Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


The Best Action RPGs for iPhone and iPad - An RPG Reload Ranking

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the regular feature where our battles to the death sometimes involve QTEs. In each of these columns, we take a look at some aspect of RPG gaming on iOS. Often, it's in the form of a replay or a retrospective, but today we're doing something a little different. In the last couple of months, we went through the history of action RPGs, from Dragon Slayer to Dark Souls. These trips through history present us with an opportunity to do something that is often requested of us here at TouchArcade: lists of the best examples of each gaming genre. Consider this, then, your starter set for action RPGs on iOS. Are there other excellent ones? You bet! This is just my opinion, after all. But this gives you a place to get started in the genre with some assurance of reasonable quality...

When it comes to SEGA and their 16-bit library, game re-releases tend to fall into one of three categories. First, there are the games that are always included: Sonic, Golden Axe, Altered Beast, and the like. Then, you've got games that are often included, but not always. Phantasy Star 2, Ecco the Dolphin, and Shinobi 3 are examples of this group. Finally, there are games that SEGA only seems to include if they're being very thorough. Sometimes it's because they're tricky to emulate, other times because of rights issues, and still other times where the reason isn't clear at all. Beyond Oasis [Free] used to be part of this group, but it feels like it's slowly moving into the second category instead. Its presence here relatively early on in the SEGA Forever initiative is a good example of its improving fortunes...




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're closing in on Hallowe'en now, so plenty of games are donning their respective costumes, so to speak. But it's not all spooky and scary, friends. Some of these are just good old content updates, like mom used to make. 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!..

Sometimes it's easy to take for granted the sheer number of great classic RPGs we can carry around on our phones these days. A big part of that line-up comes from Beamdog and Overhaul's enhanced ports of the classic Infinity Engine PC RPGs from the 1990s. Beginning with Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition [$9.99] back in late 2012, Beamdog and Overhaul have since released iOS versions of Icewind Dale [$9.99], Baldur's Gate 2: Enhanced Edition [$9.99], and earlier this year, Planescape: Torment [$9.99]. Having just recently finished updating all of the games with 64-bit iOS 11 support, the publisher appears to be celebrating with a sale on all of their iOS releases...

RPG Reload Glossary: The Dark Souls of This Series, or Action-RPGs in the 2010s

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the regular feature where we always do it by torchlight. This week, we're concluding our look at the history of the action-RPG sub-genre. Last time, we took a look at the games of the late 2000s, a period where more and more action games were incorporating RPG mechanics, but few traditional action-RPGs made many waves. With Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts series somewhat lost in the spin-off woods and Blizzard busy rolling around in stacks of World of Warcraft money, the sub-genre found itself lacking in high-profile hits. While a new Diablo would arrive soon enough, the new flag-bearer for the genre came from a somewhat unlikely source...

'Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice' Review - A Strange World Where Lawyers are Hated

I wasn't the biggest fan of the previous Ace Attorney game, Dual Destinies [$0.99]. While it wasn't the worst game in the series by any stretch, it felt too much like an apologetic reaction to the backlash from Apollo Justice [$0.99]. It's clear from the end of that game that there were major plans for Apollo's story, plans that had to be changed or scuttled to accommodate the fans' demand for the return of Phoenix Wright as the chief protagonist of the games. Phoenix Wright himself had to have significant character development rolled back, as well. On their own, these aren't necessarily bad things, but Dual Destinies never really justifies that sacrifice. It doesn't want you to forget Apollo, of course. He's a major part of the game's plot, after all. But it does want you to forget any and all of the plot threads that they had been building around him, hoping you'll treat him like a second banana Scrappy Doo so that Phoenix can strut his stuff as the main underdog once more...

If you've managed to get your hands on the Super NES Classic Edition (and it sounds like a lot more people have compared to last year's NES debacle), you've probably been enjoying some great old classic 16-bit games with a few useful new bells and whistles. One of those new features is the ability to rewind the game. It has been a popular feature in the unofficial emulation scene for a while but has largely been left out of official emulated re-releases until now. Save states are a handy way to get through some tough games, but it's annoying having to constantly save and load. A rewind feature simply takes you back a set amount of time to quickly undo mistakes...

Through rain, sleet, or snow, Fire Emblem Heroes [Free] continues to get significant monthly updates to respond to feedback from its rather large playerbase. For a while now, players have been looking for something to do with the massive amounts of colored badges they've accumulated through training their characters in the training tower. While they were originally used to rank characters up, such events are few and far between enough that just about everyone is sitting on a major stockpile of various badges. The latest update of the game, Version 1.8, finally gives everyone something else to do with those extraneous awards...

Best iPhone Game Updates: 'Mortal Kombat X', 'The Simpsons: Tapped Out', 'Gardenscapes', 'CSR Racing 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. We saw some great 64-bit updates in the last week, including Hoplite, Rogue Ninja, and more. The content updates are mostly focused on Hallowe'en stuff, along with a grab-bag of goodies to celebrate Mortal Kombat's 25th anniversary. 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!..

Classic Reload: 'Mikey Shorts'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the Classic Reload, the monthly feature where we have no idea where our shorts have gotten to. In each installment, we take a look at a game from the App Store's past to see how it's doing in the here and now. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their place in the overall library, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As the King of No Pants, I try to choose a balanced selection of games from month to month. If you have a game you'd like to see featured, however, don't be shy! Instead, post a comment below with your suggestion. Since I make the schedule pretty far in advance, you might not see the game show up soon, but it will be added to the master list for future consideration...

'Aka to Blue' Review - Red and Blue and Awesome All Over

It has been a bittersweet couple of months for fans of iOS shoot-em-ups. The removal of 32-bit support in the latest version of iOS effectively took out a swath of stunning games in one fell swoop, most notably the entire library of amazing arcade ports of Cave's games. On the positive side, the latest in the Danmaku Unlimited series released, and it was every bit as incredible as we could have hoped. Well, we can chalk another one up for the angels with the international release of Aka to Blue [$7.99], a brand-new bullet hell ballet from Tanoshimasu, a small developer founded by ex-Cave staff. The team's pedigree shows. This game could easily slide into Cave's line-up without much effort, even if it's not quite as rich in extras as some of their mobile ports...

Best iPhone Game Updates: 'Super Mario Run', 'Order & Chaos 2', 'Shoot the Moon', 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. This week, Nintendo did that thing the one representative said they wouldn't do, a bunch of games got saved from the 32-bit graveyard, and an old enemy made its return. 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: 'Final Fantasy Tactics'

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!..

We've seen quite the stream of iOS games getting updated for iOS 11 and its new 64-bit requirement. While we've likely seen the bulk of said updates by now, you can probably count on a few stragglers appearing here and there. One of today's examples is an old favorite of mine, Dragon Fantasy [$7.99]. An entertaining throwback to 8-bit console RPGs, Dragon Fantasy first launched on iOS back in 2011 before making its way in ever-improved forms to a number of other platforms including PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 3DS, Android, and PC. Its most recent update prior to this one was back in 2013, so there was plenty for the iOS version of the game to catch up on...

In last year's version of this article, I talked about how the various companies at the Tokyo Game Show were clearly tightening their belts year-over-year. That seems to have continued this year, with some of the smallest booths I've seen from certain publishers. Again, the big mobile companies chose to largely sit things out, settling for business desks in an adjoining building over lavish, prop-filled money sinks. While there were many great games on display, one can't help but feel like this year's show was missing the spark of previous years. With Nintendo taking their usual pass on the show, VR being on the market for a while, and other hardware platforms hitting maturity, there was no new puppy to fawn over at Tokyo Game Show 2017...

As usual, the mobile gaming part of the Tokyo Game Show was scattered all over the massive Makuhari Messe exhibition center. The big companies of course had their own booths, where they were showing off some of their mobile offerings alongside their titles for other platforms. Smaller mobile developers were everywhere, however. Some were grouped and set up near the busier areas of the floor thanks to local publishers, while the bulk were once again found in the Indie Corner in Hall 9. In addition to the returning Merchandise Corner and Virtual Reality Corner, Hall 9 was also host to a new face at the Tokyo Game Show: eSports. This helped attract even more traffic to the Indie Corner. I've already covered some of the games found there, but I want to mention a few others that I saw that are worth a mention...

Best iPhone Game Updates: 'Minecraft', 'Solomon's Keep', 'Goat Simulator', 'Asphalt Xtreme', 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. I feel like I'm beating the same drum recently, but most of this week's big updates were bringing 64-bit compatibility to older apps like XCOM: Enemy Within and Ryan North's To Be or Not To Be. I've found a few interesting updates that fall outside of that set-up, though, and I'm confident that with iOS 11 out in the wild that we should be back to normal business around here soon. 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!..

TGS 2017: Hands-On with 'Battlesky Brigade'

It feels like cute characters plus strategy game is a go-to approach for a lot of mobile developers these days, perhaps in the hopes of catching some of the run-off from Clash of Clans and its brethren. Battlesky Brigade is another such attempt, but apart from its frankly adorable character designs, it doesn't seem to have a lot of the necessary hooks to stand out. I had a chance to play a little of the game at the Tokyo Game Show, and while it's fun enough, I wonder if it can compete in a very difficult genre...

TGS 2017: Hands-On with Ganbarion's Gorgeous 'Shurado'

It seems like every year, I find one hidden gem that really jumps out from the rest. This year, that game was Shurado, a new action game from Ganbarion. If that name is ringing a bell for you, it's possible you saw it on any number licensed games based on properties like Dragon Ball or One Piece. Their most famous games in the West are probably the Nintendo DS Jump Stars fighting games that mash up a variety of manga characters. Shurado is something different for the traditionally console-based developer, but if what I played is indicative of the final game, they may have something big on their hands here...

TGS 2017: Hands-On with Glaciwaker Entertainment's 'Smith Story' and 'Slime Legend'

One of the things about making your way through the indie game section of the Tokyo Game Show is that some of the games you play come from developers who haven't yet found a publishing partner and are unable to take their game worldwide as a result. One such developer at this year's show was Glaciwaker Entertainment, a Taiwan-based developer who had two interesting games at their station. Both of these games have already soft-launched in a few regions but haven't yet made the jump to a wider launch...