Role-playing games are wonderful, story-driven experiences that complement the mobile gaming experience nicely. Despite the relatively tiny mobile screens we’re used to (yes, 5.7 inches is still small by gaming standards), RPGs allow us to get lost in fanciful worlds for a while. In the case of some games, especially those ported over from PC, that “while” could be 20, 30 hours, or even more! This makes the best RPGs worth their price in the Google Play Store.
Unfortunately, like most game genres, there are some mobile duds. We’ve hand-picked the best of the best to save you the trouble of digging.
If you’re looking for more than just RPGs, be sure to check out our roundup of the best Android games out there!
Adventures of Mana
Although the quality varies, Square Enix’s commitment to porting its many JRPGs to the Play Store is admirable. Nearly all of their older Final Fantasy titles have made it to mobile, some of which have been beautifully updated, and they show no signs of stopping on their quest to serve up some of the best, most engaging JPRGs you can get on your phone.
Adventures of Mana (AoM) is no different, but its genetic tree is fascinating. A remake of Final Fantasy Adventure for the Game Boy, AoM is the first entry in the offshoot Mana series. It’s a big leap from 1991 to now, but Adventures of Mana has somehow managed to nail bringing its 2D pixels to a 3D world. The real-time combat is excellent, the many weapons you can collect and wield add a ton of fun and replay value, and the story is charming and memorable. AoM also boasts a soundtrack so beautiful it’ll make you cry, plus stunning character designs.
Lovers of older JRPGs are virtually guaranteed to enjoy Adventures of Mana. There were some really bad bugs reported a while ago, but the game has since been updated to (hopefully) repair these. As always though, one of AoM’s biggest flaws, depending on who you ask, is its price tag. Clocking in at $13.99, it’s high on the premium mobile spectrum, but the cost is worth it to diehard Mana fans. If you’re looking for a lesser-known JRPG to try, look no further than Adventures of Mana.
AnimA is a Diablo clone for Android, even down to the fonts used, but I’m here for it. This game pays homage to Blizzard’s classic ARPGs. It has a dark, foreboding atmosphere, a fun loot grind, and plenty of enemies to hack-and-slash to death.
This is a free-to-play game with microtransactions, but it seems to be similar to Path of Exile, where you can still play through the game on your own terms. Overall, the monetization isn’t too egregious, and the developers just let you enjoy the game.
If you’re a D&D fan, then you’ll want the Baldur’s Gate games on your phone ASAP. They use a modified version of the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition rules and the original Baldur’s Gate was credited with the computer RPG renaissance in 1998.
These are your classic fantasy games, where you start off knowing only the walls of the castle in which you were born but are thrust into a war-torn world under mysterious circumstances. Venture off and take on mythical creatures, as well as real ones like rats.
If you like a good old-fashioned romp around a medieval realm, clearing dungeons and slaying beasts, all while creating potions and bettering your character, then the Baldur’s Gate games should be right up your alley. Given the smaller text and menu controls, this game should ideally be played on a tablet, but you might be able to get by if you’ve got a larger flagship phone.
The Banner Saga
The Banner Saga is a pretty awesome Norse fantasy tactical RPG that reminds me a lot of Fire Emblem. I only got a chance to play a little bit of the first game, but I hear nothing but good things about the trilogy. Unfortunately for Android users, only the first two games are available on the Play Store. Still, those are two games worth your time.
The art style is simply stunning, with excellent character design and gorgeous vistas. The gameplay itself is fairly intense, requiring a lot of strategy in how you form your party, place your units, and engage with your enemies. The Banner Saga features plenty of characters to interact and develop relationships with. Your choices matter here, so be careful in how you approach things.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar
Battle Chasers: Nightwar is an award-winning JRPG that offers one of the most complete mobile RPG experiences you’ll play in 2020 — and that’s complete in the sense that there are no in-app purchases or paid DLC to worry about. Hallelujah!
Everything about this game is polished and complete, and it starts with a robust overworld that’s filled with hidden dungeons to explore, epic bosses to take down, and other surprises along the way.
The turn-based combat is inspired by all the favorites you remember from the JRPG genre and is a real treat even for a casual fan like myself. Along with the dense and sprawling world to explore that’s teeming with enemies to do battle with, there are also deep crafting elements for upgrading your team’s weapons, armors, and magical jewelry. An RPG is only as good as its story and characters, and given that this game is based on a graphic novel of the same name, we’re given fully developed characters and a compelling story.
The main character of the story is a young girl named Gully who is on a quest to find her father, Aramus, a renowned hero who left behind powerful gauntlets before mysteriously disappearing — gauntlets that his daughter now makes use of in her own epic adventure. Gully is joined by a supporting cast that includes Knowlan the wise old mage who always travels with Calibretto, an ancient war golem built for battle that developed his own sentience and emotions.
This game is definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of either Battle Chasers or simply looking for a new JRPG to dive into.
Chrono Trigger is another legendary RPG developed by Square Enix that’s been celebrated for its fantastic storytelling and gorgeous 16-bit graphics, and it still holds up as one of the best video games of all time.
The game and gameplay itself have been preserved here while upgrading some of the visuals and sound in the port over to Android. Admittedly, this is going to be a bit jarring for hardcore fans of the game; this is not an emulated SNES ROM but rather a standalone game that’s been optimized for mobile gaming, with touch controls set by default and support for Bluetooth controllers. You’re also now able to play this game offline, making it a great travel companion for a long plane ride.
If you’ve never played Chrono Trigger before, this game is absolutely worth your time and money. It’s a game full of mystery, adventure, and action with a riveting story that is just so satisfying.
Claiming to be the first RPG truly designed for touch controls, Eternium is an excellent fantasy RPG that does feel great to play. The controls are smooth and make sense to the mobile experience and the gameplay is fun and immersive.
You and your party are off on a quest to prevent Ragadam from taking over the world and ultimately destroying it, all the while battling skeletons and demons, collecting loot, crafting items and weapons, and casting spells to get the job done. The spell-casting controls are particularly cool since you have to draw symbols on your screen to summon different spells.
If you’re looking for an RPG experience similar to dungeon crawlers like Diablo that was truly meant for mobile, then indulge in Eternium.
Evoland isn’t the most original game of all time. It borrows elements from the Legend of Zelda, Diablo, and Final Fantasy to create a classic RPG adventure that might be a bit of a knock-off, but is as fun as any of the originals.
However, there’s a damn good reason it pilfers from the classics. It offers a meta-narrative that explores the evolution of RPG video games, starting you off with monochrome graphics and a 2D character. As you progress, you unlock new technologies and new graphics until you reach the modern, 3D/HD age. Your journey is punctuated by references to classic RPGs and movies, so keep a sharp eye out and enjoy the easter eggs thrown in as you battle and loot and level up.
For the sequel, the scope of gameplay was expanded to include a broader look at the history of video games, blending in different genres as you embark on a new adventure. If you love RPGs, no matter when they were made, then you’ll love Evoland and the sequel Evoland 2.
One of the most beloved RPG sagas is well-represented on Android with over a dozen iconic Final Fantasy games to choose from.
If you have any love in your heart for the series, then you’ll definitely want at least one of these titles on your phone or tablet. Play your way through the entire sci-fi/fantasy saga if you want to help Cloud stop Sephiroth, help Cecil stop Golbez, or help defeat Queen Brahne alongside Zidane.
Most of the adventures and a few spin-offs are there for you to spend hours and hours with, which makes them worth the cash (they can be as much as $21!). Just note that these games can take up a LOT of space, like upwards of 2GB. That being said, you’re getting the full game with all of these, so 2GB is a reasonable trade-off. You may have seen ads for Final Fantasy XV, but do note that the game was not directly developed by Square Enix and is full of pay-to-win mechanics.
Whether you’re up for medieval fantasy or futuristic sci-fi action, Final Fantasy has something for everyone, easily making them some of the best RPGs around for Android — or any platform for that matter!
Genshin Impact sort of came out of nowhere. It’s an action RPG with fantastic elemental combat and a fun party system. You’ll need to switch characters, choosing from an impressive roster, often to have the best outcomes in battle. It takes obvious cues from Breath of the Wild with an “anime” twist. The open world is beautiful and filled with things to do, resources to find, and monsters to slay.
I’d say the biggest downfall of Genshin Impact is monetization. It uses gacha mechanics to get you to spend more on additional characters, new weapons, and more. Even with the game getting very grindy in the endgame, it’s still worth playing just to experience the beautiful world and characters.
Continuing the trend of classic RPGs, Icewind Dale deserves a shoutout. While perhaps not as memorable as Baldur’s Gate or Neverwinter Nights, I still have fond memories of Icewind Dale “back in the day.” Thanks once again to Beamdog, it has seen new life on Android.
Much like the other Enhanced Edition ports, Icewind Dale has received some upgrades to make it more palatable to modern audiences. It’s optimized for large tablet screens, but it’s playable on a big phone. There are many bug fixes and improvements versus the original, and it sports cross-platform multiplayer for epic adventuring with friends.
Many RPGs tend to pack in a ton of value for the money, and Icewind Dale is no different. It definitely shows its age, but I think any RPG fan can enjoy it.
It is an inescapable face that Nexomon is heavily inspired by Pokémon. So heavily inspired that it often gets slapped with the label “Pokémon Clone.” However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and I think many players will be shocked to discover how fun and fresh Nexomon Extinction can be. Styled like the top-down Pokémon games from the Gameboy era, Nexomon is a charming monster-catching and battling game RPG. You play as a human trainer on a quest to become the very best as you catch and tame Nexomon to climb the ladder of greatness.
It sounds, and is, extremely similar to Pokémon, but it throws in a few key differences to keep things feeling fresh. When it comes to successfully catching new Nexomon, there are new elements like feeding that Nexomon favorable treats and using the right kind of traps. There’s also a wonderful element of freedom in the exploration aspects of the game. Once you’re out of the basic tutorial areas, you can go virtually anywhere on the map without having to wait around for the story to catch up to any locale. Battles scale nicely to the player no matter where you go exploring, but most boss battles will still be a few levels above you and may require some grinding.
The story has a lot of humor and likes to take friendly jabs at the tropes associated with this particular genre of gaming. Nexomon: Extinction isn’t a perfect game, but if you’ve ever liked a Pokémon game, there’s a good chance that you’re to have a great time with this charming little title. Plus, there’s a solid free trial that will give you a perfect idea of what you’re in for. After your free trial is up, it’s only $2.99 to unlock the full game. For a game that could easily be a 20-30 hour experience, that’s a deal!
Going back to 1999, we have one of the best RPGs ever, Planescape: Torment. This game is legendary for its story, soundtrack, and characters. Now it’s been remastered and ported to modern platforms, including Android, all thanks to Beamdog.
Planescape: Torment’s return comes with several improvements to the core game, like bug fixes and so on. What made the original so amazing is still here, like the excellently written dialogue, character builds, and the soundtrack (which has also received a remaster).
It’s well worth the money and time investment to experience this gem of RPG history and to see what inspired so many others that followed. For me, personally, there hasn’t been anything quite like Planescape: Torment since, though there are other RPGs I like better. That’s nostalgia for you.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
This is the full KOTOR experience, so if you’re a Star Wars fan, this is definitely the mobile game you’re looking for. It’s a huge download — at 2.4GB — but you get all the force-wielding, lightsaber-swinging, Republic-saving goodness that the console games dazzled us with.
Choose your party from nine types of characters, travel to eight planets on the Ebon Hawk, and learn to use the Force, including over 40 powers. You also get to build your own lightsaber!
Knights of the Old Republic is the epitome of a classic Star Wars RPG and this port is totally worth the cash. This game even supports controllers if you prefer to play that way. As the Jedi’s last hope, you decide the fate of the galaxy as you battle your way to becoming a hero or falling to the temptation of the Dark Side.
Vampire: The Masquerade — Night Road
Android finally sees a Vampire: The Masquerade game! Night Road is a 100% text-based RPG where your choices matter. It also helps that the writing is awesome and the game itself is huge at 650,000 words. It’s quite the long game, all told, but I had a ton of fun with it. If you like roleplaying as a vampire, you’ll enjoy yourself.
Pick a clan and give your character a backstory. Everyone, however, will see the same basic premise. You’re a courier for the vampire higher-ups and you run your missions at night (for obvious reasons). Not only is the dawn a major antagonist, but you have other problems like vampire hunters to worry about.
The acclaimed genre is perfect for Android
With the role-playing genre being so old it’s perfect for Android as developers have released remasters that work wonderfully with touch controls. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t new RPGs worth your time, though. Genshin Impact is one of the most notable JRPGs to release in recent years, and although it’s not compatible with an great Android controllers just yet, nearly everyone who picks it up is immediately pulled into its world.
No matter which game you choose on this list, though, you’re sure to have a good time if it’s something that’s caught your eye.