RPGs with puzzle mechanics feel like the perfect fit for mobile. There’s something about a game that moves at a gentile pace while having a somewhat predictable-yet-challenging set of mechanics that can morph as you progress through some kind of grand adventure that feels right at home in your pocket.
With the recent release of Hero Emblems II, I thought it’d be good to revisit some of the absolute best puzzle RPGs that iOS has to offer, just in case you missed out on some of these incredible titles.
Ticket to Earth is my absolute favorite puzzle RPG and an all-time classic mobile game in my book. It takes place in a sci-fi universe on a mining colony during a prison break and societal upheaval, and you play as a young woman who uses a religious power called “the movement” to make your way through the chaos in a fight for survival.
This game has just about everything you could ask for in a puzzle RPG. A novel puzzle system with in-world justification, a well-told story, great art, and tons of stuff to do and unlock. If you haven’t played this game yet, make sure you do.
Vivid Knight is one of the more recent releases on this list, and it condenses the party-building of auto-chess into bite-sized dungeon-crawls that turn traditional RPG combat into a series of increasingly challenging puzzles to figure out.
It maybe sits a little more on the RPG side of the spectrum, but Vivid Knight’s replayability and and unit-matching mechanics definitely give it the a great puzzle game feel.
PictoQuest is an RPG about restoring paintings, which is a flimsy justification to use the trappings of a fantasy quest in a Picross game. For the most part, it works, and offers up a form of RPG-like “combat” while you are puzzling out pixelized images of snakes and shields.
With the fundamentals of Picross being rooted in logic puzzling, PictoQuest is a solid pickup for anyone who is less interested in matching-style gameplay.
Card Crawl is technically a Solitaire game, which isn’t exactly what you typically think of when you think of puzzle games, but the way that this title transforms this card game into a fantasy combat adventure makes it feel like every quest is its own little randomized puzzle.
If you haven’t heard of or played Card Crawl yet, it’s another stone-cold mobile classic. It also is free to download with a single purchase to unlock the whole thing, so if you just want something to try before you buy on this list, Card Crawl is it.
For those that are still subscribed to Apple Arcade, Card of Darkness is among the best titles on the entire service and is a great puzzle-y RPG in its own right. Similar to Card Crawl, this game turns questing into a deck of cards, but that’s about where the similarities end.
It’s not the easiest game to explain, but trust me when I say that Card of Darkness is well worth sinking time into for a super satisfying puzzle RPG experience.