In just a few short years the App Store has quickly garnered the attention of gamers everywhere. From the hundreds of ports of classic games to the original titles that proliferate that little blue icon on your phone or tablet. The App Store is home to some truly spectacular games. While Angry Birds and Draw Something are the App Store’s monoliths, the world of RPGs on your iOS device also serves up some pretty remarkable gaming experiences.
While the App Store boasts more apps filed under the RPG heading than I care to count, sadly, most are thinly veiled attempts to get you to spend a few bucks on something that is subpar to the few gems that really shine on your mobile device. The following ten titles are (according to my wholly biased opinion and also some gross revenue statistics from the App Store) ten of those rare gems that should be right at home amongst any RPG connoisseurs mobile gaming library.
Chrono Trigger; Square Enix $9.99
Arguably one of the best RPGs of all time, Chrono Trigger first made its debut back on the SNES back in 1995 where is was widely received as one of the hallmark titles of the system. Since then, the franchise went on to release another entry into the series (Chrono Cross) and several rerelease of the original, one of which lands it at the very top of this list.
Don’t get me wrong, the iOS port has its flaws. I played it through on an iPad so I was able to avoid many of the problems that faced other players such as selecting enemies in battle and certain options in the character menus. None the less, the game still stands as one of the most solid RPG experiences on the App Store. Whether it’s your first time with the game or you’re picking it up for nostalgia purposes, Chrono Trigger for iOS is delivers.
An Entry into the Final Fantasy Series; Square Enix
The SquareEnix Final Fantasy franchise has become synonymous with RPGs. From their nascent years on the NES to their upcoming MMO (Final Fantasy a Realm Reborn) the Final Fantasy franchise has withstood the test of time. The iOS stores has several titles to choose from. From Final Fantasy Tactics ($7.99) to the recent port of Final Fantasy IV ($15.99) there is much to choose from.
Lunar Silver Star Story: Touch; SoMoGa Inc. $6.99
Lunar Silver Star story originally made its way into gamer’s hands via the original PlayStation. With a cast of characters in the vein of Final Fantasy, fairly high quality voice acting and a sprawling gameplay experience summing up to about 30 hours of play time, the $6.99 investment is not that bad of a deal.
Secret of Mana; Square Enix $8.99
Like other entries on this list, Secret of Mana is a direct port from the SNES and was one of the first big hitting RPGs to make it over to the App Store in late 2010. While technically more of an action RPG, Secret of Mana departs from turn based battles and instead has you play out enemy counters in real time, only pausing to issue commands through a ring system that lets you employ a number of hallmark RPG actions such as item usage, spells and abilities.
Zenonia Series; Gamevil Inc Free – $0.99
The Zenonia franchise put out by app moguls Gamevil is sort of the grandfather of action RPGs on the App Store. Released in 2009 and with subsequent sequels being released since then (the latest, Zenonia 5 coming out this last April), Zenonia offers a great mix of traditional RPG mechanics such as stat allocation, varied loot and dungeons along with a live action touch that has you duking it out with baddies in real-time.
Mage Gauntlet; Rocketcat Games $2.99
Mage Gauntlet was given a lot of praise when it was released onto the App Store. Immediately being featured as the “App of the Week”, Mage Gauntlet rose to the top of the charts due to both its great story, design and gameplay. Mage Gauntlet will find it’s place quite nicely for those gamers who are fans of the SNES release of Zelda.
Swordigo; Touch Foo $1.99
Swordigo was also immediately featured as “App of the Week” when it was released last year on the App Store. The game is a mix of side scrolling action and RPG-esque elements with players gaining experience for monster kills and upgradable weapons and items. Having personally played this game to completion, I highly recommend it.
Across Age; FDG Entertainment $2.99-$4.99 (Depending on graphic quality)
Across Age is the Legend of Zelda port for the iOS system that never happened. With a similar overhead view, a vast array of dungeons and more puzzles then you can shake a stick at, Across Age continues to be one of the highest reviewed RPGs on the App Store and with a few moments of play, you can see why.
Arcane Legends; Spacetime Studios Free (in app purchases available)
The only MMO to make this list is Arcane Legends, while there are others out there, Arcane Legends seems to get it the most “right”. Players can choose from three playable classes, a collection of companion quests and embark on a journey of loot collection, rare spawns and quests, quests and quests. Arcane Legends received high praise from a number of game review sites such as IGN and Pocket Gamer.
Bastion; Warner Bros $4.99
If you haven’t tried your hand at Bastion (either in its XBOX port or PC version) immediately stop what you’re doing and give it ago. From the instantly moody (and award winning score) to the most unique form of narration in a game that I have ever experiences, Bastion is captivating from the first moment of play to the very end. You simply play a character aptly named “The Boy”. As you slowly make you way through the world you begin to piece together the wreckage left over from the “Great Calamity”, a catastrophe that left many of the world’s inhabitants encased in stone.
Feel like I missed something great? Let me know about it! I love reading and replying to comments so let me know what you are thinking below.