The rise of smartphones has led to the rise of mobile games, and every day millions of people all over the world are losing themselves in worlds inside their phone, tapping, sliding, and shaking from morning to night. Japan is no different – but many of the top games inside Japan seem to not make it over the border. We think that’s a shame, so we’ve picked 11 top titles that we think you should try playing. People just can’t get enough of these characters, meaning that anime versions are imminent for several of these games. Find one that intrigues you and give it a go!
GranBlue Fantasy (グランブルーファンタジー)
Released March 10, 2014
A floating world, suspended between azure seas and cerulean skies, is the setting for online game juggernaut GranBlue Fantasy. This stunning game has impeccable RPG bona fides, with art and music by industry veterans with impressive portfolios including multiple Final Fantasy games. The turn-based battles can be faced alone or with friends, and impressive social gameplay is part of the reason GranBlue Fantasy is a household name in Japan.
Touken Ranbu Online
Touken Ranbu Online (刀剣乱舞 -ONLINE-)
Released January 14, 2015
With lush character designs, a unique and engaging concept, and addictive gameplay, Touken Ranbu Online was a near-instant hit. As a Saniwa sage, you have the power to magically turn famous swords from Japanese history into battle-ready (and really good-looking) warriors. Gather your best troops to engage your enemies in battle and defeat the forces of evil!
100 Sleeping Princes & The Kingdom of Dreams
100 Sleeping Princes & The Kingdom of Dreams (夢王国と眠れる100人の王子様)
Released March 9, 2015
The Kingdom of Dreams is under attack – and only you can save it. This puzzle RPG sees the player finding and waking sleeping prices in order to put together a party of five royal heroes to battle the Dream Eaters, villains of the story. Battle takes the form of tile-matching puzzles, which each prince’s personality type (Passion, Gentle, Cool, Cute, or Sexy) offering different advantages to the game. Enjoy the attentions of the princes in your party while you save their world.
Ensemble Stars (あんさんぶるスターズ!)
Released April 28, 2015
Step into a wildly talented high school! Ensemble Stars is set at a private academy for aspiring male idols – where you, for vital plot reasons, have transferred in as the only female student. In this card-based idol training game, 31 hopefuls are looking for you to take an interest in them and help them along the path to top idol stardom.
Released August 20, 2015
You are a rookie manager in your father’s talent agency. Your job? To turn 7-piece boy band IDOLiSH7 into superstars. This multimedia franchise (a manga launched on the same day as the game) has gained hit status through its engaging cast of characters, designed by shojo manga veteran Arina Tanemura. IDOLiSH7 offers a smaller set of characters, but its resounding popularity shows that there’s something for everyone.
Idolmaster SideM (アイドルマスター SideM)
Released February 28, 2014
The angle in this card-based idol training game is that all your prospects have chosen to leave their former careers and switch jobs – to idols. Not the most secure life choice, perhaps – that’s why they rely on you, their manager, to train them into star material. Characters with a past offer something for every taste – whether your inclinations run to firemen or former violinists.
Released January 27, 2017
As the player in A3! (Act! Addict! Actors!), you take over the running of a failing theater in suburban Tokyo and set about wooing actors and training them to put on theatrical productions that will save the theater. The game gives you a lot of freedom in casting place according to your taste and judgement, and offers engaging mini-games in addition to the main gameplay.
Stand My Heroes
Stand My Heroes (スタンドマイヒーローズ)
Released September 5, 2016
Solve crime while solving puzzles – all with a band of handsome boys by your side! Puzzle RPG Stand My Heroes sees you, a rookie member of a Tokyo Narcotics unit, navigate love in the workplace amid a cast of eccentric and fascinating characters. Play tile-matching puzzles while recruiting some of these remarkably good-looking men to join your shadowy crime-fighting organization.
The Idolmaster: Cinderella Girls
The Idolmaster: Cinderella Girls (アイドルマスター シンデレラガールズ)
Released November 28, 2011
This card-based trading game sees friendly faces from past Idolmaster games and a stellar cast of fresh talent available for you to scout and develop into successful songstresses. Train their skills in lessons and then battle it out for the top spot, against NPCs or against other Idolmasters online. Fans love the range of looks and personalities available, ensuring every producer can find a favorite protege – or several.
Fate/Grand Order (フェイト/グランドオーダー)
Released July 30, 2015
Fate/Grand Order brings characters from the popular Fate/stay night series to your phone in a card-based fighting game. Summon Servants (loosely) inspired by an eclectic range of historical and fictional figures – fans of the franchise appreciate the inclusions of both old favorites and new comrades in arms. The series boasts especially appealing character designs, which have provided inspiration for many breathtaking figures.
Shironeko Project (白猫プロジェクト)
Released July 14, 2014
Develop your floating town and go on epic island adventures! This hack-and-slash RPG is notable among free-to-play games for its lack of a stamina system – quest away to your heart’s content without waiting for action points to replenish. This game has also attracted millions of players through simple controls and robust co-op functions that let you take down monsters in real-time with up to three friends.
Chain Chronicle (チェインクロニクル)
Released July 26, 2013
Chain Chronicle deftly blends genres, featuring tower defense game mechanics, an engaging RPG storyline, and a huge cast of allies that can be discovered and collected through a trading card system. Summon your strongest allies and clear the level by repelling invaders. Popular for solid design and satisfying gameplay.
Loveable characters + stunning designs + lots of fans…what does that make? A buzzing cosplay market, of course! You can find everything from finishing details to complete outfits when you shop for costumes on FROM JAPAN! Remember to check your sizes before ordering, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the costume of your dreams.
Did we miss out your favorite? You can still find all kinds of Japanese mobile game items, figures and costumes on FROM JAPAN using the handy search box on our site!