Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


Update Mondays: 'Minecraft: Pocket Edition', 'Oceanhorn', 'CSR Racing', 'Heroes Of Steel', 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. Lots of favorites big and small alike in this week's list, so there should be something here for you no matter what your fancy. 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!..

'Titan Quest' Review - It's A Win, But At What Cost

Ever since Gameloft's Dungeon Hunter series shifted gears towards a free-to-play model, one of the most frequent requests I've seen come up in the TouchArcade forums has been for a game that could fill the role of a paid substitute for Diablo. Unfortunately, most of the big publishers have little interest in making games like that, and the scope of something like Diablo is just a little beyond the means of most independent developers. We've seen a few attempts, but they usually end up being buggy, feeling incomplete in some regard, or dropping the ball in one of many other ways. Hopes were raised last year when a couple of familiar names from the PC scene were announced for iOS. In the case of one of those names, Torchlight, it was revealed that the game would be modified to fit a free-to-play model, so everything has come to rest on the other: DotEmu's iOS version of Titan Quest [$6.99]...




How many times can you do the same joke before people get tired of it and start to get annoyed? Three times, friends. The answer is three times. Nevertheless, like my courageous countryman Mike Myers before me, I am here a third, and most certainly unwanted, time to perform my comedic stylings. Yes, it's yet another joking non sequitur article about Slither.io [Free], the thrilling multiplayer Snake take-off that was all the rage last weekend. But this time, we've got Angelina Jolie, so I have confidence everything is going to be A-okay...

RPG Reload File 080 - 'Cardinal Quest'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where I randomly generate an article about an RPG. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's archives to see how it holds up in the here and now. It's a chance to look back on old favorites, see how they stack up in the overall library, or simply to go further in-depth than our reviews typically allow for. As the ersatz Higgins of this estate, I try to pick a balanced selection of RPGs from week to week. If you feel like I'm missing something important, however, please let me know. You can do that by commenting below, stopping by the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. I can't promise your suggestion will appear soon, but I'll put it on the master list...

'Never Gone' Review - Living Death Is A Real Grind

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May 19th, 2016 11:00 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $0.99, 3 stars, Action, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews
99¢ Buy Now

Never Gone [$0.99] could have really been something. That's my biggest takeaway from this game, after spending more time with it than I probably needed to for this review. Fundamentally, it's a belt-scrolling beat-em-up along the lines of games like Double Dragon or Final Fight, but it brings in a lot of elements from stylish action games like Devil May Cry to spice things up. The main character's moveset is ripped right out of Dante's playbook, and the game also incorporates a lot of Devil May Cry's aesthetics. Never Gone also features some light RPG elements that allow you to develop your character and create new gear...

Cally's Caves 3 [Free] has been a big success for Canadian developer VDO Games. It started out as an iOS game, where it earned a ton of praise from critics and players alike. Not long after, it released on Android, where it also racked up high marks. After a few updates and a successful Greenlight campaign, Cally's Caves 3 then made its way to home computers through Steam, where an audience that usually shuns mobile ports wholeheartedly embraced the game. What can we say, she's a little charmer. But there was once a time where us iOS gamers had Cally for ourselves alone, and it's nice to see that VDO Games hasn't forgotten those days. They've just released a major update to Cally's Caves 2 [Free] that nearly brings the game up to the level of its successor...

What, another one? Well okay, Shadowy Consortium, you're the vaguely-defined and sinister bosses. Hello, friends! Since my prize-winning investigative journalism piece on the differences between Slither.io [Free] and peanut butter went over so well, I've been asked to write another. The problem is that I'm pretty sure I emptied all of my rounds into that hard-hitting piece, leaving me in an awkward position. So, like all people who have no idea how to entertain an audience, I'm going to resort to showing you random videos and some pictures I have laying around. I suppose the catch here is that only the videos are Slither.io related, so I hope you like weird or interesting food packaging from Japan!..

Update Mondays: 'Slither.io', 'Mortal Kombat X', 'Never Gone', 'Alphabear', 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. We've got a lovely list of fan favorites included in this week's set of updates, so buckle up your seatbelt and get ready to take a ride. A ride... through text. 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!..

Apparently, merpeople are the new trend in interactive fiction. Yes, I call something a trend if I spot more than one instance. I'm pretty weird that way. Anyway, a couple of months ago, Choice Of Games released The Daring Mermaid Expedition [Free], a somewhat farcical adventure that provided a brief, enjoyable window into a fantasy world under the sea. The Sea Eternal [Free] also chooses the ocean depths as the setting of its story, but from the other side of the coin. Rather than playing an inquisitive human who accidentally stumbles upon this strange world, you play as one of the merpeople who inhabit it. In spite of this shift in perspective, the core of the story largely tries to untangle what it is to be human, or at least what it is to be sentient. It takes on a lot of very difficult questions, and although it doesn't handle them all with perfect grace, The Sea Eternal is nevertheless quite engaging and thought-provoking...

Hello, friends. As you know, I spend most of my time at TouchArcade writing about things like old premium RPGs and interactive fiction. Real barn-burners, I assure you. Today, however, I was asked by the Shadowy Consortium who occupy the penthouse of TouchArcade Towers if I might be interested in writing something for a slightly different demographic. In the interest of being a fair and diverse member of our writing staff, I went on The Internet to find out what everyone's talking about these days. For the most part, it was the usual boring stuff: politicians, awesome TV shows being canceled, and sports results. But I also noticed a few more things that seem to be popular: numbered lists, Slither.io [Free], and, confusingly enough, peanut butter. Oh, I could write three different articles containing these things, but I've got RPGs to play. So instead, I've mashed them all together into something resembling alphabetic paste. Please enjoy its relaxing flavor, and remember to floss after reading...

RPG Reload File 079 - 'The Shadow Sun'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we rummage through garbage to find loot. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's holding up in the far-flung future that is now. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on the iOS RPG library, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As the wielder of the legendary blade Excalipoor, I try to set a balanced schedule of RPGs from week to week that reflects the diversity of the genre. If you feel like I'm missing something important, however, be sure to let me know. You can do that by posting in the comments below, dropping by the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. Your suggestion will be added to the master list, which means you might see it several months down the road. Hey, no one ever said it would be easy!..

The Heroes Rise trilogy of gamebooks are, as near as I can tell, among the most popular releases from Choice Of Games. There are probably a lot of reasons for that, including the popularity of both superheroes and reality show send-ups, the interesting, convoluted plot, and the overall quality of the writing. Most of those things are still just as popular now as they were before, so even though the author of Heroes Rise has already started a new series set in another universe, it's perhaps not that surprising that the Hero Project is coming back for a second season. That trilogy wrapped things up so well, however, that it's hard to say what the best way forward would be for a follow-up. The Hero Project: Redemption Season [$3.99] finds a new direction, and while it's a pretty good one, it's tackling some complex issues that it can't quite seem to get a proper handle on...

Update Mondays: 'Deemo', 'Clash Royale', 'Astra', 'Zenonia S', 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. Wow, what happened here? Was everyone else on holidays? Did everyone cut out to watch Civil War? There isn't much this week, but I've done what I can to round up some interesting updates. 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!..

Say what you will about Crescent Moon Games, but they're certainly big believers in mobile games aimed at the traditional gaming demographic. That's a quality that's getting harder and harder to find among mobile publishers as time goes on. It wasn't that long ago that Crescent Moon gave word that another premium release in the Ravensword series of RPGs was on the way, and the follow-up to Mines Of Mars [$4.99], titled Mines Of Andromeda, is also in the works. Well, everyone knows that you aren't really juggling until you have at least three balls in the air. Ever the jugglers when it comes to game releases, Crescent Moon's got another potentially huge game coming called Morphite...

'INKS.' Review - Paintball Wizard

'INKS.' Review - Paintball Wizard

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$1.99 Buy Now

There are a few ways you can look at INKS. [$1.99], the latest release from Lumino City [$4.99] developer State Of Play. On the one hand, it's a beautiful piece of interactive art, allowing each player to uniquely paint a design based on how they play. On the other hand, it's probably State Of Play's most conventional game yet, since it's really just pinball at its core. That's a genre which has no shortage of excellent entries on the iOS platform, and when compared on a strictly mechanical basis against them, INKS. is far from the front of the pack. You have to take it as a fusion of both of those things to see it on its best merits, I think. If nothing else, it will teach you more than a few things about how to play pinball, and it does it in quite the artistic fashion...

In an era where kids can fire up a game like Real Racing 3 [Free] for free on a mobile device, I can't imagine slot car racing sets are as ubiquitous as they were when I was a kid. Just about everyone seemed to own one back then, whether they were interested in cars or not. They're pretty simple toys, with the only real input being how fast the car is going at any given time, but there was a certain thrill in seeing how fast you could take corners without careening wildly off the little plastic tracks. There was a bit of technique to it, though the advantage certainly went to the player who was most familiar with the track. Black Hole Joyrider [$2.99], the latest from Boson X [$2.99] creator Ian MacLarty, might look and sound like a grand space adventure, but it's basically a gorgeous game of slot car solitaire...

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

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 did the backstroke in the treasure trove that is the PSP's RPG library. It's where the idea of cooperative RPGs truly caught on in Japan, and its successes and failures had a large part in shaping the future course of handheld RPGs. While the PSP was one of the most successful handheld systems of all-time, however, it didn't manage to meet the high expectations many had for its multimedia capabilities. There were many reasons for that, but one of the big ones is the topic of this article. This month, we're taking a look at the early years of smartphone RPGs...

I can't decide if I'm happy or sad that we've gotten enough EXE-Create RPGs from Kemco this year that I'm getting a bit weary of them. The developer behind the Alphadia, Across Age, and Asdivine series, as well as numerous other one-off RPGs, EXE-Create generally creates the best games of any of the teams working for Kemco. They're particularly good at writing interesting characters and entertaining dialogue, and I can't honestly think of a single release from them that has let me down in that regard. The most common weak point of their RPGs is in how safe they tend to play things with gameplay mechanics. They seem to have really fallen into a rut of late, and it's made all the more apparent when you play their releases nearly back-to-back. For good or for ill, Glorious Savior [Free / $4.99] is another EXE-Create RPG through and through...

Hello, friends! It's that time of the month once more, which means we've got a delicious hot 'n ready episode of the RPG Reload Podcast ready for your consumption! The main topic this time around is Crescent Moon's Ravensword: Shadowlands [$6.99], and we ended up doing something a little different from usual. Due to conflicting holidays, Andy wasn't able to make it for the recording of this episode, so taking his spot in the third chair is none other than Crescent Moon's very own Josh Presseisen. The format's a little different this time around, and we ended up powering right on through without taking a break. I'd like to give a big thank you to Josh for coming on the show and answering a lot of questions, some of which were a little tough...

Just as the first game did a few years ago, Marvel: Avengers Alliance 2 [Free] has grabbed a lot of my attention since its release not long ago. It's a little buggy in places, but the turn-based battle system is very satisfying and strategic, and the team-building offers a lot of options to support a variety of play styles. Plus, it has Spider-Man in it. So, since I'm playing the game an awful lot anyway, I thought I'd put together a bit of advice for anyone else who might be interested in the game. Note that I'm going to try to keep away from recommending specific characters, since an overpowered character is often one update away from being toned down...