Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


With Aralon: Forge And Flame [$4.99], the sequel to Aralon: Sword And Shadow [$4.99], a few months behind us, we naturally had to wonder what was next for Crescent Moon in the world of 3D RPGs. The market has changed quite a bit since Ravensword: The Fallen King [$2.99] released, and what once was a surefire hit is now a much more risky endeavor. Well, it looks like Crescent Moon isn't ready to call it quits on the genre just yet, as they today announced in the TouchArcade Forums that they had started work on a prequel to the original Ravensword. It's called Ravensword: Legacy, and while it's incredibly early in development, it's immediately clear that Crescent Moon is coming at things from a different angle this time around...

Many a song is sung about the Final Fantasy series from Square Enix, but if any of those songs is less sung than the other songs, it's probably Final Fantasy 2. An extremely experimental sequel that didn't fare too well in practice, Final Fantasy 2 nevertheless made some additions that are still a part of the franchise today. The modern version of the game is far easier to swallow than the Japan-only original release, but the game certainly does carry a reputation, enough of one that some people might not want to risk buying it. Personally, I like the game, as I outlined in an RPG Reload a while back. If you've never given the game a chance, the time has never been better, because you can get the game for the enticing price of $0.00 until February 14th through the Final Fantasy Portal [Free] app...




RPG Reload Presents - The History Of Handheld RPGs, Part Six

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 brief but impressive reign of the Game Boy Advance, and the bounty of RPGs it brought with it. While it was mostly uncontested during its life, seeds were being planted in unexpected places that would sprout into the fiercest competition Nintendo would face to date of this writing. We'll be looking at those nooks and crannies today as best as we can. In total, this feature will span twelve columns, each one taking a look at a specific era in handheld RPGs. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I've enjoyed researching and writing them! Please let me know what you think by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. If you like this project and wish to support endeavors like it, please consider contributing to the TouchArcade Patreon. It's what makes these kinds of big features possible...

The East New World [$1.99] is pretty comfortable wearing its inspirations on its sleeve. The enemy designs map pretty closely to those found in Goblin Sword [$1.99]. The button layout is very similar to the one used on Sword Of Xolan [$0.99]. The basic gameplay of all of these games isn't that far removed from Devious Dungeon [$2.99]. That's not to say that The East New World doesn't have a few ideas of its own, but it's similar enough to Goblin Sword in particular that it feels like a reskin at times. You'll need to make your way through preset levels, searching out three crystals and two chests per stage, defeating whatever gets in your way using your sword. Pick up all the coins and gems you find on the way so that you can buy new gear in town between levels. Use your trusty double jump to avoid spikes and other hazards, and make your way to the exit somewhere on the far right-hand side of the stage. Very much a clone, to be sure, but it's at least a good one...

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. Plenty of great games got updates this week, and not little updates, either. Add in the usual suspects, and we've got a healthy plate of goodies for you to savor this 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!..

Last September, Square Enix announced that they would be releasing a new remake of the original Mana game on iOS, Android, and PlayStation Vita. That game, known as Seiken Densetsu in Japan, has had many names in English. If you're North American, you might know it as The Final Fantasy Adventure on the original Game Boy, or perhaps as Sword Of Mana, as its Game Boy Advance remake was called. If you're from Europe, you probably know the Game Boy game as Mystic Quest. Well, the game has yet another title now, as the English version of this remake is going by the title Adventures Of Mana, a nice nod to both of its previous American names. Oh, and the important bit: it's coming out worldwide for both iOS and Android this Thursday...

Lost In Harmony [$3.99] is the latest game from Yoan Fanise, whose work at Ubisoft included directing Valiant Hearts [Free] and Rayman Raving Rabbids, along with sound design and audio direction on titles such as Beyond Good & Evil, Rabbids Go Home, and Assassin's Creed 3. With that kind of resume, it's perhaps not surprising that Lost In Harmony attempts to be an audio/visual spectacle, a heart-wrenching experience, and a unique hybrid of gameplay styles all at once. It succeeds completely on the first point and reasonably well on the second, but there are some definite issues that crop up with the third point. You can get a lot out of Lost In Harmony, but you're going to have to forgive a few things along the way...

RPG Reload File 068 - 'Legends Of Yore'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where punch skeletons for apples. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's doing in modern times. It's a bit of reflecting, a bit of revisiting, and a chance to take a deeper dive than our reviews usually allow for. I try to present as diverse a selection of RPGs from week to week as I can muster, but if you feel like I've missed something important, please let me know. You can give suggestions by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. Since the schedule is planned pretty far ahead of time, you probably won't see any games you suggest soon, but you will see them eventually...

Tower Of Fortune 2 [$0.99] was just about everything you could want in a sequel. It kept the core elements that people enjoyed in Tower Of Fortune [$0.99], but expanded out on them greatly. It felt like the first game, but more. It's a good approach for a first follow-up, but as many developers can attest to, there's only so long you can play it safe before things start to sour. Game Stew seems to be quite aware of that, having taken an extended break away from the main Tower Of Fortune series to work on various other game ideas. Now returning to the Tower Of Fortune series, the developers appear to be eager to apply some of the things they've learned to make a decidedly different sort of sequel...

To be frank, I always expected the semi-frequent requests I'd heard for a Harvest Moon iOS game to turn out to be a monkey's paw wish. I figured we would see the series on iOS sooner or later, especially after the Harvest Moon name was disassociated from the actual series, but I was expecting it to be a free-to-play game laden with IAPs. Harvest Moon: Seeds Of Memories [$9.99] is likely not what fans of the series would ideally want, but it is a fully premium title without a stitch of IAP to be found in it, and it retains enough of the appeal of the series that it will likely satisfy would-be farmers, if not excite them...

Update Mondays: 'Marvel Future Fight', 'Cytus', 'Candy Crush Soda Saga', 'SimplePlanes', 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. Heading into the last week of January, things have settled down into a more normal pace. That means lots of free-to-play stuff with the occasional paid game update peppered in, like delicious ... pepper... on an egg sandwich. 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. Today, I've got something a little out of the ordinary for you. A few months ago in the RPG Reload feature we covered Heroes Of Steel Elite [$3.99], an RPG from developers Trese Brothers. As usual, I reached out to them for some background information, but for a variety of reasons, we couldn't connect for an interview until after the Christmas holidays. I promised in that article that I would print the interview separately later on, and here we are, living and breathing in the world of "later on"...

A Dark Room [$0.99] is a strange game that caught on in a big way a little while after it released on the App Store in late 2014. It starts off looking like a very simple text-based clicker, but it eventually becomes something else altogether. I can't say more without spoiling, but you should check it out if you haven't already. Originally a browser-based game created by Michael Townsend, the game was ported to iOS by developer Amir Rajan, who was given Townsend's blessing to create more games in the series. That led to The Ensign [$0.99], a super-difficult prequel that uses elements from the original game to create a unique challenge...

RPG Reload File 067 - 'The Bard's Tale 2: The Destiny Knight'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we always keep our drinks topped off. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see if it holds up in the modern day. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on classic hits, or just to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As party leader, I try to pick a balanced plate of RPGs from week to week, but if you think I'm missing something important, please let me know. You can make suggestions 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, you probably won't see your suggestion soon, but I promise it will go on the list...

'Crashlands' Review - Holy Wompit, This Is Outstanding

This might sound odd, but I hadn't been paying much attention to Crashlands [$4.99]. I had read the inspiring story behind its genesis, and I knew it was some sort of crafting game. I knew the developer, Butterscotch Shenanigans, has always turned out quality games. But because I had initially pegged it as being something outside of my usual interests, my eye was off the ball. I'm glad for that, because it allowed me to approach this game without too many preconceptions or any sort of hype build-up. If anything, I wasn't sure if I'd like it as much as another reviewer might, since I rarely get deeply into games built around crafting mechanics. Crashlands had to win me over, in other words, and my biggest surprise is how fully it did so...

If the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have one lesson to teach us, it's that pizza is awesome. If they have a second lesson to teach us, it's about the value of teamwork and watching out for your friends and family. The thing is, outside of the multiplayer TMNT games, we're usually only seeing one of the brothers in action at a time. Sure, you can usually choose your favorite turtle, but what would Master Splinter say if he saw the team separated all the time like that? TMNT - Portal Power [$3.99]'s main claim to fame, as near as I can see it, is that it allows you, nay, requires you to control all four of the turtles at once. If that sounds like it could get hectic, you're right. Portal Power isn't quite as deep as some other TMNT games, but it's still a pretty fun game that fans of the characters should enjoy...

Hi there, friends. It's been a while, but the RPG Reload Podcast is back. We had a few technical issues with the original 11th episode, and with the holidays upon us, we felt it was best to just save it all up for a special comeback in the new year. And here we are! As usual, I'm joined by Eric Ford, and as semi-usual, Andy Fretz joins us from B25 of TouchArcade Towers. Since we were supposed to talk about 9th Dawn [$2.99] last time, we do that here, but we also make room to talk about the original January selection, King Cashing [$2.99]. Wow, it's a double-header! To tell the truth, we don't spend as much time discussing either game as we would have preferred, but I hope you still enjoy the discussions. Before we get to the main games for the episode, we spend a long time talking about what we've been playing and our thoughts on 2015. Plus, no less than three shocking confessions from yours truly! Who says this isn't the RPG Reload Age of podcasting entertainment?..

Update Mondays: 'Wayward Souls', 'Pet Rescue Saga', 'Need For Speed: No Limits', 'World Of Tanks: Blitz', 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. Well, it looks like we're finally back up to speed, and that means the battle for the weekly award is an intense struggle once more. I'm dead certain I've missed things this week, but I've done my best to find a good grab bag for you, 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!..

'Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead' Review - A Learning Curve Like A Sheer Cliff, But Great Rewards Await

There are a lot of roguelike games on iOS, but that's going with the more modern definition of the genre. In the years between the earliest days when roguelikes were pretty easy to get into and their recent explosion in popularity correlated with more approachable or hybridized designs, the roguelike was something a lot more complex. It was like a secret club for the most obsessed type of gamer, offering virtually limitless possibilities and options for those who were willing to do a lot more learning than the average game demanded. That particular brand of roguelike is far more rare on iOS, and it's not hard to see why. A touch interface is a poor substitute for a full keyboard, and games of that sort of complexity are probably not what the majority of mobile gamers are looking for. At the very least, compromises have to be made on the granular nature of the player's actions, because the alternatives are having a keyboard's worth of buttons on the screen or using the software keyboard, and what kind of loon would do either of those?..

RPG Reload File 066 - 'Nameless: The Hackers RPG'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we never met a Gibson we couldn't hack. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's hanging in the here and now. It's a chance to revisit some old favorites, reflect on their position in the iOS RPG tapestry, or just to take a deeper dive than reviews typically allow for. I try to present a balanced plate of RPGs from week to week, but that's a job that gets more difficult the further into this we go. So, if you've noticed that I've missed a game that you'd really like to see, please let me know by commenting below, tweeting to @RPGReload, or by dropping in on the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the TouchArcade forums. I schedule pretty far in advance, so I can't promise your suggestion will appear soon, but it will go on the list...