Though mobile doesn’t have the impressive backlog and history of RPGs that PC and consoles do, there are still quite a few notably good ones that you can play right on your phone. Some are classics ported over to the touchscreen, while others are unique to this platform. These are time sinks, make no mistake, and are well worth the entry cost.
If you liked Diablo II, then there’s a clone on Android for you. AnimA is an action RPG hack-n-slash that evokes many memories of Diablo, right down to the font. It features the classic isometric camera angle, loot, and dark fantasy setting.
I just started playing this week, but I’m already hooked; this suggestion came from our own Daniel Bader, and I jumped on it immediately. This is a free-to-play game with microtransactions, but it seems to be similar to Path of Exile, where they’re not in your face, and you can play through the game on your own terms.
I love ARPGs, so AnimA is right up my alley. It helps me get in that fix when I’m away from my PC (and thus Grim Dawn). Give it a try and see if you like it; you have nothing to lose.
Atom is a CRPG reminiscent of classics like Fallout and Fallout 2. It’s set in the post-apocalyptic Soviet wasteland, and it sets out to tell an interesting and meaningful story through excellent quests and dialogue. It’s a bit of a slow game, but I found this to be more to my liking than constant action. Slowing down to consider your choices is a good thing in my book.
You have the freedom to craft your character how you choose, a hallmark of a good RPG. This is just a good game and worth picking up, especially if you loved the classics in the 90s and early 00s. There’s a really long runtime (an advertised 60+ hours of content) and a ton of build diversity to make follow-up playthroughs just as fun.
Combat is turn-based and involves some good strategies. The writing is witty, and the setting is harsh yet inviting, leading me to enjoy my time with Atom thus far. It comes at a premium price, but that also means no shady monetization nonsense.
Battle Chasers: Night War
BattleChasers: NightWar is an award-winning JRPG that offers one of the most complete mobile RPG experiences you’ll play — and that’s complete in the sense that there are no in-app purchases or paid DLC to worry about. Hallelujah!
Everything about this game is polished and complete, and it starts with a robust overworld that’s filled with hidden dungeons to explore, epic bosses to take down, and other surprises along the way.
The turn-based combat is inspired by all the favorites you remember from the JRPG genre and is a real treat even for a casual fan like myself. Along with the dense and sprawling world to explore that’s teeming with enemies to do battle with, there are also deep crafting elements as well for upgrading your team’s weapons, armors, and magical jewelry. An RPG is only as good as its story and characters, and given that this game is based on a graphic novel of the same name, we’re given fully developed characters and a compelling story.
The narrative focuses on a young girl, Gully, as she takes up the quest to find her long-lost father, Aramus. He was a hero to the local village who never returned after setting off into the Grey Line, a near-impenetrable wall of mist that borders their homeland of which nothing has returned from once entering. Aramus had left behind a set of magical gauntlets rumored to grant untold powers to the wearer. Gully must learn to wield her father’s gauntlets as she embarks on her own epic adventure past the Grey Line to uncover the truth behind her father’s final mission.
Gully is joined by a supporting cast that includes Knowlan, the wise old mage who always travels with Calibretto, an ancient war golem built for battle that developed his own sentience and emotions but who can still kick ass to defend his friends.
There’s Garrison, a paladin who was friends with Aramus and feels compelled to protect Gully along her journey, and lastly, Red Monika, a rogue outlaw who manages to toe the line between good and evil. This game is definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of either BattleChasers or simply looking for a new JRPG to dive into.
Death Road to Canada
Death Road to Canada is a $10 game — I want to open with that just to get the sticker shock out of the way before I talk about how awesome this freaking game is.
Facing a zombie apocalypse, you must lead a scrappy squad of somewhat interesting characters on a deadly mission to the relative safety of Canada. Along the way, you’ll need to explore and loot places for supplies while also managing your team’s health and morale.
Everything in Death Road to Canada is randomly generated, making every play-through unique in this dynamic road trip, action RPG. You can randomly generate your character and buddy or custom design your starting characters with different attributes to help them stay alive. Still, you probably don’t want to get too attached unless you’re a perfect shot.
The controls admittedly take some getting used to, and there’s a pretty steep learning curve as you learn which weapons are most effective and which times it’s better to fight or run. And you will die, early and often, although that’s part of the fun of a zombie apocalypse, right?
There’s a ridiculous amount of depth in this game, including 10 different game modes to unlock. The price might seem a little steep, but if you’re a fan of rogue-like zombie games, it’s well worth the investment!
Evoland 1 & 2
Yes, I know I’m cheating here, but both Evoland titles are such excellent games that I had to include them in one entry. Other than classic RPGs, the Evolands account for the most time I’ve put into mobile games. They each take you through the history of gaming, expanding and evolving as you go through them. It’s a unique way to present an action-adventure, for sure.
There’s plenty of humor, easter eggs, and general references to the great games of the past that helped define this entertainment medium. You’ll go from 2D monochrome to 3D real-time combat as you progress, unlocking new gaming technologies that change how you play. You’ll be hard-pressed to find something as unique as these.
For $0.99 and $3.99, respectively, Evoland and Evoland 2 should definitely be a part of your library if you: 1. want something to pour a ton of time into, and 2. love video games as an art form and want to play something that appreciates its roots.
Genshin Impact sort of came out of nowhere. It takes obvious cues from Breath of the Wild with an “anime” twist. A Chinese studio developed the game, and it’s already very popular. The best part is that it supports cross-save so that you can play on your PC, pick up your phone, and play where you left off. The PS4 doesn’t support cross-save, however.
Genshin Impact is an action RPG with fantastic elemental combat and a fun party system. You’ll need to switch characters often to have the best outcomes in battle. The open world is beautiful and filled with things to do, resources to find, and monsters to slay.
I’d say the biggest downfall of Genshin Impact is monetization. It uses gacha mechanics to get you to spend more on additional characters, new weapons, and the like. But I get it; there’s a lot of money to be made on popular games.
You have plenty of opportunities to level up your stats, of course. This game is a big deal right now, and I’m just scratching the surface here. Give it a try on your phone or computer (or PS4, but you don’t get cross-save) and see what you think. I was blown away.
Sky: Children of the Light
We don’t often see staggered releases between Android and iOS these days, but Sky: Children of the Light took almost a year to arrive on the former. Good thing, too, because it’s an entertaining game. It’s worth installing if nothing else, but to enjoy the gorgeous art style, beautiful world, and relaxing adventure.
It’s difficult to describe Sky, but I’ll try to be concise. After some time with the game, it’s obvious that the focus is on exploration and socializing. Your goal is to find lost stars and guide them home to their constellations; they teach you new things in return. There is no combat in Sky, so anyone can feel free to hop in and enjoy without any stress. It’s a very relaxing game with plenty to do for completionists and plenty to see for casual gamers.
Sky’s biggest draw is its art style, world design, and gameplay, all of which are simply stunning. Your character possesses a winged cape, sort of thing that you use to fly, glide, and get to places your simple jump can’t. The set pieces on display here are second to none on Android and evoke such a feeling of awe that I almost forgot to grab screenshots. It has a few different graphical options, too, but I chose to run it at 60fps to make sure what I saw moved as smoothly as possible.
Overall, I’d say the biggest fault with Sky is that it’s very taxing on your phone. My OnePlus 6 heated up like crazy, and my Pixel 4 XL wasn’t much better off. There are also microtransactions to buy Candles, which are key in-game items. There’s also an in-game currency called Hearts, which is how you buy cosmetics for your character. I’ve put in a few hours already, and I haven’t spent a cent, so they’re not necessary or in your face whatsoever.
From the ever strange but brilliant mind of Yoko Taro, of Drakengard and NieR fame, comes SINoALICE, a mobile RPG with a dark fairytale spin. Published by Square Enix, SINoALICE is a mobile gotcha game, similar to Fire Emblem Heroes, with gorgeous art and lots to collect. This being an RPG, there are different classes, weapons, armors, and items that each character can equip, and some they cannot if their class doesn’t match up.
The music is absolutely top-notch. The haunting tones will remind you of NieR Automata (if you played it), and that’s because it’s the same composer! Seriously, I just love sitting at the main menu and listening to the soundtrack. I really haven’t done that since the original Halo way back in the OG Xbox days.
Combat is an intense sprint. I like to think of them as time trials, where you have to think on the fly. You don’t get to pause to strategize, but you’ll improve as you go along. Having good reflexes is helpful, too. Again, like Fire Emblem, there’s a system of elemental and weapon weaknesses that you have to play too.
Each character is well-known from fairytales, like Alice, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, etc. Those characters each have their own stories that you progress through, with the goal being to revive the author of each character’s story.
Of course, this being a free-to-play game published by Square Enix, there are copious amounts of microtransactions for in-game currency to go around. They’re not as in your face as other games on this list, but you’ve been warned.
Oh, and there’s a NieR Automata cross-over event coming up and a RepliCant one coming later this year.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
I had trouble picking just one classic RPG for this list since we have several to choose from. Ultimately, I went with Knights of the Old Republic, better known as KOTOR, for this list. For one, Star Wars is a hugely popular franchise, and I think this is a game worth playing if you enjoy that universe. Created by BioWare in its heyday, KOTOR is a fantastic story.
Going beyond that, I fear I’ll get into spoilers, so I’ll leave it at that. KOTOR is considered one of the best RPGs of all time, and I would be hard-pressed to disagree. Ported to Android thanks to the folks at Aspyr, KOTOR has new life on mobile, and though it might be a costly price to entry, it’s worth every penny. From the story to the combat, this and its sequel are definitely the best Star Wars games ever made.
There’s gamepad support, achievements, and a revamped UI designed specifically for touchscreens. It’s an excellent port, and I haven’t encountered any bugs in the years I’ve played this. If you like Star Wars, do yourself a favor and check out KOTOR.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II
And then there were two. Coming as a surprise from the folks over at Aspyr is Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II. This is my personal favorite Star Wars game of all time and one of my favorite RPGs ever. It’s an incredible game with tons of depth, awesome storytelling, and good old-fashioned Star Wars action.
This game has been around for a long time, and it looks like it, but trust me, the number of hours you’ll pour into this game will make you forget about the dated graphics. It’s got a slow start as you get used to how the game functions, and you won’t be getting your first lightsaber any time soon, but there’s still plenty of weapons (plus Force powers) to use against your foes. You can follow the Light or the Dark or try to straddle the two, and your decisions have lasting consequences.
All told, this game is not only a classic, but it’s a good Android port, too. It retains the look of the PC version, but it feels better optimized for mobile. There are also graphics settings. $15 is pretty steep for a mobile game, but this is a must-play if you love Star Wars.
Ticket to Earth
Ticket to Earth is a unique blend of a tile-matching puzzle game smashed together with turn-based strategy elements. This story-rich RPG puts you in the shoes of four different characters as they battle their way through a space colony in turmoil. The plot unfolds through comic-book style cutscenes, informing us that New Providence is on the brink of collapse as societal inequality runs wild and thousands of people desperately vie for coveted tickets aboard the starship that can take them back to Earth.
The thrilling story is a big draw of Ticket to Earth, but the gameplay is great in its own right. Combat takes place on a grid of colored tiles, each color of which corresponds to your character’s ability. You move around the board by drawing lines along a single given color, but your line can be as long as your tiles can conceivably link to each other, including diagonals. As you walk across tiles, you charge up your abilities and try to position yourself strategically on the board in relation to your enemies.
The gameplay can be fairly challenging, but you can even make it harder to try and complete bonus objectives in each encounter. There’s also a broad array of abilities you can unlock and passive skills that you can use to create character load-outs to suit your own playstyle. Ticket to Earth is $4.99 on Google Play, but it’s completely free if you have Play Pass. With the potential to clock 20+ hours in the game, this relatively small price tag is totally worth it for such a good experience.
Titan Quest originally came out back in 2006 and helped fill the long void left by Diablo II before III came out. It’s an isometric ARPG with tons of loot, monsters to kill, and beautiful vistas to see. And while there’s still a community around it over on PC, thanks to THQ Nordic’s Titan Quest Anniversary Edition, Android users can experience this gem of gaming courtesy of a port from a few years ago.
You are a nameless hero, freshly landed on the shores of Helos in Greece, a village currently besieged by wild beasts and monsters from fairytales and folklore. Once you save the village, you set off searching for the famed Leonidas, and I’ll leave the rest for you to discover. Spoiler: you’re going to see a lot of the ancient world.
This game is many hours long, action-packed, and full of loot to find. Within a couple of hours of starting, you’ll have a hero powerful enough to slay anything in your way, all while looking completely awesome. Titan Quest features a dual specialty build system, meaning that you can combine any two of the disciplines to create your own demi-god. If loot is half the fun of Titan Quest, the other is definitely finding the build to suit your playstyle.
I’d say that this port of Titan Quest has two major downsides. It’s not a part of the Anniversary Edition for starters and so lacks all of the new content (extra specialties and expansions) and quality of life improvements. Secondly, there’s no controller support, and the touch controls can feel a bit wonky at points. Still, it’s a mostly good port of one of my favorite games of all time, and it definitely deserves a spot in this list.
Sometimes, your opinion just doesn’t line up with everyone else’s, and that’s fine at times. Such is the case here with V4; It is a game I really enjoy, but it has a ton of angry 1-star reviews in the Play Store at the time of writing. I’ve dumped almost 10 hours into this game at this point, and I disagree with a lot of the disparagement since most of it seems to be due to technical launch issues, like server and character creation problems.
Published by Nexon, I was on guard and somewhat suspicious going into V4. I ended up pleasantly surprised. V4 is a dark fantasy MMO with beautiful art, nice graphics, a decent character creator, 6 classes to choose from, and your choice between auto-play (a la idle clickers) or manual play, like a traditional MMO. However, the voice acting and dialogue are pretty cringe, and I don’t enjoy most of the sound effects. My Gunslinger’s dual pistols and rifle should be booming, not sounding like they’re slapping the enemies, for example.
Otherwise, it’s your typical MMO fare. You have a character level that determines your stats, levels for additional stats that you can sacrifice gear to increase, and various daily missions and feats to complete. There are different mounts for you to show off and assorted pets that offer extra bonuses like XP boosts.
I wouldn’t say V4 is groundbreaking as an MMO, but I quite like it for being mobile and free-to-play. With it having just launched, some teething issues are to be expected. Some players have reported (via 1-star reviews) login issues, full servers, and problems getting the character creator to spin up. In my playtime, I never had a single issue.
Vampire: The Masquerade — Night Road
Fans of the World of Darkness IP Vampire: The Masquerade have a lot to be excited for. While we patiently await Bloodlines 2, we have something to tide us over. Called Night Road, this game is a 100% text-based RPG where your choices matter. It also helps that the writing is awesome, and the game itself is huge at 650,000 words (give or take).
In Night Road, you play as a vampire courier that drives through the American Southwest delivering goods and messages to vampire higher-ups. Not only are vampire hunters after you, but you have to contend with the dawn as you make your way to your destination. Ultimately, however, you define your character as you see fit.
Considering the size of the game and the multitude of choices you can make, Night Road is an excellent text-based adventure and one that’s fun to play through a few times to see how different choices affect the narrative. You can start off playing for free, but at a certain point, you’ll need to fork over $10 to finish the game. You can also pay $1 to remove ads.
Wayward Souls has been around for a while, but boy, is it a great game. It’s either a rogue-like with ARPG elements, or it’s an ARPG with rogue-like elements. Both are equally valid, I think, though I tend to fall in the former camp. However, what’s actually important is that Wayward Souls is a wonderful game and an absolute must for any fan of rogue-likes and/or ARPGs.
You find yourself in a strange tower, and you’re given a choice: do you play as the mage, the rogue, or the warrior? The goal is to reach each level’s exit, but that can often be extremely difficult or super easy, depending on your luck of the draw and your skill. Every level is procedurally generated, so your loot, layout, and enemy placement will differ each time.
This game is challenging, don’t get me wrong, but I think the difficulty is done quite well. You don’t have to deal with finicky touchscreen controls — quite the opposite, really — and the game teaches you the basics. Due to the procedural generation, there can’t be quite a sharp increase in challenge, but you’ll be alright.