What happens if you put 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.
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.
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.
I can't decide if H.P. Lovecraft is rolling over in his grave at the thought of Cthulu being one of the best retro RPGs on the iPad, or if the great horror writer foresaw a time when Cthulu's plans would include distracting the world with a 16-bit thriller, leaving the mad god free to go about its diabolical business.
Whatever the case may be, Cthulhu Saves the World isn't just a homage to the days of 16-bit RPGs, it outright mocks them in a "I love you so much but I'm still gong to make fun of you" sort of way. If you want a large dose of humor to go along with your game, this is it.
If the idea of an action-RPG and a tower defense game being put into a blender and turned into a single application makes your mouth water, Dungeon Defenders: First Wave is the game for you. The game features everything you would expect in one of the best RPGs on the iPad: stats, tons of items, character building, etc. But it combines these addictive qualities with the stategy of a tower defense game to create a great hybrid.
You also won't be taking on the hordes of baddies alone. Dungeon Defenders: First Wave features both co-op multiplayer modes and player-vs-player modes.
Who says you always need to play the human, dwarf or elf? Can't an orc be a protagonist? ORC: Vengeance plays much like Dungeon Hunter, even starting you off in a dungeon with the task of beating your way out, with just a smidge or two of World of Warcraft cheesiness thrown in for good measure. In many ways, it is a refreshing dungeon crawler that builds upon the past rather than trying to rewrite it, with a control scheme that neatly utilizes the ability to draw gestures in order to unleash special attacks.
The story and setting may lack originality, but in many ways, ORC: Vengeance is what the Dungeon Hunter series may have become if they makers hadn't decided to focus more on making money than making a rewarding game.
For those that miss the days of Zelda, Across Age brings the graphical style and classic game play of 16-bit console RPGs. In your quest to save the world from an evil magician, you'll take on the roles of Ales the swordsman and Ceska, who along with being a powerful mage in her own right also has the power to travel through time. This interesting combination opens up some rather unique puzzles with some creative solutions.
Across Age is a deep RPG with some tactical elements and it will take a while to solve, so it is easy to get your money's worth with this title.
Dungeon Hunter set the gold standard for an Action-RPG on the iPad, and the sequel does not disappoint. Boasting fine-tuned controls and expanded game play, Dungeon Hunter 2 is everything you want in a sequel: the addictive game play of the original and enhanced features that feed rather than detract from that game play.
In addition to a deeper level of character customization, Dungeon Hunter 2 ads co-op multiplayer so you can go out adventuring with your friends.
Dungeon Hunter 2 is the best of the series, with Dungeon Hunter 3 being a disappointment and Dungeon Hunter 4 weighted down too much with in-app purchases. But Dungeon Hunter 2 is still one of the great RPGs on the iPad.
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 Bard's Tale, Might and Magic 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.