Should you embark on a side quest to pick herbs for Martha’s ailing child? Or should you continue the main storyline and battle the King of Wolves despite being severely under-leveled? Or perhaps gallop through rolling fields flanked by the dying embers of the setting sun? Such are the choices you can make in an open-world game, where you have free rein to shape your experience.
Once exclusive to computers and consoles, open-world games have since branched out to mobile phones and tablet PCs, optimized to run for long hours on many of the latest Android and iOS devices.
What Are Open World Games?
Open-world games feature a big map or multiple areas that you can freely explore. They usually have a plethora of flexible objectives. For instance, the main and side missions are scattered everywhere, and you are allowed to do the side quests in your preferred order or just finish the story quests.
Open World Games as a Genre
Open-world is a community-recognized video game genre because of the many titles that emerged and became popular through the years. In fact, plenty of the award-winning triple-A titles of all time are also the best open-world games. For example, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, The Witcher Series, Grand Theft Auto series, and the Metal Gear Solid series, to name a few.
Open World Games vs Sandbox Games
Open world games are often confused with sandbox games but the two genres are different. To elaborate, the former type focuses on making the player enjoy exploring the world. The latter is more confined to creating a world, like Minecraft. Note that despite these, open-world games can adopt sandbox elements and vice versa. Consequently, a sandbox game with balanced creation and exploration aspects can also qualify as an open-world game.
Open World Game Types
Open world games are more of an umbrella category than a specific one so those can fall under other genres such as role-playing games (RPGs), massively multiplayer online RPGs (MMORPGs), action, adventure, survival, puzzle, racing, gacha, and more. This is why open-world games are versatile or suitable for many types of gamers.
Best Open World Games on Mobile
On Android and iOS devices, the best open-world games are also proven to bring a high level and long hours of enjoyment to players. As a result, some are often on the top headlines of gaming news. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the genre’s top titles you can download now.
Genshin Impact deserves the top spot on the best open-world games list. In fact, it is the overall winner of the 2020 Google Play Awards and App Store Best of 2020. It has triple A-caliber graphics and gameplay that are on par with Nintendo’s popular Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
MiHoYo, the developer studio, made the Genshin Impact fantasy world immersive and character selection flexible, too, so the game has gained a lot of fans. The game is cross-played on PC, PS5, PS4, and mobile devices worldwide.
Make sure to check out our Genshin Impact review and download the free game on your Android or iOS device afterward.
The Elder Scrolls: Blades
The Elder Scrolls: Blades carries on the legacy of Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls series and is one of the best open-world games on Android and iOS.
The spin-off game made many fans like The Elder Scrolls series did because it also has immersive quests, challenging combat mechanics, and detailed character creation. To elaborate, you can raid dungeons in the province of Cyrodiil, battle other players online, and choose your in-game appearance, gear, and skills.
The Elder Scrolls: Blades can be downloaded for free on mobile devices. Its in-game purchases are optional.
Grand Theft Auto – Open World Series
The iconic gangster-themed Grand Theft Auto is also joining our list of the best open-world games. On mobile, what takes the spotlight is arguably the most recognizable title of the series, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
The game lets you live the gangster life and save your homies while roaming freely in the big city. In fact, you can explore three cities in San Andreas: Los Santos, San Fierro, and Las Venturas. To do so, you can hijack and ride vehicles while evading police mobiles and helicopters.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is remastered by Rockstar Games for Android and iOS devices. Also, it goes for $6.99 on the Google Play Store and App Store.
Minecraft is famous for combining world creation and exploration so it is also among the best open-world games. Additionally, it features adorable blocky graphics that have been adopted by many mobile games taking inspiration from it.
Minecraft is as free as your imagination because you can craft everything. For example, a medieval castle, modern city, or farm. You can also create items and weapons to make tasks and survival a breeze.
You can purchase the game for $7.49 and $6.99 on the Google Play Store and App Store, respectively. With Minecraft’s cross-platform support, you may play with friends who have the game on their PCs and consoles.
Sky: Children of the Light
Sky: Children of the Light is a unique take on open-world games because it lets you enjoy a breathtaking world despite having a light story and silent characters.
The game, being independently developed, explains its nontraditional formula and aesthetics. In fact, the style has been a trademark of the studio behind it, Thatgamecompany Inc., since its award-winning game Journey.
Sky: Children of The Light is available for Android and iOS devices. The game is free to download with optional in-app purchases.
Oceanhorn joins Sky: Children of the Light as an independent entry on this open-world games list. There are several reasons why Oceanhorn is seen as a great mobile game: First, it touts smooth 3D cartoon graphics resembling The Legend of Zelda. Second, its gameplay is a good balance of puzzles and battles. Third, its story focusing on a child’s search for his lost father is touching. Lastly, the game has a captivating soundtrack from music composers of popular Japanese games Final Fantasy and Seiken Densetsu.
Oceanhorn is a free-to-start game on mobile devices. You get to try the first chapter and then opt to purchase the full game afterward.
Dawn of Isles
Dawn of Isles supports crafting, farming, and a battle combo system alongside free exploration, so it is not your ordinary open world MMORPG.
The game also has anime-style characters to control, cute pets to tame, and challenging bosses to defeat that’s why it is worthy of becoming one of the best open-world games on Android and iOS. Moreover, the art is on par with The Legend of Zelda.
Developer NetEase Games made Dawn of Isles available for free on the Google Play Store and App Store. Also, the game offers in-app purchases.
Also Read: Top 20 MMORPGs for Mobile
Totally Reliable Delivery Service
Totally Reliable Delivery Service is among the best open-world games with a multiplayer capability. In terms of experience, the fun you get can be likened to that in popular PC and console knockout platformer game, Fall Guys.
The game has the main goal of delivering packages or goods in time throughout a wide map. There is a catch to this because the delivery methods can be crazy and extreme. For example, you can ride a parachute, motorboat, helicopter, or any speedy van and find yourself crashing all over the place or your crew almost dropping off the vehicle.
Totally Reliable Delivery Service is a free Android and iOS game. Also, it offers optional in-app purchases.
Dragon Raja is one open world MMORPG with animation quality that is on par with PC and console games. Moreover, the character designs in the game resemble that of the popular Final Fantasy series
Aside from the graphics, what will get you hooked into this game are the settings and story. You can roam around iconic places from Japan to Siberia to fight dragons. There is a twist, though. You are a dragon-human hybrid in this game.
Dragon Raja is free to download from the Google Play Store and App Store with optional in-app purchases.
Black Desert Mobile
Black Desert Mobile is another fantasy MMORPG that deserves a spot on this list of the best open-world games on Android and iOS.
The game is immersive because of its high-end graphics and detailed character customization beyond what other releases can offer. To elaborate, it feels like the game’s world is leaning toward realism, and you can choose your class and edit all your facial features to your liking. You can also build and expand your camp besides fighting enemy bosses.
Black Desert Mobile is free for Android and iOS devices. The game offers in-app purchases.
Portal Knights adopts free exploration, action RPG, and Minecraft elements. It does well in the said aspects, so it can also be considered as one of the best open-world games on mobile.
Portal Knights transport you in randomly generated worlds as an adorable 3D character. You are allowed to choose your class and mine resources to craft useful items for living and combat. The enemy bosses you encounter in this game might not be as scary as with other video games but don’t be fooled by their adorable looks as they can be tough as well.
The game can be bought for $4.99 and is compatible with Android and iOS devices. Moreover, you can play it with up to four friends on one Wi-Fi connection.
Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition
Even with minimalistic hand-drawn-style 2D graphics, Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition can immerse you in the mystery of its world. This is why it has a place on this best open-world games list.
The game feels enigmatic because of the use of dark hues for the vast wilderness and its uncanny creature designs. Also, the plot is mysterious and unique compared to typical survival open-world titles. You are a scientist who has to think of ways to survive and return home in this game.
Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition is an independent game from Klei Entertainment. It lists at $4.99 on the Google Play Store and App Store.
Crashlands is an open-world game set in space where you play as a trucker. Your transporter gets sabotaged by an alien, and it is your goal to get the shipment back and get out of the planet afterward.
The action RPG lets you progress straight toward your main mission or complete side quests first. More specifically, you have to freely explore unknown continents to find weapons and base crafting materials. Also, you can find different lifeforms to pet and aid you in battles.
Crashlands can be played on Android and iOS devices. You can download it for $6.99.
Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition
The 90s hit RPG Baldur’s Gate has returned and become one of the best open-world games for mobile devices.
The enhanced edition is a must-play game on Android and iOS because of the new interface design on top of the mysterious and exciting dungeon quests. Moreover, the improvements make it easier to level up your characters and control your party to scour the vast world and defeat monsters.
You have to purchase Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition for $9.99 on the Google Play Store and App Store to play it. Also, you should have a device with a 7-inch or bigger screen. This requirement is for the interface to work properly.
MadOut2 BigCity Online is the closest thing to Grand Theft Auto on this list of the best open-world games because it resembles the popular gangster series in most aspects.
The game, like the Grand Theft Auto series, lets you roam the big city freely, steal and race via cars, and beat other gangsters while evading the cops. Vehicle customization is also supported. Of course, this game has something unique as well. It is designed to be multiplayer and online, allowing you to encounter hundreds of players on one map and have more flexible gameplay.
You can get MadOut2 BigCity Online for free on your Android or iOS device, although it has optional in-app purchases.
ARK: Survival Evolved
Most of the best open-world games on Android and iOS showcase a fantasy or modern world. ARK: Survival Evolved is different because it takes you back to the prehistoric world.
In ARK: Survival Evolved, you can explore tropical, snowy, and volcanic places while fighting or riding dinosaurs. For example, you can travel by land on a T-Rex or fly via a Pterodactyl. Additionally, the game features more than 80 dinosaurs to capture and tame.
The game is free to download on mobile devices and has optional in-app purchases.
Frostborn: Coop Survival
Frostborn: Coop Survival brings Midgard and the other Nordic realms to your mobile device. The game is an open-world RPG, so you are free to explore the wilds to defeat gods and creatures, and meet other players.
The game also gives you the freedom to choose your Viking class. For instance, you want to be a Viking that specializes in melee combat, magic, or stealth, then you can choose the Berserk, Mage, and Assassin types, respectively.
Frostborn: Coop Survival is compatible with Android and iOS devices. Also, it is a free game with optional in-app purchases.
Tempest: Pirate Action RPG – Open World Adventure With PvP
The best open-world games let you explore the land, air, and even the waters. A perfect example is Tempest: Pirate Action RPG on mobile.
You can sail freely to any island to select missions or battle other pirate ships and deep-sea creatures in this game. For example, the mighty Leviathan or Kraken. Furthermore, your ship can be customized from the cannons to the flags.
Tempest: Pirate Action RPG has a premium version that is priced at $13.99 on the Google Play Store. The standard game goes for $7.99 on the App Store.
Six-Guns: Gang Showdown
Six-Guns: Gang Showdown proves that the Wild West can be a good setting for an open-world game. In fact, the ranch and desert setups are good “playgrounds” for shooting enemies and horse races.
This third-person shooter game lets you complete up to 40 quests while exploring Arizona and Oregon. Moreover, there are multiple horses, weapons, and cowboy outfits you can unlock during your adventure.
Six-Guns: Gang Showdown from Gameloft is free to download from the Google Play Store and App Store.
Cat Quest – Open World Catventure
Cat Quest makes it to this list of the best open-world games because of its adorable cat protagonist and 2D art. The game is a treat for any cat lover.
Cat Quest also has a wide map with more than 60 side quests, dungeons, caves, and cat-themed loot and armor to discover. Furthermore, the skills are upgradable and combat is real-time so prepare for action and long hours of enjoyment.
The game can be downloaded for $4.99 on your Android or iOS device.
Final Word on Open World Games
The best open-world games can take you to places you’ve never imagined before and provide an escape from the real world in a fun way. These are why you can expect more great games from the genre to emerge soon. If you haven’t tried any open-world game on mobile yet, it is time to do so. Choose your game from our list now!