Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


Update Mondays: 'A Noble Circle', 'Pokemon GO', 'Cookie Jam', 'Star Traders 4X Empires', 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. Let's just go ahead and lose ourselves in some nifty updates this week, okay friends? There's lots of good stuff to check out, no matter what your tastes. 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!..

'Mikey Jumps' Review - A Divine Slice of Mike

That Mikey sure gets around. He uses hooks, boots, and even shorts in his previous adventures on iOS. But what if Mikey were to put down his shorts for a minute and just, you know, jump? Alright, all kidding aside, the Mikey games have always been about precise platforming, a gameplay mechanic that usually involves all kinds of jumping. So what is the deal with this new game? Well, I suspect Mikey Jumps [Free] got its name from the fact that you're really only dealing with what would be the jump button in previous games. As it did in those games, it does all sorts of things here, but the key difference between this spin-off and the mainline games it that Mikey automatically runs forward at all times. Your job is to make sure you're hitting that jump button at the right times to keep Mikey (or friends) alive, collect lots of coins, and grab the star at the end of each stage...




RPG Reload Developer Spotlight 002 - Neil Rennison from Tin Man Games

It's time for the next installment in our monthly series of articles looking at the developers and publishers behind some of our favorite games. The aim here is for you readers to get a sense of the person, so the tone is more conversational than we usually use in interviews here at TouchArcade. It's also not necessarily about the games themselves, either. Basically, we'll kick off and see where the conversation takes us. This month, we're speaking to Neil Rennison of Tin Man Games, the developer behind many of the finest gamebooks on the App Store...

'SteamWorld Heist' Review - Stealing Hearts and Minds Around the Galaxy

Last year, I was asked to participate in voting for some dedicated handheld Game of the Year awards. When it came time to submit my votes for the Nintendo 3DS, my list had many of the expected choices on it. There was Capcom's Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, and Atlus's Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker. But among these franchise games from some of the industry's biggest names, I had also included a download-only title from a relatively small developer. Moreover, I had put it at the top of my list. With exclamation points. And maybe some hearts. That game was SteamWorld Heist [$9.99], an outstanding strategy game from Swedish game studio Image & Form. The game has since released on a number of platforms, and its latest stop is on iOS...

If you're a strategy game fan, this week has been showering riches on you. The classic Rome: Total War [$9.99] made its appearance on iPad and appears to be in fine form. The quirky, creative, and all-around excellent Steamworld Heist [$9.99] seemingly dropped out of nowhere. Well, I hope you kept room on your plate, because the turn-based party isn't over yet. Demon's Rise 2: Lords of Chaos [$7.99], the latest strategy RPG from Wave Light Games hadn't appeared by the time we did our weekly round-up post last night, but it showed up not long after. If you're looking for a game to scratch your Final Fantasy Tactics itch, you'll probably want to check it out...

Update Mondays: 'Marvel Avengers Academy', 'Junk Jack X', 'Demon's Rise', 'Doomsday Clicker', 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. With Halloween behind us, it seems like updates are a little slow this week. We'll surely be buried under Thanksgiving and Christmas updates soon enough, but in the meantime, let's take a moment to enjoy this calm. 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!..

Okay, we're at a point now where it's highly unlikely many mobile gamers are itching for another roguelite. It's proven to be a popular genre on mobile, which means everyone, their uncle, and their uncle's cat has released some kind of variation on the time-honored theme. 1-Bit Rogue [Free], from Kan Kikuchi and popular Japanese indie developer Skipmore, is the latest to give it the old college try, and while it's a pretty fun game, I'm not sure it has much to say to anyone looking for something to perk up the genre. It does all the things well that Skipmore usually excels at: the retro-style presentation feels authentic, there are fun unlockables, and it's an easy game to come to grips with. If nothing else, that makes it worth checking out for a game or three...

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we know the Prince of Cannock is a freeloader. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's holding up 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 last descendent of the Kingdom of Midenhall, I try to choose a balanced plate of games to feature in this column, but if you have any suggestions, I'm happy to hear to them. You can leave suggestions in the comments below, post in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. I prepare the schedule well in advance, so you might not see your suggested game soon, but it will be added to the master list...

'RETSNOM' Review - Yako S'ti

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I think the first platformer I ever played where you could manipulate gravity was Irem's Metal Storm for the 8-bit NES. It's a side-scrolling action game, a genre that at the time was so flooded that you virtually had to have some kind of gimmick to stand out. You were mostly jumping and shooting, but you also had a handy button that let you flip to the ceiling. That mechanic showed up here and there over the years before the popular VVVVVV [$2.99] used it better than any game had before, at least in my opinion. It makes for clever puzzles, but more importantly, it rewrites the rules of one of gaming's most well-worn genres. So it's not surprising that a lot of games that followed VVVVVV drew that mechanic into their tool sets. Unfortunately, in becoming a trend, flipping gravity has lost a lot of what it can offer a game...

A few days ago, Square Enix teased that they would be announcing a new mobile Final Fantasy game from Takashi Tokita, the lead designer of Final Fantasy 4 and most recently the producer behind many of Square Enix's handheld and mobile efforts such as the remake of Final Fantasy 3 and Final Fantasy Legends/Dimensions. Given his recent work, it was reasonable to assume it would be another game in the Legends/Dimensions series, and sure enough, that's what it is. In spite of it being the third game in the series (counting the Japan-only social RPG Final Fantasy Legends: The Crystal of Time and Space), the new game is titled Final Fantasy Legends 2. Assuming it releases outside of Japan, it will probably follow in the suit of its predecessor and be retitled Final Fantasy Dimensions 2...

The game of chess may well have been one of the earliest examples of a game being easy to learn but hard to master. Learning how all of the pieces move and putting together a basic strategy towards getting a checkmate isn't that difficult, but the unpredictable nature of human behavior makes chess a game that always has something new to offer. There's almost always a move to make that could be considered the best, but it's only the best if your opponent reacts in the textbook way themselves. A strong chess player needs to study their opponent almost as intently as the board. That said, there's a lot to be said for learning some fundamental strategies, just in case your opponent plays things by the book. As an added bonus, that knowledge will help you if you decide to play Moveless Chess [Free]...

Hello everyone, and welcome to the week! Also: Happy Halloween! It's time once again for our look back at the noteworthy updates of the last seven days. I'll level with you, friends. I skipped over a lot of Halloween updates this week. I tried to include any that looked particularly cool, but I have to go home sometime, you know? 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!..

RPG Reload File 096 - 'Kingturn Underworld'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the semi-weekly feature where we have trouble figuring out where it all starts and ends at times. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's holding up with some time behind it. We revisit old favorites, reflect on their position in the overall library, or sometimes just take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As the keeper of the flame, I try to plan a balanced schedule from week to week, but if you think I'm missing something important, don't hesitate! You can give me suggestions by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. You might not see your suggestion soon, but it will be added to the master list for future consideration...

Let's be honest: Kemco's RPG release schedule on mobile has always been pretty absurd. They've only been at this for around five years on smartphones and they're nearing 50 RPGs on iOS in English, and even more than that on Android. That works out to an average of just under one RPG per month for five years running. Now, there's a fair bit of repetition from game to game, particularly if you're just looking at the broad outlines, but I feel they've historically been able to mitigate that issue by keeping a handful of developers on tap. This has helped differentiate the Kemco catalogue, to at least a small extent, and has also ensured that each developer has a bit of a buffer between releases...

Ah, Miitomo [Free]. That was a fun few days, wasn't it, friends? Okay, so Nintendo's first official smartphone app didn't exactly light the world on fire. And sure, a third-party developed smartphone game licensed by an affiliated company did end up lighting the world on fire a short time later, which made the whole thing look even sillier. But for a few shining, brief days, we all knew the joys of sharing copious amounts of potentially useful demographic data with our friends and our biggest friend, ol' Nintendo itself...

Update Mondays: 'Pewdiepie's Tuber Simulator', 'Dan the Man', 'Plants vs Zombies 2', 'Really Bad Chess', 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. Hoo boy, have we got a lot of Halloween updates this week. It's not all pumpkins and candy, though, as some really great games saw some non-Halloween updates as well. 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!..

Classic Reload - 'Papa Sangre'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the Classic Reload, the monthly feature where we spend a lot of time running into walls. Each month, we take a look at a game from the App Store's past to see how it holds up today. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their place in the overall library, or just to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As the leader of the underworld, I'll try to choose a nice variety of titles for this feature, but if there's something you really want to see, don't hesitate to make a suggestion in the comments below. You might not see your suggested game soon, since I plan my schedules fairly far in advance, but I will consider it for a future highlight...

'Dan the Man' Review - A Blast While it Lasts

'Dan the Man' Review - A Blast While it Lasts

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October 20th, 2016 12:30 PM EST by Shaun Musgrave in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Action, Arcade, Free, iPad Games, iPhone games, Platform, Reviews
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One of the more reliable means of drawing attention in marketing is to use the biggest numbers you can find for your product or service's features. It's historically been very useful in selling video games, with RPGs claiming dozens of hours of gameplay, open world games boasting about the sizes of their maps, and platformer games talking up the number of levels they have. Thing have become ludicrous in mobile gaming, with Candy Crush offering a couple thousand levels and many platformers eventually expanding out to over a hundred stages. Never mind that the levels might be short, or easily constructed. The players will find that out later, and when they do, they may well not even care...

Let's address it immediately: Treasure Buster [$0.99] is obviously inspired by Mixi's Monster Strike [Free]. Much like this developer's previous game, Slayin [$0.99], this game initially comes off uncomfortably similar to the object of its homage. Luckily, also like Slayin, Treasure Buster ultimately differentiates itself well enough to transcend the copycat label and settle in as an interesting variation on a tried and tested mechanic. In fact, I would say that this game ditches a lot of what makes Monster Strike so much fun, choosing to create its own brand of enjoyment by adding a number of gameplay elements that Monster Strike doesn't have. As usual for a game published by FDG, Treasure Buster also looks and sounds great, fusing a bang-on retro presentation to a very modern gameplay structure...

However you rank Final Fantasy 4 [$14.99] among the many installments of the popular RPG series, it's clear that it's special to many people. Not the least of them being the people at Square Enix, who have seen fit to remake and re-release the game more than any other installment in the series. It's the only Super NES Final Fantasy to get a direct sequel game, which itself has been remade a few times in spite of being a pretty weak effort. Just as last weekend got underway, Final Fantasy 4 got another feather in its cap, as it's the subject of the latest event in the well-received Final Fantasy Brave Exvius [Free]. To celebrate that, Square Enix has temporarily reduced the price of the iOS version of Final Fantasy 4 to less than half of its usual cost...