has a fantastic sense of elaborate, surreal design, and fans of turn-based RPGs that rely more on planning and tactics than simply taking it in turns to whack an enemy upside the head will find a lot to love here, especially if they're looking for something vibrant and immersive.
- Castaway - Likwid's beautiful, colourful action RPG series has always been popular, and there's good reason for that. As the title implies, you wash up on the shore of an island under siege by monsters and set out to save the day, finding and raising monsters to help you along the way. It's an absolutely gorgeous experience that isn't without a few bumps in the road, but is an absolutely fantastic example of how story-lite RPGs can still be addictive and accessible, and provide a ton of gameplay right in your browser... for free!
While we welcome any comments about this weekly feature here, we do ask that if you need any help with the individual games, please post your questions on that game's review page. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and rediscover some awesome!