Role-playing games, or RPGs, have come a long way since their humble tabletop beginnings. After making the leap to the PC and console, they've now found a home your phone or tablet. The best of the mobile lot lets players live out fantasy epics, transport them into far future space operas, or tell intimate, character-driven narratives. From old-school dungeon crawling classics to modern action RPGs and quirky little indies, check out two dozen of the best mobile RPGs for your Android or iOS device.
The latest Final Fantasy epic makes a smooth jump from console RPG to touch screen devices in Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition (Android, iOS). This episodic mobile RPG captures the core story and charm while cutting down on the grind common to the genre. You’ll appreciate the “chibi”-style graphics, which capture many of the same story beats and combat complexities of Prince Noctis's quest to bring peace to the warring lands of Lucis and Niflheim. You can download the first episode for free, with subsequent chapters available as in-app purchases.
The Monster Hunter series is a famously hardcore JRPG franchise, but Monster Hunter Stories (Android, iOS) is a pretty accessible entry into the series. A mobile 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 where you take advantage of your beast’s strengths and exploit 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 on your phone.
For something less intense than epic quests or titanic monster hunts, check out Stardew Valley, the hit indie farming RPG which has finally made the jump from PC to iOS. Players inherit a rundown farm; 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 enjoy, and caves full of monsters and resources to explore.
Reigns has proven to be a popular swiping-based RPG on touchscreen devices, and now it’s taking on the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros in Reigns: Game of Thrones (Android, iOS). Through the fiery visions of the priestess Melisandre, you'll explore a tangle of alternate scenarios in Westeros, imagining how things might go down if characters like Jon Snow, Sansa Stark, Cersei Lannister, or others had claimed and held the Iron Throne. As in previous Reigns games, you'll need to balance between the needs of the nobles, the priests, the people, and the Night's Watch, swiping left or right to choose your path. Each character you choose faces their own unique challenges, and as you play, you'll get the opportunity to unlock new leaders and scenarios to experience.
Join the Devil Downloaders in their secret war against the Acolytes in Shin Megami Tensei Liberation Dx2 (Android, iOS), the latest mobile entry of the acclaimed JRPG franchise. As a Devil Downloader, you’ll explore a fantasy Tokyo where you can summon demons to foil the Acolytes’ many plots. To do so, you'll need to use 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 ever mightier champions out of myth and legend to join your side. The game is free to play, so you’ve got stamina limiting your games, as well as a variety of currencies and a gatcha-like summoning mechanic to the demon collection minigame.
Evoland 2: A Slight Case of Spacetime Continuum Disorder (Android, iOS) takes you down a trip through gaming history and evolution. Under your guidance, time-travelling heroes Kuro and Fina journey through the various genres and eras of video gaming history as they try 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 offers players both impressive variety and nostalgia. Even better, this version turns out to be a lengthier game than its rather short original.
A legendary title from the golden age of PS1 classic RPGs, Valkyrie Profile comes to the mobile age with Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth (Android, iOS). 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 join the Einherjar — 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 and is worth its premium price.