There is no genre where indie games are more embraced and beloved than role-playing games. Small developers have infused the genre with classics for years and are frequently considered to be among the all-time best in the genre, even better than some triple-A titles. This is likely due to the variety of what the genre can offer as well.


5 RPGs in 2020 That Didn’t Get Enough Love (and 5 That Got A Little Too Much)

2020 may have been a rough year, but the RPG genre flourished. However, some games didn’t get enough love while others got too much.

While many earlier indie RPGs have reached a high level of success, the last five years have showcased a terrific run of games in the category that will be remembered for a long time. Those looking for a newer RPG from an indie developer have plenty of games to choose from.

Updated on March 20, 2024, by Ritwik Mitra: The role-playing genre is one of the most widespread genres in gaming that most fans are quite familiar with. The sheer number of ways these kinds of games are tackled is mind-boggling, making it clear why both AAA and indie RPGs have their fair share of things to bring to the table. In fact, most people would argue that indie role-playing games are superior to their cut-and-dry AAA counterparts, with some of these games featuring a lot of creativity that would put most major releases to shame.

Only games made in 2019 or later qualify for this list. Any game not published by a major publisher is considered for the ranking.

16 Deltarune: Chapter 2

Metacritic Score: N/A

The key visual for Toby Fox's Deltarune

PC , Nintendo Switch , PlayStation 4 , macOS

October 31, 2018

Toby Fox

Deltarune is the much-awaited sequel to Undertale that most fans are waiting for with bated breath. Work on this title has been slow but promising, with Chapter 2 being so jam-packed with content that most people feel that it could stand on its own as a standalone experience.

Kris, Suzie, and Ralsei are all lovable characters who have their own motivations and secrets, with their character development being a treat to witness firsthand. The game is full of the same charm and wit that made Undertale such a memorable experience, making it clear that Deltarune is poised to take over the indie scene once again with its full release.

15 Haven

Metacritic Score: 73


December 3, 2020

The Game Bakers

A well-written RPG set in a desolate land where two lovers escape to live out their days in relative peace, it’s surprising that the developers of a high-octane action game like Furi decided to try out something completely different for their next project. Haven‘s simple RPG mechanics and barebones co-op rubbed some people the wrong way, but the writing more than made up for it.

It’s a great game to check out with a partner, with some of the scenes being pretty relatable for couples. The conquest of love overall is something that most people would love to support, making it easy to see why players should check out Haven whenever they get the time.

14 Darkest Dungeon 2

Metacritic Score: 82

Bigger Currency, Combat, Rest Items Stack

Darkest Dungeon 2
May 8, 2023

Red Hook Studios

It’s a testament to the quality of the first Darkest Dungeon that so many people found the sequel to be disappointing. However, Red Hook Studios should be praised for taking such bold risks with this franchise, pushing it in a new direction that has brought out several positives of its own.


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The Crusaders has joined the expedition thanks to Darkest Dungeon 2’s The Blinding Blade DLC, and his skills are as potent and versatile as ever.

The game is certainly more reactive, taking players on a grander adventure than the first game. This comes at the cost of the immaculate preparation present in the first game, but some people are willing to make this sacrifice.

13 Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night

Metacritic Score: 84

One of the many rooms in the castle in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
June 18, 2019


Action RPG

Castlevania is considered to be one of the greatest action-adventure games of all time, and people have been itching for a new entry in the series. One of the producers who worked on the series was Koji Igarashi, who served as a producer at Konami.

After leaving the company, Igarashi decided to start a new studio to create a Castlevania spiritual successor. In the indie RPGBloodstained: Ritual of the Night, an orphan named Miriam is looking to save herself and society from being destroyed by Gebel and must go through a demon-filled castle to do it.

12 Genshin Impact

Metacritic Score: 84

A beautiful town in Genshin Impact

Genshin Impact
September 28, 2020

Developed by Chinese indie developer miHoYo, Genshin Impact is an action RPG that takes place in the fantastical world of Teyvat. This world is home to seven different nations, each with a God that rules over it.

Players take on the role of the Traveler, a twin who is looking for their sibling somewhere in the world. Joined by Paimon, they must get involved with the gods and nations in order to find where the other twin went. Players can travel the open world in a party of up to four characters, controlling only one of them at a time.

11 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim

Metacritic Score: 85

A few of the students in 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
September 22, 2020

Adventure , Strategy

Despite being released by major publishers, RPG 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is the work of indie team Vanillaware. The plot of the game revolves around thirteen high school students who live in Japan during the 1980s.


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Early on in the game, the group is forced into a war set in the future which is a fight between Kaijus and mechs. The game is a side-scrolling adventure game with a combat system that takes place in real-time. Players will also need to explore and talk to people in order to advance the narrative while also examining scenes in Analysis mode.

10 Wildermyth

Metacritic Score: 86

Wildermyth Bear Transformation

June 15, 2021

Worldwalker Games

The idea of a narrative-driven RPG with randomized events and procedurally generated maps and encounters sounds like an experiment that can go up in flames if developers are careful while integrating these systems. Thankfully, Wildermyth didn’t fall for this trap and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that this game is easily one of the most underrated strategy RPGs on Steam.

Characters may be randomized and generated by algorithms, but they still have a ton of heart to them that most other scripted role-playing games can only dream of! Party members can form friendships, rivalries, and romantic relationships as they engage in amazing adventures before eventually passing the baton down to their children or other fledgling adventurers.

9 Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling

Metacritic Score: 86

Kabbu the beetle and Vi the bee in Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling

Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling
November 21, 2019

Moonsprout Games, Moonsprout Games S.A.

When thinking about classic role-playing games by major developers, Nintendo’s Paper Mario games from the early-2000s come to mind. To the ire of some fans, the developers have moved away from what they feel made the series’ first two installments a solid turn-based RPG.

Moonsprout Games felt similarly, and thus Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling was born. Players take on the role of three insects as they explore Bugaria in search of treasure and eternal life. Like its inspiration, the game uses paper-like aesthetics and turn-based combat.

8 Sea Of Stars

Metacritic Score: 87

Sea of Stars cover artwork 2x1 crop

Sea of Stars
August 29, 2023


An homage to traditional JRPGs with some unique twists of its own, Sea of Stars is a beautiful game that players can get lost in if they give this title a chance. The fun combat, charming visuals, and engaging story all combine to form a delectable JRPG cocktail that fans can’t get enough of.


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The modernization of most JRPG elements is one of the game’s biggest achievements, eliminating most of the frustrations players experienced with some of these dated concepts. The journey is smooth and doesn’t overstay its welcome, which is not something players say for most JRPGs.

7 Omori

Metacritic Score: 87


December 25, 2020


Omocat, Playism

Fans of games like Earthbound and Undertale will become hopelessly enamored with Omori and how brilliantly it subverts expectations. At the start of the game, most people would feel that the game is nothing more than a cute RPG that explores the story of a boy and his friends as they explore a surreal world and have a great time with their friends.

However, it doesn’t take long for players to figure out that something is really wrong in this game. The psychological horror side of the game comes out in unexpected and brilliant ways that keep players on the edge of their seats as they uncover the mystery surrounding both Omori and Sunny.

6 Rogue Legacy 2

Metacritic Score: 88

Rogue Legacy 2 Action Screenshot

Rogue Legacy 2
April 28, 2022

Cellar Door Games

Cellar Door Games

Roguelike , Metroidvania

The sequel to the critically acclaimed indie smash-hit Rogue Legacy was finally released in 2022 and fans were eager to hop back into the procedurally generated worlds, aided by a list of randomly generated ancestors. The newest release didn’t stray too far from the original formula, which made the first game such a blast to play, but did manage to add a slew of new and interesting mechanics, along with new (and supremely challenging bosses) and enemies.

The end result is an expanded Rogue Legacy experience that has players grinding for gold, building their castle, defeating a slew of challenging bosses, and finding new and helpful heirlooms Metroidvania style to help them progress through some previously inaccessible areas. Rogue Legacy 2 is deserving of its high Metacritic score for providing gamers with an upgraded Rogue Legacy experience that never strays too far from its source material.

5 Curse Of The Dead Gods

Metacritic Score: 90

Curse of the Dead Gods Battle Screenshot

Curse of the Dead Gods
Passtech Games

Focus Entertainment

Fighting , Shooter

Dark Souls set a precedent for most players, providing the gaming world with a tough-as-nails gameplay loop that felt fantastic to conquer. Players would find themselves struggling against minor enemies, hacking and slashing their way through them to challenge some truly imposing and unforgiving bosses. This style of gameplay helped to influence some great Indie releases, with many of them opting to go the exceedingly difficult route.



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Curse of the Dead Gods is a great example of a difficult gameplay loop done correctly. Fans of Hades will feel right at home with this top-down release, which has players heading through a series of procedurally generated areas, collecting weapons and upgrades to help them stave off the darkness and survive some truly harrowing foes.

4 Chained Echoes

Metacritic Score: 91

image showing vaehl in chained echoes.

Chained Echoes
December 8, 2022

Matthias Linda

Chained Echoes is a game that came out of nowhere and became a hit among JRPG fans. The game’s unique take on the leveling system coupled with its callbacks to classic games like Chrono Trigger helped it stand out as a great example of a game that perfectly combines classic genre tropes with modern innovations to great effect.

Valandis is a beautiful land to explore, full of different landscapes that look pretty unique and interesting. The Overdrive system is also pretty engaging and forces players to switch things up in combat instead of employing the same tactics over and over again.

3 Disco Elysium

Metacritic Score: 91

Detectives investigating a body in Disco Elysium

Disco Elysium
October 15, 2019


Role-playing games tend to focus on combat, but that is not at all the case in Disco Elysium. In a game by ZA/UM, players start as a detective struggling with amnesia and initially learn nothing about the character as they are thrown into solving a murder mystery.

The game focuses on skill checks and dialogue to drive the gameplay. Players have a set of 24 different skills that they can upgrade throughout their journey that help get to the bottom of what is really going on in the game.

2 Hades

Metacritic Score: 93

Zagreus in battle in Hades

September 17, 2020

Action RPG

Supergiant Games’ most recent game was considered one of the best games of 2020. Hades is a roguelike where the player character, Zagreus, is attempting to escape the Underworld and his father Hades to make it to Mount Olympus.

The game is presented in “runs” that the player must go through. When going through a series of rooms, players will face hack-and-slash style combat that, if they survive, can earn them rewards that can help with continuing the run and may even help in future runs as well.

1 Baldur’s Gate 3

Metacritic Score: 96

Phase Spider Matriarch in Baldur's Gate 3

Baldur’s Gate 3 is one of the best CRPGs ever made. In fact, many people consider it to be the greatest game ever made, which makes it even more impressive that this game was made by an indie developer.

No one at Larian Studios could’ve predicted how successful this game would be. The role-playing opportunities are endless, and players can go through multiple playthroughs of this massive game and still not uncover all the content that Larian has crammed into this incredible celebration of gaming.


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