Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


'The Warlock of Firetop Mountain' Review - Warlock Has Changed

Ever since prolific gamebook developer Tin Man Games acquired the Fighting Fantasy license a few years back, there were a couple of releases many fans were waiting for. Tin Man has done a wonderful job of choosing books to adapt from the well-known line, but the more they released, the more a couple of titles really stood out by their absence. Well, I don't know when we'll see Deathtrap Dungeon, but if it turns out anything like The Warlock of Firetop Mountain [$4.99] has, I'm willing to wait as long as it takes...

Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes [Free] is, thus far, proving to be something of a Jagen. That is to say, it started off really strong but is quickly falling behind its peers as time goes on. Now, it's not all that surprising that it's happening in North America and Europe, as no social RPG has been able to go the distance in the top rankings of those regions. Japan, on the other hand, typically eats these kinds of games up, but if anything, Fire Emblem Heroes is falling off even faster in its home country. Nintendo doesn't seem to be even close to giving up the fight, though. They've been distributing a steady stream of content since the game's release, and the latest event just hit today...




Update Mondays: 'Rush Rally 2', 'Sunday Lawn', 'Candy Crush Saga', 'Phoenix 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. Plenty of the usual suspects this time around, but there are enough pleasant surprises to please a variety of crowds, I think. 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 101 - 'Dream Quest'

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the not-so-weekly feature where we may not look pretty, but have it where it counts. Every so often, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's holding up in the horrific present of today. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their place in iOS history, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. While this isn't a regular part of the RPG Reload feature anymore, I'll still occasionally be doing these Files when the mood strikes me. If you have a game you really want to see covered, let me know in the comments below, by tweeting me at @RPGReload, or by posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums...

When it comes to action-RPGs, the Ys series from Nihon Falcom is one of the most reliable thrill-rides around. Focusing on fast-paced action and challenging boss fights, the Ys games have a feel quite unlike most other games in the genre. As you would expect with a series this long in the tooth, the worldwide releases have been handled by a number of companies. For mobile gamers, Dotemu has been the main face for the franchise. They've ported the PC versions of Ys Chronicles 1 [$4.99] and Ys Chronicles 2 [$4.99] over to smartphones over the last couple of years, and just today, they released a port of the awesome Ys Origin on Sony's PlayStation 4...

If You Enjoyed 'Fire Emblem Heroes', Here are Some Other Games to Check Out

A lot of players are discovering (or re-discovering) the joys of Fire Emblem through the recent release of Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes [Free]. Enough people gave the game a try that I've been seeing some natural questions popping up in various places, including the TouchArcade Forums and the TouchArcade Discord server. Some people liked the game and are looking for more like it. Others like certain parts of the game, but would rather have a premium experience and are wondering if such a thing exists on iOS. Well, let it never be said that TouchArcade likes to leave a cry for recommendations hanging. For your consideration, I've put together a list of games for those whose SRPG passions have been stimulated by Fire Emblem Heroes and are hungry for more...

I'm still not fully sure what to make of Strange Telephone [$3.99], a surreal adventure game from Japanese indie developer Yuta Yamamoto. I had a chance to speak to the developer several months ago, and he told me that he was inspired by the now-classic Japanese indie game Yume Nikki. Even if he hadn't directly said so, though, the connections are obvious. This is an odd adventure game about a young girl exploring what appears to be a bizarre dimension where nothing really makes much sense. Boiled down to its essence, this is a point and click adventure that throws in both a random component and a limited amount of moves to solve everything. The presentation makes it more than that, but only just...

A couple of years ago, publisher 5pb released an English version of the cult Japanese indie horror game Corpse Party [$17.99] on the App Store. While it was plagued with some nasty bugs at launch, it was eventually updated to fix those major problems. The original version of the game, released on the Japanese PC-9801 platform in 1996, used RPG Maker to make a decidedly low-fi survival horror game. When the game's remake, BloodCovered, hit Windows and PSP more than 10 years later, the series finally went international. Its solid success overseas fueled a string of sequels for a variety of platforms, with the latest release being the PlayStation Vita game Corpse Party: Blood Drive [$31.99]. In an odd move, 5pb has opted to skip over all of the games following Corpse Party: BloodCovered to release an English version of Blood Drive on mobile...

Update Mondays: 'Pokemon Go', 'Galaga Wars', 'Marvel Future Fight', 'Ninja Fishing', 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'm feeling like Mr. Crabby Tree today, and that's partly because there aren't very many updates for me to show you. I think I've got some good ones, but I'll leave that for you to decide. 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 Developer Spotlight 005 - Jonathan Schneider from Aggro Magnet Games

Hello, gentle readers! 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 Jonathan Schneider of Aggro Magnet Games, the developer behind Vigil RPG [$0.99], an excellent game from 2014 that flew under the radar of many players...

It took a while, but it feels like the changes in the iOS market over the last few years are finally catching up to Kemco. Releases are more sporadic and increasingly reliant on one obviously overworked developer. Their games are now released in free and premium versions, both of which are typically packed with extra monetization techniques. If that's not bad enough, it feels like monetization techniques are almost the only aspects that these games are changing or improving. I wish I could say Fairy Elements [Free / $4.99] bucks that trend, but that would be fibbing. At its best, this is no better than the average EXE-Create game published by Kemco. At its worst, it feels cheap and hungry. The most notable thing about it is its soundtrack, where Kemco has made the bold move of pulling in someone with some name value...

Fire Emblem Heroes [Free] has already proven to be a smash hit for Nintendo, at one point topping even Clash of Clans and Game of War in the App Store's Top Grossing charts. That said, the combination of a well-known brand and Nintendo's name almost ensures that any release from the company will make a mark in the charts. What Nintendo has yet to pull off is keeping an app there. Though Fire Emblem has slid a little bit, it's still doing quite well. In hopes of keeping that fire burning, Nintendo has sent out a notice detailing a few changes coming to the game in the next few weeks...

'RPS Saga' Review - Rock, Paper, Snoozer

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February 14th, 2017 10:30 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $0.99, 2.5 stars, Arcade, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Role-Playing
99¢ Buy Now

Rock, Paper, Scissors is probably as simple as a game can get while still having some sort of strategy to it. Indeed, its core mechanic works so well that we can see it incorporated into countless other games in the form of elemental strengths and weaknesses, weapon triangles, and so on. It's a simple and useful means of balancing weapons, skills, and magic. You need to use what is most effective against your current enemy while ensuring that you're well-guarded against whatever the enemy throws back at you. The strategy comes from making sure you have your bases covered, enough resources to make use of them, and figuring out how each enemy works. That's great, but it's also not really what Rock, Paper, Scissors is about as a game...

Update Mondays: 'Candy Crush Soda Saga', 'SpellTower', 'Gangstar Vegas', 'Subway Surfers', 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. Phew, now this is a slow week. Well, nothing to be done about it, I suppose. There were at least a few really cool updates at least, so I tried my best. 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: 'World of Goo HD'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the Classic Reload, the monthly feature where we goo what we want. Each month, we take a look at a classic game from the annals of iOS history to see how it holds 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. As the King Slime, I try to choose a balanced plate of games from month to month, but if there's something you really want to see, let me know by posting in the comments below. You might not see your suggestion soon, but I will add it to the master list for future consideration...

Fire Emblem Heroes [Free] is a lot of fun, but there are definitely a couple of things about it that can be a bummer. One of the biggest things is how maddeningly hard it is to rank up a star ranking on a hero. Moving a hero up from the four-star "almost useful" rank to the five-star "I'll keep them" rank requires grinding of two different items, and neither is particularly easy to come by. From now until the end of the month, however, Nintendo is making it a little bit easier to stock up on one of them...

'Dandy Dungeon' Review - Fine and Dandy

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February 8th, 2017 11:00 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in 5 stars, Adventure, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Role-Playing
Free Buy Now

At this point in iOS's life, it's getting hard to find a new spin on the whole roguelite genre. Most of the people reading this probably own at least twice as many as they've had time to play. I suppose my job here is to try to convince you that you ought to add Dandy Dungeon [Free] to that pile, because you really should. It's bizarre in all the most likable possible ways, and while its basic mechanics are familiar, the way it presents them is definitely unique. If the general theme of, say, Katamari Damacy appealed to you, this is a game you'll want to check out...

'Splitter Critters' Review - Splitting the Difference

'Splitter Critters' Review - Splitting the Difference

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February 7th, 2017 10:00 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
$2.99 Buy Now

Splitter Critters [$2.99] is a cute Lemmings-style puzzle game with a clever gimmick and a gentle difficulty curve. From the developers behind the intriguing Dark Echo [$1.99], this game sees you trying to help adorable little aliens reach their UFO and escape each stage. They'll move around on their own, with each type exhibiting slightly different behaviors, so you'll have to herd them to where they need to go. Your only means of doing that particular task is by tearing the screen in half with a swipe and moving the pieces to create a path to the goal. As you progress into the later stages, you'll often need to slice the world into pieces a few times to get things where you want them. Since you're limited to three cuts at any given time, the stages aren't meant to get too complicated, making this a pretty enjoyable experience for players of all skill levels...

The free-to-play Fire Emblem Heroes [Free] is finally upon us, and it's not as bad as some feared it would be. While the game certainly takes cues from other social RPGs like Puzzle & Dragons and Monster Strike, it's not nearly as hard on players as some examples of the genre. Still, if you're new to Fire Emblem, strategy games, or social RPG mechanics, there is a lot to take in here, and the game isn't always that good about explaining things. With that in mind, I've put together some tips and advice that should help you find your feet. Unlike the characters in Fire Emblem Awakening, right? Ha ha, we have a lot of fun around here. Don't worry, my advice is better than my jokes...

Update Mondays: 'Bullet Hell Monday', 'Exiled Kingdoms', 'Super Mario Run', 'Fallout Shelter', 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 big names in this week's list of updates, with most of the regulars apparently taking a week off. 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!..