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 primitive 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 more than a decade later, and we’ve seen mobile games come a long way. Not only do many mobile titles rival PC and console games in their sophistication and quality, some of them are even ported from actual gaming consoles, making for deep gaming experiences right in the palm of your hand.
If you haven’t tried an RPG on iOS in a while, prepare to be pleasantly surprised. As many iPhone and iPad owners know, the quality of RPGs have improved a lot since 2008. In 2020, it’s easy to find an RPG that has a fully fleshed out story, excellent graphics and exciting combat mechanics, and even a fully-featured character progression system. So whether you’re a diehard gamer or a casual newcomer, you can finally play some immersive titles while on the go!
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.
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. When Baldur’s Gate originally launched, it was difficult to manage the real-time combat; however, that’s become much easier in the Enhanced Edition with improved gestures and changes to the now mobile-friendly interface. The game itself is actually something you would see right out of a Dungeon and Dragons tabletop role-playing session with your friends. Baldur’s Gate is built on top of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons ruleset that made up 2nd edition, so if you have any familiarity with old-school D&D, you’ll be able to jump right in. It’s fun to get immersed in, especially as you start to uncover secrets and the underlying happenings of the world.
Since it is from the late 90s, the enhanced edition does come with improved visuals, but nothing on par of what you’d see in games today; however, it’s still worth playing the title that set the stage for many of the RPG games of the future! In fact, Baldur’s Gate 3 was finally announced in 2019 for PC, so if you want to get started with the series, there’s never been a better time.
The majority of role-playing games seem to be almost unoriginal these days. It’s either about slaying the dragon, saving the princess, or saving the world as we know it from extinction. That’s why we like Evoland—it takes a twist on the role-playing game genre, instead taking you through a journey of what some of the early RPGs used to look like, all the way to what RPGs are like in today’s world.
In Evoland, you start out at as an innocent 2D character. You’re severely limited as to what you can do, with your movements and abilities being restricted to what is essentially late 90s technology. As you progress, the game advances, opening up more mechanics. Eventually, you progress enough where the game evolves into a 3D almost open-world-like RPG. And as you progress, there are obviously loads of references to the games and game consoles of old—SNES, SEGA Genesis, and so on.
Evoland really seems to know all about classic games, and does an excellent job at bringing the player through that history. It’s an excellent crash course, if you don’t want to go back and play some of the highlight in gaming from years ago, though we’d still recommend it! Evoland itself will set you back $0.99, but it’s well worth it for a refreshing and immersive RPG game.
Unlike most of the games on this list, Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions, is a full-price $11.99 console port on Google Play. 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. If you’re a fan of the SRPG genre and haven’t checked out Final Fantasy Tactics, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
And fourth in our countdown, we have Monster Hunter Stories. This originally came to the Nintendo 3DS in 2017, but now we’re seeing a port for Android and iOS phones. The game is a spin-off of the original Monster Hunter game; however, Capcom has completely reinvented the combat system. For the most part, the game still takes place in the world of Monster Hunter, but you still get an immersive and detailed storyline, as well as overhauled graphics for iOS.
The big differentiating factor between Monster Hunter Stories and the original Monster Hunter game is that the combat system in the former has been completely revamped. The latter offered real-time combat, but Monster Hunter Stories takes on a new turn-based style. The gameplay is actually most similar to Pokemon battles. There are four different weapons you can use to attack the enemy, and there are a number of factors that determine how you win, such as power and speed.
Aside from the combat system, Monster Hunter Stories comes with a number of typical role-playing game elements. It still has that immersive storyline, and you’ll have plenty of content to keep you busy for days.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was one of Bioware’s earliest role-playing games that launched on the PC and consoles in the early 2000’s. While the graphics might not be as modern and detailed as we would normally like, it’s still a fun experience with immersive storytelling, as well as thoroughly developed characters. And the best of all—you can play this one offline! This game is all about fresh content. Since it takes place thousands of years before the original Star Wars trilogy begins, players will be pretty new to this world. You’ll play as a new Republic soldier, but do have some customizations that you can make to make him or her fairly unique.
It’s a typical, but exciting good versus evil battle. Hundreds of Jedi Knights have fallen to the Sith, and you are the Republic’s last hope to save the galaxy from the crushing tension of the Sith; however, as you quest and progress through the game, you’ll make choices that will determine your side. Will you help the Republic and the Jedi regain power, or will you join the Sith to put an end to the Jedi once and for all? This game is best played with a Bluetooth controller; however, the touch controls aren’t bad, and do allow you to make some fairly precise controls. It’s worth picking up if you’re looking for a well-rounded and immersive story to take part in.
Limbo is a platformer puzzle game that features some RPG elements that make it a must-play game on the App Store. You play as a boy who awakes in a forest, otherwise known as Limbo or the outskirts of Hell. The boy you’re controlling is searching through the world of Limbo to find his lost sister. It’s a simple storyline, but has a gritty, and dark theme that really emits immersive attachment to the world. You’ll have to solve complex puzzles, navigate platforms, and fight dark monsters to make your way through this game. At $3.99, it’s hard to pass up for a couple of hours of fun!
Lifeline… is one of the few text-based role-playing games available today. In Lifeline…, you don’t play as any specifically designed character—you play as yourself. You’re essentially in a Command Center, receiving messages throughout the day from an astronaut named Taylor. Taylor crashes on a foreign planet, and through constant, real-time communication with Taylor throughout the day, you help Taylor navigate through trials and problems—having to eat, sleep, and interact with the foreign planet. Taylor’s life depends on your communication, and with a couple of wrong moves, Taylor could die. It’s up to you to prevent that from happening.
The game requires a lot of interaction, as Taylor can be quite needy. However, it’s one of the few text-based adventure games actually done well these days. If you like text-based adventures, or anything from, say, the Telltale story-based games, you’ll love what Lifeline… has to offer.
Summoners War is a unique take on the role-playing game genre. With over 90 million downloads, summoner’s all over the world are jumping into the Sky Arena to fight for mana crystals. As a summoner yourself, you’ll be able to to craft and create your own monsters—there are actually over 1,000 different creations available to you—to compete for dominance in the Sky Arena. You can use 21 different runes to give your monsters different skills and abilities as well.
There are plenty of other awesome mechanics and aspects to this game—you can decorate your own village, and when you’re tired of playing offline, you go online and battle other summoners in PvP battles. You can explore and fight through dungeons expand your monster collection, train your monsters, and so much more!
Idle Hero‘s comes up next on our countdown, and acts as an excellent role-playing game with content for those who would wish to stay offline, and for those who want to take the fight to other players in competitive play. There are two hundred different heroes that players can choose from. When you’re playing, you can choose to explore vast dungeons, fight evil monsters, and even explore lands and mysterious towers unknown.
When you’re done, you can set you heroes to start training new abilities and skills. This training can take hours to complete— +the higher you rank your skills, the longer it takes to “train” your heroes. When you come back, they should be trained and ready to test out their new skills in battle. Tired of exploring the world offline? When you have an Internet connection, you take your heroes into player versus player combat in the Worldwide Arena. You can go one-on-one and climb the leaderboard, or you can join a guild and participate in guild versus guild wars! The game is full of all types of different content that will keep you busy for weeks and months on end.
Wayward Souls is a nod or nostalgia to gamers who loved the traditional action adventure and role-playing games of old. If your one of those who loved that 8-bit style, Wayward Souls will be right up your alley. The game was designed for people who wanted quick, fast-paced playthroughs—perfect for burning some time after a meeting or on your lunch hour. There’s massive amounts of replay, as you and your band of warriors will be able to play through procedurally generated and random levels, so every time you play the game there’s always something new and exciting to explore.
You can choose to control one out of six different characters. Each character has its own class, unique abilities, and even equipment. So not only will you get to play through new levels all the time, but with plenty of different characters that bring new skill sets to the game. New areas can be unlocked, with each one having increasing difficulty in the monsters and enemies to fight. That way, you never get bored. But, be careful! If you don’t upgrade your character’s skills and abilities properly, you might find yourself regularly dying and having to start over.
The neat thing about this game is that it’s a one-time purchase of $6.99. There are no in-app purchases, and any future updates to the game are all free of charge. You’ll never have to pay for new content or new items.
Banner Saga 2—developed by the guys at Stoic—is a fresh, new, and exciting Japanese-style role-playing game that puts your right in the heart of the Land of the Vikings. In this story-based 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. Players will make difficult leadership decisions, will have to manage resources as best they can, and strike skillfully in battle so that the clan will live to see another day in this collapsing world. Learn your clan’s individual stories, and fight for their homeland back.
There are tons of awesome aspects to Banner Saga 2—beautiful art, animations, and effects. There is tactical combat for exciting combat scenes, upgrades to skill up your characters and armies, and even real and harsh consequences based on player-choice decisions. At $9.99, Banner Saga 2 is well worth the investment.
Coming in as another Final Fantasy title on our list, Final Fantasy IX is probably one of the best available on iOS today. This is a Japanese role-playing game, and comes equipped with the beautiful and artistic graphics that the Final Fantasy series is known for. It’s a typical good versus evil story, but the dialog and writing is perfect, allowing you to easily get attached to the characters and immerse yourself in the storyline. In this emotional quest, characters like Zidane and the Tantalus Theater Troupe have kidnapped Princess Garnet, the heir to the kingdom of Alexandria; however, Princess Garnet has managed to escape, falls in love with Zidane, and you three set out on an incredible journey.
There are plenty of abilities that you can earn and skill up, as well as thousands of items you can equip your characters with. You can even combine two items together to upgrade your armour into something even stronger. And on top of a immersive and riveting quest line, there are plenty of side activities that will keep you busy, such as mini games!
Darkest Dungeon is a turn-based role-playing game that takes on a gothic and dark style. You don’t play one single character, but will be able to recruit and train a team of heroes. Once you’re team is recruited and all set, you’ll be able to navigate your squad through dark, questionable environments, where you’ll fight tough enemies while trying to keep your allies happy from things like famine, disease, and the overshadowing dark.
It’s a challenging game full of difficult challenges, with three different game modes available to you, providing a combined eighty hours of content. There are currently around fifteen total hero classes that you can play, but more are being added through regular updates. Some of our favorite classes are the Plague Doctor, Hellion, and the Leper.
Dungeon Rushers is completely different from the rest on this list, actually being a 2D role-playing game with dungeon crawler elements. This one requires some more strategic thinking, as it’s all based around tactical, turn-based combat. You’ll manage a team of warriors, who needs to skillfully take down hordes of enemies to progress through the different dungeons and environments. You’ll follow an epic quest with an immersive storyline, which leads you and your team to explore many dungeons, fighting enemies and bosses to collect the treasures inside. Dungeons progressively get more difficult, requiring you to choose the best hero combinations and upgrade your skills in order to overcome the difficulties and enemies lurking in the shadows.
Dungeon Rushers is also one of the few games that has a full-fledged crafting system. Craft equipment on the go with items and supplies you pick up through your dungeon exploration, upgrading your armour and weapons as you go! There’s a lot of replayability in Dungeon Rushers. You can play them on increasing difficulties, but if you beat all of the bonus challenges, you’ll unlock a Heroic mode where you can really put your skills to the test!
Might and Magic: Elemental Guardians, developed by Ubisoft, is an action-packed strategy role-playing game where you can create, customize, and skill-up your very own hero. You’ll journey through expansive and beautiful landscapes, fighting back mythical and arcane elementals from taking over the land. A typical story of good versus evil, you can put together a team of beasts and magical creatures to fight back invading enemies.
In M&M: Elemental Guardians, you can use arcane glyphs to upgrade your creatures, but can also level them up to maximize their potential. You can fight solo, or when you get bored, you can go online and compete with your creatures in the Player versus Player arena. Race to the top with your magical skills! You can even participate in Live Events to collect epic prizes and earn unique items.
Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth is a famous Square Enix title that has seen millions of downloads, on other consoles and on mobile. It takes place in a fantasy world based on Norse mythology. The backstory is that Odin commands a battle maiden from Valhalla to find worthy mortals who would be fit to fight as warriors under the gods. This battle maiden? The Valkyrie. You play as the Valkyrie in Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth, learning her backstory, discovering her destiny, and equipping an army that can stop the evil Ragnarok from destroying the world.
This is a side-scrolling role-playing game, so there’s no open world here; however, it does have some thrilling mechanics. Train the mortals on Earth, known as the Einherjar. Train them up so that they come experts in their skills and in general combat. Once they’re ready, you can take the fight to Ragnarok in thrilling side-scrolling combat.
We’ve shown you a couple of big budget titles and ports already, but none surpass the budget that Marvel Strike Force has. Marvel Strike Force is where all the heroes from the Avengers franchise come together to save the world from invading aliens. For the first time in Marvel history, heroes and villains ally together to save the Earth from utter defeat.
You won’t play as just one character, but will be able to assemble a squadron of Marvel-based heroes—recruit Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Groot, Rocket Raccoon, Loki, Venom, Captain America, Iron Man, and others in the Marvel Universe. Upgrade your squad’s abilities, enhance their skills, and improve their combat ratings to save Earth as a team.
Another thrilling title by Square Enix, Dragon Quest VIII puts players right in the heart of an epic quest. The premise is a little bit different than many of the traditional good versus evil stories that many of these games have in that Dragon Quest has some more depth to it. In Dragon Quest VIII, a relic’s dormant magics are awoken, an evil magician gets a hold of it, and puts the entire kingdom in a cursed slumber. That’s where you come in—you and your friends are tasked with not only lifting the curse and defeating the evil wizard.
The game has simple features that are easy to use on the touchscreen. They may have been a little more complex over on the console version, but Square Enix has been able to re-engineer them so that players on mobile have a seamless experience.
There’s a lot of extra mechanics that make this game fun. In combat, you have a Tension system, which is something that you can build up to give your next attack some extra power through something called “Psyche Up.” The more you “Psyche Up” your character, the more the Tension system rises, all until your character reaches an insane state called super-high tension. The attacks in this state offer some insane visuals.
All in all, an extremely fun offline RPG game for iPhone that over five million other people are playing!
Knights of Pen and Paper 2 might come up as last on our countdown, but is still one of the best offline role-playing games for the iPhone. Coming in as the successor of the original Knights of Pen and Paper, the game provides players with a classic, retro-style role-playing experience.
The game has some excellently balanced combat so that there’s always challenge, and there’s a full-fledged in-game economy for purchasing items and weaponry to make your character better. You can even craft your own armour for your party members!
The game doesn’t have a traditional combat system, but literally resembles a real-life Dungeons & Dragons playthrough. Players of Knights of Pen and Paper 2 will portray both players in the party and the game master playing a tabletop RPG. You’ll be able to level-up party members, increase their skills, and carry out combat maneuvers that are completed through traditional tabletop means!
As you can see, there are a ton of excellent role-playing games that you can play on the iPhone without a wireless connection. We have shown you here twenty of the best available today, but we’re only scratching the surface on the amount of great games that are out there. However, we do believe these are some of the best, and even if you have to spend some money, these will be thoroughly enjoyable, giving you days, if not weeks of content to walk through.
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.