Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


It's Official: 'Final Fantasy: Record Keeper' Is Releasing In English

If you've listened to TouchArcade's new RPG Reload Podcast, you might have heard me talking about Final Fantasy: Record Keeper, a free-to-play social RPG from DeNA and Square Enix that launched late last year in Japan. Regular readers know that I play a lot of social RPGs, but very few of them actually stay on my phone for any length of time. For all of Square Enix's attempts at the popular genre, up until now none of them had quite the right mix of ingredients to really pull me in. Final Fantasy: Record Keeper finally broke that pattern. I've been playing it steadily for the last few months, and I can't see myself putting it down anytime soon. It hits all the right notes for Final Fantasy fans, and even quite a few of my less mobile-inclined friends have been quite happy with it. The only issue has been the fact that the game is only available in Japanese from the Japanese App Store...

Sonic Team's 'Sonic Runners' Soft Launches In Japan And Canada

I had a feeling this was going to come any day now, but SEGA's latest free-to-play game featuring their signature character, Sonic Runners, has arrived in both the Japanese and Canadian App Stores. The game is a side-scrolling, stage-based auto-runner developed by Sonic Team. It's their first original title for mobiles, with previous non-port Sonic mobile games being handled by SEGA subsidiary Hardlight. The hope is that the game being handled by the team behind the main Sonic games might produce something a little more authentic to the character. The other Sonic free-to-play games haven't been bad, but they've been missing a certain something that keeps them from feeling like true Sonic games...

'Pinball Arcade: The Addams Family' Review - And Now, This Mamushka Is For You

The developers behind The Pinball Arcade [Free / $0.99], FarSight Studios, are nothing if not extremely passionate about pinball. They've been in the games industry a pretty long time, over 20 years now, but they didn't truly find their niche until the 2004 release of Pinball Hall Of Fame: The Gottlieb Collection on the PlayStation 2. Its initial release was perhaps a little too early to catch the renaissance of video pinball, but it at least did well enough that they followed that up a few years later with The Williams Collection. With Williams tables being a lot more well-known among Americans, that release ended up doing pretty well, earning high praise for its faithfulness to the real machines. While this was all happening, digital storefronts started to become more popular. Soon, retail retro collections were becoming retro themselves, with a la carte offerings proving more popular with fans. It was a natural fit for the type of work FarSight was doing, and so The Pinball Arcade was born...

There's an inherent joy in playing around with physics. In life, some of our earliest interactions with the external world involve playing around with physics to get a feel for the rules of reality. Even as fully-grown, educated, theoretically wise adults, we still get the urge to use our coffee spoon to launch the creamer at the person sitting at the table on the other side of the restaurant, just to see if we could. For a long time, games weren't terribly good at recreating satisfying physics along with all the other bits we tend to want in a game. There just wasn't enough computing power, time, or resources in general, and it wasn't a high priority. I maintain to this day that the reason Sonic The Hedgehog hit as powerfully as it did was due more to its solid physics engine than anything else. Any old character can go fast, but Sonic not only made us work for it, but also let us see the consequences of that speed. It wouldn't be until several years later that putting realistic physics into a game became a popular thing to do, but once it did, it broke things wide open...

'Planet Quest' Review - Feel The Heavenly Rhythm

Rhythm video games and weird themes go together like peanut butter and jam. It doesn't seem like a natural combination by any means, but most of the best and most successful games in the genre have sported bizarre or abstract themes. That's probably owing to the genre's big break coming with Sony's Parappa The Rapper, a weird yet impossibly charming game about a cartoon dog trying to impress the love of his life, a sunflower named Sunny, learning how to drive or make a cake by rapping along to his instructors' beats. ..

I've reviewed more than 20 RPGs from Kemco since I started at TouchArcade in mid-2013, so I like to think I've got a pretty good handle on what to expect from each game at this point. Oh, the quality varies somewhat unpredictably, but the basic outlines each developer for the publisher employs are well-established by now and all too familiar. Every once in a while, however, one of those games dares to color outside the lines just a little bit, and when that happens, you can usually find Hit-Point's name listed as the developer. Such is the case with Seven Sacred Beasts [$3.99], a strangely experimental title whose chief virtue is that it doesn't just feel like a new story plugged into the same old gameplay. Instead it's the opposite, which might seem like a good thing, but ends up causing some serious problems...

Update Mondays: 'WWE Immortals', 'The Simpsons: Tapped Out', 'Bean Dreams', 'Partia 2', 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. The theme with many of this week's updates is the Chinese New Year. Goats for everyone! 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, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we never run out of amnesiac magical princesses. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's doing in the amazing land of tomorrow. It's a bit of revisiting, a bit of reflecting, and the chance to take a deeper dive than you would usually see in our reviews. Any and all RPGs are welcome here, and I try to put together a reasonably balanced plate from week to week. In order to assist me with that, I need you to vote for a game you would like to see me play and write about. Simply drop your suggestion in the comments below, post in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or tweet me at @RPGReload. This is your last chance to put in your choice for the March reader's choice article, as it's coming up in just two weeks. Make it count!..

A couple of weeks ago, a trailer for Sonic Team's first original smartphone game, Sonic Runners, was released by SEGA. While it was accompanied by a fairly informative interview with Takashi Iizuka, the trailer itself was more of a teaser than anything, using footage from the beloved Genesis games and throwing out catchphrases and slogans without much actual information at all. Sonic Runners is getting pretty close to its launch in Japan, so we've finally got a gameplay video that gives out more details and, most importantly, shows us what the actual game looks like...

Okay, this is getting to be one twist too many even for an RPG fan like me. Last night, we brought you word that The World Ends With You seemed to be officially binned, leaving it broken from iOS 8 forward. Both the North American and Japanese support sites for Square Enix seem to state rather clearly that the game is off the App Store, not to return. That's that...

Hello, friends. Do you like strategy games? Have you somehow avoided playing the excellent Frozen Synapse from Mode 7? Are you in favor of saving some money? If you answered yes to all of those questions, today is your day! Both the iPad version [$9.99 (HD)] and the iPhone version [$2.99] have dropped from their regular prices of $9.99 and $2.99 respectively...

In what is turning into a bigger set of mind-games than the one that plays out in the game itself, Square Enix has announced on both its English and Japanese support pages that service for The World Ends With You: Solo Remix has come to an end. They go on to say that although the game will still work if you have it downloaded (unless you're on iOS 8 or higher, I suppose), it will no longer be able to be downloaded from here on out. I'm guessing they mean no new purchases, since it's still showing up in purchase histories, but it might be wise to back it up at this point if you haven't already...

'Auro: A Monster-Bumping Adventure' Review - It's Auro Good

The first half of 2014 was pretty packed with roguelikes, with games like Wayward Souls [$6.99], Cardinal Quest 2 [Free], and Hoplite [$1.99] all taking their respective stab at the venerable sub-genre. This year has been a little more quiet on that front, with only a few offerings of any note at all. The best of this year's bunch until now has been Lamp And Vamp [$1.99] which, while very fun, was riffing pretty closely on Hoplite. Well, mark it on your calendars, friends, because I think we've got our first fresh hit of 2015 in the genre with Auro [$2.99], the latest game from the developers behind 100 Rogues [$2.99]. This one's been cooking at Dinofarm Games for quite a long time now, but I think it's certainly worth the wait...

My holidays back in Canada over Christmas and the New Year were pretty awesome, but a theme quickly began among many of my mobile-toting family members. As soon as they were reminded that I write about iOS games, they would quickly reach into their pockets or bags and pull out their device, presenting it to me like they would a wounded animal to a veterinarian. "You have to help me," they would plead. Taking a sigh and preparing to do my usual holiday tech support, I'd ask them what the problem was. "It's this level in Candy Crush Saga/Pet Rescue Saga/Farm Heroes Saga/etc.," they said with a desperate look in their eye. I had to do this several times, helping them get through the various snags that had trapped them for, in some cases, literal months. I've decided to do something about it this year so that it won't happen again next time. I'm going to make guides for the whole King shebang. Yes, this will take a long time. I see it as a little work today for the sake of long-term time-saving. I hope you can see where I'm coming from here...

Much as I love it, I have to admit that video pinball is a very, very strange thing. They're sort of like those homemade recipes for Ecto Cooler that you can find around the internet: a shadow of the real thing, an attempt to replicate an incredibly tactile but now nearly-extinct experience. For most people, there haven't been any pinball tables around their locale since Clinton was in office. I wouldn't be shocked if many of our readers have never laid eyes on one in their lifetime. But for those of us who love them, if we can't wrap our fingers around a real machine and build the callouses on the palms of our hands by slamming them into the side of a wooden box to nudge a steel ball a half-centimeter off its course, we'll take what we can get. We'll take the video pinball. Because even though there's an unquestionable component of the game intrinsically tied to physical sensations, the games themselves have strong merit on their gameplay. The lights and sounds pulled us in, but the gameplay is what kept us coming back...