15 Games To Play Like Chrono Trigger

Highlights

  • There are many games that pay homage to retro RPGs while offering a modern gaming experience, and we’ve collected several recommendations if you’re a fan of Chrono Trigger.
  • For example, Super Mario RPG combines traditional Mario elements with turn-based gameplay. It has entertaining characters and a captivating soundtrack composed by Yoko Shimomura.
  • Another game similar to Chrono Trigger is Chained Echoes, with its developer citing Chrono Trigger as one of their main inspirations.

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Launched in 1995 by Square Enix (then Squaresoft), Chrono Trigger is widely regarded as one of the best JRPGs on the SNES and of all time. Chrono Trigger’s story and characters made for an unforgettable experience, taking you across many time periods to reach your ultimate goal of defeating Lavos.

Related: Chrono Trigger: Every Main Character’s Age, Height, And Birthday

Chrono Trigger’s strengths make it difficult to find games that reach the same heights. However, there are other games that evoke this feeling for similar reasons. Whether it be their compelling storylines, fast-paced battle systems, or emotive soundtracks, these RPGs have earned their places alongside Chrono Trigger as some of the best in the genre.

Updated September 6, 2023 by Casey Foot: If Chrono Trigger has left you wanting more when it comes to your RPGs, and the average game simply won’t cut it, you’ll be looking for similar titles that evoke the same feeling while bringing something new to the table. As the retro-inspired Sea of Stars has launched since we last updated this list, we’ve added it to our recommendations of games like Chrono Trigger, as well as a few more.

15 Homage To The Greats: Sea Of Stars

Pirate Band plays in a tavern to lift the local's spirits

Sabotage Studio’s Sea of Stars pays homage to retro RPGs, while offering a brand-new experience that brings the genre into the modern age. It has superb pixel art, which particularly shines in the environments and lighting.

Sea of Stars even shares one of Chrono Trigger’s music composers in Yasunori Mitsuda, who was a special guest on the game. Its turn-based combat takes a leaf out of Chrono Trigger’s book, as encounters with enemies don’t take you to a separate screen, but occur naturally. Throughout its charming story, you’ll enjoy discovering various references to Chrono Trigger too.

14 Mario’s Turn-Based Adventure: Super Mario RPG

Mario and Mallow battling a gang of Pogo Shy Guys in Super Mario RPG

While Super Mario might not be what you think of when considering what to play after Chrono Trigger, Super Mario RPG incorporates traditional Mario elements alongside turn-based gameplay. When the strange creature known as Smithy lands on the planet and plans to take over, it’s up to Mario to save the day.

Mario can even be accompanied by Bowser on his adventure, similar to how you can recruit Magus to join your party despite his villanous deeds in Chrono Trigger. It’s a classic RPG with entertaining characters and an appealing soundtrack composed by Yoko Shimomura, so it’s hard to go wrong.

13 Inspired By Classics: Chained Echoes

Chained Echoes - The party stands around Magnolia in the fairy forest

Chained Echoes is heavily inspired by older RPGs in its fast, turn-based battles and pixel graphical style. Its story involves helping to reconcile the three kingdoms of Valandis, which are at war with each other. Valandis is a joy to explore with its different environments to discover and side quests to complete too.

Related: Chained Echoes: All Characters Ranked

Matthias Linda, the solo developer of Chained Echoes, even cited Chrono Trigger as one of his inspirations for making the game, and the spirit of this era of RPGs certainly comes through in the final product.

12 Golden In More Than Name: Golden Sun

Key art from Golden Sun, showing the party members posing on a mysterious, colorful background

Golden Sun follows a group of teenagers known as Adepts, people who can use Psynergy. The party is led by Isaac, and their main goal is to stop the incredibly powerful Alchemy from being unleashed and prevent history from repeating itself.

Launched on the Game Boy Advance, Golden Sun boasts superb graphics and has a memorable soundtrack throughout. While you also fight alongside summons in Golden Sun, its turn-based battle system is similar to Chrono Trigger’s, and its narrative is one of its strongest features, too.

11 A Grand Adventure: Grandia

Justin, Feena, and Sue from Grandia

A critically acclaimed RPG that originally launched on the Sega Saturn, Grandia follows Justin and his friends’ quest on a classic adventure to defeat evil and discover the secrets behind an important civilization from the past.

If you liked Chrono Trigger’s party members and their stories, you’re sure to enjoy Grandia’s cast of characters, as each one is fully realized and grows with the story. If you’re looking to play Grandia on newer consoles, you’re in luck, as it received an HD remaster, making it more accessible to modern audiences.

10 A Story For The Ages: Dragon Quest 3

A screenshot from Dragon Quest 3: The Seeds of Salvation on the Switch, showing the hero traipsing through a verdant town

Dragon Quest is a well-established RPG series known for using classic tropes to wide success, and Dragon Quest 3 is no exception. Despite being the third numbered entry in the series, there isn’t a specific order you need to play them. In fact, Dragon Quest 3 is a prequel to Dragon Quest 1 and 2 and is considered the first game in the “Erdrick” trilogy.

Dragon Quest 3 builds on the previous titles in the series, laying the foundations for future RPGs. Despite launching in 1988, the game still has an audience today and could be what you’re looking for if you liked Chrono Trigger’s staple RPG elements.

9 Full Of Charm: Earthbound

Ness stands outside of his house on a sunny day

If you’re looking for an RPG teeming with personality after finishing Chrono Trigger, Earthbound is an excellent choice. The game follows Ness, Paula, Jeff, and Poo, who are destined to stop the alien Giygas from destroying the world.

Related: Best Short JRPGs You Need To Play

Although the modern ‘American’ setting of Earthbound is removed from that of Chrono Trigger, they share various similar traits. Earthbound’s visual style is one of the most distinctive in its genre, and it has an acclaimed soundtrack that only enhances your experience. Similar to Chrono Trigger, Earthbound is a game where you’ll want to savor every detail, making sure to interact with all the NPCs you meet.

8 A Cosmic Quest: Cosmic Star Heroine

cosmic star heroine cover & gameplay

Cosmic Star Heroine takes inspiration from new and old RPGs to create a sci-fi world that you must save alongside your companions. If you enjoyed Chrono Trigger’s intuitive battle system that takes place in the overworld, you’re sure to enjoy Cosmic Star Heroine’s, as it has a similar format.

In Cosmic Star Heroine, your characters can even perform attacks together, just like the tech system in Chrono Trigger. If you’re looking for a relatively short RPG that evokes the feeling of old RPGs through its battle system and 2D pixel graphics, then this is the one for you.

7 Traditional 2D RPG: Secret Of Mana

Secret of Mana Characters - Towns

Both Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana were developed by Square Enix in the early and mid-’90s, and have a fair few similarities as a result. Although both of these games have similar concepts, Secret of Mana has its own identity with a fast-paced battle system reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda.

Secret of Mana did get a remake, swapping out the 2D style for 3D graphics. However, if you’re a fan of Chrono Trigger’s 2D art style, you’ll probably want to pick up a port of the original instead.

6 Which Path Will You Take First?: Octopath Traveler

Octopath Traveler, immaculate beautiful snow

Octopath Traveler is an RPG developed by Square Enix, where you get to play as eight characters, all with individual storylines, and complete missions in this rich and beautiful world. This game has been unanimously praised for its HD-2D graphics which revitalized the 2D style, as well as its masterful score composed by Yasunori Nishiki, which often gets you energized and ready for battle.

Related: Chrono Trigger: Best Quotes

The game also features a challenging yet rewarding turn-based combat system, something that’s rare to find in modern games. If you enjoyed Chrono Trigger’s impressive 2D sprite work, you’ll definitely enjoy Octopath Traveler’s art direction.

5 Classic Final Fantasy: Final Fantasy 6

final fantasy 6 cover & gameplay

Final Fantasy 6, also known as Final Fantasy 3, launched in 1994 and has remained relevant within the RPG sphere, often being cited as one of the best games in the series. The game centers around the opposing Gestahlian Empire and a rebel group known as the Returners.

Although Terra Branford is the first playable character you control, and one of the stand-outs in the cast, the game is designed to have no true main character. The game in fact has 14 playable characters for you to meet, giving you lots of room to experiment when it comes to party composition. If you’re a fan of classic RPGs like Chrono Trigger, and you haven’t played Final Fantasy 6, you’ll want to check this one out.

4 Radiant As Its Name: Radiant Historia

Split image of gameplay in Radiant Historia and the official cover art for Radiant Historia.

A turn-based RPG by Atlas on the Nintendo DS, Radiant Historia has a plot involving time travel (much like Chrono Trigger, as you’re probably aware). Similar to Chrono Trigger, the game also has an incredible storyline and cast of characters that are sure to keep you hooked.

Related: Chrono Trigger: All Party Members, Ranked

The game’s soundtrack features music composed by Yoko Shimomura, most well-known for her work on Kingdom Hearts, so you’ll enjoy listening to the score as you play the game. Radiant Historia has multiple endings, and this concept goes hand-in-hand with its time-travel mechanic. These endings are determined by the choices you make, giving you lots of content and reasons to replay the game.

3 Mechs And Philosophy: Xenogears

Xenogears is the pinnacle of mature storytelling

Originally created to be a successor to Chrono Trigger, Xenogears has an intricate world that begs to be explored, and a storyline that covers a whole host of topics, including everything from religion to human psychology. One of the highlights of the game is the use of Gears (mechs), which can be used to fight enemies and lends an interesting spin to the battle system.

Xenogears’ unique battle system and classic RPG story-driven plot make it a great follow-up to play after finishing Chrono Trigger.

2 Quintessential Fantasy: Dragon Quest 11: Echoes Of An Elusive Age

Dragon Quest XI characters staring up

The 11th installment in the Dragon Quest series, Echoes of an Elusive Age features all the staples of a classic RPG fantasy story, translating them for a modern audience in a way that still manages to stay fresh. The game’s self-contained story also means that you don’t have to have played any of the other games in the series to enjoy this entry; however, if you’re a fan of RPGs, it’s worth seeking out these too.

Related: Chrono Trigger: Best Side Quests

Of course, the most obvious similarity between Dragon Quest 11 and Chrono Trigger is that the character designs for both games were created by Akira Toriyama. But Dragon Quest 11 also has an impactful storyline and characters you can connect with to back it up too.

1 Let’s Do The Warp Again: Live A Live

oboromaru and the prisoner versus lord ode

First available outside of Japan on the Nintendo Switch as an HD-2D remake, Live A Live has a story that branches across time periods, such as the Wild West and Edo Japan. If you enjoyed exploring each of Chrono Trigger’s various points in time, you’ll like Live A Live’s segmented narrative.

If that wasn’t enough, Live A Live and Chrono Trigger even share the same director, Takashi Tokita. Were Chrono Trigger to ever receive a remake in the style of Live A Live, it would only enhance its beautiful graphics and introduce this classic to a new generation, much like how Live A Live’s remake has done.

Next: RPGs With The Best Storylines

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