Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


Update Mondays: 'The Simpsons: Tapped Out', 'Boom Beach', 'Crossy Road', 'The World Ends With You', 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. This was a big week for updates, with some very popular games getting new versions, a cherished game many had given up on coming back to life, and some business about a flag or something. 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!..

I hold two very strong opinions about the Dragon Quest series, one of which is agreed upon by many, and the other of which is slightly more controversial. First, Dragon Quest is like pie in that there is no bad one. My least favorite is either Dragon Quest 2 [$4.99] or Dragon Quest 8 [$19.99], but I'd still hand over a weekend to replaying both, no questions asked. With that being said, the other thing that I believe is that the series hit its creative peak with Dragon Quest 5 [$14.99]. That's not to say subsequent games didn't sometimes hit some very high notes, as my pie opinion shows. But if there is such thing as a work that a creative mind invests in so completely that they leave a big piece of themselves with said work forever, Dragon Quest 5 would be a huge example. That's an ominous way to begin a review of Dragon Quest 6 [$14.99], I'll admit, but I felt it was important to be upfront about that...

The Harmony series knows what it is and is quite comfortable in its skin. That might be one of its better qualities overall. The games use a basic, simple-to-understand mechanic to set up increasingly devious puzzles, trying to wind you up more and more. While the games work hard to frustrate you in that respect, the most relaxing, gorgeous music plays in the background, making it nearly impossible not to chill out. This odd discord makes for a compelling combination of flavors, and each installment simply drops another few scoops on your plate. Harmony 3 [$2.99] follows the pattern to a tee, which makes this an awfully short review if you've played a game in the series before. Did you like it, and want more? Buy this one, you won't be disappointed. Did you dislike it or become tired of its bag of tricks? Then you won't find anything to grab you here...

While the quality of the results have been somewhat arguable, no one can deny that 2K has been throwing their weight behind premium, paid games on the App Store. While everyone and their uncle has been shifting towards free to play, 2K's schedule over the last couple of years has included ports of games like XCOM and Bioshock, premium-priced strategy games from Sid Meier, and "new" versions of their sports franchises, among others. Yes, there have been missteps along the way, but if you want to reward a company for avoiding the F2P candy, you could do a lot worse than throwing a few bucks 2K's way. Heck, depending on what you want, it might only take a few bucks, because many of 2K's recent offerings are on sale starting today. The complete list is as follows, with links to our reviews where applicable:..

RPG Reload File 044 - 'Chaos Rings Omega'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we make the very most out of the assets we have. 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 old favorites, reflect on their ultimate place in iOS's history, or just to take a deeper dive than our review typically allow for. I try to present a balanced plate from this admittedly wide genre from week to week, but I'm always open for suggestions. If you have a game in mind that you'd like to see featured, simply comment below, post in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or tweet me at @RPGReload. After next week, there's only one regular reader's choice Reload left, so if there's something you're dying to see, now's the time! Next week, we'll be talking about Sorcery! [$4.99], a request that came in via our Twitter account. Good times ahead!..

Oh, times are good for fans of computer RPGs these days. But they weren't always so good, friends. During the late 1990s, when PC gaming died the way console gaming is dying today, things were pretty dire. There was one consistent sparkle of hope during those dark times, however, and that was the Dungeons & Dragons Infinity Engine series of games from Bioware and Black Isle. Those five games helped keep the fires burning for many a PC RPG fan, and I think it's pretty fantastic that we can play three of them on our mobile devices today. Beamdog and Overhaul have done a great job adapting them to mobile user interfaces, and it's hard to argue with the value for your dollar on each of them...

There are plenty of things I appreciate about Cartoon Survivor [Free], a new isometric platformer from Australia-based Spunge Games. Most immediately, it has a strong and cohesive visual design, full of bright colors and cute animations. The level designs are clever and packed with secrets to find, some of which may require you to come back with gear you'll earn later in order to get the best time. There are unlockables both of the cosmetic and practical type, giving you something tangible to shoot for as you play through. It also gives you enough levels for free to get a feel for the game before it asks you to pay to unlock the rest, and in an unusual turn, allows you grind up in-game currency and pay that way. You're probably waiting for the other shoe to drop right about now, and it will. But don't worry, it's only a little shoe. A booty, at best...

Of all the stories I expected to experience this week, a cross between a dating simulation and 21 Jump Street was not especially high on the list, but here we are. Sword Of Asumi [$3.99] is a visual novel with mild dating sim elements that casts you as an undercover assassin trying to root out the source of a terrorist threat at a school. You'll have to pose as a schoolgirl for however long it takes to find the culprit, with your superior keeping an eye on you as one of the teaching staff. I'll be honest: I think that's an absolutely brilliant premise for a game like this. It's a good central plot to build a story around, providing reasons to mingle with as many people as possible in a variety of locations. There are potentially great conflicts if you happen to get close to someone who is involved in the nefarious plot. There's a reason this all worked so well for Fox in the late 1980s...

Just over a month ago, prolific gamebook publisher Tin Man Games released the latest in their in-house Gamebook Adventures series, Gamebook Adventures 10: Lords Of Nurroth. It had been a long time coming, with Tin Man releasing all kinds of great stuff in the interim. I enjoyed the game quite a bit in my review. But even I have to admit, although each book is designed to stand on their own, there's a certain appeal to diving into a world's lore hard, and doing that with a gamebook series ten installments deep can be intimidating to the pocketbook, bundle or no...

One of the great things about modern gaming is how quickly and relatively easily a developer can respond to criticisms from players by updating games. There are negative sides to that, of course, but there are so many iOS games that have gone from promising to great with an update or three that it's hard for mobile gamers to knock it too hard. One such game that has made impressive strides is the Silent Hill-inspired horror game, Forgotten Memories: Alternate Realities [$2.99]. Its initial release was strong in so many ways, but certain parts of it didn't resonate well with the often on-the-go mobile crowd. Of course, many other players were quite happy with the tension present in the game's original set-up. A few updates later, and just about everyone is taken care of. Perhaps it's something of a symbolic rebirth, as Forgotten Memories is now on sale for the first time ever...

Hello everyone, and welcome to the... second day of the week! It's time once again for our look back at the noteworthy updates of the last seven (eight?) days. It's a bit quiet this time around, probably because of the big E3 show running last week. That said, there are still some interesting updates to check out. 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!..

I rag on Kemco quite a bit sometimes, but I really have to commend them for sticking to their guns even as the whole market has changed around them. Just about every month, we can look forward to getting at least one traditional JRPG, albeit with wildly varying levels of quality between titles. To the best of my knowledge, they are pretty much the last publisher on Earth regularly serving that niche, as even companies like Square Enix are shifting further towards the popular social RPG model that has captured the affections of Japanese gamers. I may not like every game they release, but I greatly appreciate what they're doing. Their latest iOS release in English, Legend Of Ixtona [$3.99], has the publisher taking on a slightly different, but no less traditional, model of RPG. It's an isometric turn-based strategy RPG in the style of Yasumi Matsuno's Tactics series of games, and although it's a bit rough, it's surprisingly decent for a first effort...

About two weeks ago, Jared and I were discussing when we might see Dragon Quest 6 on iOS. Let's face it, we kind of got a flurry of Dragon Quests to the face last year, but since Dragon Quest 5 [$14.99] released in January, things have been awfully quiet. Much to our surprise and delight, Dragon Quest 6 dropped on the Japanese App Store out of the blue late last week. It's likely to be at least a couple of months before it makes its English debut, but like Dragon Quest 4 [$14.99] and 5, this version of the game has seen an English release before, so its chances are pretty good. If and when it does, you can probably expect it to cost $14.99 the same as the other two games in the Zenithian Trilogy. I've put the Japanese version through the paces the last few days, so I figured I'd give you some impressions to mull over while you wait...

That list of sales we had the other day was pretty cool, full of all sorts of goodies to occupy your weekend. But just in case those weren't enough, it looks like a whole bunch of other games are on sale right now, too. Good thing there aren't any other major sales happening on other platforms right now or anything, right? Because if there were, we might have all ended up broke. Anyway, here's the second wave of sales to celebrate... E3? Father's Day? Paula Abdul's birthday? Well, I suggest you not worry about it too much and just enjoy the nice prices, friends. The new list of apps on sale follows...

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we strip everyone we beat and call it looting. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up in the here and now. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on important milestones, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews usually allow for. As the conductor of this mad orchestra, I try to bring a variety of RPGs into this feature from week to week, but I'm always open to reader suggestions. If you have a game you would like to see here, simply comment below, post in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or tweet me at @RPGReload with your choice. The second-last regular reader's choice article is coming up in a couple of weeks, so now is the time to get your selection in. This is your chance!..

Hands-On Preview And Trailer For 'Alchemic Dungeons'

My trusty spear has been serving me well up until now. It can reach two spaces away, so I've been using it to take an extra poke at monsters before they can close the distance to attack. It's even better when I can line the bad guys up just so and skewer two of them at once. There's just one problem, though. The deeper I go into the dungeon, the more frequently enemies have been able to surround me. I need something with a bit of a wider arc to it. I open up my crafting menu and get to work. Two pieces of iron ore will make an iron bar. Now, if I take that iron bar and combine it with another piece of iron ore, I've got an iron blade. Attach that to a stick I found, and suddenly I've got a sweet iron broadsword that can sweep the three spaces in front of me. Just what the doctor ordered! Seeing that my hunger gauge is starting to get low, I combine some oil with a mushroom to make a tasty roasted mushroom snack. Living off the land isn't so bad, friends...

When I got my very first iOS device, there were a few genres in particular I had hoped and imagined would be well-represented on the App Store. I've talked before about my early search for a good Picross-style game, but the other kind of game I was looking for was a first-person, turn-based dungeon crawler, along the lines of Wizardry, The Bard's Tale [$2.99], or Etrian Odyssey. I felt that would be a pretty good kind of game to play on a smartphone, and surmised that there ought to have been plenty by the time I made my late entry. The problem is, even with the recent renewed interest in the sub-genre, it's actually pretty niche, and even the genre descriptor causes confusion thanks to the conflation with Diablo-style dungeon crawlers. I asked many people at the time, but nobody seemed to be able to point me towards anything that satisfied what I was looking for...

I know what you're thinking. All this E3 stuff is well and good, but I'm tired of watching cool games, I want to play some cool games. Well, it's your lucky day, because a massive list of great games just went on sale. Some of these games rarely go on sale, a couple are dropping to their lowest prices yet, and at least one is on sale for the first time ever. Here's the full list so far:..

E3 2015: DotEmu Announces 'Ys Chronicles 2' For iOS

Okay, yes, it was all rather exciting when we found out that Square Enix would be bringing Final Fantasy 7 to iOS sometime this summer, and yesterday's announcement from DotEmu about Titan Quest coming to mobile was pretty peachy as well. But friends, the RPG train isn't ready to stop just yet. In addition to making Titan Quest official, DotEmu announced that they would be following up on their recent release of Ys Chronicles 1 [$4.99] with its direct sequel, Ys Chronicles 2...

E3 2015: 'Final Fantasy Portal' Is Coming In English

Last year, Square Enix released Final Fantasy Portal on the Japanese App Store. Similar to their previously released Dragon Quest Portal app, it serves as both an information hub for all things Final Fantasy and a launcher for the various games in the series. The app launched with a free copy of Final Fantasy 1 in Japan for the first million downloads, and eventually added a free-to-play update of the card game Triple Triad from Final Fantasy 8. Unlike its sister app, however, Final Fantasy Portal will be releasing outside of Japan...