Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


RPG Reload Glossary: Cloudy with a Chance of Angst, or JRPGs in the Late 1990s

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the regular feature where we always bring a party. To be specific, welcome to the RPG Reload Glossary, where we sift through the piles of historical debris and messy semantics to try to make some sense of it all. This time around, we're continuing our look at the history of the JRPG sub-genre. In the last part, we followed the progress of the genre through the 16-bit period of console gaming. Enix's Dragon Quest series had finally found some competition in Square's Final Fantasy, while continued attempts to help the sub-genre break out in the West were largely rebuffed. Meanwhile, as technology moved forward, JRPGs were starting to attempt more sophisticated stories and characters. By the end of the 1990s, all of this conflict would be settled, one way or the other...

'Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty!' Review - You Are What They Eat

Now this is how you do a remake. Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty! [$7.99] is a rebuild of the original Oddworld game, Abe's Oddysee, and it doesn't do any of it by half-measures. The graphical improvements are obvious, but there's also a ton of new content and even some expanded mechanics in the game. While it's always a risky move to change things in a classic, you can tell the developers had a good sense of what worked and what didn't in the 1997 original. New 'n' Tasty! has almost all of the strengths of Abe's Oddysee and very few of its weaknesses, and its theme is (sadly) just as relevant today as it was two decades ago...




Being a series that has traded as much on story and dialogue as anything else, Ace Attorney has been able to get impressive mileage out of using the same basic structure for more than 15 years. The biggest change the formula has seen came with the 2009 arrival of the first official spin-off title in the franchise, Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth [Free]. Following Phoenix Wright's rival and sometimes-ally, Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth, the game virtually abandoned the courtroom in favor of focusing on the investigations themselves. Taking a form similar to a point-and-click adventure, fans of the series got to enjoy a whole new perspective on familiar characters and locations. The game did well enough to earn a sequel, but that game went unlocalized due to how late it arrived in the Nintendo DS's lifespan. With the main series picking up again on the 3DS, most fans assumed we had seen the last of Ace Attorney Investigations...

For many years, you could set your watch to the output of Tin Man Games on the App Store. Their mission was to deliver gamebooks in the classic style, in the form of both real classics like the Fighting Fantasy books and entirely new works done in a similar style like the Gamebook Adventures series. In the last couple of years, the developer has tried their hand at experimentation, resulting in the lush board game-style adaptation of Warlock of Firetop Mountain [$4.99], the highly-entertaining Miss Fisher [Free] visual adventure, and the subscription-based branching story host Choices That Matter [Free]. Well, it's all come back around again, as their newest project is none other than Fighting Fantasy Classics...

Musgravian Musings - Six Months Later, Things are Looking Up for SEGA Forever

Hello everyone, and welcome to Musgravian Musings, a little space of my own where I can do some non-review reflections on recent game releases. In general, the featured games are ones that have caught my interest in some way or another, and will tend to be games that I didn't (and won't) review. This time, we're circling back around to check out how SEGA's SEGA Forever initiative is doing now that a half-year has passed. The June 2017 launch was embarrassingly poor for a number of reasons, some of which I outlined in a previous edition of Musgravian Musings. While SEGA could have thrown in the towel like certain other established publishers who put out poor-quality ports this year, the company has stuck to its guns and worked hard to improve things. Things are indeed better, but by how much?..

After digging a little deeper into obscurities for the last couple of releases, SEGA has gone back to one of their tried and true 16-bit franchises for the latest addition to the SEGA Forever line-up. The Streets of Rage series has lain dormant for a very long time now, but in its heyday, it was one of SEGA's most successful action brands. To this day, I still consider Streets of Rage 2 to be one of the very best side-scrolling beat-em-ups ever made. But we're not here to talk about the sequel. Well, not yet anyway. No, today we're looking at the original Streets of Rage [Free], a game that may be lesser than its follow-up but still packs a pretty solid punch. Happily, SEGA has given the game the finest treatment we've seen for a new SEGA Forever release yet...

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 march ever closer to Christmas and the App Store freeze, I keep expecting a deluge of updates to drop on my head. So far it hasn't been too bad, but I expect the next week to be a little scary. Oh well, let's just look at what's in front of us. Of course, you can keep an eye out for updates yourself using AppShopper or by participating in the TouchArcade forums. This weekly summary is just here to fill you in on the things you might have missed. Let's dig in!..

The surprise release of Ace Attorney Investigations last week caps off a strong push by Capcom over the last couple of years to get just about every entry in the series onto mobile devices. The mobile ports have been excellent, offering crisp, high-resolution versions of the DS and 3DS cult hits. On top of that, they've been coming frequently enough that you might find yourself falling a little behind on picking them up, in fact. If that's you, you're in luck. To celebrate the release of the latest game, Capcom has cut the price of every last Ace Attorney game on the App Store and Google Play. This limited time sale is your chance to catch up on these great courtroom adventure games...

RPG Reload Glossary: 16-bit Paradise, or JRPGs in the early 1990s

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the regular feature where we always bring a party. To be specific, welcome to the RPG Reload Glossary, where we sift through the piles of historical debris and messy semantics to try to make some sense of it all. This time around, we're continuing our look at the history of the JRPG sub-genre. In the last part, we went through the origins of this popular sub-genre through the 1980s. By the close of the decade, JRPGs were by far the most popular kinds of games in Japan, but had yet to make much of a dent in other regions. The 1990s would change all of that, and it largely came down to two games in particular. The lead-up to that ultimate breakthrough held plenty of great games, many of which were deliberate attempts to appeal to the Western market...

Best iPhone Game Updates: 'Fire Emblem Heroes', 'Cat Quest', 'Marvel Future Fight', 'Disney Crossy Road', 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. Tis the season for holiday updates, and we're already starting to see a bunch of them. There are some other great updates that fall outside of that pattern, though, and I've tried to pick the best of the bunch. Of course, you can keep an eye out for updates yourself using AppShopper or by participating in the TouchArcade forums. This weekly summary is just here to fill you in on the things you might have missed. Let's dig in!..

The RPG Reload Play-Along: 'Icewind Dale'

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload Play-Along. Each month, we'll be playing an iOS RPG together, sharing laughs and tears in equal measures. The post on the front page (like this one!) is basically here to announce the game in question and give a few tips on getting started. The real action will be happening in the TouchArcade forums, where you'll find a thread dedicated to each month's featured game. Sign up if you haven't already, post your screenshots, ask for advice, or just chat about your misadventures with others. We've got a great community of RPG fans here at TouchArcade, so let's make the most of it!..

Nintendo's latest mobile game release, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp [Free], has had a pretty strong first week on the App Store. That's hardly surprising, though, as pretty much anything Nintendo releases is guaranteed to get a lot of attention up-front. Only time will tell if Pocket Camp is going to behave more like Fire Emblem Heroes or more like Miitomo. A lot of that will depend on Nintendo keeping the attention of players, something the game seems to be struggling with already. Luckily, the game's first big event has just arrived...

Best iPhone Game Updates: 'Enyo', 'Cooking Dash', 'Sandbox Evolution', 'Shooty Skies', 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. Okay, so the long holiday weekend meant lots of great sales, but the other side of that is that there weren't a whole ton of updates. I did what I could here. Of course, you can keep an eye out for updates yourself using AppShopper or by participating in the TouchArcade forums. This weekly summary is just here to fill you in on the things you might have missed. Let's dig in!..

RPG Reload File 103 - 'Warhammer Quest'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where even our finest apparel reeks of goblin blood. In each installment, we take a look at a game from the App Store's past to see how it stands up in the here and now. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their position in the overall iOS library, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. I try to cover a variety of games in these articles, but if you feel like I'm missing something very important, by all means let me know. You can offer up suggestions in the comments below, and while I can't promise I'll get to them soon, they will be added to the master list for future consideration...

One of the remarkable things about the first three games in the Cally's Caves series of action-platformers is in how far they came in a relatively short time. The first game is quite primitive compared to the third, but they released only a couple of years apart. The thing about gains like that is that they rarely scale in a linear fashion. Cally's Caves 3 [Free] was an outstanding accomplishment for an indie game, presenting something that wouldn't have been terribly out of place as a retail release on a dedicated handheld. There's really only so much more Cally's Caves 4 [Free] could realistically be expected to do to top that. True to that, this is more or less another helping of the high-quality action found in Cally's Caves 3. For whatever it lacks in novelty, however, it makes up for by burying you in quantity...

Square Enix's latest premium release on mobile, Final Fantasy Dimensions 2 [$14.99], is an unusual game in a few ways. Perhaps its most curious quality is that it's a premium game built from the skeleton of a free-to-play game. We see the opposite happen often around here, but it's rare to see things go down this way. On top of that, it's been a good long while since the first Final Fantasy Dimensions [Free] released. Friends, I had questions. Fortunately, I had to opportunity to get some answers from no less than the game's director, Takashi Tokita...

Best iPhone Game Updates: 'Mikey Jumps', 'Candy Crush Saga', 'Fallout Shelter', 'Plague Inc.', 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. There was something weird going on in the App Store the last few days that resulted in tons of old updates getting pushed out again. This made it very hard for me to do my usual process for putting this article together, so it's a bit skimpy this time. Of course, you can keep an eye out for updates yourself using AppShopper or by participating in the TouchArcade forums. This weekly summary is just here to fill you in on the things you might have missed. Let's dig in!..

I was recently invited to visit the headquarters of Onion Games in Tokyo to have a sit-down interview with its founder, Mr. Yoshiro Kimura. Onion Games is the developer behind the recent arcade-puzzle game Million Onion Hotel [$3.99]. They also released the quirky RPG Dandy Dungeon [Free] earlier this year. While Onion Games is somewhat new in the scheme of things, their staff has deep roots in the Japanese game industry. Mr. Kimura's career alone stretches back more than two decades, and he's worked with and for companies such as Square Enix, Marvelous Entertainment, and Sony Computer Entertainment. Many of his games are considered cult classics in Japan thanks to their refreshing approach to what can often be a very conventional form of media...

I was recently invited to visit the headquarters of Onion Games in Tokyo to have a sit-down interview with its founder, Mr. Yoshiro Kimura. Onion Games is the developer behind the recent arcade-puzzle game Million Onion Hotel [$3.99]. They also released the quirky RPG Dandy Dungeon [Free] earlier this year. While Onion Games is somewhat new in the scheme of things, their staff has deep roots in the Japanese game industry. Mr. Kimura's career alone stretches back more than two decades, and he's worked with and for companies such as Square Enix, Marvelous Entertainment, and Sony Computer Entertainment. Many of his games are considered cult classics in Japan thanks to their refreshing approach to what can often be a very conventional form of media...

Nintendo released their latest Feh Channel video earlier today, outlining the immediate future of their hit social RPG, Fire Emblem Heroes [Free]. The game has been a big success for the company, and it has even been nominated for Best Mobile Game at the upcoming Game Awards. One of the likely reasons for that success is in how much effort the development team has put into listening to the players and delivering solid updates every month. The next update is a particularly big one, and it's coming alongside a number of interesting events...