The 19 Best RPGs for the iPad

RPGs come out great on touch-based devices

Role-playing games and the iPad go hand-in-hand. While game genres like first-person shooters can be awkward on a touch device if not done just right, role-playing games fall right in line with the iPad's mechanics.

An illustration of a person playing one of the best RPG games in this list on his iPad.

The popularity of the iPad does have its negative side. The best-selling list for role-playing games on the iPad tend to fill up with kids games not quite intended for the veteran pen-and-paper player looking for a quick fix or a retro-style RPG.

Luckily, we've done some of the heavy lifting for you.

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Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic


Never mind the iPad, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is as one of the top role-playing games of all time regardless of platform. This Bioware classic is a story-driven adventure that takes place four thousand years before Luke, Leia and Han Solo hit the big screen for the first time. As the last hope of the Jedi Order, you choose your own path, including the lure of the Dark Side of the Force.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic arrives on the iPad with a remastered interface focused on making the touchscreen controls more intuitive. Other than that, this is the full Knights of the Old Republic game, taking a whopping 2.5 GB of storage space to install.

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Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition


The role-playing game ruled the 80's, but by the middle of the 90's, many called the role-playing game a dead genre on the computer. And then came two games: Diablo and Baldur's Gate. Diablo spawned a genre of action RPGs, but Baldur's Gate proved you could still build a story-oriented puzzle-filled hack-and-slash RPG and be a success. Considered by many to be one of the best RPGs of all time, the Enhanced Edition is a great port of the full game to the iPad.

Finished the original? You can try the sequel, which includes expansions such as Throne of Bhaal and Fist of the Fallen.

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Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions

Speaking of paying an arm and a leg, much of the Final Fantasy series is available on the App Store, but don't expect a break on the prices. These classics cost between $10 and $20, but for fans of the series, there is no substitution for the real thing.

It's dealer's choice which game makes this list. Final Fantasy I might be where the true hardcore fan would start, but if you just want to see if Final Fantasy is your thing, Final Fantasy Tactics might be the best choice. It's a gem among gems in the Final Fantasy series, and while it will cost as much as any in the Final Fantasy series, it has very deep gameplay and presents a rewarding experience.

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Mage Gauntlet

Retro games come in two flavors: classics that have been ported to the iOS platform and brand new games with a retro flair. Mage Gauntlet takes on the retro style of old-school Nintendo RPGs, oftentimes poking fun at classic RPG cliches, but providing enough fun to keep you entertained.

The game isn't just about using whatever weapon you can find to deal with anything that gets in your path. You'll do a lot of on-screen dodging to get away from hordes of creatures, biding time for your gauntlet to power up so you can unleash a devastating spell. All in all, a good combo of action role-playing and 16-bit fun.

Already played Mage Gauntlet? Check out, Wayward Souls. Inspired by but not quite a sequel to Mage Gauntlet, Wayward Souls will give you the same retro gameplay and sleepless nights as Mage Gauntlet.

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Screenshot from the Oceanhorn game.

If you've ever longed for Legend of Zelda: The Wind Walker to come to the iPad, you've found your game. Oceanhorn may not have the "Legend of Zelda" title, but it has the Legend of Zelda heart. The controls can be a little awkward at times, but this game is a must-have for anyone who longs for the Zelda games to hit iOS.

The storyline itself is pretty simple. The death of the hero's father sets up a grand adventure, but it's the execution that captures this game. Oceanhorn has beautiful graphics and original music by Nobuo Uematsu, who also composed some of the music for the Final Fantasy series.

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Screenshot from the Slayin RPG Game.

Have you ever wondered what you would get if you could splice together coin-operated arcade classics Joust and Golden Axe with an endless runner like Temple Run? Perhaps something like Slayin.

Slayin is definitely not like anything else on the list, which is one good reason to put it on the list. It's very much like a classic coin-op game, but with a very modern charm to it. If you want something simple-yet-addictive, this is the best dollar you could spend.

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Banner Saga

Screenshot from the Banner Saga game.

Banner Saga evokes a distinctive style, with graphics that look like they belong in a cartoon on television and the ability to change the outcome of the story based on your own deeds. The tactical-based combat can be quite challenging and the bleak world really draws you into the story, especially as you approach the end of the game and get involved in exhilarating battles.

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Titan Quest

Screenshot of Titan Quest

Titan Quest is a great example of how porting a PC game to mobile can go right. One of the better Diablo-clones, Titan Quest has a unique dual-class system that allows you to mix-and-match to create your character. With three acts and three difficulty levels, there is a lot of content to keep you busy and enough class combinations to make multiple playthroughs fun.

One addicting area of gameplay centers on collecting relics to enhance items. These relics can boost your character in multiple ways from enhancing life draining abilities, granting regeneration or adding to magic resistance.

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Screenshot from the Bastion game.

What happens if you put the character into an isometric action RPG? You might get something like Bastion. A beautiful port of the popular game released in 2011, Bastion is a great example of not delivering a pared down experience when bringing a game to iOS. But the real beauty of Bastion is its many-tiered elements of gameplay where there always seems like there is something new to experience within the variety of enemies, levels, and mini-games.

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Ravensword: Shadowlands

Screenshot from the RPG game Ravensword Shadowlands.

Did you love The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion? Have you played Skyrim for hours and hours on end? If you answered yes to either of those questions, Ravensword: Shadowlands is the game for you. Built with the same skill-based class system and open sandbox design, Ravensword: Shadowlands is a gorgeous game with beautiful landscapes and plenty of baddies to mow down on your way to see those scenic views.

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Sword of Fargoal Legends


If Sword of Fargoal Legends rings a bell in your memory bank, there's a reason. First released for the Commodore 64 back in 1982, the game sports a new look on the iPad, but don't think its graphics have strayed too much from its illustrious past. It still has that retro-game appeal.

As a Rogue-like RPG. Sword of Fargoal Legends features random dungeon generation, which means each time you play through the game you'll get something different. And you'll have plenty of hack-n-slash fun on your way down the depths of the dungeon in search of the Sword of Fargoal.

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Order and Chaos Online (MMO)

Screenshot of the Order & Chaos Online RPG.

Order and Chaos Online is Gameloft's attempt to clone World of Warcraft to the iPad, and by all accounts, they've done a pretty good job of it. The game is based on a faction system that pits humans and elves against orcs and undead and has over 500 quests for players to complete. And in true massively multiplayer RPG fashion, players can join guilds, trade loot and even duel each other.

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Sorcery! 2

Screenshot from the Scorcery 2 RPG game.

What do you get when you combine a game book with a tabletop board game and mix in turn-based combat? Steve Jackson's Sorcery brought into the 21st century. Steve Jackson is a legend from the pen-and-paper role-playing game days, so it is no surprise one of his games gets a nod on this list.

Sorcery! 2 is very much like playing a role-playing board game. You can freely adventure in the city, exploring areas and engaging in turn-based fights, cast spells and overcome traps. This unique game will be addicting both to those who love the strategy aspects of RPGs and those who love the story aspects.

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The Bard's Tale

Screenshot from the Bard's Tale RPG game.

This port of the 2014 "re-imagining" of The Bard's Tale is a fun enough adventure on the iPad, but the best part might be the bonus games included with your purchase. The Bard's Tale includes the original trilogy along with the remake, so you can travel to Skara Brae and help save the town from Mangar the Dark.

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The Quest Classic

Screenshot from The Quest RPG.

The genre of first-person role-playing games with turn-based combat brings back a memory of The Bard's Tale and Might and Magic. If you are dying to relive that old school style of RPG, The Quest is a great choice. It does a great job of creating that retro style, including a playable card game at inns and plenty of readable books scattered around the world.

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Pocket RPG

Screenshot from the Pocket RPG game.

If you are looking for a role-playing game with an infinite amount of replayability, Pocket RPG is your game. The action-based RPG belongs to the rogue-like category of games, which feature randomly generated dungeons in order to create a new adventure each time the game is played. The game includes three different classes along with a horde of loot and fun boss battles. It was a runaway hit when it debuted in July and is easily one of the top RPGs released this year.

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Avadon: The Black Fortress

Screenshots from Avadon: the Black Fortress.

The genre of RPGs is divided into many different types, from Action RPGs like Diablo to console RPGs like Zelda to Eastern RPGs like Final Fantasy. And while most of these are well represented in the app store, with even a number of different rogue-like games for those who really like to go old school, the classic CRPG from the 80s and early 90s—games like The TSR Gold Box series and Ultima—don't have quite as many imitators for iPad owners.

Avadon: The Black Fortress shines as one of these retro 80s RPGs. The emphasis here is on epic role-playing with a world-saving quest, a lengthy story and classic turn-based battles that rely as much on your use of tactics as they do your ability to tap the screen repeatedly. It's a refreshing blast-from-the-past for those of us who grew up on Commodore 64 and Apple IIe RPGs.

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Rimelands: Hammer of Thor—Lite

Screenshots from Rimland: Hammer of Thor.

A steampunk turn-based RPG with an action-RPGs style, Rimelands: Hammer of Thor puts you in the role of Rose Cristo, treasure hunter extraordinaire. Join her on a journey that will take her to the supernatural and beyond as she sets out to unveil a plot that could tear the very fabric of the world apart.

Rimelands: Hammer of Thor is designed to be simple to learn but difficult to perfect. It offers three different paths with unique talent trees for replayability.

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Pocket Legends (MMO)

Screenshot from the Pocket Legends MMO RPG game.

Who needs World of Warcraft when you can carry Pocket Legends wherever you go? A great fantasy-based MMORPG, Pocket Legends leads the way for massively multiplayer gameplay on the iPad. Anyone that has played an MMORPG will feel right at home in Pocket Legends. And because you can create an account for free, it's easy to list as a must-have download.

The great thing about Pocket Legends is the frequent updates, which keeps the game from getting stale. These updates include new areas, new quests, new monsters, new items and (occasionally) even a raising of the level cap.

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