The Top 13 Best Top

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Top-down RPGs might be few and far between in the modern day, but there are a ton of these titles from back in the day that still manage to attract audiences in 2022. In recent years, there has also been somewhat of a resurgence of the genre; new titles use the original mechanic and elevate it with a modern twist. What are the best top-down RPGs? We narrowed our choices down to 13, but if you think another title deserves a spot, send us a message!

#13 The Ascent

Publisher: Curve Games

Developer: Neon Giant

Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC

Release Date: July 2021

PC | Xbox | PlayStation

The first game on this top-down RPGs list is the cyberpunk-themed role-playing game, The Ascent. This game is as if Diablo had a love affair with Cyberpunk 2077 and Call of Duty, which sounds absolutely mental. This unique title takes place within an arcology in a futuristic dystopian world known as Veles, which is controlled by a powerful megacorporation called ‘The Ascent Group.’ Players assume control of a worker who has been enslaved by the company and must take back control. Sadly, The Ascent was criticized for its emphasis on grinding and came with some minor technical issues, but it’s a solid game nonetheless.

#12 Solasta: Crown of the Magister

Publisher: Tactical Adventures

Developer: Tactical Adventures

Platform: Microsoft Windows, macOS, Macintosh operating systems

Release Date: October 2020

PC

Solasta: Crown of the Magister is a tactical role-playing game with a turn-based combat system set in a fantasy world that was close to being destroyed in an apocalyptic event eons ago. Players create a party of four adventurers to search the ruins of a mystical elven empire for special jewels, which are needed to empower a powerful artifact. At first glance, this game has great tactical combat and newcomers will have no problems getting to grips with it, but if you delve a little deeper, the writing and the story are a little worn, and they lack a certain engagement.

#11 Hero Siege

Publisher: Panic Art Studios

Developer: Panic Art Studios

Platform: iOS, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Macintosh operating systems

Release Date: January 2014

PC

The first Hack ‘n’ Slash game on this top-down RPGs list also has roguelike and RPG elements. Hero Siege lets you annihilate hordes of enemies, grow your talent tree, grind to your heart’s content, and explore seven acts that are enhanced by gorgeous pixel art graphics. Players can expect countless hours of fun and play with up to four others online. This is almost the cartoon equivalent to something like Diablo 3 or Path of Exile, and those over-the-top cartoon-like sprites are something you’ll either love or hate.

#10 Torment: Tides of Numenera

Publisher: inXile entertainment, Techland

Developer: inXile entertainment

Platform: PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Linux, macOS, Classic Mac OS

Release Date: February 2017

PC | Xbox | PlayStation | Nintendo

Some say that this is the spiritual successor to 1999’s Planescape: Torment and the games do share similarities that stretch far beyond the name. Torment: Tides of Numenera takes place in ‘The Ninth World,’ a science fantasy campaign setting that was written for the tabletop RPG Numenera. This game is driven by its story and places a greater emphasis on interaction with the world and the characters within it. Torment: Tides of Numenera was actually crowd-funded through a Kickstarter in the first six hours of the launch of the project, and has gone from strength to strength ever since.

In this game, players are taken into the distant future. In this world, a god of sorts has found a way to leave his body and move his consciousness into a new vessel which has essentially made him immortal. This discovery has triggered the universe to send out an enmity known as The Sorrow, a being that’s aimed to destroy this entity and all of the vessels he’s used in the past. Players take on the role of the Last Castoff, the final vessel that this unknown being used to stay alive. Now with no memories of what you’ve done in the past and the knowledge that The Sorrow is tracking you down, our protagonist is left with no hope but to find this ancient man and attempt to fight off The Sorrow.

#9 Wasteland 2

Publisher: Deep Silver

Developer: inXile entertainment, Obsidian Entertainment

Platform: Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Release Date: September 2014

PC | Xbox | PlayStation | Nintendo

Another game that was crowdfunded through Kickstarter, this is the sequel to 1988’s Wasteland but the world has seen a big improvement since then though. Wasteland 2 is a turned-based, party-based role-playing game that features a semi-overhead view with a rotatable camera and tactical combat. The player characters are highly customizable, and the player’s choice of statistics, skills, and appearance gives them superb individual qualities. This game has a great storyline with impeccable writing, which is a major highlight. The events are affected by the player’s choices throughout, and if you can get past a few minor bugs, you’re in for a treat.

#8 Children of Morta

Publisher: 11 Bit Studios

Developer: Dead Mage

Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Linux, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, macOS, Classic Mac OS

Release Date: September 2019

PC | Xbox | PlayStation | Nintendo

Those of you who enjoy an action RPG will want to try Children of Morta. This incredible video game journey transports players into a visually stunning world filled with hostile enemies. Here, you’ll take control of a family of heroes as you deal with a group of menacing baddies.

Each of the family members you’ll take control of will have their own unique set of skills, and fortunately, you’ll have the chance to try them all out. This is also a roguelike, meaning that the dungeon layouts will be different with each playthrough. The incredible storyline follows deep family drama, which we won’t spoil here. For the affordable price and replay value, this one is worth snagging.

#7 Stardew Valley

Publisher: ConcernedApe

Developer: ConcernedApe

Platform: Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Vita, iOS, Android

Release Date: February 2016

PC | Xbox | PlayStation | Nintendo

Taking some inspiration from the Harvest Moon franchise, Stardew Valley was created by indie developer ConcernedApe. The game put players in control of a rundown farm with the goal of making it profitable again by raising healthy crops and livestock. This will mean tending the weeds, clearing fields, planting seeds, watering crops, maintaining the livestock, supplying food, and harvesting goods. Working together to make the best possible farm manages to be both engaging and eternally relaxing, and most call this the ultimate ‘zen’ game.

#6 Divinity: Original Sin 2

Publisher: Larian Studios

Developer: Larian Studios

Platform: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, macOS, Nintendo Switch, iPad

Release Date: September 2017

PC | Xbox | PlayStation | Nintendo

This is the sequel to 2014’s Divinity: Original Sin, so you can expect the same kind of thing, but way better. Divinity: Original Sin 2 is set in the fantasy world of Rivellon, hundreds of years after the first game. The living people in this world have an energy source called ‘The Source,’ and individuals known as ‘Sourcerers’ can manipulate the Source to cast spells or enhance their combat. Upon its release, this game was a huge critical and commercial success, with the title selling over a million copies in two months, and it has since been called one of the best role-playing games of all time, with special praise going to its complex combat mechanic.

#5 Pillars of Eternity

Publisher: Paradox Interactive

Developer: Obsidian Entertainment

Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Release Date: March 2015

PC | Xbox | PlayStation | Nintendo

Pillars of Eternity is the spiritual successor to the Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale series, and maybe a little bit of Planescape: Torment for good measure. This game takes place in the fantasy world of Eora, which is situated in the equally fictional nation of Dyrwood. The infants of Dyrwood have become plagued by a mysterious illness that forces them to be born without a soul. Pillars of Eternity garnered critical acclaim when it was released, with critics and fans praising it for its fantasy setting, incredibly immersive writing, and great strategic combat. The fantasy RPG was the product of a Kickstarter campaign, having raised $4 million USD in 2012. It was the highest-funded video game at the time.

#4 Fire Emblem Awakening

Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: Intelligent Systems, Nintendo SPD

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Release Date: April 2012

Nintendo

What looks basic on the surface certainly isn’t the case once you begin to play this gem. Fire Emblem Awakening will test your skills and resolve, and you may turn into a strategic mastermind after putting the controller down. The gameplay, which is similar to previous Fire Emblem games, focuses on the tactical movement of characters across a grid-based battlefield where you must fight a host of enemy units. This is a magical game, and when it came out back in 2014 it became a major hit with gamers everywhere, some of them hailing it as the best game of the year.

Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: Grezzo

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Release Date: September 2019

Nintendo

We’ve chosen the remake instead of the original for this list. People loved the old 1993 Gameboy release, but you can’t deny that the newest version is better in every single way. Updated to fit the modern times but keeping that nostalgic glow that made us fall in love with the classic title, the devs gave it a “retro-modern” art style, which is incredibly unique. It consists of toy-like character designs, diorama-like world designs, and a tilt-shift visual style that is reminiscent of the presentation of the Gameboy game. It received great reviews upon its release for its faithfulness to the first game, the improvements made to its gameplay, and the lovely aesthetic it has. Even the technical issues didn’t blur the love that this game received.

#2 Chrono Trigger

Publisher: Square

Developer: Square

Platform: Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo DS, PC, Android, iOS, PlayStation via PlayStation Network

Release Date: March 1995

PC

No words really need to be said about this game. Many an hour was spent playing this game in the 90s, and the nostalgia it brings when thinking about it again is almost too much to handle. The story follows a group of adventurers who travel through time to prevent a global catastrophe. This SNES game is the first in the Chrono series and comes with a very noticeable Dragon Ball aesthetic to its character. This is a classic game that is very much worth revisiting if you ever want to relive those youthful, carefree days, and easily one of the best top-down RPGs of all time. If you’ve never played it, there’s no time like the present.

Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: Nintendo EAD

Platform: Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo Switch via Nintendo Online

Release Date: November 1991

Nintendo

The chances of a Zelda game taking the top spot on this list were very high. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is the third game in the much-beloved series and might just be one of the best (maybe top 5 anyway) and most iconic in the franchise. The player assumed the role of the mighty Link once again as he journeys to save Hyrule and defeat the demon king Ganon. It returns to the top-down perspective that we saw in the original game and dropped the side-scrolling gameplay of its predecessor. Not much else needs to be said about this game other than how great it was, how great it is, and how great it will always be.