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The best RPGs for Android

Update: The Quest. Sdorica Sunset, Darkness Rises added!

Role Playing Games - better known as RPGs - give you the chance to fully immerse yourself in the fantasy world of your choice. You can spend hours developing the stats of your character, crawling dungeons, exploring planets or sailing the high seas as a pirate. While there are countless RPGs on Android, finding out which ones are really worth your time isn't an easy task. Don't worry though - we're doing the hard work for you with this detailed list of the best RPG games for Android available today.

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The Quest

Old school open-world adventure

If you're old enough to remember the early Elder Scrolls games such as Daggerfall, The Quest from Redshift games will bring back some pleasant memories. It's an old school first person open-world RPG with hand drawn graphics and a great story, despite the unimaginative title.

The best thing about the The Quest is the player's autonomy. The game doesn't hold your hand and you're free to explore the vast, vast fantasy world and basically do what you want. You're not forced to do quests in a particular order, and the decisions you make as a player can lead to many different story developments and changing relationships with NPCs.

As for your player character, there's a choice of race (unique to the game world, no elf or dwarf for you this time) and class, both of which give you bonuses to certain skills, but the game lets you develop as you see fit, so you can push your character in the direction you feel like during your playthough, which is helpful if you change your mind or, say, want to combine magic and heavy armor use.

To go on this quest, you'll have to pay eight bucks, but you'll get many hours of gameplay in return, with no annoying ads. And if that's not enough for you , there are five expansions with new quests and areas to add on.

  • App version: 9.0.1
  • Compatibility: Android 4.4 and up
  • Price: $3.99

Sdorica Sunset

Free RPG with cute visuals and puzzle elements

Rayark has given us some high-quality premium-paid mobile games like Implosion: Never Lose Hope and the Ctyus games, and Sdorica Sunset is the studio's take on that ubiquitous but much-maligned concept, the free-to-play mobile RPG. Thankfully, Sdordica Sunset avoids the worst practices of the genre, and stands out for its charming design and well-crafted mechanics.

The first thing you notice about Sdorica is its distinctive colorful drawn visual style. It's not going for grim n'gritty (n' often gray) but it's not as extravagant as other anime-style titles. Lavish cutscenes serve to flesh out the story and bring the world to life. Even though it's not really my style, Sdorica still managed to draw me into its cute fantasy. This is helped along by some excellent voice talent, which tease more character out of the paperdoll protagonists. 

The storyline is essentially told through episodes of conversation in between battles, which is the bulk of the gameplay and another way in which Sdorica Sunset stands out. Combat is basically a turn-based puzzle mini-game. The two sides line up and face each other, and the player matches colored orbs with their finger to trigger different attacks, spells and abilities. 

Battles involve a surprising amount of strategy in discovering what moves different matches perform for which character, and then deploying them at the right time, countering the enemy attack patterns and deploying a character's specific action when it has the most impact. 

So how does this free game make its money? Well, although it's possible to play through the game's story missions with the characters you get for free, unlocking extra characters (and costumes) is done through a 'gacha' or random reward system. So you spend your in-game earnings and get a randomly selected character...which may not be the one you were hoping for.

If you have your heart set on a particular hero, or are the type that really needs to collect them all, that's when you'll feel the temptation to spend. By and large though, the IAP scheme is relatively restrained and won't make you hurt for not coughing up cash. 

  • App version: 1.1.2
  • Compatibility: Android 5.0 and up
  • Price: Free with in-app purchases

Darkness Rises

Beautiful but shallow hack-and-slash

Playing Darkness Rises really made me think about what constitutes an RPG exactly. One of the top role-playing games on the Play Store as soon as it came out, Darkness Rises has a medieval fantasy setting, stats, levels, character customization...but to my mind, little in the way of roleplaying. You don't make real decisions in the story and the levels are basically linear tracks punctuated by mobs of enemies. The upside? It's really, really good-looking.

The main selling point of Darkness Rises is the character customization 'beauty' settings, which give you fine-point control over your characters with sliders for specific details including brow height, cheekbones, wait and hips, limb length, and so on to create your perfect avatar. On top of that, throw endless variations of extravagant armor, weapons and accessories into the mix, so you'll always find new ways to make your heroes even prettier or more badass.

There are four archetypal classes, to choose from: warrior, sorceress, assassin and barbarian, and the game encourages you to have all four on the go. The classes play differently enough and also have different looks (and are gender-locked) . Be warned...only your first character can have their 'beauty' customized for free (and only once)...after the first time, it costs in-game resources.

The actual missions and adventures consist of beating up wave after wave of baddies with plenty of special moves and abilities at your disposal including slo-mo finishing moves. Again, the focus is on looking cool and flashy.  At times you can control large monsters such as fire-breathing wyverns and trolls and rampage through hordes of enemies with them.

All in all, Darkness Rises serves up plenty of cool-looking fantasy set-piece battles, but fans of story and (non-cosmetic) choices will want to look elsewhere. Otherwise, this fantasy eye-candy is free-to-play, but there are a ton of in-game resources (and corresponding IAPs). If you don't want to pay cash. Even the coolest-looking battles can start to look stale as you grind them over and over again for gold and xp.

Get it on the Play Store

  • App version: 1.2.0
  • Compatibility: Android 4.4 and up
  • Price: Free, in-app purchases 

Shadowrun: Dragonfall - DC

The best cyberpunk RPG for Android

We loved Shadowrun Returns for Android, and the next game in the series, Dragonfall, is a slick cyberpunk classic, set in a fantastic version of AndroidPIT's home base, Berlin (the DC stands for 'Directors Cut' not the US capital). In a world where fantasy races like orcs, elves, and trolls co-exist with humanity in a world of high-tech and magic, Shadowrun: Dragonfall combines a compelling storyline with a complex but rewarding turn-based combat system.

RPG fans tired of traditional swords and sorcery would do well to give the Shadowrun games a try, and spice up the fantasy stew with rifles, hacking, and cool hair. Here's to hoping that the third game in the series, set in Hong Kong, also makes it to Android.

  • App version: 2.0.11
  • Compatibility: Android 4.0.3 and up
  • Price: $2.99

Baldur's Gate II Enhanced Edition

The best D&D RPG for Android

This is one of the greatest RPG sagas ever to exist on the PC, and it's right at home on touchscreen devices, with graphical and convenience enhancements and new content courtesy of Beamdog. Create your hero, escape from the clutches of the evil wizard Irenicus, recruit from a pool of memorable companions and then wander across a vast world in search of revenge and adventure.

Baldur's Gate II is the most faithful representation of AD&D (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons) rules on electronic devices, so it's not for the faint-hearted. That said, it's definitely the richest role-playing experience you can get on Android.

Players looking to play the hero's journey from a puny level 1 nobody to near demigod levels of power should also picking up Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, the first game in the series. While not quite as well-designed as the sequel, they combine to create a uniquely epic experience. For the complete package, there's also the newer 'interquel' Siege of Dragonspear, that bridges the story between the two original games.

  • App version: 1.3
  • App compatibility: Android 3.0  and up
  • Price: $9.99

Lineage II: Revolution

New MMORPG with great graphics

Lineage II: Revolution is a mobile version of a hugely popular Korean MMORPG, a genre most familiar in the West from World of Warcraft and Everquest. Netmarble have really been pushing their mobile game internationally with high-budget ads (how much does Conan O'Brien go for nowadays?), and I checked out Lineage II: Revolution to get a taste of the game beyond the hype.

Visually lush and richly detailed, it's a sumptuous feast for the eyes and boasts of epic battles with over 100 fighters on the field of battle, or defending a fortress.

There's a strong social element where able to join clans and fight alongside your buddies against your rivals. RPG class and race character options are pretty traditional - be a human warrior, elven mystic, etc, but there are higher level options that unlock additional professions. Annoyingly, the different races are currently gender-locked. You can't be a female human, or a male elf, for example. Still, all the character models are rendered beautifully in the Unreal engine, provided that the art style is to your taste.

Currently Netmarble are still celebrating their launch to new markets with various rewards for logging in and so there's a chance to get in early to this MMO and rise to power in this seriously pretty fantasy world before the first players start to dominate. If you're going to fight to the top though, be prepared to grind—a lot—or shell out for those ubiquitous in-app purchases. The game is aware of this, and has an auto-quest mode for repetitive tasks.

  • App version: 1.00.06
  • App compatibility: Android 4.4  and up
  • Price: In-app purchases

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

The best Star Wars RPG for Android

Affectionately known as KOTOR, this classic title isn't just the best Star Wars RPG on Android, but in my humble opinion, the best mobile Star Wars game of any genre, hands down. The storyline, set millennia before Star Wars: A New Hope, has your hero embroiled in a galactic conflict (like some kind of war...in the stars?) between the republic and evil Sith empire.

As fitting for a Star Wars story, the players relationship with the light and dark sides of the force play a central role, and you're free to be as noble or villainous as you wish, with an eye on snagging all those cool jedi abilities you want. The combat mechanics are dice-based but the integration is smooth and the game controls are well implemented on the touchscreen.15 years after it's release, KOTOR still holds up as one of the best RPGs you can play on your mobile device today.

  • App version: 1.0.6
  • App compatibility: Android 4.1  and up
  • Price: $4.99

Tempest

The best pirate RPG for Android

While most RPGs are often situated in fantasy worlds, Tempest stands out as an individual for being set in the pirate realm. You'll fight against other pirates on the high seas, fulfilling quests and earning better ships with more skilled crews.

The controls for this open world game are quite complex when you start out, but you can easily master these after a few minutes of actual gameplay. The difficulty level is quite high at the moment, which doesn't help when it comes to earning money - which you'll need in order to improve your equipment and solve harder missions. You'll be more than compensated for this by this RPG's fantastic graphics and long playability. 

  • App version: 1.0.35
  • Compatibility: Android 5.0 and up
  • Price: $7.99

Walking Dead: Road to Survival

The best Android turn based tactical RPG

The developers at Telltale Games impressively demonstrated how well the popular The Walking Dead series can be used as the basis for a video game. Walking Dead: Road to Survival is a free Android game, in which you'll spend a lot of time establishing your own base. The game mechanics are quite reminiscent of that of the Simpsons: Tapped out. Don't worry though, you'll also spend enough time fighting against the undead. The fights are turn based but they are well rounded and manage to stay interesting for extended gameplay.   

You'll only be successful in this game if you can tactically plan your attacks. Throughout the game, you'll find new weapons and equipment which will help you in the fight against increasingly more difficult enemies. Good graphics with a long replay value make this a strong RPG. As an added bonus, the game includes a multiplayer mode where you can can compete against other players.

  • App version: 9.1.1.56871
  • Compatibility: Android 4.0.3 and up
  • Price: Free, in-app purchases

Knights of Pen and Paper 2

The best Android-RPG for Retro-Fans

Knights of Pen and Paper 2 combines real world "role playing" with the virtual one. The game focuses on a group of RPG fans who have gathered to play a game similar to Dungeons & Dragons. When you play this free-to-play game, you'll always see the group's actions, as well as those of the Dungeon Master. This interesting game play mechanic gives the game a charming old school atmosphere, which is underlined the now rather common retro pixel look.

  • App version: 2.6.09
  • Compatibility: Android 4.0.3 and up
  • Price: Free, in-app purchases

Heroes and Castles 2

The best action and strategy RPG for Android

Heroes and Castles 2 manages to successfully combine strategy, action and role playing into one game. In this action adventure RPG, you don't just build castles, but also jump straight into battles and unlock new skills. The game is quite expansive and has solid controls, but what really makes the difference for me is the "right in the middle" feeling that you get. If you're into movies like Braveheart or Kingdom of Heaven, then this is the RPG for you. 

  • App version: 1.01.03.4
  • Compatibility: Android 4.0.3 and up
  • Price: $1.99

The Banner Saga

The Android RPG with the best storyline

The old school role playing game The Banner Saga doesn't just have an exciting storyline which forces you to make difficult decisions, it also has a challenging turn based fighting system. Other plus points are the solid graphics and the great soundtrack, which does a good job complementing the atmosphere of the game.

The Banner Saga's engrossing tale of gritty survival, conflict and hope will always give it a special place in my heart, and fans who complete the game would be well advised to also try the sequel, Banner Saga 2.

  • App version: 1.5.16
  • Compatibility: Android 4.1 and up
  • Price: $9.99

Feel like we've missed out on an RPG? Let us know your suggestions below in the comments!

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