Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


'Dragon Quest 5' Preview - Import Impressions

It's been about five years since I last played through Dragon Quest 5. If you haven't played it before, I should start off by saying that this is a game that has a lot to say, if you choose to listen to it, and exactly what you hear is going to depend on where you are in your own life. That's because Dragon Quest 5 takes a very unusual approach to its story, following the personal journey of the main character from his birth all the way through to adulthood and the responsibilities that often come with it. I can't say too much about the story without spoiling things that ought not to be spoiled, unfortunately. What I can tell you is that Dragon Quest as a series is quite interested in exploring destiny and fate as concepts, and Dragon Quest 5 is perhaps its most nuanced take on the whole notion...

Tower Of Fortune [$0.99] developer Game Stew is a hard developer for me to get a read on. I mean, I think if you look hard enough you can find a designer's fingerprints all over just about any game, but you don't even have to do that with Game Stew. Their games are instantly recognizable thanks to their consistent, unusual presentation style. If you do choose to look a bit harder, you can see that also carries over to the gameplay, even if some of their games are ostensibly in different genres from each other entirely. It's interesting because even though their games are generally quite unique from almost every angle, once you understand Game Stew's way of doing things, you can reliably count on certain elements being present. Specifically, you're probably going to have quite a few trappings of the roguelike genre. Being predictably off-beat certainly isn't a bad thing. Tim Burton doesn't seem to be suffering for it, at least. The big problem with having that kind of reputation is that you need to keep coming up with ways to keep your audience's thirst for oddity quenched...

Update Mondays: 'Boson X', 'Candy Crush Saga', 'Oceanhorn', 'Boom Beach', 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. As we get closer to the regular holiday App Store freeze, the updates are flying fast and furious. That means another big wrap-up here, so buckle up, 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!..

Last Friday, we had something of a new situation for the TouchArcade forums. TouchTen Games, the developer behind the upcoming Target Acquired, made the game's composer, Manami Matsumae, available for a brief "Ask Me Anything" in the game's thread. Matsumae's name may not be well-known, but her work most certainly is. She was the composer on the first Mega Man game, UN Squadron, Magic Sword, and other classics, and has made a recent return to video games, contributing tracks to Mega Man 10, Shovel Knight, Mighty No. 9, and more. Before the "Ask Me Anything" got under way, I had the opportunity to have a brief chat with Matsumae-san about her work with Target Acquired...

As prophesied by the great sages and Square Enix's official site, Dragon Quest 5: The Hand Of The Heavenly Bride hit the Japanese App Store yesterday at a price of 1800 yen, or as Square's been translating that into American dollars lately, $14.99. Just like Dragon Quest 4 [$14.99], this version is a port of the Nintendo DS remake, originally released in Japan in 2008 and elsewhere in 2009. The original game was released in Japan only on Nintendo's 16-bit Super Famicom in 1992, and its first remake was another Japan-only release, 2004's PlayStation 2 version.  The Nintendo DS version, although visually resembling Dragon Quest 4's remake, has all of the extra content and changes of the PlayStation 2 release, plus an additional option for the choice of the player's wife...

RPG Reload File 018 - 'Final Fantasy 2'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we pummel each other to get stronger. Each week, we take a look back at an RPG from the App Store's past. It's a little bit of reflecting, a little bit of revisiting, and sometimes just an excuse to take a deep dive in a way that doesn't suit a regular review. The RPG genre is a pretty wide one, and all kinds are welcome here. I try to keep a good balance of different ones from week to week, but I need your help now and then. Once per month, I'll be playing an RPG selected by one of you. All you need to do is vote for the RPG you'd like to see by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. When the time comes, a roll of the dice will determine the winning game, and much fun will be had by all...

'Injustice: Gods Among Us' Guide - More Tips To Win Without Spending Real Money

Roughly a billion years ago in App Store time, or about a year and a half ago in human time, I put together a guide for Injustice: Gods Among Us [Free]. It's a pretty nice guide, I think, but here's something interesting you may or may not know about Injustice: WB Games updates this game all the freaking time. While a lot of the advice I gave in that guide is still sound, some of it is outdated and there's a whole lot of new stuff to take into account if you play this game these days. With that in mind, I've decided to put together a new guide, a supplemental if you will, covering some of the changes and new aspects of the game as it currently stands. I'm going to start by revisiting some of the things I said in the old guide that don't quite work anymore. I'll then move into talking about Challenge Mode and Multiplayer Battles...

'Dragon Quest 3' Review - The Stuff Of Legends

This is the fifth Dragon Quest game I've reviewed in 2014, and by now I'm sure I've hammered in the significance of this series to the JRPG genre, if nothing else. After starting the year with Dragon Quest 8 [$19.99], one of the more recent and certainly the most technologically advanced installments in the series, we took an odd side path to Dragon Quest 4 [$14.99] before heading back to the beginning of the series. I'm a firm believer that Dragon Quest games are like pie in that there's no bad one, but the first two games require a certain understanding of the context in which they were released to fully enjoy them. They're very much formative works of the genre, and as such have all kinds of prickly bits and loose ends hanging off of them. Dragon Quest 3 [$9.99] is where that proviso can be safely removed...

Update Mondays: 'Angry Birds Seasons', 'Siralim', 'Family Guy: The Quest For Stuff', 'Injustice', 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 been another big week of updates, with the expected tons of holiday stuff and a few major updates that have nothing to do with the season. Warm up the cocoa, this is another big list like last week. 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!..

Hello, friends. Are you enjoying Dragon Quest 3 [$9.99]? You may have already read my import impressions of the game, and I'll have a full review ready for you soon, but I'm here today to talk about a different Dragon Quest game. With the release of Dragon Quest 3 in English, the rest of the world had finally caught up with the Japanese App Store. Such things cannot stand, however, so I'm afraid I must report that Dragon Quest 5: Hand Of The Heavenly Bride will be hitting Japan next week, on December 12th, for the price of 1800 yen, or about $15 US. An English release will surely follow, but there's no information as to when at the moment...

RPG Reload File 017 - 'Silversword'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we do our best impressions of our cool uncles. Each week, we take an RPG out of the vaults of the App Store's past to reflect, revisit, and dive a little deeper than a usual review allows. Most of the time, you are subject to the tyranny of my selections, but in a stunning show of benevolence once per month, you get to choose what I play. Well, not always 'you'. It could be that guy, or maybe that nice woman over there, or maybe even that weird dog chewing on the tennis ball in the corner. But it might be you! How can this wonderful thing happen, you ask? Simply vote for your choice in the comments below, in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or tweet me at @RPGReload, and your selection will be entered into the running. At the end of the month, an appropriate set of dice will be rolled to determine a winner. It's an RPG solution to an RPG problem!..

'Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath' Review - You're Looking Mighty Good, Stranger

The story of the Oddworld Inhabitants themselves is almost as interesting as that of any of their games. Founded by Hollywood veterans to take advantage of the correctly-predicted boom that 3D graphics would bring, the company had a clear, ambitious plan for a series of five games that took place in their Oddworld universe. A new team planning for that many games before they've even finished one is the game development equivalent of a rookie stepping up to the plate and pointing at the stands, but when Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee released, it seemed like the Oddworld Inhabitants weren't bluffing. The game was a massive hit, and the lead character Abe become something of a cult icon in the 32-bit era. It was followed by an initially unplanned direct sequel, Abe's Exoddus, which was meant to help fill the gap while everyone waited for the next chapter of the quintology...

Honestly, I've just about had it with robots. They're either evil or annoying, and I'm tired of dealing with the fallout of either type. I think the last straw for me was finding out that nice Robo fellow from Chrono Trigger [$9.99] was actually rickrolling me for nearly the last twenty years. I mean, you think you know a tin can, only to find out it's been snickering behind your back. That's the trouble with robots, and if you're like me, you're always up for giving their shiny metal keisters a good kicking. Luckily, there's no shortage of games that let us do that, and the latest one is the pretty clever Trouble With Robots [Free]...

'Arcane Quest 2' Review - A Quest For Heroes

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December 1st, 2014 2:30 PM EST by Shaun Musgrave in $1.99, 4 stars, Board, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Role-Playing
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Like any lifelong enthusiast of role-playing games, I've got a few memories that are embarrassing to relate in mixed company. Since we're all friends here, I'll let you in on one of them. In junior high school, or middle school as some of our readers might call it, our class planned a trip to one of the islands in the lake my hometown sits beside. It's kind of a popular beach for those who have the means to reach it, and there are even a couple of food stands and a vague attempt at a boardwalk. Well, everyone was pretty excited about this trip, and when the day arrived, people came with bags packed with swimming gear, water guns, and sports equipment for the park. My tight little group of RPG-loving friends and I had our swimsuits and a couple of Super Soakers. I mean, we weren't totally out there. But instead of bringing a volleyball or anything like that, my good friend had Milton Bradley's HeroQuest board game tucked under his arm. We spent a good portion of the day sitting in the park beside the beach, making our way through a few campaigns...

I've been reviewing games for more than 15 years now, and one of the things that is still sometimes hard for me to sort out is how much value to place on creativity, or I suppose, how harshly I should criticize a game that lacks it. I don't think every game needs to reinvent the wheel, but I also think it's important that some games do strive to do new things. Otherwise, we'd all still be playing Pong and Space Invaders clones and nothing else. That said, a well-made game whose only real fault is playing it safe can still be quite enjoyable. Swords Of Anima [$2.99] is quite well-constructed, surprisingly so given that it's a rookie effort from a small developer. It's also a fairly rote take on the turn-based SRPG genre, so if you're looking for something that shakes up genre conventions, this one's probably not going to do it for you...