There are as many role playing games as there are virtual worlds to visit in them. The RPG genre has grown in popularity over the years perhaps because of its versatility. The neat thing about role playing elements is that they can be put into various genres, such as fantasy, sci-fi, or modern-world adventure, allowing RPGs to appeal to a broad audience. In addition, RPGs can be text-based, puzzle-based, action-based, strategy-based, etc. They are generally defined by narrative and mechanics, which means that RPGs can take on many different formats.
But does the genre translate well to mobile devices? For the most part, it translates fairly well. Role-playing games and mobile devices appear to be a good match, but there are a few issues. RPGs tend to be progression-oriented, making them main targets for manipulative micro-transactions. There are plenty of free RPGs that involve this kind of gameplay, and it’s also why you will find most of the games on our list are paid. That’s the primary inherent issue that we think you’ll find in mobile RPGs. Now that we’ve covered that, it’s time to look at some of the best RPGs for Android.
#1 Out There: Ω Edition
Since the infamous Faster Than Light isn’t available for Android, Out There might be the next best thing. FTL is a space management strategy game, and considered to occupy a niche within the genre. Out There combines the core gameplay of FTL with some well-designed RPG elements, which in some ways actually makes it a better game. Gameplay in Out There is similar to FTL’s. You will assign different crew members to carry out various jobs on the spaceship that is out there exploring a dangerous galaxy.
Although it’s a suitable clone of FTL, with difficult-to-master strategic mechanics, Out There also brings some unique elements. The game is created like a comic book, a charm that FTL does not have. Out There is game that is a lot more story-based, which gives it the feel of a real RPG rather than a strategy game. You make choices in a choose-your-own-adventure style narrative that adds a whole new dimension to your role-playing experience. If you prefer RPGs that are more tactical, and if you love a challenge, Out There comes with the highest of recommendations.
#2 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Knights of the Old Republic has the reputation of being one of the most iconic science-fiction RPG experiences, and the Android port is just as good. In fact, the two versions are almost identical. If you were anticipating a more simplified version than the desktop KOTOR game, you would be wrong. The gameplay works well for touch controls, although they can be difficult to get a handle on, especially on smaller screens.
Because the port is so good, what you really get to do is play one of the best RPGs ever on your Android device. There isn’t too much to say about the game itself that has not already been said. There is an excellent KOTOR cast of characters, an excellent storyline, a realistic universe, and one the best videogame twists ever. Even if you aren’t a Star Wars fan, it’s a good guess that you will still get something out of this game.
#3 ZENONIA 5
Zenonia is the only free game on this list, which already deserves some credit. Gamevil, a Korean video game company, developed this game, and did a great job of building a reputation for creating quality titles that are interesting, fun, and free. And Zenonia is certainly one of their best efforts.
You play as a protagonist in the game, following a main quest line, and you can get involved in side quests. You’re allowed to choose from various classes, and the class you choose impacts how your real-time combat is carried out. A mechanic and a berserker fight will look differently.
Exploring the world is a rich experience. However, it can sometimes feel repetitive. The fetching and grinding quests in this game give the feeling of playing a true RPG. You can also go through PvP combat that is both difficult and competitive when you compare it to the main game.
Like many of the free games, Zenonia 5 offers some in-app purchases so the players could speed up the main storyline. There’s no requirement to making these purchases, and they aren’t offered up enough to annoy you. While the game is not overly flashy, when you think that it’s free, it is pretty awesome.
#4 Attack the Light
Many name Paper Mario for Nintendo 64 an all-time RPG favorite. In Paper Mario, there is a fun story with cute visuals and simple combat that maintains a certain degree of strategy. Some games’ (i.e. South Park: The Stick of Truth) original mechanics were heavily inspired by Paper Mario’s, but they just don’t have the degree of cuteness or sweetness seen in the original game. Attack the Light by Cartoon Network nicely fills that gap. It takes place in Steven Universe, one of the most popular American cartoons on air right now.
Your character is Steven, a half-human, half-alien boy that goes on magical adventures along with his deceased mother’s team of alien warriors. The storyline is a lot like Paper Mario’s – silly and simple, as is the gameplay and the style of combat. The game never feels too complex or serious, with plenty of strategy that isn’t always obvious. Each character has their own unique skill set, and so they are best suited for different stat upgrades based on how you want to use them. This is a fantastic game for all ages, and even those who have not watched the show will enjoy it.
#5 The World Ends With You
This is another expensive Square Enix port. The cost of The World Ends With You is slightly higher than that of Final Fantasy VI, but it’s worth it. The World Ends With You was originally a Nintendo DS game, surprising people when it was released in 2007. At a first glance, it looks like a generic JRPG, but it really is a game with a great look, a unique concept, and a quality soundtrack.
When it comes to porting, The World Ends With You is quite decent. Mobile devices are a nice place to jump from Nintendo DS, as both of these have a touch screen. Be warned, for it is a big download, and some older devices tend to run hot.
In this game, the protagonist wakes up in an alternate plane of existence. You have no memory of what has happened to you. You find yourself fighting to return to your normal existence. Dead players will forfeit their most valuable possession in order to return to life, or to ascend to a higher spiritual being. It is all tied together with a challenging combat system that is fun, with cool art style and relatable characters.