There are a number of hotly anticipated RPGs and strategy games set to be released throughout 2021. One title that combines elements of both is the upcoming Digimon Survive. Following the success of Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth in the West, Bandai Namco has finally found it worth it to release Digimon titles overseas once again. As one of the premiere creature collectors not called Pokemon, fans are excited to see this new twist on the genre and franchise.
Digimon Survive is a strategy-survival RPG that follows a group of teenagers trying to survive in the Digital World. With harrowing battles and terrifying monsters ahead, there’s promise of serious consequence to player actions and choices. This title is far from the first title to experiment with this mix of genres, and there are a number of similar games to try out.
10 Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth
This one is a bit obvious, but there might be people interested in Digimon Survive that haven’t tried Cyber Sleuth. Following the line of turn-based RPGs in the Digimon Story series, Cyber Sleuth modernizes the concept in both location and gameplay. And, as stated before, it was wildly successful in igniting interest in the franchise once again.
Cyber Sleuth features incredibly solid turn-based battles that feel like they’d belong in the Shin Megami Tensei series more than Pokemon. The player will control a small army of digital monsters as they solve mysteries and save Tokyo from destruction. The visuals are clean, and the music from Danganronpa composer Masafumi Takada is excellent. With the two-for-one bundle, they’re great as an introduction into the Digital World.
9 Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor
Although this title is currently not available on modern platforms, the Devil Survivor series is pretty similar to what Digimon Survive promises to be. With a combination of turn-based tactics and turn-based battles, Devil Survivor has a lot going on. It uses the iconic combat system from the SMT series to great effect in creating challenging, but rewarding gameplay.
Another similarity between the two is in the monster collection aspect. It may not be the first title to think of, but the SMT series are techinically creature collectors. Players will need to recruit and fuse together the best monsters possible to dispatch their enemies. There are plenty of twists and turns, and of course the soundtrack is incredible as well. It’s absolutely a classic DS title.
Wargroove is an indie game that takes inspiration from the Advance Wars series. The game features turn-based strategy across large maps as armies of various types clash. It’s a very cozy game at first, but as the game progresses it can become a challenge to battle any boss.
As a strategy title, Wargroove has teeth that many modern tactics games are missing. The maps will require the player to be able to maneuver units swiftly to cover various fronts. There’s also a great variety of map objectives, meaning the player will have to be on their toes and adapt to the situation as it develops. It can be frustrating at times, but equally as rewarding to play.
7 Disgaea (Any Of Them)
The Disgaea series is pretty niche in the West, but it has still been fairly successful and has stayed true to its roots. As one of the premier turn-based tactics franchises from Japan, Disgaea will likely serve as a good jumping off point into Digimon Survive. Some of the mechanics may feel a bit grindy and archaic, but that’s the nature of the game.
Fans of the series celebrate the fact that the series has stayed mostly true to its roots. The game is very much about optimization, utilizing every possible tool to their greatest potential in an effort to dispatch levels with ease. The game is also big on allowing players to control huge armies to combat equally as massive armies, which is admitted quite daunting for newer players. With so many games to choose from, just pick the one that resonates the best.
6 Into the Breach
Taking a brief step away from the anime style, Into the Breach is a seemingly-simple turn-based tactics title with a lot of depth. The game comes from the developer of FTL: Faster Than Light, and that shows in the gameplay. The game is easy to pick up and play, with short missions that have straightforward objectives.
The main draw of the game is the roguelike style that has seen success in other incredible titles. Into The Breach allows players to fail as many times as they need to, learning and developing better strategies. It’s certainly easier to get a run to the end than FTL, but that’s not saying much. At a great price point and for the content available, it’s a nice title to pick up, particularly on Switch.
5 Valkyria Chronicles
While this title is quite different from the top-down strategy of Digimon Survive, it offers an equally compelling experience. The game takes place in an alternate history World War, with the player working as a tank operator and battle strategist. It can be very loosely described as “Fire Emblem with guns,” but there’s more to it than that.
Valkyria Chronicles measures movement not based on a grid, but more using measurements and a movement range. This makes it similar to strategic tabletops or XCOM. The characters, while fairly tropey, are also fun to learn about. This makes battles all the more riskier as their lives have to be put on the line. It mixes a lot of different games into one dish, but that dish is quite fantastic.
4 XCOM 2: Chimera Squad
Speaking of, the XCOM series is of course a fantastic choice in turn-based strategy titles. Although many fans will say that XCOM: Enemy Unknown is the best option for jumping into the series, Chimera Squad allows fans of more tactics-based titles to get acclimated. Chimera Squad, both in price point and in mechanics, is a solid first-entry for players.
The series took some twists on the style developed in the XCOM reboot. The game focuses more on a squad of characterized units rather than a collection of grunts, aiming for a more story-driven narrative. The gameplay is just as good as the rest of the series, albeit a bit easier. The setting is nice change of pace as well. These reasons helped it be rated one of the best strategy games of 2020.
3 Monster Sanctuary
Monster Sanctuary isn’t quite a tactics game, but it’s turn-based combat is top-notch. The game is a mix of Metroidvania platforming challenges and, coincidentally, monster collecting that’s quite Digimon-esque. The player will collect a small army of creatures to help them navigate the Sanctuary and battle dangerous monsters and villainous Alchemists.
In spirit, it feels a lot like a Digimon Story title. Only, in this game, the variety of strategies and the complexity of battles is increased tenfold. It will take a bit of thinking to compose a team that can dispatch the various villains of the game. Combat is easily this game’s strongsuit, so for those looking for a creature collector with teeth, Monster Sanctuary is just that.
2 Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Of course Fire Emblem would be on a list of the best turn-based tactics titles, and Three Houses is the best representative of the series. It has a number of divisive elements, but the way it streamlined the best parts should be commended. It’s a Fire Emblem game that unites fans of both the older and newer titles.
Three Houses pretty much speaks for itself, given its popularity, but that isn’t a bad thing. The player is a professor at a prestigious academy for nobles and combat-enthusiasts. As the story unfolds, a war breaks out and friends are forced into combat against one another. It’s loaded with great characters, music, visuals, and solid tactical gameplay. Players who missed this title should go back and give it a spin.
1 Final Fantasy Tactics
It’s a shame that Square Enix hates the Final Fantasy Tactics series, because the original title and the series as a whole are classic turn-based tactics games. Some people would even argue the titles surpass Fire Emblem as the best of the best. The characters, combat, and world of Ivalice are beloved by fans almost as much as Square Enix ignores it.
This spin-off introduces Final Fantasy jobs into the realm of turn-based combat, offering a wide range of ways to customize units and armies. There’s plenty of variety in approaching the game, making it incredibly replayable. Plus, the story is one of the best in the entire franchise. It’s a bit harder to find now, but if any game is worth seeking out to get ready for Digimon Survive, FFT is just the best.