Go on an adventure. Live an epic story. Meet colourful characters. Take part in battles with other players from all over the world.
That’s what awaits you in this selection of role-playing games for Android, blending genres, business models and environments.
RPG fans will tell you that a good role-playing game is not just about beautiful graphics, smooth gameplay or a cast of endearing characters.
It’s the alchemy between all these elements and the writing of a scenario that’s both complex and easy to grasp.
Because you don’t have to put off the neophytes, while managing to convince the experts and fans.
Of all the genres of video games, role-playing is perhaps one of the most ungrateful, so precarious is the balance.
Since the advent of mobile gaming, RPGs have evolved. From a classic model, where the player buys a complete experience as he acquires a game on a console.
It has become, for the most part, an evolutionary journey, with no real goal to reach other than performance and the up to the end.
Complete the most difficult mission ever. Collect the most powerful weapons and characters. Inflict colossal damage to the enemies.
Place your name at the top of the toughest player rankings, and constantly push the limits (best to do so in an ostentatious way on social networks).
Among the flock of role-playing games that exist in the Play Store, we offer you here a selection (subjective, but tested) divided into two categories, because there are several mobile gaming experiences.
The first part is dedicated to “premium” games. You buy them before downloading them. And you don’t (usually) pay anything more for a complete experience.
In this category, you’ll find large-scale mobile RPGs, remakes of big console titles and independent gaming hits.
The second category is dedicated to freemium games, which can be downloaded for free, but whose business model is based on integrated purchasing and a draw system to recruit more powerful allies or equip them with more powerful weapons.
Note that we will not feature here premium RPGs whose full scenario is unlocked with a built-in purchase, such as Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition. We place them directly in the first category.
The Best Premium RPGs For Android
Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition
Apart from re-releasing numerous episodes released for Super Nintendo, PlayStation, Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS, Square-Enix has also adapted Final Fantasy XV for mobile devices (although you can also download this episode on the console).
This is Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition. An episode that shows that paid RPG has its place in the world of smartphones.
This adaptation has relatively little impact on the original scenario. You still follow Noctis, Prince de Lucis, accompanied by his three faithful companions Ignis, Prompto and Gladiolius.
You will still have some mechanical problems with the Regalia, and you’ll always have your heart set on liberating your homeland in search of the sacred weapons of your lineage. An excellent scenario, by the way.
You’ll also find Noctis’ various abilities, including the Eclipse Assault (Noctis’ signature attack), which allows you to jump into battle in the blink of an eye.
As in the original game, you’ll have the opportunity to make combinations with your companions, although it’s easier to trigger them here than on PS4.
Because, apart from a technical achievement a little closer to the remakes of Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy IV, the big difference between the console version of FFXV and the Pocket Edition is the handling.
Controls are simplified. And, overall, the game is easier to play. Which may be a better match for some players.
The first chapter is playable for free. Then you unlock each chapter with an integrated purchase. Once unlocked, you can replay it as many times as you like.
Note that there’s also a full pack of about 20 euros that unlocks all nine additional chapters.
Disgaea 1 Complete
While Fire Emblem and Shining Force were considered in the 90s as absolute references in Japanese Tactical RPGs,
Nippon Ichi Software (aka NIS) has turned the established order upside down with Disgaea, released on PlayStation 2. Since then, NIS has earned its place in the world of console-based Tactical RPGs.
After having released its first opus on Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, here it is on Android in its full version.
A version that includes not only the original story, but also the alternative scenario where Laharl, the game’s hero, is killed by his faithful servant Etna.
You will also find additional characters and new levels of customization. It’s a great opportunity to get back into this first opus.
Especially since, despite a relatively high price for a smartphone game (37 euros), this mobile version is nevertheless the cheapest (the same game is sold for 50 euros on the console). And every penny will give you tens of hours of gameplay…
Disgaea is a monument to tactical RPGs. Behind a polished isometric 3D production hides a scenario with a squeaky sense of humor. You play the role of Laharl, son of the late king of Netherworld.
Heir to the throne, he must conquer his kingdom with a sword and explosive penguin, with the help of his “adorable” servant, Etna.
It is by the greatest of chances that he falls on Flonne, an angel fallen from heaven. The trio will turn upside down everything that has the misfortune to cross their path.
Disgaea’s gameplay is fearsome. And empirical. Because NIS has pushed the customization of the characters very (too?) far.
Not only can each character climb up to level 9999 (no, there’s no 9 too many), but you can also conquer every weapon in the game to increase its destructive potential.
Every character’s ability and every level of weapon mastery can also be taken to the next level.
The goal: to inflict millions of damage points on the unfortunate person who dares to cross your path. And that’s just the beginning…
Castlevania Symphony of The Night
Released on PlayStation in 1997, Symphony of the Night is a pivotal episode in the Castlevania series, the famous saga that has even been adapted for Netflix. It introduces a very charismatic new character, Alucard, son of Dracula.
And it brings to the series the “legendary” gameplay that all journalists and gamers call “Metroidvania”, a mix of Metroid and Castlevania, with that little touch of role-playing gameplay that doesn’t disappoint.
It has therefore served as a master stallion for all the 2D episodes of the series. Symphony of the Night is a complete, progressive title with a well-dosed difficulty. You play the role of Alucard.
A few years after Richter Belmont’s victory over Dracula (in the episode Rondo of Blood published on PC Engine), the castle of the latter reappears.
Alucard rushes there to stop the announced resurrection of the vampire. This is the beginning of a beautiful adventure that holds many surprises, such as a second playable character and an inverted castle.
Some might think that Symphony of the Night is not an RPG. They would be wrong. Because, even if the gameplay is very action-oriented, the title borrows many elements from role-playing games.
First of all, the level rise, since Alucard (and Richter Belmont) gains experience by killing his enemies. He also acquires weapons, armor and accessories to improve attack and defense.
He collects items of all kinds, as well as money to buy equipment. He gets new powers as he progresses.
Sold for less than 4 euros on the Play Store, Symphony of the Night is a gem in the history of video games. In this mobile version,
Konami has integrated a new interface to improve the playability and fluidity of the battles. But we can’t recommend you to do it with a controller.
The Worlds Ends With You
Originally released for Nintendo DS before being adapted for Switch, The World Ends With You is one of Square-Enix’s best video game experiences.
An experience as visual, auditory as tactile: remarkable design, sublime soundtrack by Takeharu Ishimoto and very innovative gameplay for a role-playing game (even if the use of a touch screen is more widespread today). This is the recipe for a game that marked its time.
And let’s not forget the scenario, borrowed from fantasy cinema and Z series, where a young boy named Neku wakes up in a dimension parallel to ours, in the heart of the Shibuya district, in Tokyo, forced to play a game of survival.
Unable to interact with the normal dimension, he is accompanied by other participants in the game and must collect badges with mysterious powers.
On Nintendo DS, the original game was already taking full advantage of the touch screen, moving the character and activating the badges with the stylus. The same method also applies here.
The strength of The World Ends With You is its atmosphere, inspired by pop culture and Japanese fashion, the two reasons to live in the Shibuya district. A real great success offered at 16 euros on the Play Store.
Romancing Saga 3
Among all the great Square-Enix RPG series, SaGa is far less known than Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy or Secret of Mana.
However, it has its origins on the original Gameboy (under the name Final Fantasy Legend) and acquired its letters of nobility on the Super NES.
Romancing Saga 3 is the third and last episode of the series to be released on this console. And it has nothing to be ashamed of when compared to Final Fantasy VI.
Romancing Saga 3 is an atypical game, where the scenario, very complex, offers you to embody one of the eight main characters that you can customize by choosing his astral alignment, his weapon of choice and even his name.
Unlike the Final Fantasy series where the scenario is rather rigid, the Romancing Saga offers a great freedom of choice, with consequences for the future.
Featuring a beautiful 2D production and benefiting from HD graphics reworked for its launch on smartphone.
Romancing Saga 3 will certainly surprise you with its artistic choices closer to Japanese folklore than many other productions from the Asian archipelago.
A small downside of this international location is that only English speakers will be able to fully enjoy all the subtleties. Moreover the price is quite high: 32 euros.
Note that the second opus has also been reissued and translated on Android. It is offered at the price of 18 euros.
Final Fantasy VI
If you want to play on Android at a Final Fantasy released on console in the 90s, you’re spoilt for choice.
FF1 (PSP version), FF2 (also PSP version), FF3 (the DS version), FF4 (the DS version), FF5 (an unreleased remake), FF6 (also an unreleased remake), FF7 (PS1 version, not PS4 of course), FF9 (also PS1 version) and FF Tactics (PSP version).
Among all these great names of Japanese RPG, we chose to highlight Final Fantasy 6.
Two reasons for that. First, this version of FF6 is new. Like Final Fantasy 5, this opus benefits from a new technical achievement with finer graphics (although early fans may prefer the Super NES sprites).
This version also benefits from a new interface adapted to smartphones. And it includes the additions integrated in the GBA version.
Second reason, Final Fantasy 6 is certainly the best episode of the series, even if it is not necessarily the best known.
The story of Terra, Celes, Locke, Sabin and Edgar, without forgetting the evil clown Kefka, is one of the best Japanese RPG scenarios, even today, as it is so complete, complex and humanistic.
And we’re not talking about the highly advanced gameplay system, the magilite-based character customization, and the many monsters to conquer in order to get the best weapons.
Banner Saga 1 & 2
Banner Saga, created by the Stoic studio, is a rare epic in the world of video games.
It’s one of those rare gems that you can only find today in the teeming miasma of indie gaming, far from the budgets of blockbuster PC and console blockbusters.
A tactical role-playing game in several parts (the latest not yet available on Android), Banner Saga puts you at the head of a caravan in a world where the Gods are dead and the sun no longer sets.
A time made all the more darker by the Dredge, stone beings from the North, who are once again beginning their conquest of more merciful lands.
Your caravan is made up of humans and Varls, warriors as powerful as they are tall. And you must move this beautiful world while avoiding the threat of the Dredge.
The strength of Banner Saga is not its game system, even if it is very well balanced and gives a lot of importance to strategy (with a great deal of emphasis on the management of units).
The strength of Banner Saga is the staging. On the one hand, the stunning graphics, inspired by the animation techniques of American studios like Disney.
On the other hand a finely written and very complex scenario. Banner Saga is almost an interactive cartoon, so much the place given to the story is important, even in a category of game where the scenario is preponderant.
On Android, only the first two opus are proposed. Each of them, quite long in life, costs 11 euros.
The Best Freemium RPGs For Android
War of the Visions FFBE
Developed by Gumi, War of the Visions is a spin-off of Final Fantasy Brave Exvius (which you can find in this selection).
Using the gameplay and ergonomics of Final Fantasy Tactics War of the Lions, War of the Visions is a tactical RPG in the image of Fire Emblem Heroes.
The story of War of the Visions does not take place in one of the two worlds of Brave Exvius (Lapis and Paladia), but on new lands: those of Ardra.
You follow the adventures of Mount and Tern, the twin princes of Leonis, a small kingdom whose peculiarity is to be able to exploit the Visions.
Warriors who sometimes come from other worlds and who fight for those who have invoked them.
A very recent game (since it was released in Europe in 2020), War of the Visions offers fans of the Final Fantasy license to build a squad of heroes, some of which come from Brave Exvius (Ayaka the healer, Aileen the mechanic).
Thanks to the Visions system (including Summonings) that supports the series, you’ll be able to complete your team with guest units.
The first announced collaboration is very logical, since it is Final Fantasy Tactics (with Ramza, Orlandeau and Gaffgarion). And there will obviously be many more.
Like Final Fantasy Tactics and Fire Emblem Heroes, War of the Visions is all about strategy with many skills, a job system drawn from the cosmology of the series and a thorough customization of the characters.
The game includes single-player mode with the scenario, a PVP (Arena) mode and a multiplayer mode (for cooperative missions).
Fire Emblem Heroes
The Fire Emblem license is well known to Nintendo players. Each generation of console, handheld or living room, has hosted at least one opus of this series.
At the time of writing, the latest episode is called Fire Emblem Three Houses and is available on Switch.
With the arrival of smartphones, Nintendo decided to promote its licences on them. Mario, Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem are the first representatives.
Developed by DeNA, of which Nintendo is now a shareholder, Fire Emblem Heroes is as much a promotional tool as it is an excellent tactical RPG.
You’ll find the original gameplay of the series (with the famous power triangles between spear, axe and sword, as well as fire, ice and lightning).
You’ll find the strategic aspect with movement on a grid, taking into account the terrain and the specificities of each unit,
(those who fly, those who are on foot or on horseback, those who go faster on the sand, in the water or in the mountains, etc.). In short, everything that makes Fire Emblem the excellent series that it is.
With its four books and 800 levels, the game is long enough to delight fans. But Fire Emblem Heroes is not an episode like the others.
As explained previously, it is also a promotional tool. Some characters are new, but the vast majority are from the other opus. They must be invoked to be recruited.
And of course, the most important characters, like Marth (Fire Emblem), Chrom (Fire Emble Awakening) or Ike (Fire Emblem Path of Radiance), are not only more powerful, but also rarer to obtain.
These characters greatly help the player to complete the hardest missions (especially in temporary events), where the rewards are the best.
And those who open their wallets obviously have more opportunities to summon them…
Shin Megami Tensei Liberation DX2
Shin Megami Tensei, created by Atlus, is a series as well known in Japan by RPG fans as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. The universe in which it takes place is contemporary, even slightly anticipatory.
It features high school students, students or young adults who all have the power to summon spirits and demons.
Developed by Sega (parent company of Atlus), Shin Megami Tensei X2 takes these main principles and adapts them (quite naturally) to a freemium RPG gameplay on smartphone.
You choose your protagonist, become a member of the Liberators and explore the different districts of Tokyo by eliminating the demons. Almost a virtual sightseeing trip.
As in the original series, you fight demons with those you’ve already conquered.
A battle can end either by eliminating the demon or by negotiating with the demon and convincing it to come with you.
To fight ever more powerful enemies, you can upgrade your demons and merge them to create new ones.
Of course, summoning them directly will be quicker than convincing them. That’s where built-in shopping comes in.
A 3D role-playing game, Liberation DX2 is a very complete turn-based RPG, with a lot of content (160 demons to capture and evolve, PVP mode, etc.), but it’s not as easy to play as a Brave Exvius, for example.
However, the universe is unique enough to make the difference and seduce a few.
Another Eden, developed by WFS Games (studio belonging to Gree, the Japanese giant of mobile applications), is a somewhat special production in the Android freemium game library.
A classic RPG (with turn-based fighting like Final Fantasy), Another Eden relies on two major assets: Masato Kato, excellent screenwriter, and Yasunori Mitsuda, brilliant composer.
They both worked on great RPGs, such as Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross, Baten Kaitos, etc. Nice references. The alchemy of the two is great.
Another Eden tells the story of Aldo, a swordsman who travels through time to save his sister Feinne and change the events that led to a great catastrophe.
Many characters are playable. Some are recruited automatically, while others must be summoned. And all of them offer the possibility to access side quests when certain conditions are met.
Some are rarer (and more powerful) than others. Hence the presence of an option to buy Summoning Stones.
Endowed with a sharp art direction and a beautiful realization (even if the characters’ animation is reminiscent of articulated wooden puppets),
Another Eden offers a gameplay a little different from freemium RPGs. Unlike titles like Brave Exvius, a large part of the game is dedicated to exploration.
The scrolling is horizontal (but you can go through some passages vertically), just like Dragon’s Crown (for PS3, PS4 or PSVita owners).
Also note that Another Eden is one of the few freemium games that can be played offline (but you have to log in to get the rewards).
Final Fantasy Brave Exvius
Among all the Final Fantasy opus present on smartphone, one of the oldest (apart from Pictologica and Record Keeper) is Brave Exvius.
Developed by Gumi, Brave Exvius is a mix between Brave Frontier (of which he is a first cousin through his affiliation) for the gameplay and the Final Fantasy license for the richness of the content.
The main characters are Rain, Laswell and Fina. You follow their journey over two full seasons and a third one just started in Europe.
Each week, a new event is organized, generally based on an intense “farming” mechanic, and accompanied by new characters.
There are several hundred characters available, including some collaborations with other Square Enix licenses, such as Nier, Secret of Mana, Valkyrie Profile or Deus Ex.
Brave Exvius is all 2D (except for a few small special moves animations), with beautiful animated backgrounds.
The soundtrack is very interesting and varied. And some exploration levels are partly reminiscent of the gameplay of Final Fantasy on console.
A nice mechanic, well-oiled, and a time-consuming gameplay behind which hides also a trap for all collectors: the integrated purchases, a bit too expensive. Fortunately, the title is not too stingy as a reward.
Eternium, published by Making Fun and already 6 years old, is a tribute to Diablo and the “hack ‘n Slash” genre,
which is unfortunately no longer as well represented on smartphones since the “mercantile gaps” of one of GameLoft’s great series, Dungeon Hunter.
In a “High Fantasy” universe, you play the role of an adventurer with three available classes and hundreds of pieces of equipment to collect and customize with gems.
Of course, the challenge is to scour the dungeons from top to bottom to find the precious loots that will be used to perfect your character’s equipment.
The main storyline is complete, but there are many additions that will add to the overall experience. These include a multiplayer mode that gives new meaning to single-player missions.
Eternium is one of the most comprehensive Freemium games with the least amount of built-in shopping. And so much the better.