In looking this past summer at the best upcoming Android games, this site touched on one of the more interesting games we’ve seen on mobile in years: Pokémon Quest. Building on the mobile success of Pokémon GO and the widespread revival of the franchise, this game plays up more of a “gotta catch ‘em all” format, complete with fun, blocky graphics and what’s ultimately an RPG-like style of gameplay. It’s not quite a Pokémon classic game in this sense, but it’s the closest thing we have in modern mobile gaming, and it also got us thinking about what other characters, franchises, or reboots could make for great mobile RPGs. A few ideas came to mind.
Super Mario Characters
Now that Super Mario has come to mobile devices through Super Mario Run, hopes are high for more Mario- and Nintendo-related adaptations. Naturally many will think first of popular franchises like Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros., and both could certainly be made available in mobile versions that would instantly have millions of players. However, the same characters could make for an incredible RPG as well. This is an area Nintendo has been relatively inactive in, though I’d have to agree with one writer who said in 2016 that after 20 years few Nintendo games had lived up to Super Mario RPG. It’s one of the best Mario games of all time, and a version of it, or even a game loosely inspired by it, would be a huge hit on mobile.
Gods & Titans
The gods and titans of ancient civilizations are fairly popular in gaming already. Aside from huge AAA games like the God Of War series, these characters now make up their own mobile fighting game called Gods Of Rome. Additionally, an Age Of Gods series takes up three of 11 spots in a ranking of the internet’s most popular slot games, which is saying something given how huge this category is. So basically, we know people like to play with mythical gods and titans, whether in a slot reel, mobile fighter, or console adventure. Why not a mobile-based RPG? It could be set in a dangerous ancient world, and you could collect heroes, titans, and gods for a team to complete missions.
The Horror Characters Of Universal
Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, Van Helsing, Frankenstein, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula, Wolf Man…. Many people don’t realize that these and many other iconic horror characters all belong to Universal. Most of them hail from gothic literature, but in terms of modern entertainment they’re all under the same banner, and together they comprise a sort of dark and twisted fantasy. There’s currently a struggling if not collapsed effort to showcase that world in a series of connected films. But gaming would be an easier outlet, and while a fighting game could also work, an RPG could present the characters in a lot of fun and creative ways, and could also infuse a great narrative – which is only fitting given the presence of literary legends.
Fighting franchises are about as reliable as games come. If a new Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, or Tekken game is released, it’s going to have an instant, enthusiastic following. But if a few studios had the guts to shake things up a little bit, the beloved characters from these franchises could also wind up making a great RPG. We learned earlier this year about a Street Fighter and Power Rangers crossover, and Street Fighter vs. Tekken games have been around for a while already. These crossovers aren’t rare – it’s just that they’d need to explore this different genre of gaming to really do something new.
This is the most out-there idea here, but it could work in a couple of ways. On the one hand, we could have RPG games based on specific sports, in which you could gather teams of players to take on different challenges together. On the other hand, we could simply see a fighting-based RPG game in which athletes are used as heroes with different talents. Cristiano Ronaldo could kick soccer balls at opponents while Tom Brady throws footballs at them and Michael Phelps splashes them, for instance. It’s goofy, and would require a ton of licensing, but done properly it could actually be a very fun and original game.