Top 10 RPG Games For Android 2021 (Part 1)
Role-Playing Games or RPGs as they are more commonly known are some of the most popular games in the world, with many of the most well-received of 2020, such as Final Fantasy VII, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Genshin Impact, all being RPGs. With the pandemic keeping us all in the confines of our home, what better way is there to spend your time in beautiful, mystical, foreign lands, with characters who possess magical abilities? These games will offer you a brief respite from the monotony of everyday life, especially during times such as these, and help your mind escape to scenic far-off lands.
The term RPG is a little confusing, however, since whenever one plays a video game, one assumes the role of the character in the game. Does that make all these games RPGs? No, since RPGs include several distinct characteristics and features, and only games with some or most of these characteristics are termed RPGs. Role-playing video games have evolved from table-top role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons, and share many of the elements of these table-top games, such as an immersive atmosphere, where a player enters a world completely different from their own, character development, storytelling, and other narrative elements, and replay value. All of these characteristics are extremely important in an RPG, and it is precisely these traits that make RPGs so much fun to play. They provide an even more immersive experience than table-top role-playing games because of the visuals, sound design, along with the fast-paced playing style.
In this two-part series, we’ll be looking at ten of the best Role-Playing Games available for Android, both old and new, all of which can be played on BlueStacks.
The Banner Saga ($9.99)
The Banner Saga is a very well-known RPG that was released in 2014. It is characterized as a tactical role-playing game since one must rely very heavily on tactics and skills to survive in this game. The Banner Saga is inspired heavily by Norse mythology, and the game tells the story of two races- the Humans and the Varls- forming a rough alliance to stay alive in the destitute, almost apocalyptic conditions of their country. The game tells us that the Gods of this place have died and that the sun has stopped moving, engulfing this world in perpetual twilight. The Varls are horned, humanoid creatures who have been created by the Gods themselves, and although they are quite strong, they’ve had to ally with the Humans to battle the Dredge, an ancient race of monsters that was believed to be extinct but has now returned.
Since the game is interactive, the direction the story takes is based entirely upon the kinds of decisions that the player makes when playing the game. The user gets to play through two different storylines that later converge into one. The game features turn-based combat, and is quite similar to Final Fantasy Tactics in that regard. The Banner Saga has no in-game purchases, meaning that all the resources, especially “Renown”, which is very important in the game for your survival, have to be earned and can’t be bought. This adds to the overall experience of the game, where nothing is found easy and everything needs to be fought for. Another interesting part of the game is that the developers, Versus Evil, have made it so that users are forced to accept defeat and move past it if it occurs in the game. It isn’t possible for users to simply reload the game at an earlier checkpoint if they make a bad decision that gets one of their main characters killed- instead, the game encourages you to deal with the loss and move forward with the story.
This comes as a breath of fresh air since it is too easy to simply reload to an earlier point in the game. The Banner Saga, however, makes sure that there is no easy way out for the player, and that they take each one of their decisions seriously since it could mean life or death for their main character. This also adds to the replay value of the game since you could play it over and over again and make different key choices each time, leading to a different turn of events, and even a different ending.
The game has been highly praised for its art style, with each frame being hand-drawn, and resembling a very well animated 90s movie rather than a video game. This makes sense since the art style is highly inspired by Eyvind Earle, the man behind the art in the Disney movie Sleeping Beauty. The backgrounds in this game are picturesque, and they depict the cold, harsh environment well. The original soundtrack by Austin Wintory is also masterful and adds to the overall experience of playing this game.
With over fifty-thousand downloads, The Banner Saga has been rated 4.2 out of 5 stars on Google Play Store.
Another Eden (Free)
Another Eden is a role-playing game that comes from the brilliant minds of writer Masato Kato and composer Yasunori Mitsuda, both of whom have worked on the classic RPG game Chrono Trigger (which will be reviewed in part two of this series). Given that these two iconic figures of the gaming world have collaborated on this game, it is no surprise that Another Eden is on our list of the best RPG games for Android. Another Eden also has some noticeable similarities with Chrono Trigger, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The most obvious similarity is the user playing the role of a hero from a small village who has to travel back and forth in time to save the world. The game, unlike other modern RPGs, is a side-scrolling game, allowing players to only move left or right. Although this may seem like a hindrance at first, one quickly adapts to the play style and it adds to the overall experience of the game.
The game centers around siblings Aldo and Feinne, with Feinne having the ability to erase all of humankind from the world. Seeking this ability of Feinne, the Beast King kidnaps her to activate her dormant abilities, which will destroy all humans, leaving the world open to the ravages of the Beast King and his kind. Aldo must rescue his sister with the help of several characters that he meets along the way. While on his quest to rescue Feinne, things take a turn for the worse, and Feinne is taken away eight hundred years into the future due to a disruption in the space-time continuum. This development in the story makes the gameplay a lot more interesting since now Aldo must time-travel to both the past and the future to save his sister and the fate of humankind.
When it was announced that Another Eden will be a free-to-play Gacha game, many were doubtful about how the game would turn out, since Gacha games are notorious for their pay-to-win tendencies. Thankfully, Another Eden doesn’t fall for the same trappings as other jRPGs and Gacha games. The player has to grind it out to move forward in the game, and in-app purchases don’t take over the entire game. The graphics of the game are great, and although the game is in 2D, with side-scrolling only, it is exceptionally well made and very engrossing once you begin playing it. The overall atmosphere of the game, of which the Mitsuda’s soundtrack is a huge part, is really well-made and extremely fun to play in.
The combat of the game is turn-based, and the game does not offer auto-play, which means that the players have to manually fight throughout the game, adding to the overall lack of fanservice, with Kato going back to the original 90s RPGs and jRPGs. After playing the game for a few hours you also unlock Another Force, which enables the user to freeze time and make multiple attacks at once. The game is completely narrative-driven, and there are no signs of daily missions, PvPs, or energy systems, which is a welcome change since most other modern RPGs rely heavily on all of the above. Taking away all the fluff, Another Eden allows you to focus solely on the story and the combat, immersing you deep into the narrative and the game’s atmosphere.
With over one million downloads, Another Eden is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars on Google Play Store.
Elder Scrolls: Blades (Free)
Elder Scrolls: Blades is Bethesda’s offering to the world of mobile RPGs and they’ve done a wonderful job according to both critics and gamers. The game is a spin-off that takes place in the same universe as the rest of the Elder Scrolls series, with the period set before The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and after The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. The game is a first-person perspective RPG that can be played in both landscape and portrait mode, the latter of which makes the game extremely easy to play with one hand. Unlike other major PC game ports, Bethesda has not tried to cram the PC version of the game into a mobile device- instead, they’ve specifically created Elder Scrolls: Blades for mobile devices, and this is quite apparent by the combat style and overall design of the game. The game is linear and not open-world like all the other PC/Console Elder Scrolls games that have come before it. This is due to the technical limitations of mobile devices, which goes to show that the developers of this game made sure to make this game completely mobile-oriented.
The combat is one-on-one, and the player engages in combat by swiping, tapping, or using on-screen dual-stick controls. If turn-based combat is too boring for you and you want to play a game that allows you to fight opponents in real-time, then this game is for you. There is also an extensive range of weapons that the player can use, and a lot of different unlockable characters to choose from. As mentioned earlier, the game is linear and hence the main objective of the player is to go from point A to point B and kill everything that is in the way. While this may seem, and it is, simplistic, it is still extremely enjoyable because of the smooth combat mechanics, the iconic Elder Scrolls soundtrack, and how good the game looks even on mobile devices. Another aspect of the game that is worth mentioning, and also sets it apart from its open-world console/PC predecessors, is the town building. As opposed to finding towns, in Elder Scrolls: Blades you build your own town as you see fit using materials that you’ve collected. If you are short on material then there is always the option of using real money to buy gems, which are the in-game currency, to buy the necessary material for your town building project. The game also offers Guilds and PvP modes which users have enjoyed. The guilds can be used to talk to other players, trade with them, or even fight them in the Arena for additional rewards.
One valid critique of the game is that it does incentivize pay-to-win tendencies. Many different things need to be acquired throughout the game- most of which take a lot of time and effort- but the game provides you with the easy option of buying your way out. Micro-transactions are in abundance, which takes the charm away from the game. Despite this, overall the game is worth playing and has unique bits and pieces that set it apart not only from other RPGs but also from previous Elder Scrolls games.
With over a million downloads, Elder Scrolls: Blades has a rating of 4 out of 5 stars on the Google Play Store.
Fire Emblem Heroes (Free)
Nintendo has been a big player in the mobile game market for a while, banking on the previous success of games such as the Super Mario franchise. With Fire Emblem Heroes they’ve done the same thing, using the original Nintendo game as a base on which to build an excellent mobile-oriented RPG game. The game is extremely popular on both Android and iOS and has garnered over $650 million in revenue as of January 2020.
The game involves the nations of Askr and Embla who are at war with each other, and the protagonist leads the Kingdom of Askr and its heroes against the Kingdom of Embla. In the game, the player can summon characters from other worlds to fight with them, and these other worlds are all the settings of other Fire Emblem games, meaning that the fan-favorite characters from all the other Fire Emblem games can be used in this game. The gameplay is simple and involves turn-based combat with an emphasis on positioning and tactics. The player can use up to four characters in a match against enemies of varying strength on a grid of 8×6. The characters in this game belong to different classes and categories, and each class has its set of strengths and weaknesses, which also includes differences in how far they can move on the grid and also which tiles they can move to. For example, the cavalry units can move farther than the armored units, but the cavalry unit isn’t allowed to move to forest tiles, while the armored unit is. There are also flying units, which can enter almost all tiles, even those impervious to other units, such as mountains or water. If an enemy is within range when it is your turn then you can choose to attack. The game is strictly turn-based, so your opponent will do the same to you if their character survives your attack.
Physical and magical are the two types of damage incurred to your character in this game. The game’s story is divided into chapters, with different maps and opponent teams of various sizes for you to face. The game also has a training tower that can be used to increase the strength of your characters through random battles. You can also fight the AI-controlled teams of other, real-life players in the Arena section of the game.
The game uses orbs as the in-game currency, and orbs can be used to unlock characters. While it can be done, it is extremely time and energy-consuming to unlock high-level characters using orbs that you collect through battles, but this can be remedied through in-app purchases. You can use real money to buy orbs, which you can then use to unlock high-level characters, which, in turn, strengthen your team, helping you win more matches. So, in a way, Fire Emblem Heroes does encourage a pay-to-win style. But, since this is a free-to-play RPG, this was to be expected. The in-game graphics look great, and the combat runs smoothly, as do the animations.
With over five million downloads, Fire Emblem Heroes is rated 4.4 out of 5 stars on Google Play Store.
Here is a short guide on the game for new users.
Knights of Pen & Paper 2 (Free)
Knights of Pen & Paper 2 is one of the most famous Android role-playing games, and for good reason. Although it features what is pretty much a standard RPG storyline, it adds an extra layer of meta-commentary, and hence opens up a lot of avenues for the developers, and, by extension, the players. In the game, you roleplay as a role-player- meaning that the character you control is himself playing a roleplaying board game, not too different from Dungeons and Dragons. As you can imagine, the Knights of Pen & Paper 2 is heavily inspired by the original Dungeons and Dragons board game. This sort of meta-narrative allows the players to have a lot more options under their control than it would’ve been possible had this game been a regular RPG. Not only can you control your own character, and, in turn, their character in the board game they’re playing, but you can also control the dungeon master of the board game, allowing you to pick the battles you want to fight.
In the game, not only do you choose your class as you do in most RPGs, such as mage, healer, warrior, etc., but you also choose your race- which includes human, elf, or dwarf- and your social group. All of them have their different pros and cons, and there are numerous combinations to choose from, each of which will have a different impact on how you play the game. You can also give your selected characters different weapons, which will also affect their stats in different ways.
The meta-commentary of the game also plays a big role in the story that you are a part of. In the game, your character comes across the character of the Paper Knight, which is an overpowered character who has Second Edition powers; powers that you and your fellow characters, all of whom are First Edition, haven’t seen or heard of. The objective of the game is to find the Disc of House Rules which will strip the Paper Knight of his extra abilities. Although it seems like too simplistic a story to keep you interested in the game, it is extremely fun to play, especially when you take into account the constant tongue-in-cheek dialogues and the retro, pixelated graphics.
With over a million downloads, Knights of Pen & Paper 2 is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars on Google Play Store.