If you ever rode the Seoul Metro, you will see that most Koreans are on their mobile phone. Over half the Korean population plays mobile games in South Korea. Mobile gaming surpassed console gaming and PC gaming years ago. South Korea is the 4th largest mobile game market in the World after China, the U.S., and Japan. It is estimated that these mobile gamers in Korea will spend around $6 billion on mobile games yearly. This is why many gaming companies worldwide want to enter the Korean mobile gaming market. However, to succeed, one must understand the gaming culture in Korea. This is one of the key advantages that Korean mobile gaming companies have.
Lineage W is one of the hottest mobile games in South Korea. It is an online multiplayer mobile game set in the fictional world of medieval Europe. The game is played from a third-person perspective and has players assume the role of one of several classes, each with unique skills and abilities. Furthermore, players can cooperate to complete quests, explore the game world, and battle enemy players and NPCs.
The game features several gameplay modes, including a PvE mode, where players can team up to complete quests, and a PvP mode, where players compete against each other in competitive matches. Lineage W is an online multiplayer game set in the fictional world of medieval Europe. The game is played from a third-person perspective and has players assume the role of one of several classes, each with unique skills and abilities. In addition, players can cooperate to complete quests, explore the game world, and battle enemy players and NPCs. The game features many gameplay modes, including a PvE mode, where players can team up to complete quests, and a PvP mode, where players compete against each other in competitive matches.
As you will notice, Lineage dominates this list. Lineage W is the 5th major installment of the Lineage series. Therefore, it uses many of the elements from Lineage and Lineage II. The mobile game is available in 12 countries and regions, including South Korea, Japan, Southeast, and the Middle East. It was released for Nintendo Switch and PS5 in 2022.
Odin: Valhalla Rising
One of South Korea’s top mobile games is Odin: Valhalla Rising. It is a mobile game that allows you to take control of the Norse God Odin as he rises from the depths of Valhalla to reclaim his rightful place in Asgard. The game is a mixture of action and strategy, with you having to carefully plan your attacks while also using your powerful abilities to defeat your enemies. Furthermore, there are various levels to play through, each with its challenges and rewards. You can also collect and upgrade various weapons and armor as you progress.
In July of 2021, Odin became South Korea’s #1 game in revenue. The game adapts the worldview and history of Nordic mythology. Kakao Games holds a majority controlling stake in Lionheart Studio.
Publisher: Kakao Games
Korean mobile game Lineage 2M is one of the top mobile games in Korea. It is a mobile massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by Netmarble for Android and iOS. It is based on the popular Lineage 2 PC MMORPG and features similar gameplay mechanics. Players can choose from various classes, including archers, warriors, mages, and more. There is also a player-versus-player (PvP) mode where players can compete against each other in arenas. Moreover, the game has received generally positive reviews, with critics praising its graphics and gameplay. However, some have criticized the game for its high level of difficulty.
Players explore an open world with over 10,000 players who they can fight. There is a wide range of classes and races. Players can fight or have the gameplay for you. Moreover, it has some of the best graphics for mobile games. The storyline is fully voiced and takes place 150 years before the events of the original Lineage. The key aspect of Lineage 2M is its unique skill tree system. Instead of gaining skill points with each level, players gain SP (separate from XP), which can be invested in the skill tree for new abilities.
They have recently added a new cross-server dungeon. The new update will allow players worldwide on different servers to gather for play on a single battlefield.
“There will be no games in the next few years that will be able to technically follow Lineage 2M,” said CEO of NCSoft, Kim Taek-Jin.
Lineage M would be #1 on our Top Korean mobile games list if the list were solely based on all-time revenue. It is a mobile game that is based on the Lineage franchise. The game was developed by Netmarble and published by NCSOFT. It is a free-to-play game with in-game microtransactions. The game was released in South Korea on June 30, 2016, and globally on July 5, 2017.
The game is set in the fictional world of Lineage and revolves around the conflict between two factions: the elves and the humans. Players can choose to side with either faction, and each has its storyline. Furthermore, the game features real-time combat, in which players can control their characters directly or issue commands to them. There are also PvE and PvP elements in the game.
Players can level up and unlock special skills and abilities. Gamers can fight mobs and play the game themselves or play using the auto-combat system. The game has a transformation system that allows the players to evolve their character for a short period. During this time, they can unlock special skills and abilities. The game is old and has a very nostalgic feeling for many Koreans.
“Our goal is to allow users to be completely freed from both time and space limitations,” said the Managing Director at NCSoft, Lee Sung-gu.
Genshin Impact is a free-to-play action RPG with immersive graphics and challenging gameplay. It is a mobile game that draws inspiration from the Legend of Zelda series. The game is set in the world of Teyvat and revolves around the Traveler, a mysterious figure searching for answers about their past.
The game features an open-world environment and allows players to explore at their own pace. In addition, numerous side quests and activities keep players busy, and the combat system is simple yet effective. Overall, Genshin Impact is a well-crafted game that offers an enjoyable experience for both casual and hardcore gamers alike.
The game offers daily quests and monthly events to give you a chance to get loot (shards) for your characters. You will have to navigate the vast open world called Teyvat. The game’s main goal is for your character to find your lost sibling cursed and trapped by an unknown god. As you progress through the game, you will unlock more characters and will be able to control them. Each character has its unique characteristics and attributes.
Blade & Soul: Revolution
Korean mobile game Blade & Soul: Revolution is an MMORPG based on the popular Blade & Soul online game. The game was developed by NCsoft and published by Netmarble. It was released in South Korea on February 1, 2017. The game is set in a martial arts-themed fantasy world and follows the story of the protagonist, who is seeking revenge for the death of his master. The game features real-time combat and allows players to customize their characters with various weapons and skills. Blade & Soul: Revolution is free-to-play with in-app purchases.
The game generally received positive reviews from critics. Moreover, it was praised for its graphics, gameplay, and storyline. However, some reviewers criticized the game for its pay-to-win mechanics and lack of content. Overall, Blade & Soul: Revolution is a fun and addictive mobile game that will please fans of the original MMO.
Players can customize their realistic characters. The whole game itself has great graphics during its cutscenes and battles. The voiceovers are in Korean, and the gameplay is partially automated. It is a martial arts MMO where you can play as one of 4 character types (inspector, warrantor, historian, and technician). There are over 30 weapon types to test out with the characters.
기적의 검 (Miracle Sword)
Miracle Sword is an action fantasy role-playing game with a famous Korean actor, So Ji-sub. Players fight many wars to gain territory. It is a mobile game that allows you to take control of an epic fantasy world. It features turn-based battles and an expansive storyline. Furthermore, you can play as one of four different factions, each with unique skills and abilities. The game also includes a variety of side quests and minigames to keep you occupied. Therefore, the Miracle Sword is worth checking out whether you’re looking for an immersive RPG experience or want to kill some time.
Publisher: 4399 Korea
Cookie Run: Kingdom
Cookie Run: Kingdom is a mobile base-building RPG that offers a sheet pan of over 64 unique characters on fresh adventures. There are over 250 levels! It uses a gacha system where crystals are the currency. The game was released on September 19, 2017, for iOS and Android devices.
Cookie Run: Kingdom is set in the kingdom of sweets, where the players take control of a group of cookies trying to reclaim their lost kingdom from the evil forces that have taken over. In addition, the game features various levels, each with its challenges and rewards. The player must help the cookies overcome these obstacles by collecting power-ups and avoiding deadly traps.
The game has been met with positive reviews, with critics praising its colorful graphics, addictive gameplay, and challenging levels. Cookie Run: Kingdom is a fun and addictive mobile game perfect for gamers of all ages. Therefore, if you are looking for a new game, Cookie Run: Kingdom is worth checking out.
V4 is a Korean MMORPG that needs a strong smartphone to play. It boasts high-end graphics for its vast virtual combat fields and character customization features. The good news is that there is a normal mode, a quarter mode, and a free mode that you can set yourself. It has an open world that is in real-time. You can select from a wide range of characters that you can modify. Characters collect items, complete quests, and upgrade.
The game pits two teams of four players against each other in fast-paced, objective-based battles. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world where four factions are vying for control. Players can choose to play as one of the four factions, each with unique abilities and weapons.
The game is well-balanced and offers a lot of variety, making it enjoyable for both casual and competitive players. The graphics are colorful, and the gameplay is smooth. Overall, V4 is a great game that provides hours of fun. Therefore, this game is worth checking out whether you’re looking for some quick entertainment or something more challenging.
In addition, VR adopts the “inter-server” system. It allows players to interact with others on different servers. This can be achieved via the commander mode. Therefore, guild leaders can look at a map from a top-down perspective and give orders to their guild members more efficiently. V4 supports six languages, including German, Thai, and English.
“During the past two years, the developers have tried to figure out the needs of users who enjoy playing multi-player RPGs. I believe there is something special that can be experienced only in RPGs and it cannot be replaced with other genres of games,” said the CEO of NAT Games, Park Yong-hyun.
Lineage 2: Revolution
Lineage 2: Revolution is a spin-off of Lineage 2. It is a free-to-play mobile game developed by Netmarble. It is based on the popular MMORPG Lineage 2 and its sequel, Lineage 2: The Chaotic Chronicle. The game was released in South Korea on December 15, 2016, and globally on November 1, 2017.
The game is set in the fantasy world of Aden, where players take on the role of one of three factions: Humans, Elves, or Dark Elves. Players can choose to fight for either side in the conflict between the two warring factions. Moreover, the game features real-time combat with large-scale battles against monsters and other players. Lineage 2: Revolution has been praised for its graphics and gameplay. However, it has also been criticized for its pay-to-win elements and microtransactions.
It has dungeons and a PvP arena to battle other players. Like many other games, it lets the player automate the questing. As you level up your characters, you can unlock interesting modes like PvP battles and Dungeon raids. This is the perfect game to play if you don’t want to concentrate on it fully. Therefore, the game pretty much plays itself. The fun comes when teaming up with friends at a party or joining a clan and questing together.
Rise of Kingdoms
Rise of Kingdoms was originally known as the Rise of Civilizations. Chinese gaming publisher Lilith Games are the publisher of Rise of Civilizations, and it has been doing very well in South Korea. It is a mobile strategy game where players have complete control over their empire as the governor. They must expand their city, work with other governors, and unlock new technologies.
Players can choose from 8 civilizations: Korea, Japan, Britain, France, Spain, Byzantium, Ottoman, Arabia, and Germany. Moreover, they have real historical figures such as Julius Caesar, Joan of Arc, and even Korean military leader Eulji Mundeok. Combat in the game is very simple. Players select the target the game takes care of the rest. Furthermore, based on your army, you are given a score that determines the battle’s result. Joining alliances is crucial to growing in the game. You can get military aid, research assistance, and even share in the rewards. Koreans love this mobile game because it is a very casual mobile gaming experience for a strategy game. Therefore, the perfect game to play on the Seoul Metro.
“We partnered up with the acclaimed composer Christopher Tin to bring an epic orchestral musical score that draws you into the historical experience even more,” said Project Manager at Lilith Games, Alexandra Zhang.
Publisher: Lilith Games
AFK Arena offers great automated gameplay through a system that keeps playing for you while offline. It is an RPG game that is set in a world called Esperia. It has been plagued by Hypogeons, an evil force that wants to bring destruction. You must gather your troops and move across the land as you fight Hypogeans. The game itself plays like a regular RPG with real-time combat.
Moreover, it has an auto-battle feature that does a good job of clearing stages and beating enemies. You use five heroes arranged in a formation of 2 units in the front and 3 in the back. Strategy comes in the formation and positioning of both defense and offense. Furthermore, ARK Arena has over 60 unlockable heroes, which you can obtain from the game’s summoning system.
Publisher: Lilith Games
Brawl Stars has now passed Clash Royale in Korea. It is a free-to-play mobile shooter that adapts team-based multiplayer shooters for mobile. It is a battle royale game and a combined MOBA (Multiplayer online battle arena) game. Therefore, think of this game as Fortnite but for mobile and a lot less complicated. For example, one of the modes will put you in a battle arena with other brawlers until only one is left standing. It even has a poisonous cloud that shrinks the arena. However, matches on Brawl Stars only last a few minutes. It has a top-down view with easy-to-learn virtual controls. In addition, as you accumulate trophies, more play options will emerge.
Clash Royale is best described as a collectible card game that meets a real-time strategy game and a MOBA. Players can arrange their deck with eight cards. Each of these cards has a hero with special abilities. However, you can only have four cards max in your hand at one time. You use elixir, a recharging energy bar, to summon cards onto the battlefield. In addition, each card has different levels of energy requirements. The game’s object is to attack your enemy’s towers from either of the two lanes provided. Games typically last 3-5 minutes.
Clash Royale rolls out new characters every few months and is always updating the game through balance updates to keep the game competitive. Moreover, Clash Royale can even be played on a desktop. Here is a guide on how to play Clash Royale on Mac.
Black Desert Mobile
Black Desert Mobile is the mobile version of the popular Korean MMORPG game Black Desert Online. The interface is identical, and many of the same classes and general cosmetic options are available when you create your character. Players start with their choice of five different classes: Ranger, Witch, Warrior, Valkyrie, or Giant. Then you can customize your character as you see fit. Moreover, the mobile game will run you through a tutorial section where you can learn the ins and outs of the game. There is a main quest with many side quests. Along the way, you will need to gather resources and fight monsters. Furthermore, you can work with other players to fight dungeons and get items like new weapons.
Publisher: Pearl Abyss
Gaming Culture in South Korea
The gaming culture starts at the PC Bang (Local LAN gaming center). You can’t go a few blocks in Seoul without seeing at least one PC Bang. This is where most Korean students go after school. The benefits of a PC Bang are their fast internet connection, access to drinks and snacks, a wide range of game selections, and the ability to play next to your friends. Therefore, like how NBA players used the courts to perfect their skills, Korean Esports stars used these PC Bangs to perfect their skills. Esports started in South Korea in 2003 and have been broadcasting Esports on TV ever since. This is why South Korea has become such a major player in the gaming industry.
With the emergence of smartphones and apps, many gaming companies worldwide looked to invest early in developing their mobile gaming department. However, the good news for Korea is that they had the right combination of software developers, hardware manufacturers, and internet infrastructure to turn online gamers into mobile gamers. South Korea has the highest smartphone penetration rate in Asia, with over 36 million smartphone users in 2020. Two out of three smartphone users have Samsung phones.
Lineage, the Mobile Game, to Rule Them All
Lineage is the most popular mobile game in South Korea. For gaming companies looking to break into the Korean gaming market, they need to study Lineage and use it as a benchmark in their game development. Moreover, Lineage 2M (Sequal to Lineage M), released in late 2019, broke records in South Korea, becoming the top-grossing app in South Korea less than 9 hours after its release. Before that, Lineage M was at the top spot for years.
“There will be no games in the next few years that will be able to technically follow Lineage 2M.”There are many kinds of video gaming genres, but Korean gamers have a special love for massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG),” said CEO of NcSoft, Kim Taek-Jin.