Wouldn't it be awesome if you could fight like Goku? Or experience character stories from your favorite anime first hand?
The good news is you can! Anime, in general, has its own level of intensity, drama, and detail. Many of us would love to play all of our favorite anime in addicting game form.
The good news is there are plenty of anime games that are worth tapping into. Thankfully there are quite a few that will help quench that anime game desire. These anime games range in everything from RPG storylines to Dragon Ball Z anime games.
Check out our list below of some fantastic anime games!
18 Best Anime Games
1. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
The latest release in the acclaimed Fire Emblem franchise lives up to and even exceeds its name in plenty of ways. With a large, highly-explorable base hub, emotionally-gripping story, and dynamic characters and relationships, it's easy to forget you're playing a turn-based strategy game and a damn good one.
Indeed, Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a complex, class-based strategy game at its core. It'll take some time to learn complete mastery of its combat, but once you do, the result is as rewarding as it gets for the turn-based strategy genre.
2. Persona 5
Considered one of the greatest RPGs of all time, Persona 5 follows the story of Joker, a seemingly ordinary high school student who seeks out corrupted adults and enters their minds to purify their corrupted hearts.
When they're not fighting, players are allowed to engage in several social activities around Tokyo, like bonding with friends, working part-time jobs, grabbing a bite to eat, and even playing videogames (talk about meta)! It'll be impossible to get everything out of this game with just one playthrough, but that's precisely why “New Game +” exists.
3. NI No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom
Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom marks more than one departure from its excellent predecessor, but stands on its own as an ambitious, rewarding JRPG with a massive heart in its center. Studio Ghibli wasn't involved this time around, battling is no longer turn-based, and there are a whole new city management gameplay loop and skirmish battles.
For my taste, the frantic, kinetic battling is an improvement over the first Ni No Kuni's traditional turn-based combat, but I've never been much for the latter.
Indeed, Ni No Kuni 2 wasn't graced with Studio Ghibli heading up the art direction, but you might not know it at first glance. Characters have that same Ghibli look and environments look hand-brushed, but a closer look reveals some discrepancies.
Namely, Ni No Kuni 2 benefits from some of the most diverse, enchanting towns I've explored in a video game, and that charm bleeds through the entire experience
4. NI No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Whether you're an unabashed Ghibli-aficionado or you've never heard the name Miyazaki, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch can't be missed for fans of anime, video games, or happiness. Ni No Kuni bleeds Ghibli, from the gorgeous art to the emotional storytelling.
As you might expect, gameplay fits rather neatly into the JRPG mold, with an overworld for you to grind through and traverse towns, cinematic cutscenes, and turn-based gameplay.
No matter your preferred anime genre, there's an anime-inspired game for you. The thing about Ni No Kuni that separates it from most JRPGs is how expertly-crafted each element is. The story is profoundly moving, the exceptional Studio Ghibli-drawn art has aged wonderfully (especially with the PS4 remaster), and progressing through the story requires minimal grinding – even less if you take on sidequests.
5. Pokémon Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon
Pokémon games first hit shelves back in 1996. Since then, the franchise has come a long way, with an ongoing anime series inspired by the games, merchandise from plush dolls to T-shirts, and of course, a string of games, each one adding several new Pokémon to the universe.
Taking place in Alola, a region of tropical islands, players will strive to “catch 'em all”, including the legendary powerhouses Solgaleo and Lunala. Players will also be able to work towards competing in the Pokémon League. They will be able to challenge “Totem Pokémon”, surf on a Mantine, explore different dimensions, foil the plans of Team Skull, trade and fight with other players around the world, and more, all in a full, three-dimensional world.
6. Code Vein
Fans of this game have often described it as an “anime Dark Souls”. Set in a post-apocalyptic present-day Code Vein allows players to create their own anime character and explore the world with a partner by their side in a quest to rid the world of evil.
Players will feel a sense of urgency as they venture deep into dark labyrinths while battling some truly intimidating monsters. With three different endings, there's enough incentive to make different choices during your second and third playthroughs to get the most out of the game.
7. Honkai Impact 3rd
The only mobile entry on this list, Honkai Impact 3rd, is a fast-paced hack-and-slash game that lets players take control of powerful heroines, or “Valkyries”, as they seek to rid the planet of evil monsters known as “Honkai”.
Not only is the combat fluid and beautifully animated, especially for a mobile game, but players can swap between characters in live combat to create their own unique combos. They can edit their characters' gear and clothing, and there are a variety of gameplay modes to keep them occupied while engaging with other members of the Honkai Impact 3rd community.
Free to play, the game will not force players to spend money unless they truly want to get ahead without putting in the hours, but a slow grind for such a fast-paced gem like this is worth the initial free playthrough.
8. Dragon Quest 11
The latest adventure in the veteran Dragon Quest series is precisely that, an adventure. It's vast, colorful, ridiculously charming, occasionally quite touching, and ultimately satisfying. GamesRadar's review of the recent Switch port called it “one of this generation's finest RPGs.”
The anime-inspired 3D environments are lavish, evocative, and distinctly Akira Toriyama. And indeed, the famed Dragon Ball and Chrono Trigger character designer was responsible for Dragon Quest 11's art design.
There are a few genuinely heavy, even heartbreaking chapters, but for most of the ride, you'll be so charmed by the world and its characters that you'll wish they were real. And the gameplay loop is challenging enough to demand some grinding, but by no means excessively.
Dragon Quest 11 is a traditional JRPG in almost every way, and the fact that it stands so tall among literally decades of genre classics says all you need to know about it.
9. Sakura Wars: So Long My Love
Sakura Wars: So Long My Love is a satisfying blend between a slice-of-life dating sim with turn-based strategy gameplay. Throw in a 1928 version of New York City along with steam-powered robots, and you've already got enough for an exciting story!
Players will take control of Shinjiro Taiga, Captain-In-Training of the New York Combat Revue, as he works to create bonds (and potential romances) with his teammates, all the while defeating gigantic robots around several iconic New York locations.
Players will enjoy the episodic feel to this game and will want to replay it over and over again to take full advantage of the sheer amount of choice this game offers over each day's events.
10. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4
Serving as the final entry in the Ultimate Ninja Storm series, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 allows Naruto fans to play through many important battles from the final episodes of Shippuden.
Players will be forced to mash the appropriate buttons at the right times to advance dynamic, flashy cutscenes that provide a three-dimensional take on the action from the anime. Aside from the story mode, players can form teams of three with characters across the entire Naruto franchise (even Boruto with DLC). Every character fights differently, with some more suited to specific combat situations than others (long-range versus melee, for example).
Although it may be challenging to find multiple online matchups now, the Microsoft Windows version has plenty of fun MODs to keep players occupied until Ultimate Ninja Storm 5 inevitably drops.
11. Doki Doki Literature Club
If you aren't at all familiar with Doki Doki Literature Club, you probably have a lot of questions. And I can tell you that whatever you might think of it, given the name, Doki Doki Literature Club probably isn't anything like what you're expecting.
Even looking at screenshots, you'd probably imagine you're dealing with a run-of-the-mill, anime-inspired dating sim, but you'd never guess the horrific psychological nightmare is waiting for you just beneath that shiny harem surface.
Doki Doki Literature Club is a violent, genre-busting psychological horror game and the interactive visual novel just waiting to mess you up.
Final warning: Doki Doki wears cute clothes, but the plot deals in shockingly heavy themes and subjects, including depression, suicide, insanity, and the grotesque. If you can stomach it, Doki Doki Literature Club tells a story worth hearing, well worth the scary trip.
12. Dragon Ball: Xenoverse 2
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 gives players the option of creating their own Saiyan, Human, Majin, Namekian, or Frieza race character, complete with transformations for them all. It also lets players customize their character's skin color, height, and hairstyle, and gives them the option of equipping their warrior with techniques across the entire Dragon Ball franchise.
Xenoverse 2 features an original Dragon Ball story and allows players to put their skills to the test in exciting online battles (despite the many issues with online play). There's enough in this game to keep new players busy for several months, and the difficulty in collecting every playable Dragon Ball character and technique quickly makes it a completionist's dream.
Though the game's active player community is dwindling, the constant updates and DLC ensures that even brand new players can still jump into the game and experience all Xenoverse 2 has to offer.
13. Dragon Ball Fighterz
If you've ever wanted to inhabit the most powerful heroes of the Dragon Ball universe and exact revenge on any one of their many foes, Dragon Ball FighterZ offers that satisfying, almost cathartic experience.
Of course, you can also embrace your inner-villain and fight Goku as Frieza, Buu, Kid Buu, Beerus, Cell, and Captain Ginyu.
It's hard to live up to the sheer energy that's drawn so many viewers to Dragon Ball over more than three decades, but Dragon Ball FighterZ is easily the most successful fighting game at doing so based in the series' universe.
It's fast, punchy, visually impressive, and, most importantly, makes you feel like Goku – or Cell, depending on your moral compass.
14. Astral Chain
If the anime you prefer is of the stylized, global, and awe-inspiring type, Astral Chain is right up your alley. And if you're at all familiar with PlatinumGames' other IPs, like Bayonetta and Nier: Automata, you're already mostly familiar with Astral Chain's vibe.
The combat is frenetic, the visuals are bright and busy, and boss fights are brilliantly inventive. Better yet, and sort-of surprising for the genre, Astral Chain tells a well-crafted story well worth paying attention to.
For a little bit of everything, including smartly-designed side quests, platforming, and puzzle-solving elements, Astral Chain is your most stylish and categorically shonen choice.
Catherine deserves more attention, but the game itself is to blame for its niche appeal – its subversive and sexually-charged moralizing is almost impossible to package neatly into its inventive puzzling RPG format for mass appeal. Catherine tells the story of a young commitment-phobe trapped in the clutches of a succubus, struggling to survive nightly attacks and reconcile his faith in his relationship.
The only real gameplay here takes place while Vincent is asleep, and it's all about moving around blocks to climb a structure and escape the giant monster clawing its way up from the bottom. The under-pressure puzzling at Catherine's core is engaging enough, and the story told by day is equally gripping, ensuring you're never bored.
Catherine isn't just weird, it's incredibly well-done and well worth the attention of open-minded gamers, and the new-and-improved Catherine: Full Body is the best way to experience this wild story.
16. Tales of Berseria
If you're looking for a traditional JRPG with a massive anime bend, Tales of Berseria fits the bill and then some. The combat, if not entirely innovative, is challenging enough to engage through the roughly 60-hour campaign, but the real highlight is the emotionally-captivating storytelling.
Bucking so many trends we aren't soon to miss, Tales of Berseria follows a relentlessly badass female protagonist – a first for the series – in her journey to avenge her brother's death by killing his murderer.
It sounds formulaic enough, but Tales of Berseria will surprise you at every plot-turn, and in-between keep you satisfied enough with its battling to see what happens next.
17. Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (999)
999 is another oddball sleeper hit with a unique gameplay flow structured around a surprisingly captivating story. Also, like Catherine, the story branches into different paths based on your choices, although in 999, reaching the “true ending” requires multiple playthroughs.
Playing through the stressful, at-times violent story requires sitting through something of a visual novel, interrupted by sequences of puzzle-solving to escape situations. The plot is nothing short of a dreadful situation; you wake up on a cruise ship with eight other captives, and your goal is to find the door marked ‘9' before time runs out, and the ship sinks.
Worse yet, disobeying commands in “the Nonary Games” causes a bomb placed inside your stomach to detonate. Needless to say, the stakes are high in 999, and you feel the intensity from the opening sequence through to the end.
18. Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise
Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise, based on the 1980s manga Fist of the North Star, is an over-the-top brawler set in an apocalyptic wasteland. Players step into the shoes of Kenshiro, a master of “Hokuto Shinken”, as he travels to the city of Eden to reclaim his wife from the clutches of his rival, Shin.
This game is absurd at every turn, with many unique mechanics to keep the combat feeling fresh, from quick-time events that let players reduce their enemies to heaps of blood and guts, to giving players the option of using their opponent's final words as a physical weapon (yes, we couldn't believe it either).
There's so much to do in this game besides fighting, from playing baseball using a man on a motorcycle as the ball, to running a nightclub.
Anime Game Wrap Up
There are plenty of other anime game options out there! Give a few a try that appeals to you. They may even make you want to re-watch some of your favorite anime.
Which game is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
Scarlett Rose is a professional cosplayer, actress, voice actor, published model, and mother of rabbits. When she is not crafting armor or building costumes, she can be found playing the latest video game or enjoying a retro classic.