For The King is a game that may look like another cheap cash-grab at first glance. After all, it looks like a mobile game and the story feels extremely generic at first. The king of a once-great land has died, and evil forces have taken over what used to be a flourishing empire. The queen has tasked you with restoring order to the land.
But once you actually sit down and play the game for a couple of hours, it feels deep and immersive. Truly an experience that’s larger than the sum of its parts.
Related read: 9 Top Games Like The Binding Of Isaac
This is why I was inspired to create this list of 15 games like For The King. These are games that you might see on sale for a couple of dollars and immediately dismiss as inferior to AAA titles.
But they are all unique and amazing in their own way, definitely worth at least one playthrough. Without further ado, let’s get started.
There are so many things I can say to convince you that this game is great. But graphics or polish aren’t included in there, because in some ways this feels like a Bethesda game from the early 2000s.
Like when you give an item to a merchant but you aren’t actually holding anything in your hand so it looks like a low-budget show where everyone is pretending to do stuff. Or when NPCs’ facial features clip in and out of their character models, resulting in some pretty horrific scenes of dialogue.
However, where this game really shines isn’t in visual fidelity. It is a masterpiece of quest and dialogue design. Every line you hear and say has been written masterfully, staying true to the character and sounding like something a real person would say.
Old school turn-based combat and lots of attributes, perks, stats, etc. make this a game you’ll want to replay at least half a dozen times.
2. Slay the Spire
Much like For The King, this is also a roguelike game. This means you have good old turn-based hack and slash combat, set within a fantasy world with tons of areas to explore.
Oh, and don’t forget all the bad guys in the dungeons. However, there’s a slight twist. Instead of regular tile-based combat in which you take turns casting spells and swing your sword, you play cards.
You still have characters on the screen who duke it out against each other with wonderfully designed animation and top-notch visuals. But most of the gameplay boils down to deciding which cards you want to play, and in what order.
You can line up some insane combos by combining the effects of 2 or 3 cards, multiplying the damage you do.
3. Might & Magic Heroes VII
A game that was unfairly judged by gamers when it was released. Bugs and lack of official support in the form of new servers or patches from Ubisoft made this game an unplayable mess for many.
However, at its core Might & Magic Heroes VII is an extremely complex and enjoyable strategy game.
If you can get past the glitches and unreliable servers, you will have a blast of a time with this game. The story is one that has been told many times, heroes setting out to explore a vast kingdom that is filled with both allies and enemies.
You have tons of abilities, skills, and quests. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but the way everything’s presented makes this game stand out.
4. Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
Had you asked me whether I preferred Civ 5 or Civ 6 back when the new game launched, I would have gone with the 5th Civilization game. Because at launch, Civilization VI was missing some of the key features and systems that made Civilization V so good.
However, much has been patched in since then and we have new DLCs for Civilization VI that add a bunch of content.
In Civilization, you build your empire from the stone age to the space age. You can start with a premade city, create your own template, or anything in between. Agriculture, politics, military, infrastructure, medicine, science, etc. are just some of the systems built into this game.
5. Darkest Dungeon
Hand-drawn art, randomized dungeons, and… side-scrolling action? Darkest Dungeon doesn’t have a traditional top-down perspective, and weirdly enough it works really well. Sure, the hand-drawn art and simplistic animations make you feel like it might be another indie gothic side scroller.
But once you get into the game and play it for a few hours you realize there is a lot of depth to its mechanics. And it’s tough, really tough. On top of the dangerous monsters, you also have to deal with stress.
There are various systems like paranoia, masochism, fear, etc. which will eventually kill you if you let them fill up. In a sense, Darkest Dungeon feels like a mix of a roguelike and survival game.
6. Thea: The Awakening
Strategy, role playing, survival- all mixed into one game. There are other games out there that have similar gameplay elements, but none of them feel like Thea.
If you’re a fan of For The King, you’ll recognize similar themes over here. But understand that Thea is as much like For The King as it is like Civilization.
In fact, the game looks closer to Civilization than For The King. You do have turn-based combat which takes place on hexagonal tiles, along with a dark fantasy setting.
And there’s even item crafting which you can do in your village. Talking of villages, Thea lets you build structures of various kinds and explore technologies.
7. Thea 2: The Shattering
It builds on many of the concepts introduced in Thea: The Awakening, but it also introduces some new things. Once again, its story is based on Slavic mythology.
You play the role of a deity, guiding a group of commoners around the land as they stumble upon new quests, enemies, allies, etc.
Thea 2 plays like Civilization, For The King, and a card game- all at the same time. There are different classes of characters with different stats. Some stats allow you to be better at certain tasks.
Still, anyone can do any task. For instance, a warrior will take longer to grow crops but he can still do it.
Simply put, it’s a digital board game with fairy-tale animals. Armello is set within a fairly grim world where rival factions are competing for the throne after the king dies. You have mages, warriors, healers, assassins- all the usual fantasy tropes.
However, instead of humans or orcs, you’ve got animals taking on these roles. Yes, just like a Disney movie. There are stealthy assassin rats, spellcasting bears, and lions who are knights.
9. Massive Chalice
Most strategy RPGs have you go on a quest that spans a few months or years. In Massive Chalice, you fight a 300-year battle. Now I know people don’t live that long and the game doesn’t actually require you to play for 300 years but it has a real sense of time to it.
Like many other strategy RPG games, you are trying to secure your nation from evil forces that are invading. However, the strategy goes beyond just the battlefield. There is a Bloodline system that lets you make “strategic marriages” between various heroes to produce children.
And here’s the fun part- genetic code is randomized like in real life. So the children can end up with the best or worst traits from their parents.
You will have to make children because heroes age over the course of this game, and there is permadeath so once a hero dies they are gone forever.
10. King’s Bounty: The Legend
This game is a successor to the 1990 game King’s Bounty. The original King’s Bounty released on MS-DOS computers founded many of the concepts used in modern strategy RPGs.
Many call it a precursor to the Heroes of Might and Magic series. Because of that, King’s Bounty: The Legend had to fulfill some really lofty expectations.
So, does the game live up to the standards of its predecessor? In many ways, yes. There are however differences. One of those being the camera angle which uses an over-the-shoulder isometric style.
But you have the usual fantasy setting with hack and slash gameplay. There are 3 classes- mage, paladin, and warrior.
11. Disciples II: Dark Prophecy
Fantasy settings in video games have been around for a long time, and the term “fantasy RPG” itself is cliché. However, every once in a while you get a game that defies conventions and manages to surprise you (in a good way).
Disciples II: Dark Prophecy is one of those games. Sure, it too has firebreathing dragons and wizards with pointy beards who cast spells. But there’s more to this game.
Despite certain similarities with other fantasy games, Disciples II: Dark Prophecy manages to stand apart in a tier of its own. That’s because of the simplicity and presentation.
Every single character, building, resource, etc. has its place, and all the moves you make feel intuitive. The turn-based combat feels smooth, and you have plenty of stuff to do between quests.
Like upgrading your castle and barracks so you can make better units for combat. Or collecting resources as you open up the map through conquest.
12. Tribes of Midgard
Tribes of Midgard is a fun action-survival RPG meant to be played with friends. It has tons of Norse mythology and borrows elements from games like Torchlight.
In this game, you have two stages- daytime and nighttime. During the day you gather resources and build up the defenses in your base. At night enemy forces will attack the tree located in the center of your base, which you have to defend at any cost.
Over time as each night cycle passes these enemy forces keep getting stronger and more numerous.
13. Fantasy Grounds Unity
A 2nd generation virtual tabletop game from Smiteworks, Fantasy Grounds Unity gets its name from the game engine. Visuals, memory management, 64-bit OS support, and many other good things are now included in the game thanks to the Unity engine.
However, one area where it doesn’t improve much is the interface, as old Fantasy Grounds players will be sure to tell you. Within Fantasy Grounds Unity, you can play a multitude of tabletop RPGs including the fabled Dungeon and Dragons series.
14. Battle Brothers
Battle Brothers has you following a group of mercenaries as they travel through a fantasy land looking for their next quest. Combat and management are the two core systems within this game.
You explore the oceans, forests, mountains, plains, etc. in search of resources and quests. You can use resources to craft upgrades. You also have to manage the supply and demand of food, weapons, etc.
During combat you are placed in a turn-based combat screen where you have to manage the stamina of your soldiers, constantly switching units in and out of battle.
Fighting your way through hell has never been more fun than in Hades, a roguelite with immense tactical depth. Rooms are randomly generated, as are the types of enemies you face.
And every time you clear an area you get a little stronger, by upgrading your skills. You play as Zagreus, son of Hades who is the Greek god of the underworld.
Zagreus has access to 6 unique weapons, with each weapon having 4 variants. Every weapon facilitates its own optimal playstyle.
So, what did you think of my list? Most of them are indie or AA titles crafted painstakingly with love and care by a small team of developers. They don’t have the budget or popularity of mainstream AAA game franchises.
But all the money that they don’t put into shiny graphics is instead used on telling a good story. Even if you haven’t played For The King, you should check out these games. Because they are excellent for roguelike and strategy fans.