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.
Fight back against the rising tide of Chaos in Warhammer Quest 2: The End Times, a tactical dungeon crawler set in the Old World of the Warhammer Fantasy games. Players take command of heroes from the various races of the Warhammer world, plundering dungeons and defeating enemies in a quest for a mystic artifact. The base game comes with a 10-mission campaign and side quests, with additional missions and characters available through in-app purchases.
Lead the defense of the New Terran Federation against an alien nemesis in Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander, a strategy RPG hybrid from Massive Damage. Taking inspiration from sci-fi classics like Star Trek and Babylon 5, you build up a crew of valiant officers and starships to explore nearby star systems. Away missions and fleet battles let you gather resources, solve crises, and curry favor with various factions, as you amass the strength you need to face the alien mothership.
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.
For something less grim and more whimsical, check out Cat Quest (Android, iOS), a tongue-in-cheek action RPG by the Gentlebros. Go on a quest to rescue your catnapped sister from the hands of the evil Drakoth and his dragon minions. At the same time, you'll explore the world, doing good deeds for your fellow cats while fighting monsters. The real-time combat system 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. There's a fair amount of open world area to explore, while still providing fun that can be enjoyed in short bursts or long sittings. Fair warning: there are puns. So many cat puns.
Trade your broadswords for blasters in Galaxy of Pen & Paper (Android, iOS), the latest RPG parody game from Behold Studios. Galaxy retains the pixel retro art style of Knights of Pen & Paper as well as that game's delightful sense of humor. This time around, the app takes 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, including space battles, branching stories and planetary exploration.
Overthrow a tyrannical magical order in Rogue Wizards, a cartoony turn-based dungeon crawler that has you exploring monster-filled depths and coming out with loads of loot and gear for your merry band of magical rebels. The game combines the addictive game loop of dungeon delve and gear upgrading with a touchscreen friendly turn-based combat system that doesn't sacrifice tactical depth. In between dungeon crawls, you can kit out your wizard's tower and upgrade your town or recruit new members for your team. Players get the entire game free, with in-app purchases or video ads allowing you to buy gems (which you can also earn via play); a single "2x Gem Booster" purchase gives players the same drop rate and game balance as the premium PC version.