Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


RPG Reload File 034 - 'King Of Dragon Pass'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we deal exclusively in cows. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to revisit it and see how it's doing in the modern day. It's a chance for a bit of reflection and a deeper dive than the usual TouchArcade reviews allow for. The RPG genre is a pretty wide one that covers a lot of different kinds of games, and I try to present a good variety from week to week. That said, everyone has their blind spots, and to help cover mine, I ask for a suggestion from the readers to feature once per month. The next reader's choice article will be in RPG Reload File 037, so get your choice in soon by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload...

'Implosion - Never Lose Hope' Review - Hope Is The Thing With Missiles

Implosion - Never Lose Hope [$9.99] is the latest game from Rayark, the developer behind the wonderful titles Cytus [$1.99] and Deemo [$1.99]. It's an outstanding game, and if you're reading this review because you want to know whether or not you should drop ten US dollars (or your local equivalent thereof) on it, let me cut to the chase for once. Yes, you should. Head over the the App Store, hit the button to purchase it, prepare a cup of your beverage of choice while it downloads, and get ready to settle in for a slick action game with superb production values and seriously well-designed combat. I can't recommend this game enthusiastically enough...

DotEmu Is Bringing 'Ys Chronicles 1' To iOS Soon

It feels like just last week that I was lamenting the decline of premium action-RPGs in the App Store. Oh right, it was just last week. Well, someone at DotEmu must have a spiritual connection to me, because they're going to be bringing Falcom's legendary classic Ys to mobile platforms soon. Specifically, they're bringing Ys Chronicles 1, the PC remake of the original 1987 game that kicked off a series still going strong to this day. I can only hope this is just the beginning because if I get to play Oath In Felghana on my iPhone someday, I'm going to break TouchArcade's article word limit in the review...

'Crowntakers' for iPad Review - A Royally Good Roguelike Spin

Some of the earliest video game RPGs were roguelikes, but if you didn't notice them around for a couple of decades, nobody would blame you. After being fairly popular in the early stages of home computing, they soon gave way to bigger, more persistent adventures. They still had a dedicated following during those years, with games like Nethack, Angband, and Japan's Mystery Dungeon series carrying the torch for the genre. The boom of indie developers and the surging interest in more compact gaming experiences in the last ten years has seen the genre make a big comeback. The basic elements of the genre have been used in many popular games that might not be strictly considered roguelikes but owe a massive debt to the genre nonetheless. A genre once almost totally represented by so few games that you could count them off on your fingers now has a strong influence, especially in the PC and mobile gaming markets...

New 'Mobius: Final Fantasy' Trailer Shows Off Job System And Characters

Square Enix's latest addition to the Final Fantasy series is coming along in its development, and the RPG giant has been releasing more details to the Japanese market. Previously known as Mevius: Final Fantasy, the newly-christened Mobius: Final Fantasy is noteworthy for who is working on it more than anything else. Yoshinori Kitase, the director of Final Fantasy 6 [$15.99], Chrono Trigger [$9.99], and Final Fantasy 10 is producing the title, and the script is written by Kazushige Nojima of Final Fantasy 7, Kingdom Hearts, and Final Fantasy 10 fame. Putting top talent on a mobile game is no guarantee of quality, as we've seen with the most recent Sonic The Hedgehog game, but it's certainly going to catch people's attention...

In the ever-present artistic struggle between playing it safe or trying something new at the risk of failure, most of the games that Kemco releases fall in the former camp. Sure, almost every game has something unique about it, but it's often buried in minutiae that even most genre fans don't pay much attention to. Their latest game, from developer Hit-Point, is the most unusual RPG they've published in quite some time. I'm an old hand at this genre, as regular readers know, and my initial reaction to Valkyria Soul [$3.99] was a disproportionate amount of excitement. The game looks like nothing Kemco has released on iOS before. The tone of the story is different from Hit-Point's usual breezy fare, and it even has a more competent translation than we typically see from that developer's works. The game doesn't even have the standard top-down dungeon exploration, playing out instead from a pure side-scrolling viewpoint...

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. No two ways about it, I've got a bad case of the Mondays. Don't worry, friends. For me, that just means listing a bunch of cool 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!..

Continuing from where I left off last time, this is the next in the series of guides I'm writing to cover tips and strategies for clearing each and every level of Candy Crush Soda Saga [Free]. Before I get into the specific level tips, I'll once again remind the reader that like many other free-to-play puzzle games, Candy Crush Soda Saga will sometimes deal you a combination of pieces you cannot win with. While these strategies will help you, they're not magic bullets. Rather, they're advice to help you make the most of the times when you do have a chance to win. Persistence and patience are your greatest weapons...

Okay, we all saw this one coming after the last few weeks, but just in case you aren't up to speed, Spiderweb Software will be releasing their latest on iPad next Thursday. Titled Avernum 2: Crystal Souls, it's a remake of the second game in the Avernum series of CRPGs, which was itself a remake of the 1996 release Exile 2: Crystal Souls. In anticipation, Spiderweb Software has been putting one of their games on sale each weekend for the last few weeks. With this being the final weekend before the sequel releases, it's only natural that Avernum: Escape From The Pit [$9.99 (HD)] should be on sale, and apparently the developer agrees with that because here it is...

While some people might have been hoping for something a bit different from NetherRealm's first mobile game based on their homegrown Mortal Kombat property, the iOS version of Mortal Kombat X [Free] is still a pretty fun game in its own right. Like its predecessor Injustice: Gods Among Us [Free], the hook of the game is more in collecting the various characters and powering them up as opposed to mastering intricate combat mechanics. It has enough in common with that game that most veterans will come into Mortal Kombat X with a pretty solid foundation of skills, but there are a few differences here, particularly with regards to developing your roster in the early stages. This guide serves to help complete newcomers get started and to give some strategies for working your way around some of the curve balls it throws to longtime players...

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we often learn a thing or two about cultural differences. Each week, we head back in time through non-magical means and play an RPG from the App Store's past. It's a chance to revisit some old favorites, reflect on their place in the history of mobile gaming, or just to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. In my efforts to cover a genre wide enough to contain both Wizardry and Yakuza, I try to put together a pretty varied bag of RPGs as I go along. Even the best of us has blind spots, however, and I'm far from the best. That's where you fine people come in. Once per month, I throw the choice over to you. Simply comment below, post in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or tweet me at @RPGReload with your suggestion, and you might see me playing it in the first week of May. Just think, you could make me play almost anything! Even Shelterra The Skyworld [$3.99]! Please don't make me play Shelterra The Skyworld again...

There are certain games that remind me of those little activity books you used to be able to find in gas stations before every child in North America owned a handheld gaming system of some sort. The ones that had a "magic" marker that would reveal invisible ink as you ran it over the pages. When I was a little fellow, I loved those books a lot. As far as I was concerned, those were magic. There was just one problem with them. Once you went through the whole book and marked up all the pages, they were finished. There was no reason to keep them, and you certainly couldn't redo them. You couldn't even admire them the way you could with a particularly well-done coloring book since most of the fun came from the discovery...

'Mortal Kombat X' Review - Vengeance Feels A Lot Like Justice

Let's get the obvious out of the way before we start. Mortal Kombat X [Free], the mobile take on the latest in the long-running Mortal Kombat series, is not a port of the game that is about to hit consoles. It uses some scaled-down assets and draws its roster from that game, but you should not expect this game to play like a traditional Mortal Kombat game. Instead, Mortal Kombat X should be seen as sort of a follow-up to the popular mobile version of Injustice: Gods Among Us [Free], with simple tap-based combat and a focus on collecting and building your stable of characters. Like it or lump it, the masses have spoken on what they want to see in a mobile fighting game, and fumbling around with virtual buttons and combos never meant for touch controls didn't make the list. Likewise, the heavy story elements found in the console versions of the game are nowhere to be found here...

It's that time again, my friends. The most excellent Eric Ford and I got together to produce another episode of the RPG Reload Podcast. There are lots of exciting revelations this episode, the first being that we have our own theme song! It turns out at least one of our fine listeners is also a fine musician, and they have graciously provided us with an awesome arrangement of one of their songs. It sounds a bit like retro RPG battle music, and both Eric and I agree that it's perfect for the type of show we're doing. A big, big thank you goes out to Sweet Diss of Sweet Diss And The Comebacks for helping us out with a special TouchArcade Remix of their song Color Of Love from the album Emerald City Love Song. That album is available on iTunes if you want to show some appreciation...

Ah, spring. That magical time when a gamer's fancy turns to thoughts of RPGs. I think that's how that one goes, anyway. It's a good time to stock up on adventures for the rainy season ahead, and many different RPG developers have been accommodating that by running sales. The latest one to step up is Overhaul Games, the developer that brought Baldur's Gate [$9.99], its sequel, and Icewind Dale [$9.99] to iOS in their Enhanced Edition forms. While Baldur's Gate 2: EE [$9.99] has been on sale before, this is the first time since it was updated for iPhone compatibility. As an added bonus, this also happens to be its lowest price yet, offering you over 100 hours of classic RPG goodness for a mere $4.99. That price is so crazy it makes Minsc look sane!..

This year we haven't seen quite the bonanza of sales we sometimes see around Easter, but there's still been plenty of great stuff getting discounts. Joining the list is Capcom's stunning Monster Hunter Freedom Unite [$14.99], down $5.00 from its regular price of $14.99. This is the first time the game has gone on sale since its English launch last summer, and as Capcom sales are relatively few and far between, there's no telling when it might get discounted again. The sale runs through April 11th, so you've got the rest of the week to scour the sofa cushions for the necessary funds...

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. After a few massive weeks, it feels like things are a bit cooler on the update front this week. Still some big ones, along with the usual suspects. 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!..

'DuckTales Remastered' Review -  Solve A Mystery, Or Rewrite History

Nostalgia is definitely big business, as the movie industry has known for decades and the game industry only just started catching on to. It's a tricky thing, nostalgia. Some people like to hand wave it away, as though the positive feelings from a familiar situation are any less valid than the positive feelings from seeing a bit of visual spectacle. I strongly disagree with that notion. I think nostalgia is a wonderful thing, and if a game can use it effectively the result is almost always a better all-around experience. That's a big qualifier, though. A game that relies solely on nostalgia is as empty as one that relies solely on graphical flair. Nostalgia only works for the audience that was there at the time. For everyone else, you'd better make sure the rest of the game can support its own weight...

I've been kicking this review down the road for a while now. I don't typically wait for games to get patches before reviewing them, because once the game is on the store, it's fair game for any customer to buy. I had to make an exception in the case of Echo Dawn: Shattered Visions [$3.99], which worked on my device when I first grabbed it, then broke with the next update, then broke some more before finally getting fixed with its last update. That's not a promising start to a review, I know, but I think it's important to be clear about one side of Echo Dawn. It lacks polish in more ways than one, and there's really no ignoring that aspect of it. There's another side to Echo Dawn, however, and it's a far more pleasant one. It's an enthusiastic indie take on a typical JRPG, more complete than many that attempt to deliver a full package, and it has some genuinely interesting gameplay systems, even if they don't quite come together as cleanly as one might hope...

Friends, I don't claim to be a fortune teller, but I think I'm sensing a pattern with these sales. Awesome indie RPG developer Spiderweb Software has a new game coming out on April 15th, and to celebrate, it seems like each of their iPad titles is taking a turn going on sale for half off the regular price. Two weeks ago, it was Avadon: The Black Fortress [$9.99 (HD)]. Last week, it was Avadon 2: The Corruption [$9.99 (HD)]. This week, we finally get around to the Avernum series of games with Avernum 6 [$6.99 (HD)] on for the ridiculously low price of $2.99...