Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


Update Mondays: 'CSR Racing', 'Diner Dash', 'Hay Day', 'Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition', 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. Lots of interesting stuff this week, as usual. 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!..

'8-Bit Creator' Contest Announced For 'Final Fantasy: Record Keeper'

A couple of weeks back, DeNA and Square Enix finally made the announcement that an English release of Final Fantasy: Record Keeper was on the way. The free-to-play social RPG that covers the entire main Final Fantasy series has been a pretty big hit in Japan since its release about six months ago, and with a vague Spring release date planned, English players will get their hands on it soon. Leading up to its release, a pre-registration campaign is being run at the game's official site. Special bonuses are unlocked based on how many people register, and the latest is the 8-Bit Creator contest...

Who's ready for chimichangas? To celebrate the arrival of Marvel's biggest star to PlayNext's X-Men: Battle Of The Atom [Free] card battle game, Deadpool has had his agent set up a one-of-a-kind deal for all his fans. For a limited time, you can get Marvel Pinball [$0.99] from Zen Studios for free. That stand-alone app comes with the table based on the Avengers movie, and it's the only way to get the Spider-Man table for reasons. Spidey's agent just isn't as good as Deadpool's, I guess. Maybe you're a fan with discerning tastes, though, and you think that goofy webhead is just a zero-calorie version of everyone's favorite merc with a mouth. Well, Papa Deadpool still has something nice for you. For an equally limited time, almost* all of the Marvel tables in both the Marvel Pinball app and Zen Pinball [Free] are on for half-price. That's just a dollar per table!..

RPG Reload File 029 - 'Shining Force'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we discover that there's a little Jogurt in all of us. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past for a little revisiting, a little reflecting, and a bit of a deeper dive than our regular reviews typically allow us. The RPG genre is as vast as the ocean, and I try to schedule games in such a way that we get a balanced plate as we go along, but I need your help with that. Once per month, the selection of the game falls to you, the reader. Simply let me know which game you'd like to see by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. The winner will be randomly chosen and featured in April's reader's choice article. I don't know what it will be, but I'm pretty sure we're fresh out of SEGA games now!..

It's hard to believe how fast time flies. WayForward Technologies, the plucky indie developer behind the Shantae series and countless other games, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Wait, they only started in 1990 and... oh, right. That's 25 years, alright. Well, instead of dwelling on the fact that Outkast's Hey Ya! is old enough to evoke nostalgia in some of our readers, why not treat yourself to a little sale? WayForward hasn't released a whole lot of stuff on iOS, but until March 19th, everything they have released is as cheap as it's ever been...

'Blokshot Revolution' Review - Round And Round We Go

It's been interesting watching the way shooting games have progressed over the years. As one of the first genres in video gaming, the shooting genre has had a lot of interesting twists and turns. From the earliest titles like Space Invaders that offered a single screen and a big set of targets to pick off one at a time, to the advent of scrolling shooters with titles like Namco's Xevious, into a golden age with amazing shooting games being made by just about every prominent company, often with intricate stage designs and power-up systems. This was followed by the near-total death of the genre that coincided with the rise of Cave who, along with developers like Treasure and Psikyo, continued to service the shrinking audience with increasingly intricate and complex games. The once-mighty genre seemed consigned to niche status forever...

If you're an iPad owner, into strategy games, and are a history buff, the mere mention of Slitherine's name is probably enough to get your blood pumping. Simply put, they consistently release some of the finest strategy games on iOS. Their games tend to be on the upper end of the App Store price range, but it's a genuine case of getting what you pay for. Each game is typically packed with content, extremely well-designed, and rounded out with a full set of features. Another well-known name in iOS strategy circles is Hunted Cow Studios, who are also nothing if not reliable. For years, their niche was in regularly releasing low-priced games covering a variety of interesting settings. The mechanics of those games rarely held any surprises, but they filled the belly without emptying the wallet. These two major forces in the iOS strategy game scene have come together with the release of Hell: Fight For Gilrand [$9.99 (HD)], an iPad-only release...

There are a lot of pieces of Pixel Heroes [$6.99] that would have had a much stronger effect on me a couple of years ago. The well-designed faux-retro graphics and sound, the roguelike elements, and the referential sense of humor are all things that have appeal for me, but even the marriage of these particular aspects is getting a bit too familiar to be exciting. That means the game has to carry forward on its gameplay, and it's honestly a mixed bag. This is a challenging streamlined RPG that doesn't take itself too seriously and offers a lot of replay value, but its repetitive nature and tedious combat eat away at the fun, bite by bite...

Now that Warner Bros.'s fantasy wrestling brawler WWE Immortals [Free] has been out for a little while and the nastier bugs have gotten fixed, we're starting to see a regular schedule of Challenges appearing. Similar to its cousin Injustice, exclusive Gold Superstars will be distributed this way on a fairly regular basis. Since there's a time limit, you'll have to work diligently to make sure you don't miss your chance. I've already covered a lot of the basics of WWE Immortals in my first guide, but the Challenges weren't live yet, so I didn't talk too much about them. This guide is meant to supplement the first one, offering you a handful of tips to give you the leg up on the competition. Let's get it on!..

LogoHello, everyone. I hope you enjoyed the magical and mysterious GDC week last week. Normally, the RPG Reload Pocast will go up on the first Monday of each month, but with GDC that didn't quite pan out. However, better late than never, and this time around, our main topic is Avernum: Escape From The Pit [$9.99 (HD)], which I covered in my RPG Reload column two weeks ago. It's a really interesting open-world RPG done in a classic style which is oddly coming back into vogue of late.

My co-host Eric Ford relates his history with the game to compensate for my being almost completely new to it, and it turns out he goes back pretty far as a player with developer Spiderweb Software. I think I was in the middle of a Final Fantasy 6 [$15.99]/Chrono Trigger [$9.99] sandwich when that developer got their start, which explains how I missed them. Oh well, it just means I get to enjoy the games freshly now!

We talk about a whole lot of other stuff in addition to Avernum, with no less than two complete tangents onto topics barely related to RPGs. These things happen. There's some discussion about the controversial issue of updates to older games, a little bit about review scores, some Dragon Quest talk, some Final Fantasy: Record Keeper talk, and even a little of me shaking my fist at the burdens of my Kemco-entwined fate. Lots of good stuff to keep you occupied while you're grinding out levels in whatever RPG you're playing at the moment!

I'm still getting the hang of the editing stuff, but I think this one is a little bit better. I tried to level out the sound a bit to compensate for my booming pipes versus Eric's slightly soft-spoken nature. Hopefully it helps a bit. Also, it's not in weird stereo-vision this time around, so while it has lost something in terms of immersion, it has gained considerably in being less annoying to listen to. Oh, and we're still hunting for a theme song, so if you can help us out, please let me know via one of the regular channels. The music in this episode of the podcast is once again courtesy of OCRemix, titled "/Overture Variations/", from Remixer Patrick Waters. It's a wonderful little remix of the Dragon Quest theme song. Once again, thanks for listening!

 

iTunes Link: The TouchArcade Show
RSS Feed: The TouchArcade Show
Direct Link: RPGReloadPodcast-002.mp3, 80.4MB

In this episode, we discuss:

With cameo appearances from:

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Update Mondays: 'The Simpsons: Tapped Out', 'WWE Immortals', 'The Ensign', 'SimCity BuildIt', 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 week's batch is a bit smaller than the last few weeks, but there are some very significant updates in there. 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!..

Okay, this isn't strictly iOS-related, but I think we can all agree that one of the best things about the Final Fantasy series is the incredible music each game features. Even the less-popular entries feature some wonderful compositions, and although the series has seen many excellent composers, the bulk of that work belongs to Nobuo Uematsu. As the main composer on the series from Final Fantasy 1 [$8.99] through Final Fantasy 10, along with significant contributions to Final Fantasy 11 and Final Fantasy 14, his music is the sound of JRPGs for countless gamers. A self-taught musician with a wide range of styles in his repertoire, Uematsu has had his music covered by everyone from amateurs to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Well, we can now add the London Symphony Orchestra to that list with the release of Final Symphony, a new album from the same music label behind the excellent Greatest Video Games Music releases...

RPG Reload File 028 - 'Phantasy Star 2'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where men get discounts on piano lessons for reasons not divulged in the localization. Each week, we jump into the time tunnel and grab an RPG from the App Store's past to give it a play in modern times. It's a bit of revisiting, a bit of reflection, and a chance to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. The RPG genre is a wide one with a lot of different kinds of games in it, and I try to present a good variety in this feature from week to week. To help me out with that, I turn to you, the reader, to choose what I'm playing once a month. Today's article is one such reader's choice, and the next one at the beginning of April could be yours! All you have to do is tell me the name of the game you'd like to see me play in the comments below, in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by via a tweet to @RPGReload. I'll randomly choose a winner each time, so even if your choice is unpopular, it still has a chance. Go for it!..

If you like your RPGs mechanically deep, extremely challenging, and don't mind if the visuals are a bit antiquated, Siralim [Free] is one of the best games you can get on the App Store. I liked it quite a bit when I reviewed it back at its launch last summer, and developer Thylacine Studios has been diligently updating it ever since. The improvements were significant enough that I named the game one of the top "sleeper" games in the RPG Reload 2014 wrap-up, and the game maintains a healthy fanbase in the TouchArcade forums. The game has a really fair pay model, letting you try it out for free until you advance your character to level 15, at which point you can unlock the full game for $4.99...

'Baldur's Gate 2: Enhanced Edition' Review - One Of The Best CRPGs Ever Is Now On iPhone

Okay, yes, this is a pretty late review of Baldur's Gate 2: Enhanced Edition [$9.99]. The game initially released on iPad about a year ago, and we didn't do a write-up of it for various reasons. There are plenty of reviews of the original Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows Of Amn out there, and given the existence of the first game's Enhanced Edition, we sort of assumed there wasn't much demand for one of our own. With the game's recent update that moves it to being a universal app, we've had a lot of requests from readers for a review of the game. Well, I guess we had that one wrong, but nobody's perfect, right? With that explanation out of the way, let's break down this port of one of the all-time greats of the genre...

Update Mondays: 'Clash Of Clans', 'Final Fantasy', 'Zen Pinball', 'Sonic Dash', 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. I'm trying a slightly different format this week to cut down on some of the clutter. Let me know if you like it. 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!..

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where nothing is so unimportant that it doesn't go into our inventory. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's holding up. It's a chance to revisit the game, reflect on the things it does well, and take a deeper dive on it. I try to balance the schedule so that there's a wide variety of RPGs featured, but I need your help with that. Once per month, I let the readers decide what I'm going to play. Simply tell me the game you'd like to see me play and write about by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or tweeting me at @RPGReload. The next reader's choice article is next week, so any suggestions you make right now will go towards the April selection. Next week's game is Phantasy Star 2 [$2.99], a suggestion from reader Jesse_Dylan. Thanks for the idea!..

It's Official: 'Final Fantasy: Record Keeper' Is Releasing In English

If you've listened to TouchArcade's new RPG Reload Podcast, you might have heard me talking about Final Fantasy: Record Keeper, a free-to-play social RPG from DeNA and Square Enix that launched late last year in Japan. Regular readers know that I play a lot of social RPGs, but very few of them actually stay on my phone for any length of time. For all of Square Enix's attempts at the popular genre, up until now none of them had quite the right mix of ingredients to really pull me in. Final Fantasy: Record Keeper finally broke that pattern. I've been playing it steadily for the last few months, and I can't see myself putting it down anytime soon. It hits all the right notes for Final Fantasy fans, and even quite a few of my less mobile-inclined friends have been quite happy with it. The only issue has been the fact that the game is only available in Japanese from the Japanese App Store...

Sonic Team's 'Sonic Runners' Soft Launches In Japan And Canada

I had a feeling this was going to come any day now, but SEGA's latest free-to-play game featuring their signature character, Sonic Runners, has arrived in both the Japanese and Canadian App Stores. The game is a side-scrolling, stage-based auto-runner developed by Sonic Team. It's their first original title for mobiles, with previous non-port Sonic mobile games being handled by SEGA subsidiary Hardlight. The hope is that the game being handled by the team behind the main Sonic games might produce something a little more authentic to the character. The other Sonic free-to-play games haven't been bad, but they've been missing a certain something that keeps them from feeling like true Sonic games...

'Pinball Arcade: The Addams Family' Review - And Now, This Mamushka Is For You

The developers behind The Pinball Arcade [Free / $0.99], FarSight Studios, are nothing if not extremely passionate about pinball. They've been in the games industry a pretty long time, over 20 years now, but they didn't truly find their niche until the 2004 release of Pinball Hall Of Fame: The Gottlieb Collection on the PlayStation 2. Its initial release was perhaps a little too early to catch the renaissance of video pinball, but it at least did well enough that they followed that up a few years later with The Williams Collection. With Williams tables being a lot more well-known among Americans, that release ended up doing pretty well, earning high praise for its faithfulness to the real machines. While this was all happening, digital storefronts started to become more popular. Soon, retail retro collections were becoming retro themselves, with a la carte offerings proving more popular with fans. It was a natural fit for the type of work FarSight was doing, and so The Pinball Arcade was born...