It’s that time of the year again. Each year we look at some of our favourite games released over the year, and this time we’re looking at the best anime mobile games in 2022. A lot of games in this aesthetic came out that year, and there were quite a number of high-profile titles that came out and surprised many with their stunning visuals, great gameplay, user-friendly features or a combination of factors.
This time we’re taking a look at games that were first released between December 2021, and November 2022. This means a game that was officially released onto the App Stores before December 2021 won’t be included. Otherwise, games like Project Sekai and Octopath Traveler would make the list again. This also doesn’t include games that had a release first in mainland china as often those kinds of releases are harder to get access to without a Chinese phone number.
There were so many mobile games that came out this year and this is a list of the ones that deserved to be recognized in no particular order. Opinions on mobile games can be very divisive, so if you have a title you think should be on the list, or your own list of best anime mobile games in 2022, let us know below!
A fairly new release but one that continues to be great fun. Neural Cloud came out globally on November 21, and is a tactical real-time RPG with a heavy emphasis on Roguelike stage mechanics, while still letting you take advantage of character progression.
Neural Cloud is definitely one of the more unique mobile titles. You’ll see mobile games add a roguelike element into its title as a separate game mode or as part of an event, but it’s not common to see a game go all-in on roguelike elements in its normal stages.
This real-time RPG has you placing characters down on a hexagonal grid, then watching them do battle automatically, beating on foes, healing, buffing, and whatever their roles allow them to do. The fun comes in planning how you think the battle will play out over time, while also influencing combay directly with tactical skills, like moving a unit closer to a faraway enemy, or disabling them with a tornado.
Out of many the many mobile games this year, Neural Cloud definitely stood out in gameplay and concept among the other titles, with so many being turn-based RPGs, tower defense or the like. Even if you’ve never experienced the GFL universe, Neural Cloud is a great game to play if you’re looking for a new experience, or just a really fun mobile game.
Path to Nowhere
A game I had every intention of playing after seeing its initial trailer, Path to Nowhere launched globally on October 27, making its splash on mobile devices as what on the surface looked like another tower defence clone of Arknights. That’s far from the case though as this game has a lot going on under the hood with a very different emphasis on its gameplay, accessibility features, sweeps, and a very engaging, and fully voiced story.
Path to Nowhere is a 3D tower defence that doesn’t have its character stylized as chibis and has a larger focus on real-time strategy and tactics. In this title you pre-place up to 6 units, then can move them around freely around the field, while activating skills to affect allies nearby, buffs, or target specific enemies. You also have a role to fulfil with the Potestas system, skills you can activate from your character that deals damage to enemies, heals, breaks cores, or let Sinners use their skills far more often.
The game definitely places more emphasis on player controls than just tactics, as being able to move your sinners offers a degree of freedom most other TDs don’t. You can move a character way up to an enemy’s spawn to attack them, then when an enemy slips by you can move the character further back to block that enemy instead, buying more time and dealing more damage than if just had the character wait there. There are a lot of small things you can do with this mechanic to make tougher battles winnable, which is pretty exciting because it places more emphasis on your improvisational skills.
If you’re looking for a strategy title to really sink your teeth into with an excellent and fully-voiced story, Path to Nowhere is something you should definitely try out as it has plenty of F2P-friendly features, strong low-rarity characters and incredibly quick dailies if you just want to get the grind out of the way or take the time to explore its fun mechanics.
A game I really wish had a global release and got talked about more. Quantum Maki came out on August 22 and is a fun twin-stick shooter that can be equal parts challenging, while also letting you fulfil the power fantasy of mowing down huge waves of giant robots. In the game you control up to three pilots controlling Quantum Makis, death machines wielding a variety of weapons from lasers, swords, spears, cannons, guns, and so much more with their own abilities and unique supers.
Fast-paced combat, ridiculous skills, and an incredibly friendly F2P model with dailies that takes no time to complete make Quantum Maki one of the better twin-stick shooters to have come out in 2022. Yes it might take you a few weeks to get to that point, but after that, in no time you’ll be collecting free SSR characters, free weapons, and getting powerful gear and tons of premium currency, as almost all of the game unlocks are completely free, and doesn’t rely on duplicates. Not to mention a clan system that doles out tangible rewards for the dedicated clan member.
Quantum Maki’s solid performance on fairly low-end devices even makes it accessible to those with older hardware. Having free skip functions and event auto battles also makes grinding incredibly quick to do, though getting characters to the max is an endeavor, but a pretty rewarding one. If you’re looking for something more action-oriented and flashy, Quantum Maki’s got you covered.
A game that many were excited for, the fast-paced puzzle RPG Alice Fiction made its debut this year globally on July 27 with fun gameplay, a huge host of characters, good visuals and a banger of a soundtrack.
I’ll be the first to admit that Alice Fiction’s launch was rough, which is kind of a trend with a bunch of the other games that came out this year. A buggy release, short story content, and generally slow rewards definitely made its initial outing worse than it should have been, but there’s no denying that Alice Fiction is still a fun game if you’re looking for a new puzzle RPG to get away from the kind of match-3 puzzles popularised by Puzzles and Dragons. Its fast-paced puzzle gameplay also carries over in its PvP game mode, which is much more engaging than watching your teams simulate a battle without you actually playing.
Since its launch, the game is in a much more stable state in terms of its performance and in-game rewards. It does have a friendly rerolling feature that gives you a guaranteed 3* at the start of the game, and can be quite F2P friendly as many lower-starred units are quite useful and can be upgraded to higher rarities. The clan system’s pretty good too as it has plenty of features to monitor clanmate’s contribution, with some nice rewards behind it. Alice Fiction is a great puzzle RPG to play if you’re looking to scratch that itch again, and want to steer away from the candy-crush formula found in many other titles.
Deemo’s been around for so long that it almost needs no introduction, but this year saw the release of Deemo II on January 13, celebrating nearly 10 years of the original Deemo’s release back in 2013. Even if you didn’t play it, you probably know it as “That really good rhythm mobile game”.
There really isn’t a whole lot to say about Deemo II that’s new. It’s a rhythm game with great music, responsive controls, a cute story and characters, and great visuals without the fuss of a gacha or leaderboards. At its core, Deemo is just a fun single-player rhythm game to enjoy.
You do have to pay or play for a while to unlock new songs, but since it is a free rhythm game that’s kind of par for the course, and being able to play the main story songs without any limits is quite nice. There’s honestly little to complain about when it comes to Deemo II, which is quite a feat to pull off when a lot of mobile games these days come right out of the gate with issues.
Yeah, it might not have the tracks from your favorite idol groups or represent all of your favorite video game tracks, but Deemo II’s still a solid original rhythm game with plenty of great music, classical or otherwise, and can definitely be your next addiction.
Code Geass Lost Stories
Code Geass Lost Stories came out on May 17 and was a game stuck in development hell for quite some time, so it’s a miracle the game is even out, and even more of a blessing that it’s actually a pretty good tower defense.
Lost Stories is a retelling of the entire Code Geass anime but with you as a half-Britannian half-Japanese citizen thrown in as an original character who discovers Lelouch’s identity, and then joins the Black Knights. Lost Stories is a pretty casual for the most part, placing a greater emphasis on units, positioning, and tactics without requiring as much thought into retreating and skills. The original artwork in this game is stunning and the game keeps receiving regular updates with new Knightmares and story content.
Lost Stories does sadly have a couple of neat features locked behind a paywall like music from the anime, but aren’t necessary to enjoy most of the game and if you do want them, are incredibly cheap. The grind can take a while due to the daily farming limit, but completing your dailies takes no time at all and the grind has continued to get better with updates. It’s a pretty good game that’s worth the wait and hopefully, if its overseas version turns out to be an English release, there will be more of a reason to play it to properly enjoy its story.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel
Yu-Gi-Oh! has been adapted into several digital games whether it’s on browsers, consoles, or even Duel Links, but Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel, at least to me felt like the first time Konami took a real stab at bringing the core Yu-Gi-Oh experience online.
You can kind of argue whether or not Yu-Gi-Oh! is an “anime game”, but since it’s so synonymous with its anime series and since the anime practically influences what cards get released, it’s here on the list.
Released on January 27 to mobile devices, Yu-Gi-Oh Master Duel is simply just Yu-Gi-Oh! On all platforms. The game adds new cards regularly, has a lengthy single-player offering for you to test your deck and experiment with new ones, and ranked and unranked battles with new formats and rewards to spice things up. Master Duel’s presentation is stellar, runs great on all devices, has a sick soundtrack, and even has ways for you to pick up absolutely essential cards you need for your deck without rolling the gacha as long as you play regularly. Master Duel is a great way to dive into modern Yu-Gi-Oh if you’ve ever been curious, and if you already like Yu-Gi-Oh, frankly there’s little reason to not play it.
Created by the team behind Shinobi Master Senran Kagura: New Link and Kandagawa Jet Girls, Dolphin Wave splashed onto the scene on October 20 as a Jetski Battling RPG where you make two teams consisting of attackers and defenders, and battle it out against other jetski teams to become the best in the sport!
At its core Dolphin wave is a turn-based card-battling game with a lot of nice eye candy and a mostly voiced story. Combat is fairly simple and flashy as it’s turn-based, though can get a little intense later in the game in its tournament modes if you don’t know what you’re doing, and don’t have a properly levelled-up and geared team.
The game does place too much of an emphasis on character levels and later stages get pretty hard without a fully decked-out team. Thankfully the game’s incredibly generous reroll option, auto-battle and sweeps you’ll have a smooth transition through the bulk of the game in terms of getting gear and grinding to have a pretty enjoyable time.
If you’re looking for a new turn-based JRPG with cute girls, Dolphin Wave might be the one you’ve been looking for.
Tower of Fantasy
When Tower of Fantasy was announced, I thought that even if it kind of looked like Genshin, because it’s an MMO it wouldn’t remotely play like it. That didn’t stop many from calling it the “Genshin Killer”, a comparison I feel really took away from what the game actually was when it came out on August 10, but that’s a topic for another day.
Tower of Fantasy is an MMORPG by Perfect World where you roam a planet called Aida which humanity moved to after Earth was drained of its resources. The story has you using an amnesiac main character who is saved by Zeke, leader of an Astra Shelter Outpost and his sister Shirli, before an attack on the outpost leaves Shirli on the brink of death and Zeke seemingly betraying you to help his sister.
The game has you doing the typical MMO loop of battling mobs, completing quests, dungeons, and battling world bosses by yourself across several servers, with farmable gear, mounts, and plenty of secrets darted around the world. The neat thing about Tower of Fantasy is the main gacha only needs you to pull for weapons, as the character representative for it comes with the weapon, and is mostly a cosmetic and voice change.
Even then there are a lot of spots in the world where you can pick up these S-rank weapons for free from grinding and hoping for them to drop. Battle is done in real-time with you being able to switch between three weapons, with a basic attack, a special attack, and a dodge command that behaves similarly to Bayonetta’s Witch Time.
Tower of Fantasy on its own is a pretty fun MMORPG you can get into on mobile and PC that is very accessible for the genre appearing on mobile. One thing about the game though is it’s pretty hard to play it casually, as because of how the game’s progression works, you have to commit to playing the game regularly to keep up with others. The game also heavily encourages exploration with many unlockables and gacha currency scattered throughout the hub.
Thankfully the game has a huge EXP boost for under-leveled players to quickly catch up, but without keeping up with the game’s dailies and missions, you’ll feel like you’re always behind other players. If something like that doesn’t bother you too much though and looking for a game to commit a bunch of time to every day, Tower of Fantasy is something you’ll want to try out.
Iron-Blooded Orphans: G
Iron-Blooded Orphans G finally came out on November 15 after the game went dark when it was announced in 2019, and then suffered another delay.
This turn-based RPG based on the Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans series builds upon that universe with new stories, characters, and events featuring Wistario Afam, an original character raised on a colony near Venus before he is caught in the “Urdr-Hunt”. The game lets you relive the story of the original series while also letting you watch the events of Urdr Hunt unfold as an anime in the app, with more episodes and parts being unlocked as you play.
Iron-Blooded Orphans G is pretty simple as turn-based games go. You control a team of 4, and can activate attacks, special attacks, abilities, and super moves, with a color elemental system making certain units better against others. The true strategy lies in preparing your suits, as matching suits with the right pilot type will make them even more adept at certain stats like speed, strength, endurance, and more.
So while fighting is on the simple side, the real fun comes in bringing your team together and adeptly commanding their moves against the enemy to delay them or string together buffs and debuffs to make the battle shift in your favour.
If you’re a fan of Gundam and more specifically Iron-Blooded Orphans, this is the game for you. I do have to point out that progression does kind of slow down after a while and the bosses can be really tough if you don’t have a powerful team. Though one thing that is appreciated is the game’s UI has so much English text that it’s fairly easy to navigate even if you don’t understand Japanese, though not being able to understand its story, which is a huge chunk of the game will be a bummer.
A successor to 2013’s Chain Chronicle, Sin Chronicle was delayed from its initial announcement in 2021 and finally launched on March 23.
Despite being closely associated with it, Sin Chronicle plays nothing like Chain Chronicle. This is a 3D turn-based RPG hybrid where you can directly control your characters between attacks. The world and environments look great and while the game’s combat is fairly simple, it’s satisfying to pull off chain attacks and super moves while also having a degree of strategy when it comes to how to handle multiple enemies at once. To be fair though because the movement doesn’t cost anything, its main use really boils down to letting you position someone to take aggro or to avoid attacks.
Despite all that Sin Chronicle Is still pretty fun. Having the foresight to plan ahead of an enemy’s attack and storing BP for a huge burst of damage is always fun to watch, and of course having a sweep is always a great way to avoid doing your own grinding. Sin Chronicle is definitely one of those games that we wish got translated, but even if you don’t have the best grasp of its story, it’s still a good game to play around with.
If you’re familiar at all with Chain Chronicle or want a pretty-looking RPG with a bit more degree of freedom when it comes to positioning, Sin Chronicle should have you covered.
Echoes of Mana
I didn’t get to play much of the Mana series when I was young, so I don’t have much prior experience to compare with. Even so, without nostalgia-tinted glasses, I still think Echoes of Mana, the latest entry in Square Enix’s long-running Mana series that came out on April 27, and the first title by the original team in 15 years is a pretty fun little title.
Echoes of Mana plays like a traditional beat-em-up with you controlling up to six characters with three on-screen at a time, doing battle with classic fantasy enemies. Each character has a basic attack, two skills, a flashy special technique, and a chain combo attack you can do once you’ve performed enough special techniques as a party. It’s also another one of those titles where you can upgrade all characters to the maximum rarity, even if it might take a while.
The game’s gacha is a little rough but it’s definitely not the worst considering games like FGO still use a 1% SSR rate, and I still quite like FGO. It does have some fairly generous beginner rewards at the time of writing which makes up for it early on. Either way, I think Echoes of Mana is a fun action RPG worth the time of you and maybe a friend or two if you can get over a few of its hurdles, and if you’re a fan of the Mana series there’s definitely more to enjoy here as the game’s always eager to make callbacks to the series.
Heaven Burns Red
Heaven Burns Red came out on February 10 and remains one of the better story-driven anime games to have come out in recent memory. Heaven Burns Red is a mobile turn-based RPG written and composed by Jun Maeda, a legendary writer responsible for works like Kanon, Clannad, Little Busters!, Angel Beats!, Charlotte, and more. This is also his first game in 15 years since Little Busters which came out in 2007.
Much of Heaven Burns Red is actually a story game where you follow Ruka Kayamori, a former guitarist for a once incredibly popular band called “She is Legend”. In this world, humanity defended itself against an invader called “Cancer”, which forced mankind to adapt and create a weapon called Seraphs, but the threat never stopped.
The game itself is a rather simple turn-based RPG with characters being able to attack or perform one of their special abilities. That isn’t really the main focus of the game though, as you’ll actually be spending most of your time engaging in the game’s story, which is presented with full voice-acting, beautiful environments and characters that make Heaven Burns Red feel closer to a well-produced, and completely free visual novel.
Thankfully since the game’s fully voice-acted so you can kind of infer what’s happening from the tone of most characters and your limited knowledge of Japanese from anime. This does mean though that you won’t really understand much of the nuance and deeper lore behind the game. Thankfully the developers are working on a Chinese and Korean version of the game, and if this eventually leads to an English Release, Heaven Burns Red will be absolutely one of those games you should definitely try if you’re looking for an amazing story.
*To play Heaven Burns Red though, you will need a VPN.
Goddess of Victory: Nikke
I’m not going to pretend that Goddess of Victory: Nikke, which came out on November 4 is a bug-less game. Nor am I going to ignore the fact that the game keeps crashing on me every time I do a pull, or its censorship, or the several other issues fans have with the game. But I’m also not going to pretend that I haven’t been playing the game since launch, beat Chapter 15, Interception S, and still play it regularly.
Nikke is an on-rails shooter game from Shift Up, creators of Destiny’s child. The game was teased in 2019 as an on-rails shooter with multiplayer, which in some ways it still is. However, many people didn’t expect its core progression to be similar to an idle game, with no stamina system and most of your experience and money earned by waiting.
So why is it on this list? Because despite all of the problems Nikke has I think it’s still a pretty fun game when you get down to it. The story’s intriguing, the world-building is unique, the characters are interesting behind their appearance and the shooting and team-building aspect of it can be quite fun, especially against bosses. I definitely think the game probably could have used another few weeks in the oven to iron out its laundry list of bugs, but at the rate of fixes being rolled out, it seems Shift Up is intent on getting this game to a better state, much like it did with Destiny’s Child.
That said I know there are still many issues with the game’s economy, enemy scaling (which actually got updated recently!), and censorship that many aren’t happy about and I can completely understand if that is something that’ll turn off a few players. Even then I still think Nikke deserves to be noted as one of the better games of the year from the quality of its presentation, gameplay, and story. It has problems, and I’m really hoping that Shift Up steps it up and addresses these sooner than later because there is something good here, it’s just marred by some very questionable decisions and leadership.
If something like Nikke even sounded remotely interesting to you, I recommend you give it a try too, just keep it as a side game for now until you feel like it’s something you want to spend more time with.
Fullmetal Alchemist Mobile
Easily the most visually stunning mobile game on here, if your phone can handle it. Fullmetal Alchemist mobile came out on August 4 after its initial announcement in December 2021, and boy did it come out swinging.
Fullmetal Alchemist mobile is a TRPG fought on a grid, which if you’re familiar with other TRPGs like Fire Emblem, Super Robot War, and the like, you’ll fit right in. Each turn you command your units to attack the enemy with a variety of moves taken from the anime, each character from the series having their own specialization and unique roles and mechanics while you relive the story of Fullmetal Alchemist in gorgeous stylized 3D.
The best parts of FMA mobile are the little touches it adds, like how the main menu changes depending on your story progress, changing the characters you can interact with on the main menu, and helping you feel like you are progressing alongside the characters in the story. There are just a lot of nice touches and homages to the original series that really shows how much respect the developers had for the source material.
It is a shame however then that the game’s character progression is heavily reliant on duplicates, which is very hard to keep up with. The game does offer ways to pick up coins to limit break the normal characters, though limited ones from collaborations require you to stock up on diamonds, which aren’t nearly as common.
If you’re even remotely a fan of Fullmetal Alchemist or a good mobile game, I highly recommend giving it a go with an open mind, as there’s a lot to look forward to. Hopefully, the game will even be released globally someday, as it’s such a shame for the rest of the world to miss out on this.
*To play Fullmetal Alchemist Mobile though, you will need a VPN.