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Top 10 Best MMOs On iPad, Android And iPhone

Adam Barnes


We group test the very best online multiplayer games available on Android and iOS.

Published on Oct 20, 2011

Get ready for the grind with this collection of apps with the WOW factor. We take a look at the very best MMOs available for handheld devices.

Star Legends

Android | OS 2.0| Free | v1.0.2.2
iPhone+ | iOS 3.0| Free | v1.0.2

We've already seen some developers try to bring the MMO genre wholesale from the PC and, more often than not, they just don't work. So Spacetime Studios had the sense to cut out the necessary fat and simplify matters, making a wholly enjoyable and compulsive experience that brings the genre successfully to mobile devices.

It's simplicity is also its downfall, stopping players from really getting into the idiosyncrasies of character customisation that most MMOs have. Still, its considered grouping system – which automatically joins parties if you don’t have one – means you don't need to worry about organising a team when pushed for time. Fluid combat makes this simple but effective sci-fi MMO a compelling game.

Celtic Heroes

iPad+ | iOS 3.2 | Free | v1.0.2

While Celtic Heroes might tick all the necessary MMO boxes, it does so with so little flair or enthusiasm that its unlikely anyone will have the energy to reach later levels. Combat is so dull and uninspired that, even at later levels where the more interesting abilities begin to appear, it's more like hard work than anything even slightly enjoyable.

Beyond all this there's nothing inherently wrong with Celtic Heroes and if you're looking for a new grind then this is as good as any, but you'll soon tire of its barren landscapes, repetitive quests and poor combat. MMOs require dedication to properly appreciate, but this lacklustre example of the genre isn't worth the time.

Empire Online

iPad | iOS 3.1| Free | v1.6.1
Android | OS 1.5 | Free | v1.0.1
 

Empire Online is the biggest disappointment on the list. It's JRPG visuals are keenly crafted, but everything else is just a bit… confusing. The innovative turn-based combat has a number of abilities and attacks to be doled out in tandem by anyone in the group and while it is instantly accessible everything else will leave you lost.

You'll really need to persist as you wander the gorgeous 2D landscapes, which isn't improved by many issues with the UI. Chat will overlap on combat, tap-based movement can be awkward and intermittent crashes make the MMO frustrating to play. It's a shame, because when teaming up to take on tougher enemies, Empire Online can be a real thrill.

Kingdom Conquest

iPhone | iOS 3.0 | Free | v1.2.2

This is one of the most ambitious MMOs on the market, mixing real-time combat, strategy and even city management akin to FarmVille. And, surprisingly, it's all been blended together rather well with your own city planted in an expansive world inhabited by enemy towers and other human-controlled cities.

Quests direct the gameplay for those not ambitious enough to expand on their own, while combat is fast, simple and – most importantly – fun. The only issue is its complexity; those willing to put the time in will be greatly rewarded, but without a more in-depth tutorial covering all its features, Kingdom Conquest might be deterring to newcomers. An MMO doesn't need to be just about the hack and slash, and Kingdom Conquest proves that.

Pocket Legends

iPad+ | iOS 3.0 | Free | v1.7.3
Android | OS 2.0 | Free | v1.7.3

Much like Star Legends (also reviewed on these pages), simplicity is key for Pocket Legends. However, Pocket Legends has earned itself the same flaws that most MMOs do on mobile devices – namely, a lot of repetition. You'll spend the majority of your game trudging through the same uninspired locations.

It doesn't help that, of the three playable classes, there's no variety in each of the characters, leaving a batch of similar looking allies fighting the same few enemies you've battled before. Even combat – with it's endless tap, tap, tapping – begins to become a chore before long. Worth a free download for a few hours of grinding fun, but there's nothing to hang around for.

The Infinite Black

Android | OS 2.0 | Free | v0.38

The Infinite Black is still in beta so in a lot of ways it's still quite barebones. That doesn't stop it being one of the most unique MMOs available for mobile gaming, however. Set in the vast emptiness of space, you'll be tasked with searching the world throughout a series of interconnected jumps.

You'll begin on a 3x3 grid, with further jumps leading to new locations, minable asteroids or enemy pirates. The basic appearance belies the thrill of exploring the unknown and there's already a ton of content to get into, though a lot of the earlier locations are devoid of loot, something that really needs looking into. Early in production so fairly limited, but still a simpler Android equivalent of Eve Online and full of potential.

SevenSwords

iPhone | iOS 3.0 | Free | v2.4.0

If ever there was an example of a game biting off more than it could chew, SevenSwords is it. Not only is slowdown prevalent throughout play, but the hardest part is figuring out what you're supposed to do and when. Even mage characters will be hard-pressed to survive in any of the maps, while warriors will still struggle finding their feet.

There's no real explanation about what you're supposed to do and when, and for the most part combat is an unenthusiastic affair anyway. It's clear a lot of effort has gone into making a solid world for SevenSwords, but when it's so difficult to get… well, anywhere, it can't be recommended. Excellent graphics and an animated world aren't enough when combat is a confused mess.

The World Of Magic

iPhone | iOS 3.0| Free | v1.1.2

If The World Of Magic's cutesy art style tells you anything, it's that this MMO is a much more laid back entry into the genre. Movement and combat are both slow paced, but that doesn't stop it being absorbing. After the initial tutorials section, however, you're quickly dropped into a teeming world, filled with other players and NPCs to interact with.

It will take quite a while to really get the most from it – the slow-paced nature of the game carrying over to level ups and unlocks – but for those who put in the time will find a wholly enjoyable and detailed cartoon world. Not as immediately arresting as it needs to be, but worth a free trial to judge for yourself.

Parallel Kingdom

Android | OS 1.5 | Free | v4.1.1
iPhone | iOS 3.1 | Free | v4.1

This inventive MMO takes your current location and plants structures, enemies and collectables in and around your area. Players must make use of these to build resources, gain levels and collect better equipment, teaming up with nearby players to tackle dragons and ogres.

It's confusing at first, but the game even attaches more experienced players as mentors to newbies, easing you in to the overwhelming parallel world.

Much like FourSquare, Parallel Kingdom enables you to conquer the areas you visit most regularly, but this time with a clever RPG element. The UI is a little cumbersome – with icons and menu buttons a little too small for comfort – but is still an excellent way to spend a bus journey. A clever use of the MMO template that, while not great for extended play, is perfect for short bursts.

---GROUP TEST WINNER---

Order & Chaos Online

iPad+ | iOS 3.1.3| £4.99/$6.99 | v1.0.3
Android | OS 2.2| £4.39/$6.99 | v1.0.2

World Of Warcraft. The name synonymous with MMO gaming, and something perfectly mimicked here with Order & Chaos Online. Of course it's not quite as complex as Blizzard's PC based MMO, but Gameloft has done a admirable job of fitting that same experience onto iOS and Android.

Combat is slick and visually impressive, though the limit of only three attacks at any one time is its biggest letdown. Regardless, there's more depth here than any other contenders on this list, and regular updates from the developer shows it knows how to keep you hooked. As close as getting World Of Warcraft on your phone or iPad – Order & Chaos Online really is worth every penny.

 

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