Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


RPG Reload Presents - The History Of Handheld RPGs, Part Eight

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload. This week, we're continuing our little monthly project looking at the history of handheld RPGs. That means that we will not be taking a look at a specific RPG from the App Store's past this time around. Last month, we looked at the most successful dedicated handheld of all-time, the Nintendo DS, and the bounty of RPGs it brought with it. Quite impressive for a piece of hardware that most pundits felt had little chance against the opposition. This month, we're taking a look at the opposition in question, the Sony PlayStation Portable. Although it started its life playing the less-desirable role in a David vs. Goliath match-up, it would in time be the subject of its own feel-good comeback story. Most importantly for us here in the RPG Reload, it was home to a massive library of excellent RPGs...

Rayark's Implosion: Never Lose Hope [$9.99] was one of our favorite games of 2015 thanks to its impressively deep and stylish gameplay. It's a rare premium action game in a market full of smaller pick-up-and-play titles, and the lack of any IAP was certainly a plus for many players. That kind of gaming experience commanded a relatively higher price than many other mobile games, and if it was a little too high for you, I've got some good news for you today: Implosion is now on sale for its lowest price ever...




'Mimpi Dreams' Review - Dream A Little Dream

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April 5th, 2016 11:45 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $2.99, 4 stars, iPad Games, iPhone games, Platform, Puzzle, Reviews
$2.99 Buy Now

The original Mimpi [Free] was a cute, somewhat short puzzle-platformer with inspired art design and serviceable controls. Mimpi Dreams [$2.99], the sequel, is a cute, somewhat short puzzle-platformer with inspired art design and excellent controls. The original game was an excellent little bit of fun and still holds up quite well today, and the follow-up offers up another tasty serving with a few useful refinements. While its brevity and relative lack of difficulty might turn off those looking for something more substantial to sink their teeth into, Mimpi Dreams has enough appeal to carry it far...

'King Rabbit' Review - The King Has Returned

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April 5th, 2016 10:50 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $0.99, 5 stars, Action, Arcade, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
99¢ Buy Now

Making video game sequels has always been a tricky business, but in the modern age of updates and add-ons, I can't even imagine how difficult it is to make the best choice for a follow-up. On the App Store in particular, the audience has become accustomed to getting reasonably significant additional content delivered as free updates, with games like Angry Birds [$0.99] and Candy Crush Saga [Free] getting enough free add-ons to construct a dozen sequels under the old rules. Unless you're one of the biggest dogs in the yard, however, it doesn't take long for such efforts to yield weak dividends, since relatively few players ever actually play through all of the content in the base game to begin with. Now, if you're making the kind of game where you can make your sequel look obviously different in some regard, it's less of a problem, but for puzzle games, it can be difficult to sway people over to a new installment...

Hi there, friends! It's time once again for the RPG Reload Podcast, where Eric, Andy, and I discuss all kinds of things RPG and otherwise. First of all, I have to apologize. This was recorded at the height of a nasty cold I had, and I sound exactly how I felt. I hope to be more perky next month. Our featured game this time around is Hunters Episode One [$4.99 / $4.99 (HD)], which isn't exactly a massive epic. That leaves us with lots of time to talk about other things, and gosh, do we ever. I'd say my favorite part of this episode is hearing about Eric's trip to Blizzard to check out the latest Hearthstone [Free] info. I personally don't know much about the game past playing it a few times here and there, but Eric and Andy are scholarly enough to discuss the topic thoroughly...

Update Mondays: 'WWE Immortals', 'Jump Jack', 'Marvel Avengers Academy', 'Brave Frontier', 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. Well, I'm mostly recovered from last week's cold, though it did hang on through most of the week. But you're not here for Shaun updates, are you? You're here for game updates, and we've got a nice little selection this time around. 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!..

Monkey Swingers [Free] is a game that has some immediate appeal, but it doesn't take long for it start pushing you away. Not only is the game quite tough, it also demands a fair bit of concentration, and a good run usually lasts longer than the excitement does. If you intend on getting your little monkey up into space and beyond, you need to demonstrate a high level of skill, but also set aside a reasonably big chunk of time to dedicate to the task. I like the idea behind the game well enough, and it's certainly got a nice system of upgrades and fun cosmetic items to unlock, but it just doesn't come together as well as I'd hope...

RPG Reload File 075 - 'Crusade Of Destiny'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where everyone has pointy ears. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how the searing light of the modern age treats it. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on how certain games have settled into the overall market, or just to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. As the legendary hero of time, I try to choose a balanced schedule of RPGs from week to week that reflect the diversity of the genre, but if you feel like I'm missing something important, 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. The schedule is planned pretty far in advance, so you might not see your suggestion soon, but I will put it on my master list...

'Romancing SaGa 2' Import Impressions - Final Fantasy's Complicated Cousin

Square Enix's SaGa series has always had a difficult relationship with players outside of Japan. Although in certain details it's not terribly different from the Final Fantasy series, SaGa is very much a product of its creator, Akitoshi Kawazu. It's not afraid to go way outside of everyone's comfort zone in terms of mechanics. How that kind of approach works out depends on the individual game. While many RPG fans find the Game Boy release SaGa 2 (known in the US as Final Fantasy Legend 2) to be a fairly agreeable game, the PlayStation 2 title Unlimited SaGa is considered by many to be one of the worst games Square ever attached their name to. Most of the games in the series elicit a mixed reaction, making it difficult to know if they're going to be your thing or not. If nothing else, at least, Romancing SaGa 2 is considered one of the better installments in the series, which might explain why it's the first to get an iOS release...

While we're waiting for Nintendo to hit the big red button on the worldwide release of their first mobile app, Miitomo, let's catch up on how the social networking app is doing in its home country, where it launched a couple of weeks ago. Miitomo was an immediate success there, shooting up to the number one spot in the free rankings, racking up a million downloads in just three days. While it's not monetizing too well at this point, and it's fallen a bit in the free rankings since that explosive launch, it's doing pretty nicely for Nintendo so far. This is not only their first step into mobile apps, it's also their big relaunch of their rewards program, now titled My Nintendo, and the two programs work hand-in-hand with each other...

Tonight, Square Enix held a big event to discuss and show off all things Final Fantasy 15. The long-awaited RPG, previously known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, will be hitting PlayStation 4 and other platforms later this year, and Square has planned a lot of extra side projects to go with it. Perhaps one of these will be delayed 10 years and become Final Fantasy 16? Well, anyway, the relevant part for mobile gaming fans is Final Fantasy 15 Mobile Justice Monsters Five, a companion game for people to play on the go. It's coming to all major mobile platforms, including iOS, sometime in 2016...

Prolific simulation developer Kairosoft, of Game Dev Story [$0.99] fame, has been releasing the Japanese versions of their latest iOS games in App Stores worldwide recently. The English versions of the games typically follow anywhere from two weeks to a few months later, but always as separate apps from the Japanese versions. Thus, it doesn't make a lot of sense for English gamers to jump the gun and pick up the Japanese releases, even if they do look pretty interesting. Worry not, friends! TouchArcade is willing to jump in on such occasions and let you know whether or not you should keep your eye out for the English release. Today, we're looking at two Kairosoft releases that hit the App Store on the same day. As the games don't have English titles yet, I'm just taking a stab at their possible translations, so don't be surprised if these titles end up being called something else...

'Pokemon Go' Begins "Field-Testing" In Japan Today

Although Nintendo proper is just now dipping their toe into the mobile market with Miitomo, the Pokemon Company has been around for a while now. At first, they were only producing Apps that more or less only existed to promote the brand, like the Pokedex or Pokemon TV, but last year they finally took the big step of releasing a game. Granted, that game was a port of their 3DS free-to-play Pokemon Shuffle [Free], but steps are steps. In the fall of last year, however, they announced their first big original mobile title, Pokemon Go. Developed by Niantic of Ingress [Free] fame, Pokemon Go seeks to bring Pokemon battling to the real world. Too good to be true? Well, we'll know pretty soon, as the game is officially starting its Japanese field test today...

Update Mondays: 'Clash Of Clans', 'Partia 2', 'Terraria', 'Out There', 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. Regrettably, I've been wrestling with a humdinger of a cold for the last few days, so this week's article is going to be slightly less thorough than usual. My apologies. Still, I think we've got a good little grab bag for you to peruse while you drink your morning beverage of choice. 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 074 - 'Hunters: Episode One'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we don't have much better to do than grind our daily quests. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up in the light of our futuristic society of today. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their place in the App Store's history, or just to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As the person carrying the giant hammer, I try to choose a balanced schedule of games from week to week that nicely represent the genre. If you feel like I'm missing something important, however, please let me know. You can do that by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. It might take a while for your suggestion to get featured, since I plan the schedule pretty far in advance, but I will add it to the master list at least...

'7 Mages' Review - A Magnificent Ode To The Classics

For the first half of my 20 hours and change with 7 Mages [Free], I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. For whatever reason, the game wasn't on my radar at all, and when it released seemingly out of nowhere with gorgeous screenshots and some lofty comparisons being thrown around, I was skeptical. Well, the game has its flaws, but nothing like what I was fearing. 7 Mages is a great addition to the iOS's RPG library, and one that fills a particular niche few other games on the platform do. Its apparent inspirations are numerous, but it's safe to say that if you've got any love for computer RPGs from the late 1980s and early 1990s, you should definitely give 7 Mages a try...

'9th Dawn 2' Review - Jumpin' Hack Slash

'9th Dawn 2' Review - Jumpin' Hack Slash

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March 22nd, 2016 10:30 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $7.99, 4.5 stars, Action, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Role-Playing
$7.99 Buy Now

The original 9th Dawn [$2.99] was released almost three years ago. It didn't look like much, but as long as you could get past the humble presentation, you would have found an open world action-RPG with a scale few other iOS games can match. It had a clunky user interface and for those who prefer a more guided experience with their RPGs, its old-school nature could be off-putting. Personally, I loved the game, as it brought back fond memories of fumbling around in games like Ultima, and the lack of explicit story-telling was often made up for by the provocative world design. The sequel, 9th Dawn 2 [$7.99], has a few useful changes to address issues with the the original game, but for all intents and purposes, this is another heaping plate of the same taste. If you couldn't get enough of the first, you can throw down your money without fear. 9th Dawn 2 won't let you down...

My favorite Kemco RPG developer, EXE-Create, has found their groove over the last couple of years. Their games typically have enjoyable characters, solid mechanics, and genuinely good localizations. They've also pushed the technical side of things more than Kemco's other teams, introducing a polygonal battle system with Alphadia Genesis [$9.99] just over two years ago that they've used in several subsequent releases. If there's a downside to EXE-Create's work, it's that they rarely attempt anything risky with their game designs. While their Kemco stablemates are often trying interesting new systems, gameplay perspective, or even other genres, EXE-Create seems content to focus on delivering a tasty, predictable plate of meat and potatoes every time. How much you enjoy their games depends heavily on how tired you are of that sort of dish and whether or not you can connect with the latest batch of characters. Revenant Dogma [Free / $4.99] is no different in that regard...

Update Mondays: 'Candy Crush Soda Saga', 'Marvel Future Fight', 'SimCity BuildIt', 'Alpha Omega', 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. Kind of a quiet week for cool updates, to be honest. Maybe because of GDC, maybe it's just the calm before the Easter storm, but there are only a few things on this week's list that aren't among the usual suspects. 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 073 - 'Fall Of Angels HD'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we kill a lot of big bees. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the hazy mists of App Store time to see how it's doing in the here and now. As the guy with the spikiest hair, I deftly lead our little group through a balanced schedule of games from week to week. That said, if you feel like I'm missing anything important, please let me know. You can do that by dropping a comment below the article, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in our forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. As the schedule is planned months in advance, you probably won't see your selection soon, but it will be added to the master list, I pinky-swear...