Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


TGS 2017: Hands-On with 'Rhythm Doctor', a 'Rhythm Heaven'-Inspired Music Game

To be frank, I'm surprised that there aren't more clones of Nintendo's Rhythm Heaven out there. Especially on mobile devices, where the touch-friendly controls would be right at home. But when you really think about it, as simple as those games appear to be in some ways, they're probably really tough to pull off. Every once in a while, we do see games that try to channel its spirit, even if they're not exactly the same thing. Such is Rhythm Doctor, an upcoming release from 7th Beat Games. I got to give the game a try at the Tokyo Game Show and was even able to grab a video of one of the hardest stages...

TGS 2017: Hands-On with 'Pocket Quest', an RPG from Firi Games

Developer Firi Games is best known for their Phoenix series of hardcore bullet-hell shoot-em-ups. While their presence at the Tokyo Game Show was mainly to show off the latest in that series, Phoenix 2, to Japanese audiences, I managed to convince them to show me something from their next game, which is a slightly unexpected change from their usual fare. Pocket Quest is an RPG that Firi games has been planning for a very long time, and with Phoenix 2 settling a bit following its anniversary update, they've finally had the chance to dedicate their full attention to this charming little game. They even allowed me to capture some footage of an early version of the game...




It's hard to believe that only a couple of years ago, Square Enix was dedicating a significant portion of its booth space to mobile games. This year, it was hard to see anything but Final Fantasy 15 spin-offs and add-ons in Square's space. They had a dedicated area for the upcoming PlayStation anniversary edition of Itadaki Street, a small space for Secret of Mana's remake, and an area for the popular MMO Final Fantasy 14. The only speck of mobile gaming to be found was in a video showing off the upcoming Final Fantasy 15: Pocket Edition...

Konami has certainly scaled back on their gaming projects in the last few years, and their booth size and location reflects that to an extent. Still, they had some of their heavy-hitting brands on display at Tokyo Game Show, including Metal Gear Survive, Zone of the Enders VR, and others. The most popular game by far, however, was their upcoming mobile release LovePlus Every. The line-up to try the game out in its "Mobile VR Experience" form was quite lengthy for almost the entire day...

TGS 2017: SEGA's Mobile Offerings Include 'Yakuza Online' and 'Dx2 Shin Megami Tensei: Liberation'

It's often said that SEGA of Japan and the Western branches of SEGA operate in very different ways, and that's always apparent at their Tokyo Game Show showings. Mainstay mobile products of the Western side like Sonic Dash and SEGA Forever are rarely seen, while the games they do tend to show almost never make it to the West. Still, it's always interesting to see just what kinds of games the company is putting out there, especially for a market as competitive as Japanese mobile gaming. This year, they didn't really have anything playable, but they did make a show of at least two mobile games in their booth...

TGS 2017: Hands-On with 'Stay', an Atmospheric Adventure Game

With mobile phones and tablets practically becoming everyday tools for many, they present a unique narrative opportunity for certain types of games. We use our mobile devices for all kinds of things: making calls, sending texts, checking the web, watching videos, listening to music, and more. They're a window into the larger world, and with that being their established role in our lives, there's no reason they can't also be a plausible window into a fictional world. We've seen some games play with this concept already, from games like Republique to Lifeline. The upcoming release Stay, from Appnormals, looks to build on this idea with an even greater level of immersion. I was able to give it a spin at the Tokyo Game Show and record it for you...

Check the thermostat in Hades, friends. When 2K put up a notice that they were pulling down their terrific strategy XCOM: Enemy Within [$9.99] from the App Store pending a compatibility update, I was pretty sure we had seen the last of it. After all, that was sort of the same thing the publisher had said about Bioshock, at least for the first couple of years it was broken. Unlike that sad tale, this story has a happy ending. XCOM: Enemy Within is now back on the App Store, with a spiffy new 64-bit update to make it compatible with the latest version of iOS. I'm eating a plate full of crow, friends, and it has never been so tasty...

'Thimbleweed Park' Review - It's Not Over Til The Weird Uncle Sings

With around a half century behind the video game medium at this point, it's clear that it is taking after other forms of entertainment media in at least one point: no idea that was ever bankable will stay dead forever. Genres wax and wane, creators leave their beloved IPs and return, companies collapse and get bought up by the next ambitious up-and-comer, and franchises thought to be rendered toxic by a low quality installment or five can spring back to life with incredible force. You can't stop this train we're on, even if you wanted to. Like many other genres, point-and-click adventures were declared dead a long while back, a condition which never really stopped them from going about their (substantially reduced) business anyway. It's not that they ceased to be released altogether, but it's certainly arguable that changes had to be made to accommodate survival. If you liked them just fine the way they were? Well, you were out of luck...

Best iPhone Game Updates: 'TypeShift', 'Marvel Future Fight', 'Warlock of Firetop Mountain', 'Dashy Crashy', 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. This was a really exciting week for 64-bit updates, with games like Final Fantasy Tactics, Aralon: Sword and Shadow, Baldur's Gate 2, and Lunar all getting much-needed jolts of life among many others. Besides those, there were also some very nice updates along the regular, content-granting lines. I've picked some of the best to feature here. Of course, you can keep an eye out for updates yourself using AppShopper or by participating in the TouchArcade forums. This weekly summary is here to fill in the things you might have missed. Let's dig in!..

The latest SEGA Forever release is upon us, and like many of the releases so far this one was already released on iOS several years ago before being pulled due to compatibility issues. Space Harrier 2 [Free] is a game of some historical significance as it was one of just two launch titles for the SEGA Genesis's debut in Japan, but it's also a firm reminder that the SEGA Forever celebration of the company's history remains steadily focused on one particular period of it. The emulation is solid enough and it's a decent game that is well-suited to touch controls, so nostalgic SEGA fans could do a lot worse than throwing a couple of bucks at it. Any appeal beyond that group might be a tough sell, however...

As iOS 11 looms and the deadline for 32-bit apps is upon us, it's been interesting watching long-dormant apps finally get updated after years of inactivity. Still, some big names remain unaccounted for, while others have promised updates on a nebulous schedule. One game that had many iOS gamers worried was Square Enix's Final Fantasy Tactics [$13.99 / $15.99 (HD)], the only iOS Final Fantasy game that wasn't yet 64-bit compatible. Fortunately, about a month ago Square made it known that the game would be updated sometime in September. Dates have a way of slipping, but this one didn't. Final Fantasy Tactics has at long last been updated and will happily make a home on your spiffy new iOS 11 devices...

RPG Reload Glossary: An Inability to Count to Three, or Action-RPGs in the Late 00s

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where spin-offs are never out of season. This week, we're continuing our look at the history of the action-RPG sub-genre. Last time, we checked in on the early 00s, a period where Diablo's massive success spawned a number of imitators and Square Enix hooked up with Disney to make some real money with a fantasy cross-over. Steam was just beginning what would eventually be a near takeover of the PC market, while Nintendo was about to lob a couple of Hail Mary passes that may have saved the company. Oh, and Apple was only a year or two away from launching the product that would come to define them in the new millennium. Somehow, the action-RPG genre was still a slippery one, but developers had more or less figured out that to be a big success with them, you had to make them easy to play...

'Danmaku Unlimited 3' Review - The Depths of Bullet Hell

The 32-bit Appocalypse is upon us, friends, and some genres are going to get hit worse than others. By the looks of things, shoot-em-up fans are going to have plenty to be upset about. Just about every fantastic Cave shoot-em-up is headed for the scrap heap, and if the company plans to update them, they haven't said anything about it. It's a real loss, not just because they were relatively pricey by App Store standards, but also because they represent some of the finest the bullet hell sub-genre has to offer. You know what, though? I think we're going to be okay, because as long as there are developers like Doragon Entertainment out there putting out games like Danmaku Unlimited 3 [$4.99], we're still eating well on iOS...

Best iPhone Game Updates: 'Real Racing 3', 'Marvel Avengers Academy', 'Card Thief', 'Hitman Sniper', 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. Updates, updates, we've got updates. Some are pretty cool, but many of them are just 64-bit updates that are exciting but not really a good fit for this summary. Like Vay. Can you believe they updated that? Shin Megami Tensei dies while Vay lives on. It's a strange world out there, friends. Of course, you can keep an eye out for updates yourself using AppShopper or by participating in the TouchArcade forums. This weekly summary is here to fill in the things you might have missed. Let's dig in!..

Classic Reload: 'Beat Sneak Bandit'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the Classic Reload, the regular feature where we time our walk to the tick of the clock. In each installment of this series, we take a look at a game 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, and to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. Your only guide on this journey is me, an observer from your own time, taking the form of a hologram that only you can see and hear. I try to pick a balanced selection of games, but if you have something you really want to see, don't be shy! You can leave a comment below with suggestions and I'll add them to the master list for future consideration. The schedule is done quite far in advance, so you might not see them soon, but it never hurts to try...

This month's major update for Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes [Free] has arrived, and it adds a much-requested feature to the game. While the core of the Fire Emblem series is the strategic combat system, it seems to be just as popular these days for the relationships that can be built between characters. In recent entries, these relationships are expressed through mini scenarios that tell some kind of story about the two characters. The debut of the support system in the third Fire Emblem game, however, only took the form of statistical advantages when certain characters were put together on the battlefield. Well, Fire Emblem Heroes now has a support system, but it's a bit closer to the one in that earlier entry than what fans of newer games may be familiar with...

It feels like it was just a week and a half ago that good ol' Nick wrote about the upcoming update to the brilliant Card Thief [$2.99]. Wait, it was just a week and a half ago. Okay, well, that's not really important. What is important is that the update is here! Yes, you are now free to venture to the little updates tab in your App Store and download the new goodies that have been added. Maybe you're using auto-update, in which case all you have to do is open the game. The future is pretty neat, and also now. Let's have a look at what's here, shall we?..

With the arrival of the Choose Your Legends event in Fire Emblem Heroes [Free], we had a rare opportunity to speak with the game's directors and ask them some questions. Most of the talk centered around the development of the game, with some extra questions to try to get at some of the team's future plans for mobile. A big thank you to Nintendo of America for arranging this interview and facilitating it, and to Mr. Maeda and Mr. Matsushita for giving up their time to talk to us today. Before we get to the interview, I'd like to talk a little bit about the subjects...

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. This week's list is kind of small but there are a few updates here that pack a solid punch. I suppose it's to be expected, though. Not much point pushing through updates this close to a new iOS version unless you know for sure your app is going to break. Anyway, here's the list of what I could find. Of course, you can keep an eye out for updates yourself using AppShopper or by participating in the TouchArcade forums. This weekly summary is here to fill you in on the things you might have missed. Let's dig in!..

Well friends, we can scratch another one off the condemned list. I'm not real happy about losing the games that are definitely on their way out this fall, but if I must find a silver lining, it's seeing a lot of games updating that I never thought would update again. Take, for example, Rogue Touch [$2.99]. It's a pretty nice mobile version of the classic computer game. Originally released all the way back in February of 2009, the game hadn't seen an update since September of 2013. I thought for sure this one would be a goner come iOS 11, but not only has it been updated with 64-bit compatibility, there's also a bunch of cool new additions and improvements...