25 best fantasy games ever

Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss (1992)

The venerable Ultima franchise got a 3D spit-and-polish for this innovative instalment, which saw the series' hero the Avatar banished to the depths of the Stygian Abyss to – you guessed it – rescue a princess.

The game's big innovation was its use of a first-person 3D perspective, complete with varying heights, the ability to look up and variable lighting – all long before Doom hit the scene. But the tech was only half the story, with eight gigantic levels of claustrophobic underground labyrinths to explore.

The Hobbit (1982)

Beam Software's The Hobbit – for the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 – sold over a million copies in the 80s thanks to gamers' love of typing commands in Inglish – a variation of English that included adverbs, pronouns and punctuation. So not only could you attack a troll, you could also 'viciously' attack it. And Gandalf runs around getting himself in trouble: need we say more?

Baldur's Gate (1998)

Baldur's Gate was a breath of Forgotten Realms air for the fantasy RPG genre. Relying heavily on plot and dialogue, Bioware's game sees you investigating the mysterious Iron Throne organisation and defating the evil mastermind Saverok. And with plenty of spin-offs, gamers loved how Baldur's Gate took the second edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons rules to dizzy, new heights.

Neverwinter Nights (2002)

Pinching its title from the old AOL and Stormfront Studios online game, BioWare's multiplayer epic was the first game to use the 3rd edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons rules, perfectly replicating the experience of playing AD&D with your mates – minus the clatter of rolling dice. The Aurora toolset and DM client even let dungeon masters create their own campaigns for chums to play through.

Superbrothers Sword and Sworcery (2011)

Capybara Games' hit iOS title took the App Store by storm this year with its music-themed mysteries and well, swords and sorcery gameplay. Help the Scythian travel across a pixellated, 16-bit style countryside, reading people's minds with your magic Megatome book and jumping between real and dream worlds by falling asleep. And don't forget to keep an eye on the phases of the moon.