Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


When we say a game is "love it or hate it", we typically mean that some people are going to dig it and other people aren't. Destiny Emerald [$2.99 (HD)] is "love it or hate it" in a different sense. Sometimes I love the game, and other times I hate it. I can't really decide which one is the overpowering feeling here. I love that it's a fairly straight gameplay homage to the older Legend Of Zelda games, and that unlike most efforts in that vein, it actually delivers a satisfying, lengthy adventure. I love the thematic tip of the hat to Falcom's Legacy Of The Wizard, with a whole family of selectable characters each with their own talents. The visuals are generally appealing, and the dungeon design is solid, if a little uninspired. I hate the unforgiving collision detection. I'm not a fan of the technical issues that end up slowing the game to a standstill or warping my character when the screen scrolls. The game's economy is completely broken, and it has a serious effect on the overall experience...

RPG Reload File 037  - 'Final Fantasy 4'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we keep every severed animal tail we find. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past. It's a bit of reflecting, a bit of revisiting, and a chance to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow us. The RPG world is a wide and diverse one, and I try to present a reasonably balanced selection from week-to-week. To help me with that, I turn the choice to you fine folks once per month. All you have to do is tell me your suggestion in the comments below, by posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forum, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. I'll randomly choose a winner at the appropriate time, and plenty of fun will be had by all. Why, this very article you're reading is one such reader's choice! In the first week of June, this happiness could be your happiness, and all you have to do is say the name of a game. Pretty easy!..

'Trulon' Review - Right On, Trulon

Like everyone, I have my own set of personal biases and preferences that I have to work around. I love RPGs, but after years of social games and broken hearts I've come to flinch when I hear anything about a card battle system. I like card games well enough, but when they're used as an RPG concept, they tend to overtake the whole game. That's not to say I've never enjoyed an RPG with a card-based battle system. The Baten Kaitos games on the Gamecube were pretty good, and I certainly enjoyed the somewhat recent Card City Nights [$1.99] from Ludosity. But I'm not going to lie, it dampens my enthusiasm for a game just a little bit when I hear that cards are a major component. Because of that, even though Trulon [$4.99] was coming from a developer whose work I've greatly enjoyed in the past, I was still a bit hesitant as I loaded it up...

Pixeljam's awesome ode to classic shoot-em-ups, Glorkian Warrior: Trials Of Glork [$2.99], turned heads here at TouchArcade when it released in early 2014, rating a good review, a Game Of The Week nod, and even ending up on Jared's Top 10 Of 2014 list. It basically takes the Galaga concept, adds a few twists of its own, and paints over it with an impossibly charming style of presentation...

Blind Gamers Are Embracing Developers Who Have an Eye for Accessibility

Looking back at the first mobile phones, it's kind of stunning how far we've come. All they could do in the beginning was make or receive calls, but it didn't take long for manufacturers to start piling in the features. Today, mobile phones have so many features that I imagine even the heavy users that make up the bulk of TouchArcade's readers aren't familiar with all of them, and certainly don't use many of them. I mean, except for that super-useful Apple app for checking stocks. Everyone uses that. Joking aside, features you or I may never use might be extremely important to someone else. In a way, that's the strength of mobile devices. By providing a little something for everyone, everyone has a reason to own one. But some of those features that most of us never have a reason to check out can be life-changing for others, such as the many accessibility features Apple has implemented in iOS...

Hello, friends! It's time once again for a new episode of the RPG Reload Podcast. It's a special one, because this time around Eric Ford and I have a guest joining us for the first time. The main topic this time around is King Of Dragon Pass [$9.99], and neither Eric nor I have a particularly long history with the game. I've played it a few times since its release, and Eric played it for the first time leading up to this podcast. With that in mind, we decided to tap one of our expert readers, a fine fellow by the name of Zack Kline, to join our discussion. He offers a unique perspective on the game, and not just because he's a big fan of it. Zack is a blind gamer with a keen interest in hardcore games like RPGs. He was instrumental in King Of Dragon Pass adding full voice-over support, making it one of a small selection of RPG titles that are accessible to the visually impaired. It was a pleasure to have Zack join us, and we'd like to have him on again if the opportunity arises...

Long a staple of the Japanese games industry, romance games have been slowly gaining a bit of a foothold in the west. It seems to have gone hand in hand with the establishment of the visual novel genre outside of Japan, owing to break-out hits like Ace Attorney [Free] and 999 [$4.99]. Like many sub-genres, romance games got their start primarily by targeting men or teenaged boys, offering a wide selection of cute girls with varying personalities for the player to try to woo. Unlike many sub-genres, somewhere along the line publishers got the idea that such games might appeal to the other half of the human race, too. While there are plenty of games for all combinations of gender and orientation in the modern romance game scene, there's no question that the biggest share of the non-explicit market is aimed squarely at women...

'Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition' Goes On Sale For The First Time

How long has it been since a huge, great iOS RPG went on sale for an awesome price? Like, three days or something at least, I'm sure. Well, I hope you all kept at least a fiver in your wallet, because the wonderful Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition [$9.99] has gone on sale for the first time ever since its launch late last year. Regularly selling for $9.99, would-be adventurers can now embark from the town of Easthaven for half the price, a mere $4.99...

Update Mondays: 'Clash Of Clans', 'WWE Immortals', '.Decluster', 'Mr Jump', 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 really awesome updates this last week, even though several of them were just fixing great games that had been broken for a while. We'll take them however we can get them! 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!..

As a longtime fan of gamebooks and interactive fiction in general, I've enjoyed seeing the genre blossom on iOS, especially within the last few years. What's especially great about it is that it hasn't simply been the work of any one developer. The genre is far stronger for having a variety of voices like inkle, Tin Man Games, Forge Reply, and Cubus Games each doing their own thing. A lot of people who probably haven't picked up a physical gamebook since elementary school are enjoying the feast of choices we have available to us on our mobile devices. Each push of boundaries for the genre seems to widen the audience even more. A lot of the recent hits have focused on playing with the presentation or the freedom to move away from the traditional structure adopted from paper books. The monochrome sketches of Lone Wolf [$0.99] coming to life, the simple yet striking imagery of 80 Days [$4.99], the hilarious Kate Beaton sketches of Hamlet and company in Ryan North's To Be Or Not To Be [$5.99], or even the rocking soundtrack of Heavy Metal Thunder [$2.99] are all signs of a genre that is casting off the limitations of the past and charging into its own unwritten future...

'Ys Chronicles 1' Review - How Much Is That Dogi In The Window?

In my personal experience, I'm not sure if there's ever been as strong a case of sounding awful on paper but being outstanding in practice as Falcom's action-RPG Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished. I'm actually something of a latecomer to the series, though it was always in my periphery. During the old console wars, there were plenty of ads in game magazines for the SEGA Master System version, and later the TurboGraphx-16 collection of the first two games. It certainly got its fair share of positive press in reviews. In those naive years of my youth, however, I was a one-company boy, and my chosen team was Nintendo. Basically, that means my first experience with the Ys series was with Tonkin House's port of Ys 3: Wanderers From Ys on the Super NES. It was a bit of an odd duck in the series, but I didn't know that at the time. I wouldn't touch another Ys game for more than 20 years...

RPG Reload File 036 - 'Partia'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where no losses are accepted when we can just reload. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past. It's a chance to revisit an old favorite, reflect on how well it holds up, and take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. With a genre so diverse that bloody feuds can start just by asking for definitions, it's important to present a balanced plate of games from week to week. I'll always do my best on that front, but just to keep me from going mad with power, I turn the choice over to you fine readers once per month. Simply make your suggestion by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or tweet me at @RPGReload and if the RNG gods favor you, your selection might pop up in the June reader's choice article. Why June? Because May's article is next week, and it's already been decided. As per a suggestion from reader Jonathan Leschinski, next week's article will feature none other than the legendary Final Fantasy 4 [$15.99]. Mark your calendars, friends. It's going to be a big one!..

Their last sale just ended, but Kemco's already rolling out their next one. I guess with that many games to your name on the App Store, you can pretty much just keep the sales coming if you want to. To be honest, this batch is a bit less exciting than the last one. All of these have been on sale before, and for cheaper to boot. But if you're looking for a new JRPG and really don't want to wait, you might find something in here to enjoy...

Somewhere along the line, someone figured out a pretty clever pun involving a calendar date and Star Wars. They almost immediately regretted it as everyone and their Uncle Owen clamored to be the first in their class, office, or social network to mention it. Well, whether you're the sort that eagerly waits for May 4th every year to make that joke, or the type who wants to Force choke people who do that, the one thing I'm sure we can all agree on is that sales are pretty nifty...

Developer Jujubee is probably most famous in the iOS scene for the Flashout series, their entry into the high-speed futuristic racing sub-genre. They're stylish games that don't venture all that far from the template, and at least at the time of the respective releases of each, satisfied a relatively underserved niche in the mobile gaming scene. Their latest effort wades into more populated waters, the RPG genre. Spellcrafter: The Path Of Magic [$2.99] is an odd hybrid. The battles play out like a light strategy RPG, but the parts between fights allow you to wander around like a more standard top-down RPG. Even more strangely, the game has a level-based setup, with three different playable heroes each getting three stages. Everything is okay on paper, but it just doesn't come together well at all...

'Rex Rocket' For iPad Review - Mega Man Meets Metroidvania In This Excellent Action Adventure

If there's one thing I should have learned after being into video games for as long as I have, it's that nature abhors a vacuum. Even after watching countless genres swing out of and back into fashion over time, I still sometimes find myself lamenting the lack of games of a certain type during the quiet periods. After seeing Castlevania leave the hands of Koji Igarashi and Nintendo seemingly giving up on Metroid for the moment after the disappointing reception to Other M, I grumbled about the seemingly dim future of the Metroidvania sub-genre. Looking around today, I clearly needn't have worried. After all, there are more people making games than ever, and more games being released than ever, so any holes left by the big players are likely to get filled by smaller developers looking for a niche. Especially so if said hole is a genre near and dear to the hearts of many gamers-turned-developers, the way Metroidvanias seem to be...

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. Cat Physics got an update this week! Some other stuff, yes, but Cat Physics! Oh fine, I'll tell you about some other updates, too. 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!..

Can you believe it's been 25 years since SNK launched their real hot dog gaming hardware, the Neo Geo? While its success as a home platform was limited to a dedicated niche, in the arcades it ruled the roost until arcades themselves died around it. Part of that was because of its flexibility and ease of use for arcade operators, to be sure. The other part of it comes down to the fantastic line-up of quality games SNK furnished it with, including some of the best fighting games and run 'n' guns of all-time. Mobile gamers have been lucky enough to see many of those games reach our devices in fine form, and SNK is celebrating the quarter-century anniversary by putting the whole shebang on for a dollar each. Yes, even their two most recent releases...

There's no doubt in my mind that Devious Dungeon 2 [$0.99] makes some worthwhile improvements over the original game. Most of them are things that people directly asked for, even. In the end, though, it can't quite escape that feeling of repetitiveness that permeates the titles released by Ravenous Games. It's absolutely worth its price, and it's as engaging as any of the coin-grinders they've put out, but like most of their output from the last few years, it feels like all of the edges have been sanded off to make the safest, most widely-appealing product possible. Is that a bad thing? I guess it depends on what you're looking for out of it...

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where all of our jobs are classy. Each week, we take a look at an iOS RPG from the distant mists of time and yank it screaming into the future to see if it's capable of becoming a proper member of today's society. It's a little revisiting, a little reflecting, and a chance to take a deeper dive than our reviews usually allow for. I try to present a balanced plate of RPGs from week to week, but everyone can use a little help once in a while. That's why once per month I turn the selection to the readers. Hey, that's you! Here's how it works: just tell me which game you'd like to see by posting a comment below, stopping by the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. I'll randomly choose a winner at the appropriate time, and we can all have fun playing and talking about the game of your choice. The next reader's choice will be decided next week, so this is your last chance to get a suggestion in. Do it!..