The Top 10 RPGs on the iPhone

As anyone paying attention knows, the iPhone isn’t just for casual gamers. Angry Birds might be its best-known franchise, but the App Store is home to scores (if not hundreds) of RPGs. From bottomlessly deep, dozen-hour experiences to hack-’n-slash dungeon crawlers, it sports something for role-playing gamers of all stripes. So without further ado, here are our ten favorite RPGs on the App Store.

10. Sword of Fargoal

Roguelikes have always been for the hardest of hardcore RPG fans. In general, they do away with pleasantries and involved storylines in favor of random dungeon layouts and sadistically unforgiving difficulty. Sword of Fargoal, an updated port of a Commodore 64 title, offers this classic experience in its hardest difficulty mode, but it also includes more beginner-friendly options if you want a more cushy experience. This makes Sword of Fargoal a well-rounded game that offers something for everyone.

Our Score: 3/4

Our Bottom Line: This remake of a randomly generated dungeon crawler is tough, but the latest update makes it more accommodating.

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9. Undercroft

It’s not the prettiest first-person game out there, but Undercroft brings the RPG fun in spades. You start off in jail after a night of drunken debauchery and you end up on a quest that affects the whole kingdom. The best part? It’s absolutely free. If you haven’t downloaded Undercroft yet, now is the time.

Our Score: 3/4

Our Bottom Line: A game similar in many aspects to The Quest, this role-playing entry is extensive and addictive, but those who don’t dig RPGs probably won’t have the necessary patience.

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8. Across Age DX

Like Zelda and Secret of Mana before it, Across Age DX is an old-school action RPG that has you gallivanting around the world, chopping up monsters, exploring dungeons, and gobbling up loot. The DX version is only for people with fourth generation devices, but the regular version is nearly as good. There’s also a free version, which lets you play for several hours before asking you to purchase the rest of the game. The best part is that if you decide to splurge, you can keep you going from your current save.

Our Score: 3/4

Our Bottom Line: Improved controls and combat in the latest update help the characters and storyline shine through in this RPG.

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7. Ravensword: The Fallen King

At the time of its release, Ravensword was the most ambitious RPG to hit the App Store, which put it in good running to be the most ambitious game on the App Store period. Modeled loosely on the Elder Scrolls series, Ravensword contains a huge 3D gameworld that’s open for exploration the moment you start playing. There’s very little focus on magic, stats, and loot, so depending on the type of gamer you are, you’ll find Ravensword either stripped down or streamlined. But even with all of the RPGs that came out after it, Ravensword still holds up as one of the best on the platform.

Our Score: 3/4

Our Bottom Line: Anyone looking for a vast, engaging Western RPG, or even just a big important game for their iDevice, need look no further.

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6. Hybrid 2: Saga of Nostalgia

Hybrid: Eternal Whisper kicked off this series with a bang, or should we say, with a brutal 40-hit combo. More like a beat-’em-up with a Final Fantasy-like storyline and an incredibly deep RPG leveling system, Hybrid 2: Saga of Nostalgia continues the story of the original and gives you more super satisfying combat than you can shake a katana at.

Our Score: 4/4

Our Bottom Line: Prepare yourself for fun times with weapons and monsters.

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5. Solomon’s Keep

The Blizzard classic Diablo is well loved for a reason, and Solomon’s Keep reminds us why. This game takes the dungeon crawling RPG template and introduces dual-stick action, streamlined upgrade paths, and randomized environments, ensuring that no two gameplay sessions are the same. It’s light on story, so if it’s a ripping yarn you’re after, you’re better off looking elsewhere. But for supremely satisfying pick-up-and-play action, Solomon’s Keep has you covered.

Our Score: 4/4

Our Bottom Line: Solomon’s Keep is a quick-hitting dungeon crawler that delivers solid replay value and retro appeal.

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4. Zenonia 2

The original Zenonia was the first great retro-style action RPG to appear on the App Store, and gamers looking for a serious adventure to sink their teeth into were not disappointed. Zenonia 2 ups the ante by smoothing out the difficulty, revamping the menu system, and giving players four characters to choose from. Turns out that’s just what the doctor ordered.

Our Score: 4/4

Our Bottom Line: The iPhone’s first game-changing RPG is back and yet again sets the bar higher.

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3. Dungeon Hunter

Solomon’s Keep isn’t the only Diablo-inspired game on the App Store. Dungeon Hunter offers a similar experience, but a more meaty one. Here, the upgrade and loot systems are even deeper, and with three character classes to choose from, there’s a lot of replay value baked in. It just might be enough to keep you busy while you wait for the sequel.

Our Score: 4/4

Our Bottom Line: Gameloft has been doing a great job with quality clones up to this point, but Dungeon Hunter simply amazed us. Blizzard has been challenged.

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2. Rimelands: Hammer of Thor

Rimelands: Hammer of Thor is a turn-based RPG with a unique twist. Instead of back-end stats determining how you do in combat, dice do the work here. Each time you press attack, dice roll onto the screen, and you deal damage according to how they land. If you want, you can spend mana to re-roll any dice that didn’t turn up in your favor, but on the other hand you might want to save it for later battles. Add to this a beautiful steam-punk setting, boat-loads of loot and abilities, plus a mean grandma, and you’ve got one of the best RPGs available on the iPhone.

Our Score: 4/4

Our Bottom Line: Rimelands: Hammer of Thor is a highly original RPG that combines dice-rolling chance with player-driven decisions.

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1. Chaos Rings

From a company with as much RPG cachet as Square Enix, we expect a lot from their iPhone games. Sometimes they give us what we want, and sometimes they let us down hard. With Chaos Rings, they definitely brought their A game. A brand-new RPG with high production values and characters only the makers of Final Fantasy could give us, Chaos Rings tells a unique story with panache and fun. This one truly is a Must Have.

Our Score: 4/4

Our Bottom Line: We had always hoped Square Enix would deliver an original, Final Fantasy-caliber series to the iPhone, and they’ve finally delivered.

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Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know in the comments.

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