The role-playing video game genre was one of the first to get popular among the gaming community, which kind of makes sense. After all, people already loved role-playing board games before the inception of the NES, so doing the same in a virtual universe was a must-have experience. Some amazing old titles that really put RPGs on the map were Chrono Trigger, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and Final Fantasy.


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Over the years, things have changed rapidly as role-playing games have become more immersive. Most modern RPGs have done something special to help them to stand out from their peers and give players a unique experience. Moreover, a few titles have truly deconstructed the genre in ways that players could never have imagined.

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10/10 Undertale

Undertale took the world by storm when it came out in 2015 from a talented indie developer. The game is a 2D role-playing adventure experience that puts players in the shoes of a little kid who finds themselves lost in a mysterious underground realm.

Soon enough, players find themselves surrounded by unique creatures and a memorable world that is hard to forget. Everything about Undertale, from its music to its design choice, makes it one of the most worth playing role-playing games ever made.

9/10 Yume Nikki

Yume Nikki is a 2004 adventure game that heavily deconstructs the role-playing genre to fit its narrative. The classic game was made using RPG Maker by a pseudonymous developer named, Kikiyama. Yume Nikki is a highly explorative title with no set narrative or goals.

Instead, it is up to players to find their purpose as they travel from a one-room apartment to a dreamland full of mystery and eerieness. The game offers no dialogue, no plotlines, and no combat mechanics. It is one of the most unique experiences ever.

8/10 Deltarune

Deltarune is a spiritual successor to Undertale and takes everything the old game mastered and amps it up to eleven. It’s an RPG title similar to its spiritual predecessor and makes use of similar design choices, music, and gameplay elements. However, the story in this game is completely different and spans seven chapters with great detail and plot twists.

In Deltarune, players assume control of a kid named Kris who is supposed to save the world with the help of a monster and a prince. The full game is likely still many years away at this point, but two chapters are available for gamers who want to experience the first part of the story.

7/10 Earthbound

Earthbound is the granddaddy of many role-playing games, as it is one of the first games that sought to deconstruct the genre. The Nintendo classic came out in 1994 on the Super NES and quickly became a polarizing title in the gaming community. However, in the next few years, it became a cult classic, especially in the west.

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Earthbound is an RPG in which players assume control of a young kid named Ness. The little guy lives in the fictional country alongside his friends Paula, Jeff, and Poo. Together, the friends go on an adventure and travel around the world to beat a cosmic being named Giygas.

6/10 LISA: The Painful

Only a few games have reimagined the role-playing genre quite like LISA: The Painful, as it mixes turn-based combat with side-scrolling platforming. The PC-exclusive came out in 2014 on various operating systems and is the second main game in the Lisa Trilogy, which includes Lisa: The First and Lisa: The Joyful.

LISA: The Painful is a post-apocalyptic RPG that showcases the story of a man named Brad Armstrong who is searching for his adopted daughter in a huge wasteland. All the games in the series offer dark comedy, brilliant music, and excellent writing that can keep anyone hooked.

5/10 OMORI

OMORI is a relatively newer role-playing game that came out in 2020. This RPG is an indie game where players explore a “strange world full of colorful friends and foes.” OMORI features the story of a hikikomori boy named Sunny, who’s on an adventure in the dream world with his alter-ego.

OMORI takes inspiration from classic Japanese role-playing titles but adds its own spin to it. Additionally, it features a cute art style, a top-down view, and a nostalgic vibe, making it an excellent game for those who enjoy such things.

4/10 Rakuen

Rakuen tells a sweet story of a young, hospitalized boy who is on an adventure to explore a beautiful fantasy world with his mom. The game offers a healthy mixture of adventure-style gameplay and role-playing mechanics, not to mention a stunning art style.

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Like Yume Nikki, this 2017 game is an RPG Maker title offering unique gameplay mechanics and a memorable story. Rakuen, at its core, is a sprite-based exploration game that deconstructs the role-playing genre by offering no combat at all. Instead, it lets players travel into a fantasy world full of mystery.

3/10 Palette

Palette is another old RPG Maker title that originally came out in 2001. It’s a great hybrid of adventure games and role-playing elements and offers unique gameplay and a memorable storyline. The game offers four hours of playtime and is a psychological horror game.

Palette tells the story of a girl called B.D. who has lost her memory. The player’s task is to control her through her memory and discover the horrific mystery within. This 2001 game is one of the greatest psychological horror RPGs ever made.

2/10 Nier: Automata

Nier: Automata is an ARPG that came out in 2017. It was developed by PlatinumGames, famous for epic hack-and-slash games like Bayonetta, Vanquish, and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Nier: Automata reinvents the RPG genre by mixing wild action into shoot ’em-up style gameplay and text adventure.

The game revolves around combat android 2B, scanner android 9S, and rogue prototype A2 and is set in a unique world in which alien machines battle against human androids. It’s an incredibly deep title with a lot of replayability and so is well worth checking out for fans of sci-fi themes.

1/10 Off

Off is a 2008 role-playing game. The RPG Maker title puts players in the shoes of Batter, a man in a sports outfit aiming to rid the world of evil. In the game, Batter faces all types of foes, from scary to downright disturbing, but never gives up his sacred mission.

Off is a psychedelic dream kind of game in which everything feels like a weird acid trip. Its art style and music also complement the whacky storyline that players uncover while playing the game. Like a lot of other RPG Maker games, it is relatively short, but that isn’t to say that it’s not well worth checking out.

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