Baldur’s Gate 3—the long-awaited sequel to one of the most celebrated CRPG series of all time—is finally here, and by most accounts it seems like a game lovingly made for those who like their video game rpgs to feel more like tabletop ones. If you commonly read this site, though, you may be looking for a way to play something like Baldur’s Gate 3, but on iOS. Now, it’s not exactly a secret that you can get very close to doing that by picking up several high-profile ports. The previous Baldur’s Gate games are available on iOS, as are Icewind Dale and Neverwinter Nights. You can even check out other Bioware RPGs like Knights of the Old Republic or even pick up Divinity - Original Sin 2, the last release from the Baldur’s Gate 3 developers (provided you have a device powerful enough to run it).
This list isn’t about those games, though. I decided to do some out-of-the-box thinking to gin up a list of games that can give you things you might want out of a Baldur’s Gate game while feeling a bit more tuned for mobile or short-burst play. See below for the picks:
Knights of Pen & Paper is the portrait mode suggestion for this list. This somewhat goofy rpg has you doing the kinds of things you’d expect to do when playing Dungeons & Dragons, but then also shows the D&D session happening at the bottom of the screen, complete with your characters—in costumes—sitting across the table from the dungeon master.
This one is perhaps the most “hands-off” choice in being an idle game built on the lore and world of Dungeons & Dragons. Don’t let that fool you, though. Playing it may largely involve watching the action while picking upgrades to buy from the loot your heroes whack out of enemies, but the game still does a good job of making you feel like you are going on an epic adventure.
For any players more interested in the narrative aspects of a Baldur’s Gate-like experience, Fighting Fantasy Legends is likely your best bet. This is a game that plays a lot like a fantasy choose-your-own-adventure book, but also contains rpg mechanics and progression so you have ways to overcome the surprises and challenges that come your way as you go on your adventure.
Look, I know Pathfinder and D&D aren’t the same, but playing a video game based on a table top rpg isn’t the same as playing a tabletop rpg, either, so just trust me when I say that Pathfinder Adventures is a fitting entry for this list. It distills the core experience of fantasy role playing adventures and puts them into a card game where you can control a party of adventurers on your own or cooperatively with others to complete scenarios where you crawl through dungeons and kill bad guys and evil creatures.
This isn’t a fantasy game or one built on a pre-existing tabletop set of rules or lore. That said Star Traders: Frontiers is one of the finest open-world rpgs on mobile that lets you build parties of crew members and complete all manner of space-faring adventures. It makes this list if what you really want is a way to make your way in an unfamiliar world with a band of adventurers that you pick and mold yourself.
Dark Quest 2 is a good pickup if what you’re looking for is a fast and fun way to do some fantasy dungeon-crawling with turn-based combat. In it, you control a party of adventurers that go questing for loot that then allows them to go on more dangerous quests. It’s a fairly straightforward game, but with just enough interesting wrinkles to its gameplay and progression system to give it some satisfying depth.