Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


'Steins;Gate' Review - Desperately Seeking a Good Time

There's a certain attraction to time travel stories. Sometimes, they're about comparing the present to the past, particularly by sticking a fish out of their water. Other times, they're used as a way to think about the future and the promise it holds. Most of them really come down to a simple question: what would the present be like if things had gone differently in the past? Ultimately, time travel stories are more often than not morality tales about appreciating what we have and who we are. A warning about greed and how it can leave you with less than you had. A means of dealing with regret and the paralysis it can bring. Well, except for Back to the Future. That one's about making out with a younger version of your hot mom and getting a new truck...

Update Mondays: 'Teeny Titans', 'Pokemon Go', 'Real Racing 3', 'Pac-Man 256', and More

Hello everyone, and welcome to the week! It's time once again for our look back at the noteworthy updates of the last seven days. Some really spiffy games in this week's round-up, but which one is a bad enough dude to take home our coveted prize? Read on, friends. Of course, you can keep an eye out for updates yourself using AppShopper Social [Free], the watchlist in the TouchArcade App [Free], or by participating in the TouchArcade forums, but this weekly summary is here to fill in the things you might have missed. Let's dig in!..




RPG Reload File 093 - 'WazHack'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the semi-weekly feature where we can't quite remember how old that rat meat is. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's doing in the here and now. It's a chance to revisit some old favorites, reflect on their place in the overall library, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. As the ringleader of this little circus, I try to choose a balanced selection of games from week to week. If you feel I'm missing something important, however, please let me know. You can do that by posting a comment below, dropping by the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. Since I plan the schedule pretty far in advance, it might be a while before you see your suggestion, but it will be added to the master list...

It's been almost two years since the release of Swords of Anima [$2.99] from developer 4Hands Games, and while I was certain last year's big content update was going to be the last of it, the game just got another free update with new things to do. Even better still, to celebrate the new content, the game has gone on sale for the very first time. If you have an interest in Japanese-style strategy RPGs like Fire Emblem and Shining Force, you'll definitely want to find some spare change for this one...

'Sorcery! 4' Review - The End of an Incredible Journey

It's been over three years since inkle released their adaptation of the first book in the Steve Jackson's Sorcery! series. In a lot of ways, that app redefined what players expected from a mobile version of a gamebook. It would have been a far simpler matter for inkle to do the expected thing and do a straight conversion of the original books. They had the engine for it, and the series is well-regarded enough that it probably would have done fairly well. Instead, the developers decided to make something that a physical book would have a hard time approximating, while at the same time appealing to the fairly large overlap between gamebook readers and tabletop gaming fans. The first game mostly relied on a unique presentation and reworked battle mechanics, but the following two games brought more and more complexity to the table. Sorcery! 3 [$4.99] was so near to a full-on RPG that its roots were hard to spot at times...

TGS 2016: Shaun's Thoughts on the Show

September 20th, 2016 5:00 PM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in News, TGS 2016

A year can make a big difference in the games industry, and so it has for the Tokyo Game Show. While the show had record-breaking attendance, with 271,224 visitors over the four-day event, and the halls of the Makuhari Messe exhibition center were packed full once again, there was a strong sense of companies tightening their belts a bit this year. Booths weren't quite as lavish, there were fewer expensive props, and several companies who had major presences last year outright skipped the event this year. This was especially evident with regard to mobile gaming...

TGS 2016: Indie Corner Wrap-Up

September 20th, 2016 4:30 PM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in News, TGS 2016

As has been the case for the last couple of years of the Tokyo Game Show, a lot of the coolest games could be found bundled off in Hall 9, where the Indie Corner area was set up. This year, the Indie Corner was sharing the hall with the always-popular Merchandise Corner and the newly-added Virtual Reality Corner, something that certainly brought more traffic if nothing else. I've gone over some of the games that could be found in the Indie Corner already, such as Glyph Quest Chronicles from We Heart Dragons, and Gesuido from Ryosuke Mihara, but there were a few other interesting games that bear mentioning...

TGS 2016: Hands-On with 'Hero Emblems 2'

Many games have tried to create a good hybrid of matching puzzle games and RPGs, but few have succeeded quite as well as Hero Emblems [$3.99], from developer Heat Pot Games. Cute graphics, engaging gameplay, a somewhat mysterious translation, and the fact that it was a paid game in a genre that has almost entirely migrated to free-to-play all helped the game stand out from the pack. While the game got a couple of updates post-release, the developers soon got to work on a sequel. It's still a ways off from release, but Hero Emblems 2 was playable at Tokyo Game Show 2016...

To be honest, Square Enix's booth was pretty disappointing this year from a mobile perspective. Not only did they not have any playable games, but even their sizzle reel was largely made up of already-released Final Fantasy social RPGs. While premium mobile gamers got a couple of bones at the last two Tokyo Game Shows in the form of Adventures of Mana [$13.99] and Chaos Rings 3 [$19.99], this year there wasn't a hint of IAP-free gaming to be found. While I'm sure the company has plans for at least a few paid games in the next year, it's clear where Square Enix thinks the money is at the moment...

In recent years, one of the biggest booths dedicated solely to mobile gaming at the Tokyo Game Show usually belongs to Perfect World. This year was no exception, with the China-based publisher holding a space between Konami and Capcom's areas on the show floor. To be honest, most of what they were showing were things we've seen before: MMORPG Perfect World, the free-to-play Torchlight Mobile, and so on. The majority of their booth space was dedicated to something new, however. A few months ago, we got word that Perfect World had obtained the license to make a game based on Tecmo-Koei's popular Dynasty Warriors series of beat-em-ups. Well, it's coming along quickly, because it was playable at TGS 2016...

TGS 2016: Hands-On with 'Glyph Quest Chronicles'

You have to hand it to developer We Heart Dragons. After releasing the original Glyph Quest [Free] as a free-to-play game with an unlock IAP, they listened to player feedback and acted on it. Thus, Glyph Quest's sequel, Super Glyph Quest [$3.99], launched as a fully paid game. The overall game was fleshed out with a lot of story content and quests, and the gameplay mechanics were built on and refined. In an unfortunate reflection of the market, Super Glyph Quest ended up making only a fraction of what the first did. On top of that, while a lot of fans were happy with the game, some felt that the game's simple core was drowned in all of the new additions...

What the heck has SEGA been up to lately, anyway? A few years ago they were tossing out mobile games left and right, but recently there hasn't been much outside of a sequel to Sonic Dash based on the tepid Sonic Boom TV show. Well, it turns out that's really only the case outside of Japan. Inside Japan, SEGA's kept both arms in the mobile trough. Their line-up at this year's Tokyo Game Show included some long-running favorites and a couple of new titles, and all of them have one thing in common: we're probably not going to be seeing them in English...

TGS 2016: Hands-On with 'Cat Quest'

Slashy Hero [Free] was a fun free-to-play action game with a nice mix of surface enjoyment and deeper pattern-based combat. The developer of that game, The Gentlebros, had their newest game, Cat Quest, on the show floor at the Tokyo Game Show, and I had a chance to give it a spin. While it's still several months away from release, the game is already shaping up quite well, and if nothing else should momentarily slake Jared's unquenchable thirst for cat puns...

TGS 2016: Hands-On with 'Gesuido'

Okay, probably the last thing any iOS gamer needs is yet another roguelike, but they're popular enough that we're probably going to keep seeing them. Fortunately, a lot of them turn out to be pretty fun. Gesuido is a new roguelike from independent developer Ryosuke Mihara, inspired by NetHack. You play as a samurai ripped from Japan's past who is forced to navigate the sewers of a modern-day city. It's an odd premise, but it sets the tone for the game to come quite nicely...

Update Mondays: 'Horizon Chase', 'Pokemon Go', 'World of Tanks Blitz', 'Dungeon Link', and More

Hello everyone, and welcome to the week! It's time once again for our look back at the noteworthy updates of the last seven days. It's an interesting mix this week, with a lot of familiar faces and a few we don't see quite so often. Of course, you can keep an eye out for updates yourself using AppShopper Social [Free], the watchlist in the TouchArcade App [Free], or by participating in the TouchArcade forums, but this weekly summary is here to fill in the things you might have missed. Let's dig in!..

Thanks to the Final Fantasy series, Square is a household name among gamers of all ages. There was a time, however, that they were relatively unknown, struggling to find anything that would stick in a highly competitive video game market. It was in that time that they released an NES game called King's Knight. Originally released in Japan in 1986 with a later release in North America in 1989, King's Knight was an odd vertical shoot-em-up with a thick coat of medieval fantasy painted over it. Mild RPG mechanics and a weird multi-plane playing field helped it stand out from the pack, but on the whole, it wasn't a very good game and was soon forgotten...

Classic Reload - 'Waking Mars'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the Classic Reload, the monthly feature where we know not what we do, but we do it just the same. Each month, we take a look at a game from the App Store's past to see how it holds up in the present day. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their place in the overall iOS library, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. I'll do my best to present an interesting selection of games in this feature, but if there's something you'd really like to see covered, please let me know by commenting below the article. I can't promise you'll see your suggestion soon, but I'll certainly consider it for a future highlight...

By now, we all know what to do if a large meteor is on a course to strike the Earth: throw Ben Affleck, Bruce Willis, and Steve Buscemi in a rocket loaded with a nuclear bomb, point them at the rock, and let the magic happen. They're our planet's ace in the hole. But what should we do if not one meteor is headed for us, but rather five? Ten? One hundred? Even if you throw in Casey, it's not enough Affleckpower to take care of that many flying chunks of absolute destruction. Such is the nightmare scenario considered by Atomic Super Lander [$2.99], the latest action game from Crescent Moon Games and bitWeird Games...

Update Mondays: 'Spider-Man Unlimited', 'Bad Piggies', 'Cytus', 'Mortal Kombat X', and More

Hello everyone, and welcome to the week! It's time once again for our look back at the noteworthy updates of the last seven days. After last week's deluge, this week is a little on the lighter side. That doesn't mean there aren't some cool updates to look at, though. Of course, you can keep an eye out for updates yourself using AppShopper Social [Free], the watchlist in the TouchArcade App [Free], or by participating in the TouchArcade forums, but this weekly summary is here to fill in the things you might have missed. Let's dig in!..

'Siralim 2' Review - Have Another Scoop of the Good Stuff

No matter how you slice it, making a sequel to Siralim [Free] was always going to be a tough job. The original game is essentially an overstuffed endless pit of RPG joy, densely packed with enough systems, side content, and additional challenges to keep any genre fan busy for dozens of hours or more. In hindsight, it was almost an impossible achievement. It was developer Thylacine's first stab at the genre, and it was extremely unconventional. Mixing elements of monster-catching, base-building, and roguelikes, it was like someone made a delicious Shin Megami Tensei - Romancing SaGa - Rogue sandwich and somehow pulled that blend off with only a few minor hitches. Excellent post-release support ironed out just about all of the game's issues, leaving one to wonder what exactly a sequel could accomplish...