Pure role-playing games on Linux are surprisingly few and far between! At least, if you stick to the repositories, it sure seems that way. I also looked at the Linux Game Tome, but even though 189 games are listed as “Roleplaying”, many are roguelikes or MMORPGs. Quite a few of what remain are either shareware or just not very complete.
One place to find more commercial RPGs is the cross-platform Desura gaming client. It’s free to install and sign up for, but the games range in price from $2.99 to $22.99 or more. It looks like 26 roleplaying games are currently available. I have played a few hours of the demo for Eschalon, Book 1 (a few years ago) and it’s quite good. Another website that features role-playing games is the Linux Game Database.
The better games in the repository are listed here:
Ardentryst (W) – This is a fun game, a mix of platformer and RPG. You have a choice of 2 characters – fighter or magic-user (the fighter is a boy, the magicain is a young girl). It has a storyline, is suitable for kids. and offers quite a few options. You level up, get new abilities, and collect useful items. The map has 7 areas on it, and each character begins in a different one. It seems that by completing areas (which themselves consist of 8 or 9 levels plus a “boss”), you open up more sections to fight in. The fact that falling means instant death is mitigated by the fact that you seem to keep the experience you get. I managed to finish the first area, including a hard Snail boss. The second area features snowy levels, and your character’s breath shows – a nice graphic touch. The snow also increases the difficulty, because you slide a bit. There are quite a few quests to obtain, including but not limited to “kill X creatues”. There is an option for posting your score online as well. Definitely recommended.
Fall of Imiryn (Annchienta) – This game is one of a few that is included in various game engines (Annchienta in this case). Their web page has more information. Apparently you can use the mouse to control nearly everything in the game. It looks like it is the only game to feature more than one controllable character.
Free Dink (W) – I’ll bet that this game is the best-known one in this list. First released in 1997 by Seth Robinson, Dink Smallwood has quite a good reputation. The repositories include a front-end that you should install, so that the many addon games made by the fans can be easily run. Dink’s home page is here, or you can visit the main fan site, The Dink Network.
Freedroid RPG (W) – The game creator says you only get about 10 hours of play in this. But even though it’s short, you have to be careful early on. I’m trying to get through it, but you regenerate health very slowly, and among the first enemy types that you encounter, one seems much tougher than the other two. Visit the main site for news, the Windows version, and further information.
(I should point out that there was a recent release, version 0.15, in late December. The version in the repository is 0.14.1. There is a list of most of the changes in 0.15 here)
Waste’s Edge – (Adonthell) This is intended as a demo of the Adonthell engine. It does have good art, and excellent music. The story has potential but is quite short. There is no combat, and no inventory screen, however you can save the game. The “Options” screen is not usable yet. The developers have created a documentation wiki. It sounds as if another game (Dun Barethsol) will be included in the next full update.
Violetland (W) – An overhead rpg/shooter hybrid that seems much more shooter than RPG. Enemies come from all directions and you use your mouse to aim. Based on Crimsonland, a game I hadn’t heard of before. Uses the WASD keys for moving, and pick up items left behind to regain health or get powerups. It takes some getting used to.
ToME 4 – I mentioned this game back in June of last year, but wanted to include it here, because although it’s a roguelike, you can choose a difficulty setting that lets you have extra lives. Also featuring fun character creation, a large world, and lots of quest-driven gameplay, I’d definitely recommend this. You can choose between a version with music, and one without (only about 46 megabytes if you are pressed for space.) This graphical game has won the Roguelike of the Year award twice on the Ascii Dreams website, a well-known place for discussion of roguelike games. The wiki for ToME4 can be found here.
(If you like ascii graphics and roguelikes, you can still install the older ToME 2.3 from the repositories, but it isn’t under development anymore.)