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Best iOS games 2020

Best iOS RPG Games

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Best iOS RPG Game: Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition (Free)

Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition compresses the latest Final Fantasy epic into a mobile-friendly episodic RPG that captures much of the game’s core story and charm while cutting down on the tedious JRPG grind. This iOS version makes a smooth transition from console RPG to touch screen, with photo-realism making way for cute “chibi”-style graphics. Even with the different look, Pocket Edition retains many of the same story beats and combat complexities. You can grab the first chapter available for free, with succeeding chapters available individually or as part of a $20 bundle.

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(Image credit: Abylight)

Hyper Light Drifter ($4.99)

Need even more proof that the gap between consoles and mobile devices is getting ever more narrow? Check out the iOS version of Hyper Light Drifter. This throwback to the action-adventure games of yore delivers outstanding graphics, top-notch music and exciting battles, as you navigate your Drifter through a dangerous yet inviting world. Expect higher frame rates if you play this game on an iPad, though it also plays just fine on Apple's iPhones. The arrival of iOS 13 means you can play with a MiFi controller if you prefer.

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Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth ($17.99)

A legendary title from the golden age of PS1 classic RPGs, Valkyrie Profile comes to the mobile age with Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth. As one of Odin’s Valkyries, you must wander the world searching for the souls of the mighty, the broken and the lost to see who among them is worthy to become one of the Einherjar, or warriors who will serve in the wars of the gods. Combining combo-based combat, exploration and light platforming, and an intricate plot, Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth stands up well even to more modern games. It’s well worth the expected premium price of most of Square Enix’s games.

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(Image credit: Capcom)

Monster Hunter Stories ($19.99)

The Monster Hunter series is a famously hardcore JRPG franchise, but Monster Hunter Stories is a pretty accessible entry into the series. A port of the 3DS original, Stories shakes things up a bit by having you come from a village of Riders — people who can bond with the titanic monsters of the Monster Hunter universe. You’ll head out into the world looking for monster eggs to hatch and befriend, while taking on enemies in turn-based battles that will require you to take advantage of your beast’s strengths and your enemies’ weaknesses. The game loses out on some of the 3DS features such as Amiibo support, but it’s a big, meaty mobile RPG that should provide hours of gameplay for players.

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Stardew Valley ($7.99)

For something less intense than deciding the fate of entire kingdoms, check out Stardew Valley, the hit indie farming RPG which has finally made the jump from PC to iOS. Players inherit a run-down old farm, and with grit and hard work, can turn that family inheritance into the farm of their dreams. You plant crops, bring in the harvest, and reinvest your profits into expanding the farm and bringing in livestock. The game is more than just farming, with a neighboring community to visit and befriend, fishing spots to explore, and caves full of monsters and resources to explore.

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(Image credit: Behold Studios)

Galaxy of Pen & Paper ($3.99)

Trade your broadswords for blasters in Galaxy of Pen & Paper, the latest RPG parody game from Behold Studios. Galaxy retains the pixel retro art style of Knights of Pen & Paper, as well as its delightful sense of humor, only this game takes its aim at science fiction games, books, and movies in a loving parody of SF tabletop gaming. Galaxy adds a ton of new gameplay elements to the old turn-based battle standby of the Pen & Paper series, such as space battles, branching stories, and planetary exploration.

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Langrisser (Free)

Langrisser makes the leap to mobile, with deep turn-based battle gameplay designed to challenge new players and veterans alike. You’ll need to balance each unit’s abilities against the strengths and weaknesses of your enemy, while also managing your heroes as you fight your way through the main campaign, side quests and PVP battles. You don’t even need to know anything about the earlier games, as a Time Rift feature lets you experience classic battles and story highlights of the previous games, netting you some nice loot as well as catching you up on the backstory. There are going to be some free-to-play and gatcha summoning mechanics, which might turn off purists, but Langrisser is a nice free tactical RPG experience on mobile.

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Shieldwall Chronicles ($9.99)

Wave Light Games continues to release tough tactical RPGs with the arrival of Shieldwall Chronicles, a return to fantasy form after Strike Team Hydra. Players will build their own mercenary band of six heroes, before heading out on adventures in the perilous North, engaging in desperate battles against undead, lizardfolk, demons and other foes. You'll need to make the most out of each of your heroes' abilities as you use superior positioning and tactics to break your enemy's will and send them fleeing from the field. Multiple difficulty modes, a wealth of loot to collect and a range of unique heroes to recruit give Shieldwall Chronicles a lot of replayability for mobile gamers looking for a combat-focused RPG.

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Star Traders: Frontiers ($6.99)

Trese Brothers returns to space with Star Traders: Frontiers, a persistent world sandbox RPG that puts you in command of your own starship in a dangerous star sector. As inheritor of a Star Trader charter, it’s up to you to decide what you’ll do with your ancestral vessel. Will you go after dangerous bounties, explore alien worlds, haul valuable cargo, or dabble in the politics of the sector’s rival factions? Configure your ship, hire the right crew, and take to the stars!

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Evoland 2 ($7.99)

Evoland 2: A Slight Case of Spacetime Continuum Disorder takes you down a trip through gaming history and evolution. You guide time-travelling heroes Kuro and Fina through the various genres and eras of video gaming history in a quest to save the world. Melding a variety of genres and eras from top-down Zelda-likes to sidescrolling platformers, bullet hell shooters, and even rhythm battles and trading card games, Evoland 2 brings impressive variety and nostalgia, while also providing a lengthier game than its rather short original.

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Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery (Free)

Harry Potter is nowhere to be seen in this RPG, but you won't mind as you explore the halls of Hogwarts, uncovering its many mysteries. From customizing your own avatar to letting you choose which Hogwarts house you belong too, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is all about creating your own adventure and finding your own path. Along the way, you'll learn spells, take on rivals, form alliances and compete for the House Cup, all while trying to solve the mystery of your brother's disappearance from the school for witchcraft and wizardry. Hogwarts Mystery is free to play, though in-app purchases let you load up on items you can use in the game, should you choose.

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(Image credit: Sega)

Shin Megami Tensei Liberation Dx2 (Free)

Join the Devil Downloaders in their secret war against the Acolytes in Shin Megami Tensei Liberation Dx2, the latest mobile entry of the acclaimed JRPG franchise. As a Devil Downloader, you’ll summon demons to battle to foil the Acolytes’ many plots, using each demon’s unique traits and abilities to gain an edge in battle. Through cunning and diplomacy, you can also turn enemy demons to your side, as well as fuse demons together to create mightier servants to join your side. The game is free to play, so you’ve got stamina limiting your games, as well as a variety of mechanics and currencies and a gatcha-like summoning mechanic to the demon collection minigame.

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(Image credit: The Gentlebros)

Cat Quest ($4.99)

Cat Quest offers something less grim and more whimsical in the RPG world. This tongue-in-cheek game sends you on a quest to rescue your catnapped sister from the hands of the evil Drakoth and his dragon minions. You'll explore the world, doing good deeds for your fellow cats while fighting monsters. The real-time combat system in Cat Quest is all about timing and positioning, as you tap on vulnerable foes to strike, long press to bring up your magic spells, and dance away as enemies charge up their attack, making for digestible but dynamic gameplay that’s packed with a metric ton of cat puns.

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Darkest Dungeon Tablet Edition ($4.99)

Steel your body and soul and do battle against the blasphemous horrors of the Darkest Dungeon, Red Hook Studio’s brutally atmospheric rogue-like dungeon crawler. As inheritor of a cursed estate, it’s up to you to gather a stable of heroes ready to raid its depths and rid the ruins of the many monsters and terrors that your ancestor unleashed. The dungeons and their denizens are brutal and merciless, and you’ll have to manage not just your heroes’ bodies but also their stress levels and mental stability. The game features a wealth of hero classes to try out, and while the dungeon crawl can get grindy, its atmospherics are pitch-perfect in replicating a gothic horror feel.

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Pocket Mortys (Free)

In the center of the Venn diagram that depicts fans of both role-playing games and the Rick and Morty cartoon series, you'll find Pocket Mortys, a zany RPG that mixes Pokémon character-collecting gameplay with turn-based combat. And of course, you can also expect the kind of humor you'll find in the Cartoon Network show peppered throughout the game, which has you collecting and training dozens of Mortys scattered across the show's multiverse. Frequent updates add even more Mortys for you to capture.

Why we love RPG Games

Role-playing games, also known as RPGs, allow you to immerse yourself in a character and move through that person's story. No longer just for basement-dwelling Dungeons & Dragons players, mobile RPGs combine your imagination with some fantastical graphics punch and interesting stories that span the globe or even the universe. These top picks offer you a variety of stories to dive into, ranging from a cyberpunk world filled with magic to a Game of Thrones-like universe.

John Corpuz
John Corpuz flip-flopped between computer science and creative writing courses in school. As a contributor to Tom's Guide he's found a happy middle ground writing about apps, mobile gaming and other geekery.