Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


Update Mondays: 'Despicable Me: Minion Rush', 'WWE Immortals', 'Candy Crush Soda Saga', 'Sky Force 2014', 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, this week wasn't quite as significant as the last one, but there are so many more Spider-Mans this time around I can't help but give it the nod. Lots of other great stuff, too! 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!..

After a full trilogy of games in the span of just seven months, the Five Nights At Freddy's [$2.99] series could be forgiven for taking some time off after this one. Whether or not Five Nights At Freddy's 3 [$2.99] is where it ends, you have to give this series and its developer a lot of credit. In a short span of time, it became a minor cultural phenomenon, recorded huge sales on every platform it released on, and earned success and recognition for an independent developer who has taken plenty of swings at the whole "making a game" thing before finally knocking one out of the park. Fans all around the world compare notes about the story, trying to piece together mysteries that may not have ever been intended to be solved. The titular Freddy Fazbear himself is likely more recognizable than the character he parodies among most people under a certain age. In a lot of ways, we've come a long way from the humble point and click simplicity of the first game...

Spiderweb Software makes some mighty fine RPGs that you can enjoy on your iPad. The developer's latest game, Avernum 2: Crystal Souls, is due to hit the App Store in a couple of weeks on April 15th. Presumably in celebration of that pending release, Spiderweb has been running some sales on their previous titles. Last weekend, the first Avadon [$9.99 (HD)] game was on sale for half-price. This weekend, it's the 2014 sequel to that game, Avadon 2: The Corruption [$9.99 (HD)]. Regularly $9.99, you can pick up this gem for just $4.99 for the next couple of days...

Proto Raider [$1.99] makes a great first impression. Its graphics are entirely composed of ASCII symbols, giving it a striking appearance, particularly when things start to move on the screen. By this point in gaming, it's somewhat difficult to make a platform game that can immediately catch the eye, and the idea of going back to the very roots of video games for inspiration is a clever one. Behind the intriguing presentation sits a somewhat ordinary platformer with excellent level design. It reminds me of the wildly experimental days before the success of the Super Mario Bros. series dictated what platformers ought to be like. It's almost as though a lost Commodore 64 game spilled out of the time tunnel and into the App Store...

A while back, I reviewed the original Five Nights At Freddy's [$2.99], and while I could appreciate what it was doing from a clinical point of view, I didn't really get the game properly. When Five Nights At Freddy's 2 [$2.99] came out, I thought I'd step aside and let someone else take a crack at it, but with how busy the holiday season was, the game ended up falling into the dreaded TouchArcade sofa cushions instead. Before anyone could catch their breath, Five Nights At Freddy's 3 [$2.99]'s release was imminent. I'll own up to a couple of little quirks that I have. First of all, it really bugs me when I don't get why something is popular. I don't have to like everything, but I do like to understand points of view other than my own, and exploring them often leads to me finding new things to enjoy. I see it as a failing on my part when I'm not able to do this. Another odd habit of mine is that I don't like gaps, so if I'm to come back to the series to review the third game, I really needed to do this one first. Hopefully, that explains why we're running this review at an admittedly late stage of the game. You can expect a review of Five Nights At Freddy's 3 pretty shortly after this one...

RPG Reload File 031 - 'Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we never try to brush a wookiee's teeth. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's huge back catalog. We revisit the game, expand beyond the borders of a typical review, and see how it's doing in the wild future that is today. The RPG genre is an incredibly broad one, and I try to bring a balanced plate from week to week. I want your help with that, however, so once per month, I'll be featuring a game selected by you, the readers. Simply make your selection known by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or tweeting to @RPGReload. Next week's article is one such choice, and will feature Undercroft [Free], as selected by TouchArcade forum user DrJD. Thanks Doc, I like to get a physician's opinion once in a while!..

Last week, I had the opportunity to talk to the producers behind DeNA and Square Enix's new social RPG, Final Fantasy: Record Keeper [Free]. We had a fairly lengthy discussion about the game itself and Final Fantasy in general. So lengthy, in fact, that we decided to run the interview in two parts. Yesterday, we covered introductions, the genesis of the game, region differences, and a few other gameplay aspects. Today's portion gets more into hardcore Final Fantasy discussion, which was a lot of fun. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did...

Square Enix and DeNA's new social RPG, Final Fantasy: Record Keeper [Free], just came out in English, but it's been available in Japan for several months. I like the game quite a bit and have been playing it almost every day, which means I'm hopefully well-equipped to give any starting players some pointers on getting the hang of the game. You can consider this guide something of a starter manual for the game, covering some of the important strategies you'll need to get yourself established in the world of Record Keeper, but it will also help you over the long term as new features are added to the international version of the game. Let's mosey!..

'Final Fantasy: Record Keeper' Long Play Impressions - Five Months Later

One of the difficult things with evaluating games on the App Store is how much they tend to evolve over time. It's especially tricky with free-to-play games that are often set up to be gentle in the early stages and more punishing over time. It's like waiting for the other shoe to drop a lot of the time, and I think that contributes to why some people are hesitant to get into those kinds of games to begin with. Even though I've played Square Enix and DeNA's new social RPG Final Fantasy: Record Keeper more than anyone at TouchArcade, I won't be doing the main review. We agreed it would be interesting for readers to get another point of view on the game, so my co-host on the RPG Reload Podcast Eric Ford will be handling that...

We've been waiting for a while, but the time that we can start talking about the English version of DeNA and Square Enix's new social RPG, Final Fantasy: Record Keeper. Last week, I had the opportunity to visit Square Enix's offices in Shinjuku to have a chat with the producers of the game. Of course, I'm coming from the angle of having played the Japanese version quite a bit, so I was particularly interested in any changes they might have made, but we covered a pretty wide range of topics. It was immediately clear to me that all three of the people I talked to are huge fans of Final Fantasy and had a lot of passion that they put into Record Keeper. I think in reading their responses, you'll be able to see that yourself. Since this ended up being a pretty long talk, we're going to run half of the interview today and the other half tomorrow. Today's part focuses on introductions, the genesis of the game, localization changes, and some elements of the gameplay...

Last year's Flappy Bird phenomenon was certainly a sight to behold. People became obsessed with it, playing again and again, just trying to push a little bit farther than their friends. Clones and homages arrived to the App Store by the bucket load, even well after Hodappy Bird [Free] rocked us all with its take. For several months, there was a heavy influence on the entire iOS market from the players to the media to the developers and publishers themselves. Then, partly snuffed out by its own creator, the whole fire just sort of went out and things went back to normal. There were some lasting lessons for those interested in picking them up, however. For one thing, simplicity isn't a four-letter word. For another, large groups of people actually like games that figuratively smash your thumb with a hammer. You don't need a slick presentation with this kind of game, since what you're really targeting is the competitive instinct and tenacity in the face of certain failure that resides in almost everyone...

Even today, it's rare to see a developer's name affixed to a video game title. There are a lot of reasons for that, depending on which period we look at, but one of the bigger exceptions to that is the name of Sid Meier. I'm not sure how or why his name ended up in the title of Sid Meier's Pirates! [$2.99], but it might have simply been to help make the somewhat generic title more unique. The game was a massive hit, and while publishers generally don't like to canonize developers, they'll make an exception for just about any rule if the money looks right. So it is that after just a few more games, nearly every game Sid Meier had a hand in, and a few that he didn't, carried his name. It's an odd outcome for someone who seems to be a relatively low-key guy. The problem with his name becoming a brand, however, is that you can't be too sure with any given release just how much of the game is Sid Meier the designer versus Sid Meier the marketing tag...

Update Mondays: 'Family Guy: The Quest For Stuff', 'Candy Crush Saga', 'Cardinal Quest 2', 'Auro', 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. Some really huge updates last week, with many big titles and plenty of unexpected ones. 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!..

We have just a few weeks left until the April 15th release of the iPad version of Spiderweb Software's latest RPG, Avernum 2: Crystal Souls. iPad-owning RPG fans everywhere are likely getting pretty excited, but there might be some of you out there who are curious about these Spiderweb RPGs and aren't sure if you want to take the plunge at full price yet. Well, I could direct you to the demo versions that you can try out on your computer, but we're an iOS site, so instead I'm going to point you at Avadon: The Black Fortress HD [$9.99 (HD)]. Like the rest of Spiderweb Software's games, it usually sells for $9.99, but likely in celebration of the upcoming game, it's currently on sale for half-price, or $4.99. That's a great deal for a huge game filled to the brim with content...

RPG Reload File 030 - 'QuestLord'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we heal ourselves by eating Lizard On A Stick. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the increasingly lengthy history of the App Store to see how it holds up in the present day. It's more than that, though. It's also a chance to revisit some good times, and go for a deeper dive than a review typically allows us. Although I'm the captain of this particular ship, once a month I give the helm to one of you, allowing you to select the featured RPG. Simply tell me your choice by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. Through a process of random selection, one of the suggestions will be chosen to be featured in the next reader's choice article. The next one will be RPG Reload File 032, which means I'll be rolling the dice next week. Vote now if you're interested...

Not long ago, we brought word that the amazingly deep RPG Siralim [Free] would be receiving a very substantial update quite soon. If you've been waiting with anticipation, the day has finally arrived. Siralim 2.0 features heavily overhauled graphics and adds a ton of content to an already large game. There are now more than 100 new creatures in the game, a new skill point system, hundreds of new items, and lots more. You can check a full list of the changes by visiting the forums at  developer Thylacine Studios's homepage. This update is of course free, as all of the many other updates made to the game have been...

Japanese mobile game developer DeNA has always had a fairly high profile, but whatever we knew before, it's peanuts compared to its visibility after the announcement that they would be partnering with Nintendo to bring the Japanese gaming giant's properties to smartphones. There are suddenly more eyes on DeNA than ever before, and many of them are skeptical. While that's not an unearned reputation, many people are imagining the DeNA of a few years ago rather than the DeNA of today. While they're still putting out free-to-play games that fall along their traditional lines such as Blood Brothers 2, they've also been trying to serve a different audience, one that prefers more traditional experiences...

A Special Version Of 'Final Fantasy 11' Is Coming To Mobile, Square Enix Announces

Following hot on the heels of the announcement of Final Fantasy Grandmasters, an action-RPG set in the Final Fantasy 11 world, Square Enix also announced plans to create a special mobile version of Final Fantasy 11 itself. Under development by Nexon, the developers behind the hit free-to-play online RPG MapleStory, this version of the game will have some changes made to it in order to better fit the mobile market. Which is to say, it's going to be free-to-play, among other changes...

Square Enix Announces 'Final Fantasy Grandmasters' For Mobile

Today in Japan, Square Enix held a press conference centered around Final Fantasy 11, their popular first MMO based in the Final Fantasy universe. The game was one of the company's biggest financial successes of all time, but with it getting pretty long in the tooth and its successor finally finding stable ground, one can't help but wonder how long Vana'diel's future is. When you think about it, it's pretty remarkable that such a substantial MMO was able to be realized on the PlayStation 2. Those days are coming to an end with the announcement that service for all versions except the PC build will come to an end in March of 2016...

'TouchTone' Review - Tricky Puzzles, Touchy Tone

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March 18th, 2015 11:30 PM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $2.99, 4 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
$2.99 Buy Now

It's been a few years since we've seen a new iOS release from Mikengreg, the developers behind the hit Solipskier [$0.99]. Mike Boxleiter and Greg Wohlwend gave the label a bit of a rest while they worked on other things after Gasketball [Free (HD)] didn't catch on quite the way they'd hoped. Notably, Wolhwend ended up teaming up with Asher Vollmer to create Puzzlejuice [$1.99] and Threes! [$1.99], both excellent puzzle games with strong visual designs. Well, the band is back together again, and perhaps somewhat informed by their experiences had apart. TouchTone [$2.99] is a striking puzzle game, the sort of thing we've come to expect from Wohlwend's recent projects, but it's also a compelling politically-charged statement on modern America, something both Boxleiter and Wohlwend have strong ideas about. While these two sides of the game don't blend together as well as I might like them to, they're individually strong enough that if you're only coming to the game for one, you'll likely find the other to be quite enjoyable...