Honest Android RPGs
June 8, 2014 2:47 PM   Subscribe

What are some honest Android RPGs?

I grew up on JRPGs like Final Fantasy I, IV and VI. More recently I've played some of the Shining Force and Fire Emblem series. These days, it seems like portable gaming is transitioning more towards Android/iOS and away from dedicated systems like the Nintendo (3)DS.

I'd like to find some good JRPG style games on Android, but it seems hard. (I have a Nexus 5 if that matters.) Most mobile releases seem focused on making money through in-game content, which I'm wary of, and it's hard to tell which games will be based on this model. (I've found "Honest Android Games" but the reviews seem almost exclusively based around purchases in the game rather than finding, e.g., the top N Android games.) I've played some re-releases of old games (e.g., Final Fantasy), but it doesn't seem super original to play things I've played before and often the controls seem pretty poorly ported to mobile. (I tried playing Chrono Trigger but found the controls pretty unusable.)

What good RPGs are there for Android? What sources should I be reading to find them? Are there particular publishers that often make games that fit into this category (up front, quality RPGs for Android)?
posted by pbh to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
You can get Cthulhu Saves the World on Android.
posted by yarntheory at 3:43 PM on June 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm really terrible at it but Pixel Dungeon is a fun cartoony roguelike. The controls are perfect for touch screen. However it is a roguelike and there's no story or quests, but I like to keep a game going throughout the day.
posted by kittensofthenight at 4:05 PM on June 8, 2014 [4 favorites]

Shadowrun Returns is great but requires some focus on the small menus. Movement is touch based, but I've found that on my LG G2 I still can't play it unless I'm able to focus at the table or on a couch.

Out There scratches some RPG itches but in the end is pretty insubstantial, I feel, although everyone else seems to love it. Its another good game to start playing in the morning and play through the day (until you die, of course.)

I wish there was a game with jrpg mechanics that used a touch screen betterm though. Tap to move, drag for inventory. Tap and hold for menus.
posted by kittensofthenight at 4:15 PM on June 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also the Squaresoft ports are a huge rip off. If you want to play SNES games on Android the SNES 9x EX+ app works great and the controls aren't any worse or better than in the official ports. I'm sure you can find the roms somehow. Secret of Mana works great.
posted by kittensofthenight at 4:18 PM on June 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I personally think that Pixel Dungeon is the greatest game ever made by man. I shout it from the rooftops. It is a roguelike though, so maybe not your cup of tea. I also like Machine Knight and Andor's Trail, although the latter is still being actively developed and isn't quite complete yet. On the plus side there is a very active community based around the game.
posted by Literaryhero at 6:06 PM on June 8, 2014

Kemco games has tons of JPRG style games that have no in app purchases.

I have no idea if they are any good however.
posted by aspo at 6:35 PM on June 8, 2014

If you like old-school, Ultima-style games, there's Gurk (I, II, and III). Very enjoyable, and absolutely no in-game upsell bullshit. First one is free!
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 8:34 PM on June 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I wasn't aware there was a Gurk III (and just in time for hours in the family car). I played I and II and enjoyed them, and continue to enjoy Pixel Dungeon, mentioned above. Knights of Pen and Paper is also fun along similar lines.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 11:12 PM on June 8, 2014

Not a specific recommendation, but in my experience Pocket Gamer post fairly honest reviews and are always very clear about whether a game gouges you on in-app purchases or not. They're seem to stick the boot in to crap games somewhat more often than most in the (corrupt as hell) games reviewing biz, and you can easily browse their archive of reviews by genre and device until you've found something you like.

Oh, and my recommendation: there's a great action-RPG with no in-app purchases called Wayward Souls which has a top-down SNES style with (as you might imagine) a strong influence in terms of challenge from From Software's 'Souls' series. It's a cracking game and well worth the price.
posted by Ted Maul at 4:01 AM on June 9, 2014

Look at every single thing done by the Trese Brothers. Their production values could generously be called "very indie", but the games themselves are expansive, have generous demos, and let you carry your saves into the paid version if you want.

I'd suggest Star Traders if you want an old-school space exploration / trading game, and Heroes of Steel for a party-based RPG. I've heard very good things about Age of Pirates recently, but haven't tried it yet.
posted by jammer at 8:44 AM on June 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

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