by Matthew Byrd0
The Best Android RPGs of 2014 (So Far)
There are few better entertainment investments in all of Android gaming than the RPG. Often offering hours upon hours of epic adventure, there is an incredible pleasure to be found in discovering a great RPG, and truly immersing yourself in its world of adventure, combat and, of course, character building.
But wait. With all of the RPGs available on the Google Play Store, how are you ever supposed to know which ones are worth your time and money? It’s a ludicrous proposition right?
Yes it is, which is why we’re here to help. After much debate in our war room that’s not unlike the one in Dr. Strangelove, we’ve come up with a shortlist of the best new RPGs this year that you can’t afford to miss. So without further adieu, here are the best Android RPGs of 2014 (so far):
Dungeon Crawlers ($1.99 in Google Play Store)
HD Score – 3.9
Despite what the name may suggest, Dungeon Crawlers is actually much more than your average dungeon crawler RPG game.
One part traditional dungeon crawling RPG, and one part turn-based strategy game, Dungeon Crawlers is one the more intelligently designed RPGs out there. Fans of RPGs featuring turn-based tactical combat will be hard pressed find a better example of this sub-subgenre on ‘Droid. Factor in a surprising, and very much welcome, sense of humor, and Dungeon Crawlers proves to be a welcome breath of fresh air for the genre.
Bardbarian ($2.99 in Google Play Store)
HD Score – 4.5
Bardbarian is an odd duck in terms of genre classification. Is it a real time strategy game? Is it tower-defense? Is it an RPG?
The answer across the board is “yes.” Bardbarian is a little of all those things, but above all else it is simply fun. This charming little hybrid is perfect for any mobile gamers looking for a medieval fantasy RPG that is determined to be different.
Read Bardbarian HD Review
Heroes of Steel Elite ($1.99 in Google Play Store)
HD Score – 4.6
That’s about all you can say once you realize just how hardcore the Trese Brothers’ Heroes of Steel Elite truly is. As the episodic follow up to the similarly great Heroes of Steel, Elite carries over the brain-teasing, yet still intense, combat system that made the first game so great, and expands upon its other virtues in nearly every way. If you’re looking for a mobile RPG that will kick your ass and keep you coming back, look no further.
Little Big Adventure ($4.99 in Google Play Store)
HD Score – 3.5
At the time of its original release in 1994, Little Big Adventure (also known as Relentless) was hailed as an ambitious attempt at creating a large scale, open-ended RPG set within a truly unique world.
Fortunately, that observation still holds true today, as Little Big Adventure retains all of the qualities that made it a cult hit in its time, and brings a few modern era improvements along for its mobile transition as well. If what you crave in an RPG is exploration, this is the game you’ve been looking for.
Rebirth of Fortune 2 ($0.99 in Google Play Store)
HD Score – 3.0
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Final Fantasy Tactics must blush crimson red every time that Rebirth of Fortune 2 is downloaded.
But while Rebirth may not re-invent the tactical-RPG wheel, it does spin it as good as any mobile game of its kind. The action heavy, and fundamentally well designed, Rebirth of Fortune 2 will keep you occupied for hours, and is an absolute steal at $0.99.
Tales of Illyria: Beyond the Iron Wall ($4.99 in Google Play Store)
HD Score – 4.0
As much as RPGs use the word “quest,” I rarely play one that feels like a genuine journey. Too often, even the best games in the genre make you hop from event to event, and emphasize the final destination, over the path that led you there.
Tales of Illyria: Beyond the Iron Wall is the antithesis of those games. By borrowing elements from the Oregon Trail series, TOI take the player on a true quest, where every step could trigger some climatic moment, and the welfare of your party is always upon your shoulders. In his review, our own Will McCool called it maybe the best game he’s ever played on Android. It’s hard to disagree.
Read Tales of Illyria: Beyond the Iron Wall HD Review
Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition ($9.99 in Google Play Store)
HD Score – 4.2
Most mobile RPGs usually have to make some sacrifices regarding just how complex they are. Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition is not “most mobile RPGs.”
Instead, this is the insanely deep RPG milestone that blew away fans everywhere in 1998 with its large cast of compelling characters, world-spanning plot and complex, yet extremely rewarding, mechanics. Better yet, this is the more recently released enhanced version of the game, meaning you get the add-on adventure Black Pits, which features some old-school D&D style mechanics. Download this game, and you might as well sign your free time for the foreseeable future over to it as well.
Read Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition HD Review
Crystal Story II ($1.99 in Google Play Store)
HD Score – 4.5
While there’s no shortage of JRPGs available for Android, finding one that’s actually worth your time and money is a much trickier proposition.
What Crystal Story II lacks in visual panache, it more than makes up for by providing a classic Final Fantasy style RPG experience that features more depth and gameplay variety than you see in even the biggest retail releases. While the greedy gamer in me wants to keep this gem a secret, it’s my journalistic responsibility to inform you that Crystal Story II may just be the best JRPG available for Android.
Read Crystal Story II HD Review