Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


The original Siralim [Free] is one of those great cases of a game that started off rough but interesting, only to be shined to a sparkle through a ton of updates. The developer had a lot of ideas worth exploring and committed to seeing a great deal of them through. After launching on mobile, Siralim made its way to other platforms like Steam and PlayStation, so I suppose it must have done well for the developer. We've known Siralim 2 [$4.99] was coming for a while now, and after it hit Steam, it was only a matter of time before it made its way back to where it all started...

It's that magical time of the year, friends, when Japanese game companies start pulling back the curtains a little in preparation for the annual Tokyo Game Show in September. As usual, Square Enix is getting an early jump on things, showing things like an arcade version of Theathrythm Final Fantasy, new content for the arcade version of Dissidia Final Fantasy, and a spin-off of Dissidia for mobile. Yes, it's a spin-off of a spin-off. Insert meme image here. Titled Dissidia Final Fantasy: Opera Omnia, it's due out for iOS and Android sometime this year...




We've been riding the renewed wave of roguelikes and roguelites for several years now. By the very nature of the genre, a good roguelike can last players for a really long time. What that means is that any new entry is going to have to have some kind of way of standing out if it hopes to get attention. Hero Generations [$4.99] has a strong, easily-understood gimmick: every move costs a year of your character's life, and when they run out of years, it's game over. Before that happens, you need to find a mate and have a kid, who will hopefully be able to carry on some of the previous character's traits and legacy. As you expand your abilities and fame from generation to generation, you'll eventually piece together an urgent goal, but you won't be able to do anything about it if your family line dies off early...

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we sound like lines from a self-help book. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up on a second, third, or tenth view. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on the overall RPG landscape of iOS, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As the main character of the first half of the game, I try to present a balanced plate of RPGs from week to week. If you feel like I'm missing something important, however, please let me know. You can do that by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. As the schedule is planned well in advance, I can't promise you'll see your recommendation soon, but it will go on the master list...

There's nothing quite like finding a cool game we missed several months back. It's like getting a new cool game, except it's usually had a bunch of updates to make it even better! Such is the case with Celsius Heroes [Free], an interesting take on the Puzzle & Dragons [Free] formula of social RPGs. The game was pointed out to me a few weeks ago by a member of the TouchArcade forums, and I've been looking for an excuse to mention it since. As the game just got a big content update, this seems as opportune a time as any...

'Leap of Fate' Review - Jump In

Leap of Fate [$3.99] didn't make a great first impression on me. The opening cut-scene dialogue is ponderous. The aiming feels a little off. The tutorial has a lot of clumsy navigation elements, suggesting there will be some shoveled-in platforming to break up the action. The first time I loaded the game, I played through the tutorial, wondered why Jared was raving about it so much, then switched over to something else. Of course, since I was assigned to the review, I had to come back to Leap of Fate soon. Reviewing games is generally a great job, but one of the few downsides is that you can't always walk away from games you're not enjoying. Sometimes, however, that turns out to be a good thing, and Leap of Fate is one such case...

Update Mondays: 'The Simpsons: Tapped Out', 'Star Traders 4X Empires', 'A Noble Circle', 'Demon's Rise', 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. Now this is more like it. I haven't had to be picky to fill out this article for a long while now, but this week saw tons of worthy candidates. 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 090 - '868-HACK'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we sometimes accidentally call Jenny when we want to play a roguelite. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's held up over time. It's a chance to revisit the classics, reflect on their place in the overall tapestry, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As the captain on the bridge, I try to choose a balanced selection of games from week to week to reflect the diversity in the genre. If you feel like I'm missing anything, you can let me know by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. The schedule is planned pretty far in advance, so you might not see your suggested title soon, but it will be added to the master list...

Out There Chronicles [$2.99] is a good idea. Take the mysterious, interesting universe of the survival/resource management game Out There [$4.99] and create a gamebook in the same setting that helps flesh the background out. A boots on the ground view, so to speak. It's even written by the same person that wrote the original game. The presentation is quite strong for a game of this genre, adopting much of the aesthetic of the core Out There experience, and it even attempts to incorporate a few of the mechanics, such as learning alien languages and trying to conserve resources. As a companion piece to Out There, it's pretty neat. But while it's good at evoking the feel of its parent, as a piece of interactive fiction, it leaves me a bit cold...

Bioware's Epic Action RPG 'Jade Empire' Hits iOS [Update: Soon, Not Today]

[Editor's Note: Please see the update at the end of this article.] Not even Master Li could see this one coming. Aspyr Media, the team behind the iOS ports of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic [$9.99] and Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy [$9.99], are adding another classic adventure to their iOS portfolio later today. Many of us had anticipated that their next release might be an iOS version of Obsidian's Knights of the old Republic 2, but it turns out they had their eyes on another RPG from the Xbox era first. Jade Empire, Bioware's epic martial arts fantasy, will be available for your favorite iOS device later today...

When it comes to interactive fiction, certain elements have to carry a disproportionate amount of weight on their shoulders. A good premise helps. Interesting choices are a must. While the story doesn't necessarily have to be spectacular, it should at least be well-written. There's more to it than that, especially if said game starts dipping its wick into the RPG genre, but at a minimum, quality interactive fiction should present the player with a good story in which they have some agency, or at least the illusion of it. Deadman Diaries [$0.99] is the latest release from Cubus Games, best known for their hardcore space action gamebook Heavy Metal Thunder [$3.99]. It carries a lower price tag than the rest of Cubus's line-up, and while I don't think you can always judge a game by its price, it's a useful indicator in this case...

'The Quest HD' Review - That Old Magic is Still Alive

Redshift's The Quest [$4.99] was originally released for Pocket PCs and Palm devices, but it found new life when the game was ported to iPhones in March of 2009. Its massive size and depth, combined with a seemingly endless parade of new content through regular expansion pack releases, made it one of the best RPGs on the platform, and for many people, the only one they ever needed. Surprisingly, the years have been generally kind to it in most regards, so it still plays as well as it ever did. Only a few respects betrayed the game's age. One of the most obvious points is that it offered no iPad-native version, forcing tablet owners to play it with a less-than-flattering zoom applied to the visuals. As detailed as the graphics in the original port are, they're clearly coming from the pre-retina days of mobile gaming, and while that's not something I mind terribly, it made the game look too old-fashioned for some...

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 big names and little names alike in this week's round-up, with a bit of fun for everyone. Hopefully, anyway. 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!..

Strategy games and the iPad go together like curry and rice, so it's no surprise that there have been a ton of great strategy games, both original and classic, released on the device. A couple of years ago, we were treated to one of the all-time classics of PC strategy when Heroes of Might & Magic 3 [$9.99 (HD)] came to iPad. Well, you can grab your marker and get ready to cross another one off of the old checklist, because Rome: Total War is coming to iPad this fall from SEGA and Feral Interactive...

RPG Reload File 089 - 'Infinity Blade 2'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we know how to retcon and aren't afraid to do it. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it shapes up by today's standards. It's a chance to check in on old favorites, consider their place in the overall landscape, or simply to zoom and enhance on games in a way our reviews typically don't allow for. As the God King of this feature, I try to choose a balanced mix of games from week to week in order to represent the variety in the genre. If you feel like I'm missing something important, you can let me know by leaving a comment below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. Since the schedule is planned pretty far in advance, I can't promise you'll see your suggestion soon, but it will be added to the master list...

While many mobile gamers pine for the days when Gamevil was putting together paid action-RPGs like the older Zenonia games, you have to admit that they've approached the free-to-play social RPG genre with some gusto. Their efforts in the genre cover a wide variety of playstyles, and the production values are often on par with even Square Enix's releases. Well, you can add another one to their line-up with the release of Masquerade: The Faceless [Free]. This one is a side-scrolling 3D beat-em-up with RPG elements, and it's surprisingly fun...

Gameloft's behind-the-back runner/crawler/swinger featuring everyone's favorite webhead has been going strong for a few years now, tossing a veritable cornucopia of Spider-Mans and their Amazing Friends into the game on a regular basis. That said, it's been a while since the development team has added any content to the game's story mode, which ended on a cliffhanger with hints that someone else was behind Mysterio's cross-dimensional power play. Another bummer is that the cool 2099 environment from the Spider-Verse event has been MIA since that story came to a close. Well, face front, True Believers, because the latest update of Spider-Man Unlimited [Free] sees both of those long-gone elements make a comeback...

Hello, gentle listeners, and welcome to another slightly overdue episode of the RPG Reload Podcast. This month, Eric, Andy, and I are joined by our old friend Zack Kline, who you might remember from the King of Dragon Pass episode last year. Together, we're discussing the curious and crafty A Dark Room. We had a number of technical problems with the recording this time, leading to the death of an Eric, and severe choppiness on my end in the second half. I tried to splice around it, but all I can do is apologize if things come off disjointed at times. Nevertheless, we had a good long talk about a variety of games. Want to hear our thoughts on Pokemon Go? Guild of Dungeoneering? Cosmos Rings? The Facts of Life? Then you've just got to listen to this action-packed episode!..

Update Mondays: 'Suicide Squad: Special Ops', 'Pixel Boat Rush', 'Farm Heroes Saga', 'Politaire', 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. Lots of interesting stuff this week, though I think that a certain sporting event's overly litigious nature has kept many apps from jumping on the bandwagon of current events. 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 Presents - The History of Handheld RPGs, Part Twelve

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload. This week, we're concluding our little monthly project looking at the history of handheld RPGs. That means that we will not be taking a look at a specific RPG from the App Store's past this time around. Last month, we took a look at the PlayStation Vita, a troubled system that has quite a respectable library of games. There are a lot of reasons it wasn't able to take off in terms of sales, but the biggest one is probably that smartphones have swept the feet right out from under the dedicated handheld gaming market. One of the strongest regions for dedicated handhelds, particularly with regards to the adult demographic, is Japan, but that's also one of the regions that has most quickly and thoroughly adopted smartphones as its gaming device of choice. That didn't happen because of Final Fantasy ports and Kemco RPGs, though. Rather, it was through the smashing popularity of a new kind of RPG: the social RPG. In our final chapter, we're taking a look at the free-to-play era of smartphone RPGs...