Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


I've been even happier than usual with the recent releases from gamebook developer Tin Man Games. They've taken a couple of books that I enjoyed a great deal when I was younger and rather than simply present them faithfully as they typically do, they've shined them up into even better forms. The Complete Sagas Of Fire*Wolf [$9.99] represents a slightly different challenge, however. In my opinion, the original books that this release draws from are deeply flawed in a way none of the other books Tin Man have sourced for their adaptations are. They've made some serious improvements, but in the end, it's probably something that only the hardcore gamebook fans or people with nostalgia for Fire*Wolf ought to look into. Oh, and the asterisk stands for some kind of grunt that we can't make in our language. Basically, his parents were hippies...

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly features where we attempt to take over the world by being the best heroes we can be. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's doing these days, how it holds up, and how the wife and kids are. All kinds of RPGs are welcome in this feature, and I'll always do my best to mix things up from week to week. To keep my madness in check, however, once a month I throw the selection to you, the readers. Simply leave a comment below or drop into the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forum to tell me what you'd like to see me play in the next reader's choice column, which will be RPG Reload File 013. Yes, the five Thursdays in October mean you guys have an extra week to vote this time around, so make your voices heard. You can also comment or post about the game I've written about, or RPG things in general. Fresh comedy is also welcome...

Personally, I'm always satisfied when I see a horror game make good on the sales charts these days. After hearing certain big companies insist that gamers weren't interested in scary games anymore, watching something like Five Nights At Freddy's [$2.99] go big makes me feel good because it affirms that, hey, there are lots of different kinds of people with lots of different kinds of tastes buying and playing games. I wish I liked it more, but those are the breaks, sometimes. ..

Square Enix has been slowly updating many of their old apps with controller support and various other fixes recently. Too slowly for some, I'm sure, but it's nice to see they're still making an effort to make sure classics like Secret Of Mana [$8.99] and Final Fantasy 3 [$15.99] are working as best as possible. Well, you can add one more to that list, because Final Fantasy 6 [$15.99] received an update out of the blue today that addresses some complaints about the controls, both for those with MFi controllers and those without...

Fans of shoot-em-up games have had it good on iOS devices. Between arcade ports such as those from Cave, classic revivals from companies like DotEmu, and original efforts like Sky Force 2014, the library of titles is impressive in both its depth and breadth. Well, get ready to add one more to that list, but with a bit of a caveat. The classic bullet hell shooter from Alfa System, Castle of Shikigami [$5.99], has hit the App Store for the price of $5.99, but it's an untranslated version of the game, so everything down to the description in the store is in Japanese. Even with that in mind, fans of Cave's games, who might be a bit disappointed at the slowdown in their releases, should jump right on this since it's very much in the same vein...

I've been working my way through the new iOS version of Dragon Quest 3 since it hit the Japanese App Store last week, and now that I've finally brought peace back to the land, I figured I would give you some deeper impressions about the game. This game has been confirmed for English release, though we don't have a date any more specific than within a few months of Dragon Quest 1 [$2.99]'s release. I don't expect there will be any substantial changes from the version I've been playing, beyond translating the text and separating it out into its own app as opposed to its current form as IAP for the Dragon Quest Portal app...

RPG Reload File 008 - 'Lunar: Silver Star Story Touch'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we keep marching on, all through the night, exploring RPGs from the App Store's past. It's a little bit of revisiting, a little bit of recollecting, and a whole lot of rambling. I try to cover a broad range of RPGs, but just to make things interesting, once per month, you, the reader, get to make a leap into the decision-maker role to set right what once went wrong. In fact, this week's feature was selected by the readers. If you want to cast your vote for the next reader's choice, which will be in RPG Reload 013, please take to the comments section below or pop into the Official RPG Reload Club thread in our forum. You can also leave your thoughts on the games I play or anything RPG-related you'd like to discuss. Let's enjoy a conversation together, joined by our mutual love of beating imaginary monsters with heaving swords made of math...

I've hit a point where I think I'm kind of spent on Kairosoft's isometric build-a-whatever sims. It's one of their go-to variations, along with their isometric groom-a-whatever sims, and while I was completely caught up in Hot Springs Story [$4.99], the first of that type they released in English, I hit rock bottom somewhere around Pocket Harvest [$4.99]. They can throw whatever paint they want on it, and it's still fun if you haven't played the other dozen or so, but there's just too little variation beyond the themes. The groom-a-whatevers are at high risk of getting played out, too, and all without following up Game Dev Story [$4.99] properly on iOS. They've done a couple things outside those two types, such as the recent and interesting Kairobotica [$4.99], and one of my favorites from early on is Mega Mall Story [$3.99], a concept they could have easily milked but haven't yet...

After about a month of soft release in the deadly wilderness of the Canadian App Store, Mistwalker's latest game Terra Battle will finally hit App Stores worldwide on October 9th. The latest project from Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of Final Fantasy [$8.99], Terra Battle is a more strategic take on the popular model of social RPG popularized by Puzzle & Dragons [Free]. While it features many familiar trappings, such as a stamina meter, premium currency, and random character and monster pulls, this game has a couple of things that set it apart from most of the pack...

Here at TouchArcade, we try to keep our eyes open for lesser-known treasures, since not every great game has a great marketing budget to go with it. I feel like we do a pretty good job of it, but sometimes, we do miss something interesting or cool. Star Saver [Free] assuredly qualifies as both of those things, and I'm sad to say that I don't think we're the only ones who missed it. This game is a huge Metroid-style action-adventure game that has elements of Kirby, Mario, and Knuckles Chaotix of all things woven into it. This is probably one of the longer games in this genre I've seen on iOS, and although it's not much of a looker and has a few rough spots, I think it's something any fan of the genre should at least check out...

Hey, everyone, did you know that not one, but two new Final Fantasy games were released in the last few weeks for iOS? Of course you do, because you are an avid TouchArcade reader. These are, of course, free-to-play spin-offs, but nostalgia cares not for your logic, so I think perhaps some of you want to know a little bit more about Final Fantasy: World Wide Words and Final Fantasy: Record Keeper, even if their chances of an English release appear to be dim and marginal respectively. By a stroke of luck, someone flipped the dipswitch in my system settings to Japanese, so I thought I'd bring you some brief impressions of both games. Perhaps it will help you decide how much you care if they never release outside Japan, or drop into the local App Store without a bit of English like Pictlogica Final Fantasy [Free] did...

'Tactics Maiden' Review - Now It's The Maiden's Turn

Let me cut right to the chase, for once. Tactics Maiden [Free], the latest strategy RPG from Mangobile, is basically the next game in the Kingturn RPG series. It's a new story in a new world, and there are some small differences in the gameplay systems that have a pretty big ripple effect in places, but it's very similar in most respects to the developer's previous games. As such, if you enjoyed any of the Kingturn games, you can safely dive into Tactics Maiden, confident that your money will be well-spent. If you tried those games and didn't like them, it's very unlikely you'll feel differently here. If you're not familiar with those games, you've got some reading ahead of you...

'Air Supply - SOS' Review - Baa-ttle Of The Planets

I'd like you to imagine an alternate universe where Rare/Ultimate Play The Game's Spectrum classic Jetpac wasn't just a huge hit, but was so influential that developers were still doing their own spins and refinements on it for generations to come. I'd also like you to imagine that people in that world are obsessed with cute, fluffy sheep. In that dimension, something like the newest game in the Air Supply series from developer Quantum Sheep might seem somewhat pedestrian. In our reality, however, Air Supply - SOS [$1.99]'s action-packed twist on the Rare classic is pretty special. It occurs to me that I should clarify that this game has nothing to do with the band, since someone always asks...

RPG Reload File 007 - 'Secret Of Mana'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome back to RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we spend a lot of time with magical swords and sprites of all varieties. Each week, I reload an RPG from the App Store's past for a little reflection, revisiting, or even just to do a deeper dig than what the scope of our usual reviews cover. I like all kinds of RPGs, and I hope you do, too, so I try to grab a varied selection to avoid leaning too hard on any particular style or subgenre. Just in case I miss something, however, once per month I'll be playing and writing about a reader-selected RPG. The next reader's choice is... hey, it's next week in RPG Reload File 008, where I'll be playing Lunar Silver Star Story Touch [$6.99]. How about that? Democracy in action! With that selection locked in, that means you can start voting for the next reader's choice, which will be RPG Reload File 013. Just leave your vote in the comments below or in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in our forum...

Frequent readers of TouchArcade know that I enjoy gamebooks quite a bit. What can I say? I grew up during the rise of Choose Your Own Adventures, when a pocket RPG meant a bunch of words written by Steve Jackson that you had to steal the dice from the family Monopoly set to play. It's more than just simple nostalgia, though. Call me an old curmudgeon, or maybe just a guy looking out for his livelihood, but I feel like there's a particular imaginative power to the written word that can't quite be matched by any other form of expression. That fight with the giant lizard king never turns out quite as awesome in illustrated or animated form as it does in your mind as you read the words off of a page. I'm thrilled that gamebooks have come back with a vengeance on mobiles. It's a perfect home for them, and allows developers and authors to push their ideas beyond the constraints of a physical media, while still using good old-fashioned words to beam the finest of adventures into your head...