The iPhone's Best Role Playing Games: Action, Strategy, and Adventure
It's important to note that this is not a list ranked in order of quality; this list is in alphabetical order. We have taken an extra step in helping to get these games to you painlessly, so we've linked each game to their respective pages in the iTunes store. All you have to do is click the name and your browser will (probably) ask you for permission to launch iTunes, and once you agree you'll be right at the game's page on iTunes. Be sure to also read GamePro's other lists of the best games available on the iPhone, including the top shooters, strategy titles, and games for console gamers.
(To view a slideshow of all games included here check out: In Pictures: 10 Best iPhone Role Playing Games)
1. Across Age
Action RPGs are surprisingly common commodities in the App Store, but few come close to Across Age in terms of overall quality. Across Age differentiates itself from similar games by exploring elements of time travel and integrating a wide variety of puzzles into dungeons to compliment its deceptively basic "bump-to-attack" combat. The game combines retro Link to the Past-esque graphics and level design with modern RPG elements, resulting in a top-down adventure that's pretty hard to put down once you pick it up.
The game's biggest hook is its implementation of a multiple character management system, which, in layman's terms, simply means that you'll be spending a lot of time splitting up two characters (a mage named Ceska and a knight named Ales, in this case) to solve puzzles and take a creative approach to certain combat situations. Dashing around environments, completing quests, taking down enemies, and gaining levels is a lot of fun, and the game does a fantastic job of introducing new puzzle elements to keep things fresh throughout the course of the adventure. If you can conquer this game's sometimes-finicky control scheme, you'll emerge from the tail end of the story a very satisfied customer.
Like most other games from Gameloft, Dungeon Hunter is an unashamed take on another popular franchise, Blizzard's Diablo series in this instance. Players can make use of either an on-screen virtual stick or a touch-to-move control scheme, and attacks and magic spells are relegated to buttons on the right side of the screen. As in Diablo, there is loot aplenty to be found in Dungeon Hunter, and this loot can be equipped on the spot or sold for gold at various towns throughout the world.
There isn't much mission variety in Dungeon Hunter, since most quests never get more involved than "go here, kill this thing, and come back." We'll admit that the hack-and-slash gameplay is fun, so those who don't have a problem with mindlessly bashing on an attack button to grind up levels and hunt down better loot are quite likely to find something to enjoy here.
The first Inotia was one of the original action RPGs on the App Store. That game was received with somewhat lukewarm reactions, but its sequel, Inotia 2, was praised as a major improvement upon its release last December. This RPG has much in common with Across Age, even with the ability to bring more than one character into battle -- although in this game, characters can't split up and uncontrolled party members attack on their own with the help of A.I.
Inotia 2 is most notable for its fantastic art, beautiful 32-bit graphical style, and online multiplayer features that allow for competitive party-vs-party combat. The game's main single-player campaign is absurdly long, so even those who don't plan on checking out the vs. mode will get their money's worth in content. We did notice a somewhat bothersome number of translation errors in our playthrough of the game (including the fact that you will always be referred to as a male regardless of the gender of your selected character), and the touch-screen controls can be a little janky, but the game is well-worth its price and is certainly worth a look for those who've already beaten Across Age.
Plenty of games claim to bring "console-quality" action to the iPhone, but Necromancer Rising does a fairly fantastic job of living up to that description. The game could best be described as feeling very similar to the Elder Scrolls games, but with a much more intensive focus on randomly generated dungeon crawling. The developers somehow managed to design this game so that it runs at an incredibly smooth framerate at all times despite the impressive use of 3D effects, even on first generation devices.
The sheer depth that Necromancer Rising offers is pretty astounding. There are 16 different equipment types (we're talking an individual slot for your right elbow, here) and each piece of equipment shows on your character when viewed in menus -- actual gameplay is in first person. There's a fully featured item-creation system, and enormous updates have regularly extended the length of the game since its launch, adding and altering everything from a method to reset your character to increasing the player's walk speed. If you love real time, first person RPGs and want a game of that type that you can take with you on your daily commute, Necromancer Rising is a great choice.
5. The Quest
The Quest is a retro first person RPG, much like Necromancer Rising, but with a definitively early '90s PC game feel. You might need to be a bit retro yourself to fully appreciate The Quest's hand-drawn graphics, but anyone can fall in love with the game's epic soundtrack, BioWare-style conversation system, and quirky add-ons like a playable card game at inns and readable books scattered across the world.
The Quest boasts over 50 hours of gameplay, with dozens of side missions contributing to the potential game time after one beats the main quest line. If you don't feel like replaying the game as one of the five unique races, complete expansion packs like the recently released "Island of Ice and Fire" have been added to the App Store with surprising frequency. If you really get into this game, you'll be busy for a long time to come.