Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


I can't decide if I'm happy or sad that we've gotten enough EXE-Create RPGs from Kemco this year that I'm getting a bit weary of them. The developer behind the Alphadia, Across Age, and Asdivine series, as well as numerous other one-off RPGs, EXE-Create generally creates the best games of any of the teams working for Kemco. They're particularly good at writing interesting characters and entertaining dialogue, and I can't honestly think of a single release from them that has let me down in that regard. The most common weak point of their RPGs is in how safe they tend to play things with gameplay mechanics. They seem to have really fallen into a rut of late, and it's made all the more apparent when you play their releases nearly back-to-back. For good or for ill, Glorious Savior [Free / $4.99] is another EXE-Create RPG through and through...

Hello, friends! It's that time of the month once more, which means we've got a delicious hot 'n ready episode of the RPG Reload Podcast ready for your consumption! The main topic this time around is Crescent Moon's Ravensword: Shadowlands [$6.99], and we ended up doing something a little different from usual. Due to conflicting holidays, Andy wasn't able to make it for the recording of this episode, so taking his spot in the third chair is none other than Crescent Moon's very own Josh Presseisen. The format's a little different this time around, and we ended up powering right on through without taking a break. I'd like to give a big thank you to Josh for coming on the show and answering a lot of questions, some of which were a little tough...




Just as the first game did a few years ago, Marvel: Avengers Alliance 2 [Free] has grabbed a lot of my attention since its release not long ago. It's a little buggy in places, but the turn-based battle system is very satisfying and strategic, and the team-building offers a lot of options to support a variety of play styles. Plus, it has Spider-Man in it. So, since I'm playing the game an awful lot anyway, I thought I'd put together a bit of advice for anyone else who might be interested in the game. Note that I'm going to try to keep away from recommending specific characters, since an overpowered character is often one update away from being toned down...

'VOEZ', The Latest Rhythm Game From 'Deemo' Developer Rayark Is Coming May 26th

While Rayark has recently received quite a bit of acclaim for their stylish action game Implosion: Never Lose Hope [$9.99], longtime fans of the developer likely associate them more with rhythm games. Both Cytus [$1.99] and Deemo [$1.99] are counted by rhythm game lovers as being among the best on iOS. The games provide challenging action, gorgeous visuals, excellent music, and even a little story to go with all of that. Rayark appears to be building on those strengths with its upcoming release, VOEZ. It's scheduled to release on the App Store on May 26th, so mark your calendars appropriately...

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. Technically, I'm on holidays right now, but you know that won't stop me from bringing you a batch of update notes to kick off your week. 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 078 - 'Pocket RPG'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we always seem to be starting from scratch. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up in the futuristic, post-apocalyptic world we inhabit. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their overall place in the iOS library, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews usually allow for. As the Lukahn of this little Circle Of Sages, I decide which game gets the canoe from week to week. If you feel I've missed any awesome games, however, you can make a suggestion by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. While it might not show up for a while, it will be added to the master list, so you'll see it sooner or later...

'Guns Of Infinity' Review - The Ravages Of War

My quest to stay more or less on top of major gamebook releases has been pretty tricky of late thanks to the speed at which new ChoiceScript-based games have released both through Choice Of Games and Hosted Games. It's hardly the worst problem to have, but readers who have stayed on top of my recent gamebook reviews know that none of them have really grabbed me recently. Coming off of the massive, disappointing Magikiras [Free], I was a little wary of Guns Of Infinity [$4.99]. It's by a completely different author, mind you, so there wasn't much of a logical basis for that fear, but the relatively large word count certainly had me cautious. An unpleasant read can result in very different levels of agony depending on its length, and if Guns Of Infinity missed the mark, it was going to be a very long haul...

It's always a downer when a game you really like at its core is dragged down by external factors. Such is the case with Trap Da Gang [Free], the latest release from Japanese publisher Obokaid'em Games. The basic gameplay is challenging, fun, and wonderfully reminiscent of vintage arcade games from the mid-1980s. But being a free game, it also has an economy that you have to deal with, and while that's not always bad in principle, the extra cruft it brings to the game hurts it. It's still a fun game, but I couldn't help but wish there were some way to play it in a purer form...

Dust: An Elysian Tail [$5.99] knocked off a lot of socks around here when it released on iOS last October. Originally an Xbox 360 release, Dust made its way to iOS in style. We liked it enough to give it our Game Of The Week and a five-star review, and I personally included the game in both my Best Overall Of 2015 and the RPG Reload 2015 Golden Pancho Awards. In short, the game has fantastic production values and it plays like a dream. That said, if you weren't using a newer device with 1 GB of RAM or more, or simply couldn't get on with virtual controls at all, you couldn't join the party. Well, friends, your invite's in the mail and you can RSVP tomorrow, because Dust has a really nice update coming this Thursday...

Let's face it: as much goofy fun as Miitomo [Free] is, a social networking app featuring Mii characters is probably not the first thing people were hoping for when Nintendo announced they would be making games for mobile phones. Nintendo was quick to promise that their next games would feature some of their popular characters and franchises, and while many took that to mean Mario, we'll have to wait a little bit longer to see our favorite plumber on the App Store. Nintendo has announced the next two franchises to get the mobile treatment, and if you ask me, they're probably the two best-suited for the job. Today, Nintendo made it official: Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem are coming to mobile...

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. It feels like an oddly light week this time around, something that's been happening more often than usual of late. Well, no worries, because I found a good bunch of updates for you to scope out while you dig into your morning grapefruit. And by grapefruit, I mean Froot Loops, but let's at least pretend we're a little classy around here, okay? 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 077 - 'Gailardia'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where you can't have a boat until you get yourself a map. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from an older time to see how it's doing in the modern day. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, dig up forgotten titles, or just take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As the fated hero's second cousin (twice removed), I try to choose a balanced plate of RPGs from week to week that properly represent the diversity of the genre. If you feel like I'm missing out on something good, though, make sure to speak up. You can give me suggestions by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. The schedule is done up months in advance, so I can't promise you'll see your suggestion soon, but I will add it to the list...

There are a lot of different ways a piece of interactive fiction can succeed. Some of them tell a great story, some of them give the player a genuine feel of agency in the plot, and some of them have interesting puzzles. Some have tense, RPG-like battles, while others have no fighting at all and focus on building character relationships. A few just take a very interesting setting or theme and run with it. But for all of these strong points that gamebooks can take advantage of, there are a ton of pitfalls that, if not specific to the format, are at least more potentially devastating to the overall enjoyment of a work. It's not an easy thing to put a smooth, highly-interactive narrative together that manages to be strong enough to carry an entire game. It involves almost all of the headaches of writing a good book combined with the difficulties of quality game design...

'Pang Adventures' Review - Pang, Nab It

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April 20th, 2016 11:01 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $2.99, 4 stars, Action, Arcade, Game Center, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews
$3.99 Buy Now

Until now, publisher Dotemu's work on iOS has been mostly limited to bringing back beloved classics in their original forms. Their releases have run the gamut from arcade shoot-em-ups like R.Type [$1.99] to point-and-click PC titles like Sanitarium [$3.99], to say nothing of the work they've done for other companies like SNK and Square Enix. Pang Adventures [$3.99] is something of an unusual case for the prolific French publisher, as it's a new game based on an old favorite franchise. You might remember the series under the names Pang, Buster Bros., Pomping World, Magical Michael, or if you're particularly well-informed, Cannon Ball. We'll go with Pang for the purposes of this review...

Well, here it is, everyone. Magikiras [Free] is easily one of the worst gamebooks I've played in my years of reviewing, and hands-down the most painful. It's absurdly long given its meager premise, poorly-written, and just plain boring. There are tons of spelling and grammar mistakes, and many other instances of incorrect English. It's linear to a fault, with almost every choice in the book save a few very important ones coming down to the same set of approaches listed in the same order. Even those chances come entirely too sporadically, however. You'll mostly just be tapping through page after page of banal text, praying for a release that is perpetually too far away...

Update Mondays: 'Crashlands', 'Templar Battleforce', 'Marvel Contest Of Champions', 'Planar Conquest', 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. The previous couple of weeks may have been a little quiet, but this last week was roaring for updates. In addition to the many Earth Day updates (of which I'm only including a few of here), a ton of other really awesome games got some cool additions. 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!..

The Kingdom Hearts series is one of the top-selling RPG brands in the world. It's hard not to be cynical about its origins, as it was a clear attempt to mash together two things that are very popular, especially in Japan, to see how much money would come out. The answer was, a lot. To the credit of the various development teams who have worked on the franchise, they've made the best of a very unnatural mash-up. The original game sort of coasted on the goodwill of fans and largely inoffensive gameplay, but some of the follow-up games have been surprisingly high quality. Even the failures have tended to be interesting experiments worth messing around with just to appreciate their quirkiness...

RPG Reload File 076 - 'Ravensword: Shadowlands'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we respect giant dino-cows. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up in the here and now. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their position in the overall iOS RPG spectrum, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As per the prophecy, I try to choose a balanced variety of RPGs from week to week, but if you feel like I'm missing something cool, please let me know. You can do that by posting in the comments below, dropping by the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. Since the schedule is planned quite far in advance, your suggestion might not appear soon, but it will go on the master list...

As mentioned by Eli and Jared, this week has felt a little odd for new releases. Vague hints of something that smaller releases might want to get out of the way of. Is this it? Perhaps. Whatever else may or may not come, Warbits [$3.99] certainly adds some meat to the bones of this week's new releases. If turn-based strategy games like Nintendo's Advance Wars are your jam, you'll probably want to start hitting that link until fun things happen...

Friends, there are an awful lot of twin-stick shooters on iOS. After a period of relative dormancy, the genre came back into fashion at almost the exact same time as mobile gaming went through the roof and the indie boom kicked off, so it was in a lot of ways inevitable. The competition is so fierce that even the series responsible for getting the genre going again, Geometry Wars, has to be at the top of its game to earn a spot on people's devices. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved [$9.99] stepped up to that challenge, giving mobile players almost the same experience that could be found on consoles and PCs. If you haven't grabbed it yet, today is your lucky day, as the game has gone on sale for the nice price of $2.99...