The Best Offline No-WiFi RPG Games for the iPhone [January 2021]
Mobile games have been around a long time. When they first became available on the App Store, they were pretty rough around the edges, simple games with Flash-esque graphics built for devices like the first-gen iPod Touch and the iPhone 3G. At the time, these games were fine for killing time in line at the supermarket, but it’s 2021 now, and mobile games have come a long way. Many mobile titles can rival PC and console games in their sophistication and quality, with many of the best mobile releases actually coming from consoles and PC first.
The App Store is filled with inventive takes on every genre in gaming, but if you’re looking for an immersive experience on the go, RPGs are the only choice. There’s no shortage of variations on the genre, but RPGs share a few things in common that make them perfect titles for long play sessions. From dynamic choices that influence the outcome of the story, to deep battle systems that keep you on the edge of your seat to the last fight, RPGs are an essential part of any gaming diet.
Unfortunately, some mobile titles require persistent always on connections in order to play their games, especially if you’re using multiplayer servers, but if you’re planning a flight or sitting in the backseat of a long car ride, you’ll need something you can take offline. There are a ton of RPGs available for offline play on the App Store, so if you’re finally ready to dive in and take a look at what you can get for hours of entertainment, let’s get started.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was developed by legendary RPG maker Bioware, responsible for the Baldur’s Gate series in the late 1990s and perhaps best known for creating Mass Effect in 2007. Since it takes place thousands of years before the original Star Wars trilogy begins, players and the main character alike can find themselves exploring an unfamiliar world as they make their way around the galaxy. The player takes on the role of a Republic soldier. From there, you can pick your class, grab your equipment, and begin playing through the game. Combat is round-based instead of action-based, meaning you select your target and the character takes care of the rest. You can change direction at any time, reselecting commands or stopping to heal as you need.
As you make decisions throughout the game, you’ll find your character leaning towards the dark or light side depending on your actions at any given time. KOTOR has been praised not just for its gameplay, but for its storytelling and strong focus on great twists and turns throughout the story. We don’t want to give anything away, but there will be times throughout the story where you find yourself shocked. It’s that good.
Though some may be worried about the touch controls in a game designed for a controller or mouse and keyboard, you can put those concerns mostly aside. The game isn’t perfect when it comes to controls—swiping around and tapping to move can, occasionally, be difficult—but the menu system works well and overall there weren’t any serious control problems while testing.
Even better, the iOS version of the game supports MFi and Bluetooth controllers, so you can experience the game just how it was meant to be played. At $9.99 and over a gigabyte in file size, KOTOR might seem like a pretty heavy investment. But if you’re looking for something serious to play in the back of a car, or you want something with some serious replay value, KOTOR is in a class of its own on mobile. This game is truly worth the investment, especially if you’re a fan of Star Wars, Bioware, or RPGs in general.
And hey, if you’ve already checked out KOTOR, you can grab Knights of the Old Republic II for the same price. That game is developed by Obsidian, the team behind Fallout: New Vegas and The Outer Worlds, and although it’s a bit shaggier around the edges, it’s well worth checking out.
Baldur’s Gate was a landmark RPG, developed by BioWare in 1998 for Windows and Mac. Upon its release, the game was hailed as single-handedly reviving the market for role-playing games on PC, and now, you can finally play it on your iPhone or iPad in a brand new Enhanced Edition. This new touch-friendly version of Baldur’s Gate helps to improve managing real-time combat, with added gestures and changes to how the gameplay functions. Developer Beamdog did a great job in bringing both Baldur’s Gate and its sequel back to life for a new generation, and although it’s much better on iPad over iPhone, it’s still worth grabbing on any sized screen you have.
Built directly on top of D&D’s 2nd edition rules, Baldur’s Gate is like playing a full campaign on your own. You fill in the shoes of a young orphan, whose father figure Gorion was slain one night while the two of you were preparing to skip town. Left without access to your home city, you decide to investigate the iron crisis plaguing the world around you, where iron tools seem to rot and break with seemingly no explanation. A long-awaited third game, Baldur’s Gate III, is now available in early access on Steam, making this a great time to jump into the series on iPhone or iPad.
Unlike first-person shooters or adventure games, RPGs have undergone countless changes over the last 40 years of gaming history. From text-based adventures and turn-based combat to action-RPGs and MMOs, role-playing games have never stayed in one place at a time, and as a genre, it’s as wide and expansive as ever. As we continue into a new decade of gaming, taking a moment to look back on the history of RPGs with Evoland, one of our favorite offline RPGS on the App Store today, is a must.
Evoland sees you picking up from the earliest days of role-playing, set in a black and white world as you slowly add controls, color, high-fidelity graphics, and more. The game slowly transforms, from turn-based roleplaying to action and everything in between. While there are certainly some gripes to be had with some of the game’s mechanics, Evoland knows what it is, and more than anything, that is a victory for the game itself. The rare RPG where the leveling-up is done by the game itself, Evoland can be best described as a museum honoring RPGs from their earliest days on the NES, leading players through a world of Zelda, Final Fantasy, and so much more.
It’s a short game, but thankfully, Evoland 2 also lives on the App Store, picking up right where the first game left off. Both are well worth diving headfirst into.
Unlike most of the games on this list, Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions, is a full-price $11.99 console port on the App Store. While this may sound well out of your budget, you absolutely get what you pay for with FFT. This is a classic SRPG from Square, and it’s worth every penny if you’ve never played the game before. For those unfamiliar with this spin-off of the classic Final Fantasy series, FF Tactics is a tactical role-playing game similar to Nintendo’s Fire Emblem series, first released to the United states in 1998 on the original PlayStation.
Though sales were initially small, it was eventually remade into Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions for the PSP, recreated in widescreen mode and featuring a new translation with improved dialogue. The game has become a cult-classic both in Japan and the United States, praised for its tactical gameplay and the dark and creative storytelling. The game sees you controlling multiple units over a battlefield, while a unique story blended with political intrigue plays out. If you’re a fan of the SRPG genre and haven’t checked out Final Fantasy Tactics, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Originally released on the 3DS, Monster Hunter Stories is a spin-off title from Capcom’s critically-praised Monster Hunter series that takes the series to all new places. While the typical core gameplay has been entirely changed, Monster Hunter Stories still remains purely based within the world of Monster Hunter, making it the first game in the series to arrive on iOS. With all-new graphics, revamped gameplay based around touch controls, and a demo that takes you through the first chapter of the story for free, it’s time for all Monster Hunter fans and RPG-lovers alike to check this one out.
At its core, the gameplay is completely different from the standard series. Unlike the traditional real-time action battles in most series that see you taking on monsters four times your size, you take the role of a younger rider, one who befriends monsters by helping to hatch their eggs. The babies you help to hatch can be taken into battle, where the real-time battles the series is known for has been replaced with a turn-based battle system.
Like most Monster Hunter games, there’s a full character creator available, though the choices aren’t quite as customizable as in the mainline games. A full story surrounding the mythology of the Monster World is here as well, and while it’s nothing groundbreaking, we quite enjoyed what we saw. Whether you’re new to the Monster Hunter World or you’re looking for a new experience within a series of games you love, it is absolutely worth picking up on iPhone or iPad. At just $20 for a full RPG that was originally sold for $39.99, it’s an excellent deal. Plus, with that trial available for download, you can check out the first chapter of the game before dropping down some cash.
Directly inspired by Spelunky, classic SNES RPG Secret of Mana, and the developer’s own game Mage Gauntlet, Wayward Souls is a hack-and-slash top-down action-adventure game that tasks you with making your way through a randomly-generated dungeon that forces you to tap quickly, dodge, and use special attacks that activate your battle system, with both offensive and defense blocks. At $6.99, the game’s pretty expensive compared to the rest of this list, but you get a lot for the price. This game is near-endlessly playable, with the same roguelike battle and level systems we’ve seen placed in games like The Binding of Isaac and the aforementioned Spelunky.
In the game, you play one of six heroes, each with different abilities, powers, and controls, allowing you to change-up the gameplay on a whim. As you battle through the arena, using the left side of the screen to move with an invisible joystick and the right side of the screen to unleash powerful attacks. Three of the characters are locked at the start of the game, though without a single ad or in-app purchase, the characters are instead unlocked through the actual gameplay.
There are 13 full area types, including areas that have scaled difficulty settings that allow you to face more and more difficult challenges as you make your way through the game. With so much content, constant updates adding new settings, game modes, and more, plus additional features coming soon in the form up controller updates and boss health bars, this is a must-have offline RPG.
The Banner Saga series—developed by the guys at Stoic—didn’t begin life on mobile, but it’s one of the best places to play the critically-acclaimed trilogy that puts you in the heart of the Land of the Vikings. In this narrative-heavy role-playing game, you’ll have to lead your band of Vikings across hostile country and through a world on the brink of collapse. Players will journey through a heartbreaking and emotional storyline never before seen in an iPhone game like this before, but the joys of Banner Saga aren’t just limited to the story. If anything, Banner Saga earns a place on this list from its art alone, using a gorgeous 2D rotoscoped art style that looks unreal, especially on modern displays.
The gameplay is no slouch either—battles can have you on the edge of your seat, as you manage resources to ensure success in each ongoing battle. Relationship mechanics call back to titles like Persona, while the decisions you make in each conversation has overarching implications for the entire trilogy. Unfortunately, the third Banner Saga game has yet to make it to iOS, but we can always hold out hope.
It’s tough to pick a single mainline Final Fantasy game to recommend aside Tactics. Do we push readers towards the classic NES titles, or perhaps towards the days of the SNES with Final Fantasy IV or VI? Maybe we recommend picking up the mobile-enhanced version of Final Fantasy XV, or we skip the console ports altogether in exchange for a game like Brave Exvius. The answer, dear reader, is to stick with one of the most influential games of all time: Final Fantasy VII. A science-fiction-fantasy classic, FFVII sees you stepping into the shoes of Cloud Strife, an ex-member of military group SOLDIER who puts his skills to good use as a mercenary, hired by eco-terrorists AVALANCHE. What starts as a simple mission to destroy a Shinra Mako reactor in Midgar becomes a battle for the entire fate of the world, as Cloud, Tifa, Barrett, and Aerith go head to head with psychopath Sephiroth.
Final Fantasy VII uses the ATB system the series was known for in the 1990s, and it’s worth both a revisit or a late discovery—especially if you’re interested in the multi-part remake series currently ongoing on PlayStation.
Though originally for consoles and PC, Battle Chasers is a throwback RPG that looks absolutely stunning on mobile devices. You control up to three characters as they attack, defend, and heal, while up to three enemies attack you from the opposite side of the arena. Each character has basic attacks, along with abilities that require a certain amount of magic or health to use. As you level up, you gain new abilities and increase your stats.
Without much in the way of serious real-time action, Battle Chasers shines on touchscreen devices. The virtual controls are good-enough for moving through the world, but when it comes time to battle, selecting your moves or items just feels right.
Battle Chasers won’t be able to satisfy the needs of every gamer, but for those looking to capture the feel of old-school JRPGs while heading in a new direction in terms of worldbuilding, art style, and exploration. Development team Airship Syndicate made a fantastic throwback RPG here that manages to (mostly) avoid the pitfalls of other retro-inspired games, and at $10 for a complete 30-40 hour game, it’s well worth the asking price. And hey, Airship Syndicate are putting their experience from Battle Chasers to good use, with a League of Legend RPG coming in 2021.
Although Final Fantasy is Square Enix’s main RPG series, it’s not the only legendary, influential series the publisher has under its belt. Originally published by Enix before the two companies joined forces in the early 2000s, Dragon Quest VIII was the 8th main entry in the long-running series, and is a must-own on iOS for any gaming fan. As with most of the Dragon Quest games, Dragon Quest VIII is a huge, epic quest that sees you filling the shoes of a voiceless protagonist, as you battle against the forces of evil that have plagues the world. When the King of Trodain is turned into a troll, the protagonist and his crew of fellow fighters set out to reverse the curse and save the day.
As with most entries in the long-running saga, Dragon Quest VIII’s charm comes from its art style—featuring character designs from Akira Toriyama, the man behind Dragon Ball, and its excellent traditional turn-based battle system. If you are at all a fan of old-school JRPGs, this is basically a must-have on iOS.
Released as part of Apple’s new gaming subscription service, Apple Arcade, Oceanhorn 2 is the sequel to 2013’s Oceanhorn, a game heavily influenced by The Legend of Zelda and, more specifically, The Wind Waker. While that game received solid reviews, we’ve been much more excited for its sequel, directly inspired by Breath of the Wild. Oceanhorn 2 is set thousands of years prior to the first game, and sees you setting of to fight against an evil dark army. With more than fifteen hours of open-world gameplay, dungeons, puzzles, and boss fights, Oceanworld 2 is much improved over its successor. And with iOS finally allowing PS4 and Xbox One controllers to work with games, you can play this title without having to use on screen controls.
As part of Apple Arcade, you can’t buy this one separately, but Arcade offers a free month before you’re charged, and at only $4.99 per month, it’s an affordable way to play dozens of games without any ads or in-app purchases. Oceanhorn 2 is far from the only RPG on the platform—Cardpocalypse, Cat Quest II, and Spelldrifter are all great launch titles for the platform. Once they’re downloaded on your device, you’re set to play offline for as long as you have your membership.
Considered one of the best games of all time and a major landmark in platform-RPGs, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night has finally arrived on Android. Originally released on the PlayStation in 1997, Symphony of the Night is a direct sequel to Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, and sees Alucard exploring his father’s castle after the disappearance of Richter Belmont. Once inside Dracula’s castle, you’ll find yourself lost in a maze, collecting items and abilities that let you traverse more and more sections of the castle. Symphony of the Night helped to cement the genre we now call Metroidvanias, and if you have yet to play this classic game nearly 25 years later, its Android release is a perfect opportunity.
Available for just $2.99, this is the full game on mobile, with virtual controls, full Bluetooth controller support, no ads, unlockable characters like Richter and Maria, and a new continue system. It’s easily one of the best RPGs you can grab on Android today, and well worth the price of a coffee.
We love when some of our favorite PC and console games get ported to mobile, and that stands true for Slay the Spire. Half card game RPG, half roguelike, Slay the Spire has been out of early access since January 2019, and we haven’t been able to stop plating it since. The game finally arrived on iOS in the summer of 2020, and it’s a must-own for anyone who loves games like Hearthstone or even Dead Cells. The start of the game finds you choosing between one of three characters, granting you health, gold, and abilities for your run. As you work through levels with each duel, you’ll have to fight your way through each spire to stay alive. Some cards work better with each other than you expect, and the same thing goes for your character’s abilities, making it a blast to play around with.
At $9.99, it’s not the cheapest game you can buy on the App Store today, but with endless hours of offline RPG entertainment, it’s an easy recommendation for road trips or playing late at night. In fact, with Slay the Spire, you might not need a new game for months to come.
Speaking of Dead Cells, if you haven’t played one of the best roguelikes ever made, you’ve truly missed out. Although it’s a premium purchase at $8.99, Dead Cells is one of the best offline RPGs you can find today. The game uses the same loop of risk and reward as most other roguelikes, combined with a classic 2D Metroidvania-style gameplay mode, where you make your way through huge stages looking for secrets, battling it out with enemies, switching between your weapon loadout, and avoiding traps. As always , you lose everything when you die—except for the progress you make along the way, where you fill meters to unlock new abilities, weapons, and more.
It’s one of the most replayable games on iOS, and considering it supports both virtual on-screen controls and Bluetooth controllers, it’s all but a must-own on iOS. If you’re a fan of fun, frenetic combat, platforming, and you love a good boss fight, you owe it to yourself to check out Dead Cells.
We’ve featured a ton of AAA RPGs on this list, but we don’t want to miss out on some of the best indie games currently on iOS. Moonlighter is a critically-acclaimed action RPG that first arrived on consoles back in 2018. It took two years, but with the game now on iOS, there’s never been a better time to check out one of the most unique RPGs on iOS today. Part action game, part management sim, Moonlighter sees your hero splitting their time between running a shop while exploring dungeons at night. These two gameplay mechanics weave and merge together, with your cashflow from the store funding your armor, weapons, and more.
For its iOS release, the Moonlighter dev team rebuilt the controls from the ground up, adding touch controls that make it easy to battle through dungeons and manage your shop’s inventory. The game also has controller support, if you’d rather jump into a more traditional control scheme as you work through destroying hordes of enemies at a time.
RPGs are often action-packed, filled with tense battles and engrossing stories, but sometimes, you just want to chill out at the end of a long day. If that sounds like you, we have the perfect solution: Stardew Valley, a game developed by Eric Barone and published by Chucklefish. An homage to the early Harvest Moon games, Stardew Valley is a farming simulator game that follows a player character who takes over their grandfather’s farm in an attempt to get away from the hustle and bustle of their office job, to something a bit less dreadful.
Once in Stardew Valley, the player will have to manage and tend to their farm, while also interacting with and meeting dozens of NPCs in the town, becoming friends, meeting potential mates, and even getting married. The game has been praised for its laid-back sense of play, its ability to be both goal-focused and allow for various choices in play, and its gorgeous pixel art and music. Stardew Valley is still getting updates to this day, and as we update this guide for January 2021, the devs are about to push v1.5 to iOS, featuring some huge improvements to the game and a new co-op mode.
The App Store might play home to dozens upon dozens of fantastic original games, but it also hosts countless rereleases and ports of some of the best RPGs ever released. We’ve covered a few of them on this list—Final Fantasy Tactics, Dragon Quest VIII—and the trend continues with Secret of Mana, an incredible landmark JRPG from the halcyon days of the 1990s. Revamped for iOS 13 and beyond, Secret of Mana is a must-have if you’ve never played the game before—especially for fans of action RPGs. As one of the earlier ARPGs to arrive during a time when most games focused on turn-based battle systems, Secret of Mana‘s real-time battle combine a unique Ring Command menu system with a power bar mechanic that gives you access to more powerful actions. It’s a unique battle system, and it’s well worth checking out even if you’re skeptical.
Backing up Secret of Mana‘s excellent combat is a solid story, following three heroes who come together to defeat an evil empire that wields the power of an ancient flying fortress. It’s fairly standard high fantasy, but it’s well told, with memorable characters and a vivid art design to back it up. If you only have one Square JRPG in your budget, we might recommend something a bit more mainstream—like Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest—but if you’ve played all of the main classic JRPGs on the App Store, this is a solid pick.
the game follows three heroes as they attempt to prevent an empire from conquering the world with the power of an ancient flying fortress.
Solitairica combines elements from both solitaire and turn-based RPGs to make something completely new. Instead of using the classic gameplay of the single player card game, Solitairica takes the basic functions of that game and uses them to create an entirely new form of gameplay. In Solitairica, you battle enemies one at a time, taking them on in one-sided card duels. Your goal is simple: eliminate all the cards on the field, similar to the original task in Solitaire. To do this, you begin by using the face-up card in your deck as a starting point. For instance, let’s say you’ve been dealt a 6 as your starting card. The available cards in front of you consist of a Queen, a Jack, a 4, a 7, and a 2. Tapping the 7 pulls the card into your hand, eliminating it from the field, and reveals a 6 where the 7 previously sat. You can tap that 6, too—unlike in traditional solitaire, you can go up or down in numbers here and there’s no red or black suits to match.
Once you’ve hit a dead-end, with no cards to draw from on the field, you can flip a card over from your deck to try again at eliminating additional cards. At the same time, your enemy can also draw an effect card, causing turmoil or some kind of negative attack to hit the field—after all, this is a duel. The attack might damage your hit-points, or add additional cards to the table. Anything it can do to keep you from winning, the enemy cards will attempt to try. Fortunately, you aren’t completely unarmed. When you gather cards from the table, you also fuel your abilities, which allow you to add additional defense, attack and eliminate cards on the table, add hit-points back to your health, and even see what card you’re going to get next. These abilities get even more complicated as you progress and level through the game, and each duel gets more and more challenging as you progress towards the final boss.
Solitairica was one of our favorite mobile games of 2017, and it continues to be a must-have on all gaming platforms. The complex card game mechanics are perfect for wasting time in the back of a car or on a plane, and the thrill in seeing your opponents eliminated as you progress through the game is excellent. The card designs look clean and lovely, and as a free download, there’s no reason not to grab the app. Definitely check this one out.