Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


It's pretty difficult to pull off the first part of an intended series of stories. You have make sure you end it with a lot of possbilities in the air, but at the same time, you have to give people a satisying enough standalone plot that they'll want to stick around. It's especially important in games, where the player should feel some sense of accomplishment at the end of each part, particularly when the continuation might be a ways off. Versus - The Lost Ones [$3.99] is the latest release from prolific gamebook publisher Choice Of Games, and it's meant to kick off an on-going series. It's a successful opening in as much as I'm rather interested to see where the story goes from here, but taken as a standalone work, it's a little mixed...

There have been a lot of weird crossovers throughout the history of entertainment, and only half of them involve Angry Birds.  Remember when Inspector Gadget showed up on the Super Mario Bros. Super Show, or that time when Archie met the Punisher, or when the Harlem Globetrotters helped Scooby-Doo and the gang solve a mystery? If you look at it that way, perhaps Pocket God Vs Desert Ashes [$4.99] isn't that strange after all. Still, a combination of Bolt Creative's Pocket God [$0.99] and Nine Tales Digital's Mecho Wars/Desert Ashes probably wouldn't be the first team-up you would imagine for either franchise, and it certainly begs a question or two. How exactly could they reconcile the former's simple god game mechanics with the latter's Advance Wars-inspired turn-based strategy?..




It's that wonderful time of the year in Japan where the heat starts to subside a little, the kids are trying to finish two months of homework in two days, and game companies start to reveal their line-up for the annual Tokyo Game Show. Held at Makuhari Messe in Chiba prefecture each September, the show has made a huge recovery after a pretty depressing five years or so. A lot of that is on the back of mobile gaming, the market which now dominates the Japanese games industry. Naturally, as one of Japan's gaming giants, Square Enix will be there, and they've announced quite an assortment of games for their booth this year...

Update Mondays: 'Geometry Dash', 'Demon's Rise', 'Angry Birds 2', 'DomiNations', 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. An odd mix this week, to be sure, but I think I've found a nice little grab-bag of updates for your consideration. 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!..

Way back in the before times, when I was a little fellow attending elementary school, I often found myself doodling on the paper in front of me. Well, to be honest, I did that in junior high school, high school, and university, too, but that's neither here nor there. The point is, my imagination wandered frequently, and conspired with my hand to try to keep the whole system from going to sleep. I feel like I drew all the standard things: dinosaurs, super heroes, video game characters, the screaming souls of the damned as they burned in searing agony for all eternity, fighter jets, ALF, and of course, space ship battles. I would doodle an assortment of ships on the left, another group on the right, then simulate their battles. Sentinel Command [$6.99 (HD)] reminds me of those hand-sketched battles, but with rules, challenge, and all kinds of good things like that...

Earlier this year, when Heroes Of Might & Magic 3 - HD Edition [$4.99 (HD)] released for the iPad, I was hoping it would be the start of Ubisoft porting more of the classic Might & Magic games to iOS. The iPad version of the game had its share of quirks, most of which I outlined in my review, but it was a decent enough port of the game for those not interested in playing on their computers. Unfortunately, the game seemed to have stalled out a bit, getting a pretty quick update that introduced more bugs than it killed, followed by months of nothing. Imagine my delight when I saw that the game received a new update today that addresses most of those nasty bugs. Coupled with a sale that drops the price from its regular $9.99 down to $4.99, we might call this Heroes Of Might & Magic 3 HD's second chance...

RPG Reload File 053 - 'Mage Gauntlet'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we smash everything in search of new hats. Each week, we pull an RPG from the past of the App Store to see how it holds up to our highly-advanced, futuristic, utopian society. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on a game's overall place on the platform, or just to take a nice deep dive in a way our reviews don't usually allow for. As the kindly old wizard watching over these proceedings, I try to pick a nice balanced plate from week to week. If you feel like I'm missing something cool, however, please let me know. You can give me suggestions by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. I can't promise I'll get to it soon, but it will go on the master list which means I'll get to it eventually...

Last week saw the much-anticipated release of Square Enix's ultra-hit RPG Final Fantasy 7 [$15.99], but the nature of the port is causing some mixed feelings among fans. If you're one of those players feeling a little disappointed in that particular release, let me salve your wounds with some nice, soothing RPG balm. Square Enix's fantastic port of the superb Dragon Quest 5 [$9.99] has gone on sale for the first time ever, down from its usual "very-much-worth-it" price of $14.99 to a "how-can-you-not-buy-it" price of $9.99...

Fans have been waiting for a while for the 2.0 update for Geometry Dash [$1.99] to hit the App Store. Well, I hope your well-trained fingers aren't too tired to jam on that update button, because Geometry Dash 2.0 is now live and ready to go. As you might expect from the bump in version number, this is a pretty big update that includes quite a bit of new content for RobTop Games' hit ultra-hard action-platformer...

Ever since its inception, game publishers have fought tooth and nail each week to win the ultimate prize: the coveted Update Mondays Most Spider-Mans Of The Week award. It's a prestigious award, and it looks like two of Marvel's very own are soon going to be locked in a battle to bathe in its youth-imbuing properties. Marvel is having a little event right now in their comic books called Secret Wars. No, not the one where Spidey got his symbiote suit, with the easy-to-break Doc Ock toy. No, not the one with the omnipotent being wearing a white leisure suit and Hasslehoff hair. No, not even that one where everyone wore the weird stealth costumes and took orders from Nick Fury for whatever reason. The new one! The one that is going to leave the Marvel Universe with a fresh, streamlined continuity, a play that succeeds literally every time a comic company tries it! It's such a big event, it's naturally going to be spilling into the various Marvel games, and the first ones to be hit with the content will be Marvel Future Fight [Free] and Spider-Man Unlimited [Free]...

It's just about time for the official release of a new version of iOS, and long-time mobile fans know what that means: a bunch of games are going to stop working. While most developers and publishers are pretty good about updating their big releases, it's inevitable for swaths of games to get pulled after an iOS update causes them to stop working, never to be seen again. If we're lucky, the publishers let us know ahead of time what's going to get pulled, so that we can make our peace with the fact that they're still in our backlogged piles, waiting to be played. Well, the first big pull announcement is here, and it belongs to none other than Konami, who made (and apologized for) statements recently about putting greater support behind mobile...

Winnipeg gets a lot of snow, London gets a lot of fog, Seattle gets a lot of rain, and iOS gets a lot of Warhammer games. It's just the way things go, friends. Though it can be hard to keep track of all of the games, it's actually pretty interesting seeing the license applied to so many different genres. Games Workshop isn't afraid to try out new things with their main property, evidenced by their own output in the physical gaming sphere. One such venture happened a few years ago, when they released their Path To Victory series of gamebooks. They were suitably complex relative to many other gamebooks, and from what I can gather, they weren't exactly a smashing financial success. Well, of course, right? The main gamebook audience isn't doing the whole dead tree thing anymore, instead favoring electronic versions on their mobile devices. A big part of that shift is almost certainly due to the excellent work done in the genre by Tin Man Games...

Looking past Mobius Of Magic [$2.99] 's lifting of Final Fantasy's mage designs, there's a somewhat creative idea at its core. Battles play out as duels between magic users, and in this game the best offense is a good defense. You can block most incoming attacks by swiping in the direction it's coming from, and in doing so, not only does it nullify most of the damage, but it also charges up your mana so that you can deliver stronger counter-attacks. Thus, battles are enjoyably fast-paced affairs where you need to pay careful attention to your foe and react quickly and precisely. It makes a valiant go of building a game around that interesting mechanic, but it ultimately doesn't quite manage to take things much farther than what you'll see in the earliest combats...

Last week, SoMoGa's iOS versions of vintage SEGA-CD RPG Vay [$0.99] and the classic Lunar: Silver Star Story [$6.99] vanished from the App Store. At the same time, SoMoGa's web page was down, and it looked pretty bad for the overall prospects of both apps. A week can sometimes make all the difference, friends, because both games are now back on the App Store. Vay reappeared several hours after our original story, while Lunar came back by the end of the week. SoMoGa's website also made a comeback, and may have actually been the source of the problem...

'Final Fantasy 7' Review - Square Enix's Classic, With A Few Clouds In The Sky

With the exception of some of Nintendo's Pokemon games, there is no Japanese RPG more famous and high-selling than Final Fantasy 7 [$15.99]. That might be the only non-controversial thing a person could say about the game. It's the JRPG's Star Wars, a game that changed the course of the genre in many ways. It proved there was an audience for RPGs in the Western market, but it was also a bold statement for consoles adopting optical media and perhaps even Sony's entire mission with the PlayStation. Here is the future, its commercials screamed, and though they were pretty deceitful in one way, those commercials helped pave a new road for console gaming's future. For many people it was their first JRPG love, and the passion it drove in its fanbase pushed Square into the limelight worldwide to the extent that they could push a ridiculously-budgeted CG movie into wide theatrical release. It spawned spin-offs, sequels, prequels, and merchandise galore. And now, in 2015, you can play it on the phone you keep in your pocket...

Update Mondays: 'Crossy Road', 'WWE Immortals', 'Alphabear', 'AG Drive', 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 a bunch of heavy-hitters again this week, but that hasn't stopped the smaller devs from doing their thing. 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!..

Glitchsoft's Uncanny X-Men: Days Of Future Past [$0.99] is a decent side-scrolling action game that layers on some excellent X-Men fan service. I enjoyed it well enough in my review, though I found the fighting mechanics to be on the repetitive side and the jumping to be a bit dodgy. Since then, the game has received a few updates, adding additional playable characters, improved control schemes, and lots of valuable bug fixes. It's been more than a year since the last one, but a brand new update for the game just hit, and to go along with it, the game's price has dropped from its regular $4.99 to a mere $0.99...

RPG Reload File 052 - Fantasy Chronicle

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we never trust bunnies. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up in the modern day. It's a bit of reflecting, a bit of revisiting, and sometimes just a nice chance to do a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. I try to choose a balanced plate of RPGs from week to week in order to demonstrate the diversity of the genre, but if you feel like I'm missing something important, I'm certainly open to suggestions. You can let me know what you'd like to see by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. It might take a while to fit your idea into the schedule, but it'll certainly go on the master list...

It's been a couple of months since Kemco's last release on iOS, the mediocre strategy-RPG Legend Of Ixtona [$3.99]. That game was developed by WorldWideSoftware and was if nothing else different from Kemco's usual fare. Interestingly enough, their latest game, Tears Revolude [$3.99], is once again developed by WorldWideSoftware and also a bit different from their norm. Fortunately, it pulls off what it's going for a bit better than Ixtona did, but unfortunately, only a little bit. Still, I'm a little impressed at what the developer has set up here from a technical perspective, and I hope it bodes well for the future...

At long last, that Final Fantasy game we've all been waiting for has hit the App Store. Yes, that's right, Triple Triad is finally officially available on the App Store through Square Enix's new Final Fantasy Portal [Free] app. Oh, and for a limited time, you can also download a free copy of Final Fantasy 1, in case you don't already own it. What's not to like?..