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.
Sasha is having a very bad day, emerging in a nightmarish underworld to find her family missing, her left arm a bloody stump, and a mysterious stranger offering her a strange, living sword. Featured among Apple's Best of 2016 apps, Severed has players guiding Sasha through her quest to rescue her family, exploring the netherworld and engaging in swipe-based combat as you cut past the monsters in your way and harvest their limbs to grant you supernatural powers. Swipes are both attack and defense, parrying enemy attacks and leaving them open to your own strikes. The game spices things up by throwing multiple enemies at you from different directions, making threat management and smart use of special abilities key to surviving and rescuing your family.
Planescape: Torment (Android, iOS) is a modern computer RPG classic, taking Dungeons & Dragons away from the Tolkeinesque medieval fantasy and into altogether stranger territories. Players explore the extra-dimensional melting pot that is Sigil, the City of Doors, as they quest to unlock their nameless character's lost memories and answer the question: "What can change the nature of a man?" Along the way, you'll assemble a motley crew of companions, such as the talking skull Morte, the chaste succubus Fall-From-Grace and other strange entities. The enhanced edition leaves the critically acclaimed story and dialogue untouched, while adapting the interface to a more mobile-friendly mode, as well as applying a variety of bug fixes.
Aspyr brings an RPG classic to mobile phones with Jade Empire: Special Edition (Android, iOS), a wuxia-themed action RPG by the developers of Dragon Age and Mass Effect. Players step into the roles of gifted students of Master Li, as they get caught up in action and intrigue battling the Emperor and his infamous Lotus Assassins. True to its wuxia influences, Jade Empire has players battling it out against men and monsters using a variety of martial arts styles whose moves can be combined to great effect. While players can use tap and swipe controls, the app also includes support for MFi controllers.
The Warlock of Firetop Mountain is a gamebook classic, combining elements of choose-your-path adventures with more traditional RPG elements. Originally published in 1982, this gamebook got a new lease on life with a successful Kickstarter campaign in late 2015 for a digitally reimagined version. The game retains the original's branching choose-your-path style, but with CGI embellishments and additions such as 3D environments and a more detailed combat game complete with a tactical map and CG-rendered characters. The game comes with four characters, each with their own abilities, and more are available as optional in-app purchases.
Nintendo brings its Fire Emblem franchise of strategy RPGs to mobile with Fire Emblem Heroes (Android, iOS), a light strategy and collectibles game that has you recruiting heroes from the many Fire Emblem games to join your forces. As a summoner defending the Kingdom of Askr from the depredations of the Emblian Empire, you have the power to summon heroes from across the Fire Emblem franchise to aid you in turn-based battles. Players can battle their way through the story campaign, as well as extra game modes and challenges to unlock or train more heroes to add to their collection.
Demon's Rise 2: Lords of Chaos delivers fantastically crunchy combat encounters as you lead the vanguard of the Demon Prince Morkarn's army to crush the forces of Baron Aedin the Proud. The game's focus is squarely on the combat and hack & slash spectrum of RPGs as you build a roster of heroes and lead them through a 30 mission campaign, collecting gear, gold, and experience. The battles are fun and well-designed, and a cover and morale system add extra dimensions to gameplay as you move to exploit the battlefield and break the will of your enemies. Multiple difficulty levels, side missions and a wealth of character options add to the replay value of Demon's Rise 2, making it well worth a go for fans of tactical RPGs.