Gaming on mobile devices gets better and better with every passing year. That’s especially true with services like Stadia, which make streaming games on your phone or tablet a totally viable way to enjoy AAA games. Gaming on iOS is particularly robust thanks to the operating system’s support of external controllers like Sony’s DualShock 5. The App Store also has a ton of great games — including ports and exclusives on the Apple Arcade.
Of course, the best time-sinks regardless of platform are RPGs. They offer hours of play, great stories, character customization, and deep combat and mechanics. If that’s what you’re looking for, here are the best RPGs for iOS you can play right now. We cover everything from ports to iOS exclusives.
We were impressed by Diablo Immortal on our first playthrough. In fact, we’d say it’s better than Diablo — and we said it was “a PC or quality console release on a small screen” in our review. Bite-sized quests and activities make playing on the go a joy without sacrificing the full experience, including a deep endgame, lengthy campaign, and full voice acting. Fans of the PC games will feel instantly at home, and the game never feels too repetitive. Enjoy stunning maps from a top-down perspective, pick your class to suit your playstyle, slay mobs using your special skills, and collect a ton of loot. Gameplay-wise we’d say it feels a lot like Diablo 3, though the fact you don’t need resources to use skills is different, with them instead operating on brief cooldowns, bringing more fast-paced combat to the fore. There’s a downside, and that’s those excessive microtransactions, which might make this a no-go for some players. Still, it’s worthwhile giving Diablo Immortal a go, particularly if you’re a fan of the existing franchise.
Another Eden harks back to the days of old-school JRPGs, though its gacha mechanics bog it down at times. With an expansive story from master story writer Masato Kato and an original soundtrack from composer Mitsuda Yasunori (both of Xenogears/Chronos series fame), this is a huge game that you’ll find yourself sinking loads of time into. Play as Aldo, living peacefully with your sister Feinne and adoptive grandfather. When Feinne is abducted by the Beast King, you must head out on a quest to save her, but you’ll find yourself drawn into an adventure spanning time and space. It’s possible to enjoy Another Eden without getting involved in the gacha element, but you’ll spend a lot of time grinding to strengthen your characters and advance the story — not a bad thing if that’s what you enjoy. Turn-based battles are pleasingly familiar to fans of the genre, you’ll meet a cast of likable characters along the way, and you’ll collect and spend Chronos Stones to level your characters. For fans of traditional JRPGs, Another Eden ticks a lot of boxes.
The SNES original is now on iOS! Developed by Yuki Horii (Dragon Quest), Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball), and the creators of Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger is one of the most epic role-playing games in the world, now with higher-resolution graphics and updated songs. You play as the young hero, Cronos, who sets off to rescue Marle, a girl who has been hurtled through a dimensional rift created by the Telepod, invented by Cronos’ friend, Lucca. But you emerge four centuries earlier and must journey through different eras, from the past to the distant future and even the end of time, to rescue Marle. Along the way, you can explore the “Dimensional Vortex” and “Lost Sanctum” dungeons, battle monsters, and unleash special “Tech” moves with over 50 different combos.
This free-to-play 2D RPG boasts an art style reminiscent of Diablo 3, with turn-based combat. You play as a recruit in the militia, prepared to defend the village of Vamp’Ire against the threat of the Witchmaster, a being of dark magic. With fully customizable characters and a vast open world to explore, there’s the opportunity to choose your bloodline, influence outcomes with dialogue choices, and collect over 150 weapons and pieces of armor. Oh, and an immersive story to keep you hooked. There’s even in-game chat and PvP battles.
One of the greatest role-playing games of all time is available on mobile devices. Knights of the Old Republic came out in the golden age of Star Wars games, and it is still fondly remembered even today. You play as a nameless character who suffers from amnesia and is plagued by strange visions. The player must uncover their past as they train to become a Jedi and fight for either the light or dark side of the force. BioWare developed the game, so you can expect a great story, branching narrative choices, and loads of great characters. It’s a classic game that’s still worth revisiting whether you’re playing it for the first or hundredth time.
The Banner Saga is one of the best turn-based RPGs to come out in recent memory, and the iOS port is the perfect way to play it. The game is hand-drawn and uses rotoscope animation in the vein of Final Fantasy Tactics. The game also stands out thanks to its Norse setting, and it has a large and memorable cast of characters. The player must take their caravan across the setting and survive a brutal winter, all while battling horrifying creatures and other Viking clans. It’s a great game with a proven formula and extraordinary animation. The Banner Saga won many awards when it came out for a reason, and it is still worth taking a look at.
If you want to take a break from combat and play something a little more relaxing and idyllic, then Stardew Valley is the perfect game for you. This game brings the Harvest Moon formula into the present, and players can build a farm, raise animals, make friends, and find a partner. There are many secrets to unlock, dungeons to explore, and relationships to foster in this smash-hit indie title. The core gameplay is complemented by a soothing soundtrack, a great cast of characters, excellent writing, and exceptional artwork. It’s the perfect game to sit back and relax with, and the experience on iOS is all the better with controller support.
Baldur’s Gate is widely considered one of the greatest RPGs of all time, and it’s the second entry for BioWare on this list. The enhanced edition is available on the App Store, and it’s one of the best ways to play the game. The interface has been redesigned for touch controls, and it feels like a more fluid way to the play game. Plus, the Enhanced Edition comes with the original game and all of the DLC. There are also in-app purchases for additional quests, character portraits, and even voice sets. If you haven’t played Baldur’s Gate yet or want to revisit a timeless classic, playing it on iOS is the best way to do so.
Oceanhorn was a popular RPG when it launched on iOS, but the next game improves on the original concept in nearly every way. It’s actually a prequel that takes place thousands of years before the first game, so you don’t need to play the first one to enjoy this entry. You play a young knight as he travels across the land of Gaia to defeat the Warlock Mesmeroth. The game is packed with puzzles, quests, and a main story that spans over 20 hours. It is also one of the prettiest iOS games available. Oceanhorn 2 alone makes an Apple Arcade subscription worth it.
Supergiant Games is one of the top dogs in the indie game development scene, and for good reason. Their games are highly polished, fun, and are packed with quality writing and characters. Transistor came out in 2015 and was shortly thereafter ported to iOS, and it is still one of the best action RPGs you can play. In the game, you play Red, a famous singer who comes into contact with the Transistor. After which, you are relentlessly pursued by the Process — a deadly robot force that wants the Transistor at all costs. You must survive the relentless onslaught and discover why they want the Transistor. The game was redesigned for touch controls, but it also has MFi (Made For iPhone) support, so you can play the game the way it was initially designed to be played.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar is inspired by classic RPGs of yesteryear, but the game has its own sense of identity thanks to its solid story and fantastic art design. Players take control of Gully, a young girl who is looking for her missing father. Five unlikely allies accompany her as they explore dungeons and fight in Final Fantasy-style turn-based combat. The game has randomly generated dungeons, so each play-through is always unique and different. Battle Chasers also has a deep crafting system for all your equipment. Even several years after its release, the game is still a ton of fun to play. It has everything an RPG player could want, and that’s why it makes it onto this list.
Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition is worth mentioning just for its sheer audacity. Packing one of the largest JRPGs of all time onto a mobile platform sounds insane. And yet, that’s precisely what they did. Not only did Square Enix overhaul the graphics and gameplay for mobile, but it’s also pretty good. In fact, it’s really good. Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition has the exact same story as the console version. And while the gameplay loop is notably different, it packs in a surprising amount of the original experience. If you are curious about Final Fantasy XV but don’t have a console or PC to play it on, Pocket Edition is a perfectly viable way to experience it, and that’s a bizarre and awesome thing to say.
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