Level-up with these great Android RPGs

by Tim McLain

If your idea of a perfect afternoon is sitting at your PC, running dungeons, tanking or healing, earning XP, and equipping the latest phat loot, then these role-playing games will help you scratch your online itch anywhere, anytime, right from the comfort of your Android device.

ZENONIA ($4.99)

Today's kids have been playing handheld role-playing games like ZENONIA for years, but until now mostly on Nintendo devices like the DS and DSi. Loaded with more than 40 hours of content, wrapped in a classic 16-bit graphical interface, you'll swear you're playing a full-fledged $40 DS game on your phone. As the top classic RPG title in the marketplace, you (and your kids) will spend many weeks working your way through ZENONIA's storyline, earning upgrades and skill enhancements, equipping powerful gear, making new friends, and generally questing with a huge smile on your face. Choose to be an assassin, warrior or paladin; customize your abilities and base attributes, then jump into the story, where every decision and text tree will change your alignment (good vs. evil) and the ultimate outcome of the game. When you've exhausted every path, pick up ZENONIA 2 ($4.99). They're that good.

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Pocket Legends (Free)

My son and I have been playing Pocket Legends for months now, both in iOS and Android devices. Since all game data is stored online, it's a simple matter to jump from phone to iPad and back again with no loss of data. Pocket Legends is a fully featured massively multiplayer role-playing game (MMORPG) in the vein of World of Warcraft. Logging-in to the server grants you access to your character and several worlds of content, thick with dungeons, lootable chests and — best of all — thousands of other players who are waiting to raid with you. Quests are easy to obtain, and clicking "Go To" jumps you right to the specific raiding area. Other players in the dungeon work with you, side by side, to share XP, loot, gold and more. While the app itself is free, paying real money for in-game platinum allows you to unlock higher-level dungeons and special equipment. I've spent a grand total of $4.99 thus far, and it's been enough to unlock most of the upper-level content. A must-install for all RPG gamers.

Parallel Kingdom AOT (Free)

Here's a hack-and-slash RPG that's truly unique. Parallel Kingdom: Age of Thrones combines an MMORPG with your phone's GPS map system, overlaying a massive "parallel world" over your neighborhood, state, country and, ultimately, the world. After logging-in, you can plant a flag right in your part of town, plant trees, gather resources, make items, and fight with other players and avatar mobs. An online game is only as good as its community. While Pocket Legends is populated with players who generally work together well and chat without resorting to swearing, my Parallel Kingdom is home to rude and obnoxious players more interested in being jackasses than having a worthwhile gaming experience. However, if you can avoid the trash talk, there's a worthwhile experience to be had in this app.

Attic Tales (RPG) (~$1.60)

Back in the 1990s, college students spent countless hours on the fledgling Internet working their way through virtual dungeons, via a text-only interface. These MUDs and MOOs (I'll leave you to look up those terms) formed the basis for today's fully featured graphical RPGs. Attic Tales is a bridge between the past and present of the genre, offering classic text-based RPG storylines and text trees, along with first-generation sprite-like graphics. There are plenty of monsters to slay, levels and dungeons to explore, gold to plunder and special armor to equip. Attic Tales is a worthwhile diversion that keeps on getting better. Upcoming updates include achievements, additional special items and a third epic chapter.

Related: New Android device? Download these games first