Some may argue that the premier gaming platform to emerge over the last few years is not made by Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft. Despite all three companies coming out with big hitter consoles (with another wave no doubt imminent), the champion is in fact the smartphone. Mobile gaming is a shockingly dominant industry, turning over millions of revenue and topping the global charts in terms of players. Detractors will argue that this is just for mindless mini-games, and to get the full scope of a beautifully designed game, the smartphone simply isn’t enough. Well, they’re wrong. The best RPGs have made the transition to mobiles with great success, retaining all of their immersion and intricacies; here’s a rundown of the top three.
The groundbreaking Squaresoft RPG, which was so large it initially came on four discs when it was released for the Playstation in 1997, smashes its way onto smartphones. Regarded as one of the greatest games of all time, FFVII features real-time battles, a cast of colourful characters, a highly detailed customising system and some intense, emotional moments that lose nothing of their power when played on mobile. You play as Cloud Strife, mercenary-for-hire, as he struggles against the evil Shinra Corporation and his enigmatic super-soldier rival, Sephiroth. The game also features an amazing soundtrack by Japanese maestro, Nobu Uematsu, gloriously rendered here in old-school MIDI. FF VII combines the best of what RPGs have to offer; an emotional, engaging story alongside fantastical fights and ice-cool characters.
You might like to play football, golf, bingo or poker. Gambling might be your thing, and you might spend most of your days hanging out at online casinos like m88, or you might prefer mashing buttons at Angry Birds. Whatever your preferred pastime, it’s almost guaranteed you like Star Wars. And if that’s almost guaranteed, it’s subsequently almost guaranteed you’ll love Knights of the Old Republic, a thrilling, brilliantly designed RPG that puts you in the centre of the generations-long conflict between the Jedi and the Sith. Set 4,000 years before the events of the film, you are the Jedi’s last hope, hacking and slashing your way through endless Sith bastards (or you can join them, if you fancy becoming a bastard), battling over the fate of the galaxy. Routinely described as one of the best Star Wars games out there, KOTOR is one RPG you can’t afford to miss.
When it comes to RPGs, it’s very tough to beat the Japanese in general, and Squaresoft in particular, which is why another Final Fantasy title makes its way onto this list. War of the Lions is a very different beast to FFVII though, and suits a different type of player; here, the order of the day is strategy, as WOTL features a turn-based gaming system, not unlike a fantastical battle of chess. The game supports a large cast involved in a deep and rewarding story. The two kingdoms of Ivalice and Ordalia are at war, and you play as Ramza, the youngest scion of the noble house Beoulve, as he navigates the global war in search of his missing sister. It’s challenging, resonant and so addictive you won’t notice the hours zipping by. Stirring stuff indeed.