Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


As regular readers know by now, I like to get into games like Fable Age [Free] and basically go as far as I can without spending anything. It's an enjoyable challenge sometimes, like doing a solo or white mage run in Final Fantasy [$8.99]. Most of these games are actually very playable even if you don't want to kick in money or a lot of time, and Fable Age is no exception. Whether you want to pull off a little clever trick to get yourself a super-powerful character upfront or you just want to play it straight and slowly build up through persistance and a bit of luck, it's easy and fun to make progress in this game at a reasonable pace. As usual, after sinking some time into this, I've put together some tips and advice for anyone who's getting started with Fable Age...

There are many things you could accuse the Trese Brothers, developers of Star Traders 4X: Empires in Exile [Free / $4.99] of with regards to how they handle their games. You can't ever say that they lack ambition or industriousness, however, and that has never been more apparent than with this latest release. Although most of their past mobile work has been for Android mobile devices, the Trese Brothers have released two games before this on iOS. Their first release, a couple of years ago, was Star Traders RPG [Free / $2.99], a sci-fi themed trading game with an impressive amount of universe lore. Then, several months ago, they released Heroes of Steel RPG [Free / $3.99], an interesting turn-based strategy RPG that again featured an impressive amount of world-building. Both games were in many ways too deep for their own good at times, and both were pretty rough around the edges at release. On the positive side, both have received a mind-boggling amount of updates in response to player feedback...

Puzzle And Dragons [Free] is a scorching hot hit in many Asian countries, but while it's done quite well in Western countries, it hasn't had quite the same dominance. So, while Eastern publishers are scrambling hand over fist to try to catch a little lightning in a bottle with their own takes on the idea, we actually haven't seen all that many straight attempts from Western publishers. Enter Gameloft, one of the oldest and staunchest supporters of mobile gaming. It's been known for many things in its history: making, shall we say, heavily inspired homages to popular titles, pushing extremely high-quality production values, and recently, making free-to-play games and pushing mandatory online connections. Their latest title, Dungeon Gems [Free], is all of those things wrapped up into one neat little package...

There are an awful lot of games involving cats on the App Store. Sometimes, their inclusion doesn't even make sense. Like most of the Internet, I love cats, so I'm not going to complain, but there are plenty of people out there who have a slightly more negative appraisal of the feline species, and I can only guess how many games they miss out on as a result. If that describes you, perhaps you've gazed longingly at Cat Physics [$1.99], the popular puzzle game released a few years back by Donut Games, wishing you could enjoy its physics-based puzzles without all that shedding on your freshly-laundered slacks. Well, person with an unusually strong hatred of digital cats, have I got a game for you. It's called Lightlands [$0.99], and although it has a few new ideas to freshen things up, at its core, it's essentially Cat Physics after TV's Alf has made the scene...

'Powerpuff Girls: Defenders Of Townsville' Review - Once Again, The Day Is Saved

Every once in a long while, things converge in this hobby in such a way that I almost feel the resulting game was aimed right at me. I'll confess, I was on top of this game as soon as I saw it was The Powerpuff Girls. I can't explain why watching three super-powered kindergarteners beat the crap out of a hyper-intelligent megalomaniacal talking monkey is awesome. I shouldn't need to. Next, I saw that word used to describe it: Metroidvania. That term gets tossed around a lot, and even though most of the games that invoke it rarely deliver, I'll still show up every time, because I miss Metroid and Symphony-style Castlevania games. Finally, as a ridiculously unnecessary coup-de-grace on the whole thing, I saw that it was developed by none other than radiangames, who have a very fine catalog of games on the App Store, including the recent Fluid SE [$1.99] and JoyJoy [$1.99]. They're a developer I trust enough to buy their games as soon as they appear, no questions asked...

This is a slightly controversial opinion, depending on one's values, but I personally believe that video game fans have never had it as good as we have it now. Particular genres have ebbed to an extent, as they tend to in this hobby, but I feel like the overall spread of the market is broader and deeper than it's ever been. As the big companies have focused more and more on creating big, expensive productions that dazzle with their beauty and scope, indies have rushed in and filled just about every possible gap you could think of. On top of that, the popularity of deep discount sales across most digital platforms means that not only do we have more choices than ever before, but they're a lot cheaper than ever, to boot. It's truly a buyer's market...

Many of the games in the puzzle genre of video games are evolutions of classic board games, with various alterations made to the rules to simply, complicate, or simply diversify. Of course, this is really just carrying on the work that was happening in physical board games themselves before video games came along and blew a huge chunk out of that market. For example, Reversi, or Othello as it's popularly known, is a simplified version of the ancient Chinese game, Go. The latest game from Synesthetic [$2.99] creator Alex Dantis, Polygon Evolution [Free], is also a variation on Go, simplified in some ways, complicated in others, and like its ancestor, a lot more fun to play against a human than a computer...

'Darkin' Review - Dungeon Raid: Breaking Dawn

Often imitated and never truly duplicated, Dungeon Raid [$1.99] is a near-perfect distillation of the puzzle-RPG concept and one of the better puzzle games around. To its credit, even three years after its last update, the game still functions properly on new hardware and updated versions of iOS, which sadly isn't the case for all too many older games. With that said, while it's still perfectly playable, the game is showing a lot of wear and tear from its abandonment. It doesn't fill out the screen on new hardware, the graphics don't take advantage of retina displays, and Open Feint still lingers in its icon and main menu in spite of that service having shuffled off the digital coil. We have to face facts, my friends. Someday, Dungeon Raid is not going to work anymore, and we need to find a replacement...

'Doug Dug.' Review - Grab Your Shovel And Dig In!

For the life of me, I really don't understand why I find digging so much fun. Whether it's digging at the beach, at the park, in the shoe section of Walmart, or in a video game, I really seem to get a lot of enjoyment out of displacing soil. If you think I'm weird, think of all the awesome video games about digging: Dig Dug, Mr. Driller [$2.99], Super Mario Bros. 2, Minecraft [$6.99], and Steamworld Dig, just to name a few highlights. Now, I'll grant you that in some of those games, digging is just a portion of the game, but there are quite a few games that center around the idea. Doug Dug [$1.99], the new game from pixa [$2.99] developers The Electric Toy Company, is all about digging for treasure and the risk versus reward that presents itself from the concept...

Some puzzle games have such simple mechanics that just about anyone can pick them up and do fairly well without too much effort. Games like these usually rely on something external to the mechanics to add a greater challenge, such as a timer or giving you a penalty for making mistakes. Perfect Paths [$2.99], from Lums [$2.99] developer Hyperbolic Magnetism, is not one of those games. In the broad sense, the rules aren't that hard to understand. You've got a certain number of different colored blocks that each need to be moved to a matching-colored goal. You do this by drawing the paths each block should move, then press the button to execute your plan. If all goes well, you can enjoy watching each block make its way to its final location, all according to your brilliant strategy...

Three years ago, iOS gamers were treated to Great Little War Game [$1.99] from Rubicon Development. It was perhaps one of the more truthful titles seen in gaming, and it was a big hit with us here at TouchArcade. Two years ago, the game got an immense sequel in Great Big War Game [$2.99], which added just about anything fans of the first game could have asked for, including online multiplayer. After that, things went quiet for the series, and it seemed like Rubicon had moved on to other things, like last year's Combat Monsters [Free]. They haven't been shy about discussing the somewhat sluggish performance of that last game in the marketplace, and I wouldn't be surprised if that blow informed Great Little War Game 2 [$2.99] right from its very existence on. That said, I don't really care how or why we got another game in the series. As a pretty big fan of both of the previous games, I'm just happy to see the series back...

Even on devices that survive and thrive using non-conventional control methods, tilt controls are somewhat controversial among players. Some people find them a bit hard to control or inaccurate, while others are unsurprisingly using their mobile devices outside of their homes and don't want to draw attention to themselves. Those in favor of tilting usually point to the more natural feeling it sometimes offers, along with delegating fewer actions to on-screen buttons or sticks. Usually, developers who want to use the tilt feature do their best to accommodate everyone, but sometimes a game comes along where the tilt controls are inseparable from the game itself. A great example of this is the excellent Tilt To Live [$2.99], a game that typically appeals even to people who aren't big fans of motion controls. Even in the case of that game, some people just aren't convinced...

'99 Bricks: Wizard Academy' Review - An Excellent Twist On Tetris

Tetris [$0.99] is one awesome game. I personally consider it one of the best games ever made, and certainly one of the closest to pure perfection. While most other games are work-in-progress designs that eventually have to be snipped off, polished up, and released, Tetris's big coming-out releases on Game Boy and NES were essentially flawless realizations of the design's potential. Other than catching up with technology like internet play, what do you really add to Tetris to make it better? Every attempt to change the game in some way has resulted in, at best, a lateral move, and at worst, an absolute disaster. Well, 99 Bricks: Wizard Academy [$2.99] offers a few interesting answers to my question, and while it's probably not a better game, it's a more than worthy side-trip for fans of that classic...

While it has its share of problems, most of which are outlined in my review of the game, Bubble Witch Saga 2 [Free] is a pretty enjoyable way to kill a couple of minutes here and there. It's a bit of an oddball in King's lineup thanks to how strongly success depends on getting a lucky distribution of bubbles, but even when winning is futile, you can still sharpen up your skills for the next round. Having picked my way through all of the currently available stages, I've managed to put together a list of tips and advice for those of you trying to make your way through. Of course, if you've played the original game of this type, Taito's Bust-A-Move, or one of its many, many clones, you've probably already got a lot of great techniques in your arsenal, and I'll be going through a few of those here, but Bubble Witch has a few twists that require some specific strategies...

Rolling Zimro [$0.99] is an endless runner with a gimmick. Actually, it's an endless runner with two gimmicks, but one of them is just set dressing. First, and most obviously, this game has a big old coat of recreational drug culture paint covering it from head to toe. The main character is a thinly-veiled pot-farmer, some of the enemies look kind of like bongs, the name of the currency you're collecting is 'munchies', and most of the power-ups are drug references. That's going to be a selling point for some people and a turn-off for others, but personally, I'm kind of indifferent...