Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


Hello, gentle listeners! This month we've got an exciting episode of the RPG Reload Podcast for you, as it happened to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the featured game, Dragon Quest [$2.99]. Eric Ford and Andy Fretz spent the last month playing through one of the most important JRPGs in history for the very first time, while I replayed it for... well, let's not count, okay? By now, regular readers and listeners probably know that I still think highly of the game, but how did it turn out for my co-hosts, who don't have the benefit of nostalgia? You'll just have to listen and see...

Update Mondays: 'Slither.io', 'Pinball Arcade', 'Real Racing 3', 'Uncharted: Fortune Hunter', 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. To be honest, this was kind of a so-so week for interesting updates, but I've still managed to find a few worth looking at. 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!..




Slightly more hyped than usual, Samurai Rising is RPG giant Square Enix's latest attempt to get a slice of the booming social RPG market. As with many of their other efforts in this market, Samurai Rising takes strongly after another popular free-to-play game, in this case White Cat Project. It's an action-RPG built for single or multiplayer play, with all the trimmings and tricks you've probably come to expect from the social RPG genre. I've spent a little time with the game since it came out yesterday here in Japan, and I thought I'd give you a few impressions...

Chances are good that if you know any Japanese RPGs at all, you know Final Fantasy [$7.99]. It's also quite likely you've at least heard of Dragon Quest [$2.99], even if you haven't played it. Chrono Trigger [$9.99] and Secret Of Mana [$7.99] are both quite well-known worldwide, as well. It's not surprising, then, that Square Enix has diligently ported almost every one of those games to mobile over the last several years. With only a few holes remaining among their world-famous titles, however, Square Enix is probably going to have to dig a little deeper in their back catalogue if they want to find new candidates to port. This year we've already seen a lovely remake of Final Fantasy Adventure in the form of Adventures Of Mana [$13.99]. Perhaps it's fitting, then, that the next unexpected selection comes from the other series that started on Nintendo's Game Boy...

Monster Hunter Freedom Unite for iOS is one of the best Capcom releases on the platform thus far. That made it extra painful when the game just plain stopped working after iOS 8.4 hit, not even a year after the game's worldwide release. Now, Capcom's had their ups and downs on mobile, but they're usually pretty good about updating their games if they break, as the Ghost Trick [Free] saga shows. Unfortunately, they also tend to take a while working on those updates, as... well, as the Ghost Trick saga shows. They're also strangely frank about the whole idea, regularly pinning notices on the App Store descriptions of their games warning people that the games might not work on newer iOS versions, even when they do...

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

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 looked at the early years of smartphone RPGs, when paid games ruled the roost. For the first time since perhaps the early years of the Game Boy, JRPGs and WRPGs were arriving on a handheld in nearly equal numbers. Dedicated handheld systems weren't finished yet by any means, however, and both Nintendo and Sony would introduce successors to their handhelds just as the smartphone market started to pivot. This month, we're looking at Nintendo's offering, a system that had some pretty big shoes to fill in the wake of the Nintendo DS's unprecedented success...

'Hatoful Boyfriend' Review - Love, Pudding, And More Drama Than You Can Shake A Feather At

Hatoful Boyfriend [$4.99] is one of those games that grabs attention just with a description of its premise. It's a Japanese dating simulator where you play a human girl who attends a school for birds. Naturally, every last one of your potential suitors is some type of bird or another. Doves, pigeons, finches, and more can be wooed over the course of your character's sophomore year at the school. Unlike many games with a goofy premise, however, Hatoful Boyfriend manages to deliver a really enjoyable game. It knows when to play things straight, when to wink at the audience, when to bow to the absurd, and when to let things go off in surprising directions. In general, it's a parody of the visual novel genre, but its plot is so meticulously crafted, it stands perfectly well on its own even if you have no experience with the genre...

Perfect World is one of those up-and-coming companies that isn't very well-known in the West yet. Based in China, they're the publisher behind the upcoming Torchlight Mobile, action-RPG The Legend Of The Condor Heroes, and in partnership with Square Enix, Final Fantasy Type-0 Online. Well, you can add another famous brand feather to their cap, because the company has announced today that they will be releasing Dynasty Warriors Mobile, based on Koei Tecmo's famous brand of beat-em-ups. The game will be playable at E3 2016...

Fans of Mystery Dungeon and similar Japanese-style roguelikes last summer got a treat when Q-Cumber Factory released Alchemic Dungeons [$2.99], a follow-up to their earlier title, Rogue Ninja [$2.99]. It offered a twist on the usual formula by allowing you to collect materials and craft items, weapons, and other gear on the fly. Once you got the various recipes down, you could easily craft the things you needed for whatever situation was at hand, lending the game a somewhat gentler curve than comparable titles. Another cool improvement the game made over its predecessor was in allowing you to choose from three different characters, each of whom had a style all their own...

Update Mondays: 'Clash Of Clans', 'Panzer Corps', 'Puzzle & Dragons', 'Disney Crossy Road', 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. If I were being completely thorough, the theme this week would be removing iAd support, but that kind of thing isn't nearly saucy enough to get into this feature. So instead, I've found some other awesome updates for you to look over while you eat your morning Eggos. 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!..

'Imbroglio' Review - It's Quite The Hoopla

There are two things I know when I fire up a new game from Michael Brough. One, its presentation is probably not going to win any awards. Two, I'm going to have a good time. Brough's got a talent for designing games whose gracefully skate the line between accessibility and depth. 868-HACK [$4.99] is the kind of game that should probably be on everyone's mobile device. I'm sure it isn't, but it ought to be. His latest game is Imbroglio [$3.99], and while it's clearly another spin on the single-screen strategy trappings that comprise many of Brough's offerings, it is a clever one. It has a similar appeal to 868-HACK, but throws in a few interesting twists for your brain to chew on...

'Mazes Of Karradash 2' Review - Go Big Or Go Home

I'm frequently impressed at how quickly some small developers can create a game. It hasn't even been a year since the original Mazes Of Karradash [$0.99] released, and here I am looking at an impressively large-scale sequel. The fundamentals of the game haven't changed much in Mazes Of Karradash 2 [$1.99], but everything is bigger, brighter, and more advanced. Whereas I tended to think of the first game as a lightweight RPG best fit for filling in short gaps of time, the sequel has become something you'll want to settle into a comfy chair to play...

RPG Reload File 081 - 'Dragon Quest'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we only use pseudo-Elizabethan English accents when no one is looking. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's doing in the here and now. It's a chance to give old classics another spin, reflect on the iOS RPG market on the whole, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As a direct descendant of Loto, I try to choose a balanced schedule of games from week to week. If you feel like I'm missing anything important, you can let me know by leaving a comment below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. The schedule is planned quite far in advance, so you may not see your selection soon, but it will be added to the master list...

When the Apple Watch released, a number of developers attempted to take advantage of the buzz by either updating old games with new features, or by releasing new games specifically designed with the Apple Watch in mind. One of the more success of the latter group was Lifeline [$1.99], an interactive fiction game that had you guiding a student named Taylor who had been stranded on a moon. As with most games in this genre, the game mostly consisted of reading text and making the occasional choice. The gimmick came from the way the game incorporated real time into the story. Taylor would often become busy after you made a choice, and you'd have no choice but to wait until Taylor notified you, via your watch or your device, that the story could continue. While the game itself was quite simple relative to other gamebooks, this element gave Lifeline the twist it needed to stand out from the pack...

Hello, friends! Do you like deals? Do you like Dragon Quest? Is your iOS collection of said games inexplicably missing the best installments the series has to offer? If you answered yes to all of those questions, then today, fortune smiles upon thee, for thou hast found some Dragon Quest sales. Perhaps to coincide with the release of Romancing SaGa 2 later today, Square Enix has dropped the price on a few of the better Dragon Quest games. No telling how long these prices will last, so get them quickly if you want them...

Virtually every Japanese strategy RPG can be said to be inspired by Nintendo's Fire Emblem in some way or another. While strategy RPGs followed their own path in the West, they did so mostly on computer formats that either weren't available in Japan or were very niche. When Fire Emblem's developer Intelligent Systems got the idea to add some Dragon Quest-style elements to their Famicom Wars turn-based strategy formula, they ended up creating a sort of Dragon Quest of their own. Not nearly as popular, mind you, but certainly as influential for its sub-genre. Without Fire Emblem, games like Final Fantasy Tactics, Disgaea, and Shining Force likely wouldn't have existed, nor would the numerous strategy RPGs that they themselves spawned. That said, while a debt is clearly owed, the genre has widened and evolved considerably over the years, to the point that many strategy RPG games bear little resemblance to Fire Emblem...

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 [$7.99]...

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...