We’ve already milked Skyrim for all of its bar-filling worth and are left waiting until Mass Effect 3 launches in March, leaving us craving an RPG in the mean-time. To help alleviate this RPG drought, I’ve found five free RPG-esque titles that will have you fighting in caves, meeting a new race of cat-like creatures with wings, experiencing a custom Final Fantasy and praying that ‘e’ symbol doesn’t kill your character.
Cave Story by Studio Pixel: In Cave Story, you assume the role of an amnesiac boy who helps rabbit-like creatures known as Mimigas all while trying to escape this gigantic maze-like cave. Featuring side scrolling action/platforming and an upgrade system similar to that of recent Castlevania title allowing you to improve your gear, health and abilities; it’s very easy to become consumed with this fantastic indie game.
Melolune by supershigi: From the creator of the song Zombies on my Lawn, this stylized adventure will have you go through a beautiful world that follows the tale of Achaius, a boy whose separated from his twin brother after a catastrophic event takes away their parents’ lives. You’ll meet new friends, including a race of cat-like creatures called Leebles and travel the world in hopes to stop a military faction known as the Ciro Order. This demo will provide up to 4-5 hours of gameplay which is pretty impressive.
Final Fantasy: Endless Nova by Delita Hyral X: A custom Final Fantasy that takes place in a solar system where the sun is beginning the stages of a super nova. For an unknown reason, the super nova never completes – making humanity forget of its danger. This is the starting stage for FFEN, a marvelous free RPG that has over 12 hours of gameplay, an abundance of mini-games, side quests and easter eggs along with a deep and satisfying combat system.
Lost Legends by Ghostwood Games: Being an action-RPG with a massive world filled with quests and monsters to slay, you could say this is Elder Scrolls-lite (especially since they both have 1st and 3rd person view). The combat feels remarkably tight and though the visuals may be dated, they have a certain charm to them. Major updates are coming to this, including the addition of multiplayer that makes this game one to keep an eye on.
NetHack by Mike Stephenson (and plenty of others): Perhaps the closest experience to an old-school D&D game (and definitely the hardest), NetHack is a singleplayer dungeon crawler that emphasizes on the exploration and figuring out the layout of dungeons instead of killing everything. True to the D&D experience, going Rambo will more than likely get you killed. Though it’s a text-based game, the random number generator provides an unlimited number of dungeons and monsters to be discovered. Warning, this is for the hardcore.