Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


We live in some truly weird times these days, but to chop up an old saying for my own nefarious purposes: when the going gets odd, the strange get stranger. Sorry, that seemed funnier in my head. The important thing here is that you can pick up both of the Oddworld games for $0.99 each for the next few days. Yes, two bucks will get you two very well-done ports of full-blown console games, now easy to enjoy anywhere. It's an absurd price for such content-stuffed games, so you'd best take advantage of it...

Fans of the classic Milton Bradley/Games Workshop role-playing board game HeroQuest who are looking for a similar experience on mobile have a few decent choices available to them. There are games that use the basic concept as a springboard for a larger, deeper adventure such as Heroes of Steel [$3.99] from the Trese Brothers. Rodeo Games has their version of the official Games Workshop follow-up Warhammer Quest [$2.99]. If you happen to be searching for a more straightforward interpretation of the board game, however, the Arcane Quest series from Nex Games Studios is the way to go. The first game in the series, which released on Android and Windows Phones, was a pretty direct translation. Arcane Quest 2 [Free], the first in the series on iOS, built sensibly on that foundation, while Arcane Quest Adventures [Free] used many of the same gameplay mechanics but applied them to a different style of game...




Update Mondays: 'Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff', 'Paint it Back', 'Angry Birds', 'Fruit Ninja', 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. Yikes, it's another really light week of updates. That summer heat must be getting to everyone. Er, except the people in the Southern Hemisphere, I suppose. Anyway, whatever the reason, there's not much to speak of this week, but I've gathered it up nonetheless. 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 087 - 'Chaos Rings 2'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where heroes might be gone, but are never forgotten. 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 their position in the overall tapestry, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. I try to choose a balanced plate of RPGs from week to week in order to represent the diverse nature of the genre, but if you feel like I'm missing anything important, please let me know. You can do that by commenting below the article, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. Your suggestion might not appear soon, but it will be added to the master list...

Like it or lump it, there are some publishers out there who march to the beat of their own drum. Square Enix is definitely one of them, as today's news demonstrates quite nicely. Fresh from removing most of the Chaos Rings series of RPGs from the App Store storefront, Square Enix has announced a spin-off title in the series called Cosmos Rings. As one might expect, it's an RPG, and it's supposedly going to be releasing quite soon worldwide. Oh, and it's for the Apple Watch...

Recently, I was invited to come and visit the headquarters of BlazeGames, the developer behind the new game Battle Champs [Free]. Along with a few other members of the media, I was given a brief tour of their offices located in Shibuya, Tokyo, and got to see a short presentation about Battle Champs. The highlight of the trip was a chance to ask some questions about the game to a few of the team members. Producer Yuji Okada, art director Akihiko Yoshida, and assistant art director Satoshi Matsura all took some time out of their busy schedules to tell me about the new game. As the interview ended up being quite lengthy, I've broken it up into two different parts. Make sure you read the first part of the interview before going ahead...

Few genres have made the jump to free-to-play monetization models quite as smoothly and successfully as puzzle games have. That's why I was a little surprised when Mobcast and Q Entertainment announced Lumines was returning to iOS in both paid and free-to-play versions. The market is so different now compared to the period the last Lumines iOS game released, and to be honest, that version of the game didn't go over great to begin with. Lumines VS, the free-to-play game, is still a ways out from release, but Lumines Puzzle & Music, the paid game, has launched in a few countries ahead of its wide release this September. Since one of those countries is Japan and I love Lumines enough to keep buying it wherever it appears, I figured I'd give the game a go and let you all know how it turned out...

An Interview With Akihiko Yoshida, Yuji Okada, and Satoshi Matsura from the 'Battle Champs' Team

Recently, I was invited to come and visit the headquarters of BlazeGames, the developer behind the new game Battle Champs [Free]. Along with a few other members of the media, I was given a brief tour of their offices located in Shibuya, Tokyo, and got to see a short presentation about Battle Champs. The highlight of the trip was a chance to ask some questions about the game to a few of the team members. Producer Yuji Okada, art director Akihiko Yoshida, and assistant art director Satoshi Matsura all took some time out of their busy schedules to tell me about the new game. As the interview ended up being quite lengthy, I'm breaking it up into two different articles. Check in tomorrow for the second part...

Hello, gentle listeners, and welcome to a much-belated episode of the RPG Reload Podcast. We're a couple of weeks late this month, and that's partly from tech problems and partly from my strict schedule the last few weeks. It's here now, though, and the good news is that the next episode is just that much sooner. So join me, Eric, and Andy in a very special recording from the halcyon pre-Pokemon Go days as we discuss the latest in three-week-old news and our featured game, Stoic Studios' Banner Saga. We've got a good mix as Eric was playing it for the first time, while Andy had been through the game before when he wrote the TouchArcade review...

Update Mondays: 'Sky Force Reloaded', 'Marvel Future Fight', 'War Tortoise', 'The Sandbox Evolution', 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. So I was already to go for a full-sized article this week, only to find that this was a pretty quiet week. Oh well, that's how it goes sometimes. 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!..

Tests can be stressful. I mean, that makes sense when you're not confident about the material on the test, but sometimes tests that cover things you know very well can be even more nerve-wracking. You shouldn't fail something if you know what you're doing, right? Now imagine the test you have to pass is checking your humanity. You can pass that test, surely. Most of our readers have been human for a while, after all. That's the premise behind Able Black [$3.99], an interactive fiction game where you play a freshly-booted android who has to pass his citizenship test before he can join society...

Ackeron [$2.99] is remarkable for a few reasons. First, it's a remake of a 15+ year old Palm Pilot game, which I can assure you is not something you see every day. Second, it's a large, complex, single-player RPG from an indie developer, something that is becoming rare these days on iOS. Perhaps the most amazing thing about it is just how much effort seems to have been put into this remake. Ackeron could easily pass for a new game on iOS, though its mechanics might quickly disabuse you of that notion. When a developer puts that kind of work into a remake, it's easy to see the passion behind the game. Indeed, Ackeron feels like a massive passion project, but it's also a surprisingly enjoyable RPG if you can stick with it through some of its bumpier parts...

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where pouring milk on an inn allows it to charge a higher rate. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's holding up in the modern day. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their position in the overall library, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. As mayor of this city, I try to choose a balanced plate of games from week to week, but if you feel like I'm missing anything 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. The schedule is already done up quite far in advance, so you might not see your suggestion soon, but it will be added to the master list...

It's interesting watching the flow of game design over time. While it's sometimes painful to watch established game designs hop from a paid model to a free-to-play set-up, those very same free-to-play hits have now been around long enough to start inspiring developers to travel that road in the opposite direction. The basic structure and look of Dungeon x Balls [$2.99] seem heavily informed by social RPG sensations like Puzzle and Dragons [Free], but rather than send the player down an endless rabbit hole of collection, evolution, and battling, it opts for a more traditional style. You'll find new characters with their own special abilities, battle boss creatures, and work your way through the story, and while there are IAP, they're solely of the cosmetic variety. Best of all, its core gameplay mechanic feels intuitive and fresh, a difficult thing to accomplish in the wildly crowded mobile market...

We've seen a lot of licensed LEGO games in the 11 years since the series of action games from Traveler's Tales first kicked off. Batman, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, the Avengers, Indiana Jones, Jurassic World, and Pirates of the Caribbean have all had at least one game made chronicling their stories and characters. I'm not even going to touch what's going on in LEGO Dimensions, but I'm pretty sure we're only a few announcements away from a Taxi playset complete with Judd Hirsch and Andy Kaufman mini-figures. While it's undeniable that these games pay loving homage to their respective licenses (I can't doubt the purity of any developer who includes Howard the Duck in their Marvel game), it's equally undeniable that despite the wide differences between those licenses, the games are very similar in terms of gameplay. It makes sense. They found a winning formula, so why not just kludge whatever's popular into that framework? Players seem happy enough, bills are paid, it's smiles all around...

Although the game is starting to face some competition at the top spot, there's no denying that Clash of Clans [Free] has been a force to be reckoned with on the mobile charts. One region where it hasn't been quite so dominant, however, is Japan, where social RPGs like Puzzle & Dragons [Free] rule the roost. Because life is funny that way, those games seem to have had difficulties repeating their successes outside of the Asian markets. Is there no way to reconcile these differences? Well, BlazeGames, a relative newcomer to the mobile scene, has an idea. It's called Battle Champs [Free], and it just launched across the globe in most major markets...

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 another mini-edition this week, I'm afraid. The internet was set up at my new location, but it came too late in the day to be as thorough as I usually prefer. We will definitely be back to the normal schedule from next 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!..

RPG Reload Presents - The History of Handheld RPGs, Part Eleven

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload. This week, we're continuing 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 looked at the Nintendo 3DS, a machine that had some trouble finding its footing initially. In the long run, it has proven to be quite the little RPG machine, however. If you thought that tale was harrowing, however, you haven't seen anything yet. This month, we're looking at the other side of the current generation of dedicated handheld gaming hardware, the PlayStation Vita...

The practice of cloning is troublesome for many reasons. There are the obvious problems, but beyond those, the fear of a game being perceived as a clone stifles the natural process of building on a great idea. We've seen some pretty shameful clones in the App Store's history, but perhaps none of them have been as harmful to the original game as 2048 was to Threes! [$2.99]. A marketplace battle took place, and I think it's safe to say a lot of people felt the wrong game won there. I'm not sure if the cloud hanging over that has kept more developers from taking a crack at ideas inspired by Threes!, but if it has, more's the shame. Still, we see the odd swing at doing something interesting with the compelling swiping and combining mechanism that Threes! introduced so well. The latest is Dungeon Tiles [Free], from developer Takashi Iyoda...

By now, the social RPG genre has found a pretty comfortable groove. Take some kind of battle mechanic, staple the now-standard collect, fuse, evolve leveling system onto it, and make sure you have an ever-expanding line-up of desirable goodies for players to chase after. The recipe is simple enough, though finding success with it is another matter. There's a lot of competition, and players have got to be getting a little tired of the same old. That's likely as good an explanation as any for why the social RPG genre has started to stretch its legs out a little. If there's one company that has been trying seemingly every permutation of features to try to score a hit, it's Square Enix. Very few of their efforts have ever left the shores of Japan, but that might be starting to change. Not long ago, we saw a wide release for Kingdom Hearts Unchained Chi [Free], and now we've got one for Final Fantasy Brave Exvius [Free], Square's collaboration with Brave Frontier [Free] developers Alim...