Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


RPG Reload File 021 - 'Knights Of Pen And Paper'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we're not afraid to go meta from time to time. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past. Why would we do such a thing, you ask? Well, just because a game didn't come out this week, it doesn't mean it's not worth playing. This feature gives us a chance to revisit, reflect, and take a deeper dive than the usual scope of our reviews allows for. I try to schedule out a good variety of RPGs, but just to keep me on my toes, once per month I turn the choice to you, the reader. Simply vote for the RPG you'd like to see featured by commenting below, posting the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload, and you might just see your game appear here next month. The next reader's choice feature will be in the first week of February, so get those votes in...

The latest brawler from Warner Bros is an awfully familiar one in a lot of ways, but given how much I enjoy the mobile version of Injustice [Free], I'm sure not going to complain. Of course, living where I do, I only know who about half of the characters in WWE Immortals [Free] are, but that doesn't matter. The game plays the same whether or not you know who Roman Reigns is. Now, with a fresh new fighter comes the chance for a fresh start, and while Injustice players with years of experience behind them will probably get in the swing of things easily enough, I'm sure there are plenty of WWE fans experiencing this engine for the first time. There are also a few little differences that Injustice players should be aware of to make the most of the game. I apologize if some of this seems familiar to those who followed my Injustice guides, but surely I deserve at least as much rope as the people who made the game, right?..

Now, here's a rare situation. One of the strengths of the gamebook genre is in the sheer variety of situations it covers. Unlike most RPGs, there aren't a lot of expensive assets that need to be built and hopefully reused in future games, since apart from a handful of still pictures, the world is built through text. This frees the writers to tackle any kind of story or setting they want, including superheroes, pirates, horror, fantasy, comedy, and so on. With virtually anything on the table in terms of possibilities, the one type of story we don't see terribly often in gamebooks is a sequel story. Sure, the Fighting Fantasy series had a couple of direct sequels along with some tenuous links between their fantasy stories, most notably in the Sorcery! sub-series, and even the classic Choose Your Own Adventure series had a couple of follow-up books to some of the most popular stories. The Lone Wolf series was notable for allowing you carry your character forward from book to book, though the stories necessarily had to be stand-alone to a great extent...

In the first half of 2014, the hottest trend in war strategy games was the Eastern front of World War 2. We had entries from Hunted Cow, Shenandoah Studio, and Slitherine, all within a fairly short span of time. Slitherine's title, Frontline: Road To Moscow [$2.99], was a slightly more accessible strategy game than their usual fare, and although it lacked the depth that fans of the genre tend to crave, I enjoyed it well enough. The game had a huge variety of units to play with, took terrain conditions into account, and had just enough below the surface to keep me engaged without crushing me. On top of that, the visual designs of the pieces were excellent, the base game included a generous amount of missions, and while it did release in a bit of an Eastern front boom period, the overall scenario was still quite novel for me. In theory, I should be the perfect target for a follow-up...

Developer EXE Create seems to have their business all sorted out when it comes to putting together an enjoyable JRPG on a Kemco-sized budget. Even at their worst, we end up with something like Infinite Dunamis [$3.99], a solid effort whose chief offense is in its lack of ambition. More typically, however, an EXE Create release will fall among the best of prolific publisher Kemco's mobile catalog. The developer has a particular strength for characterization, casting their adventures with clashing personalities and a hero that shows actual growth. This work is backed by surprisingly strong localizations, resulting in a story that's fun to play through even if the overall plot isn't all that special. In terms of gameplay, they tend to play it safe most of the time, but unlike their stablemates at Kemco, even if they're not strong at a particular design element, they at least turn in a good enough effort that it doesn't detract from what they do well...

Update Mondays: 'Bubble Witch Saga', 'Midway Arcade', 'Doug Dug', 'Star Traders 4X Empires', 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. After a couple of slow weeks to start the year, it feels like the App Store is winding up again, and with that comes a bevy of updates. 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!..

There are lots of different reasons that a person might enjoy an RPG, from the story to the battle system to exploration, but I think the one aspect that speaks to just about everyone is seeing numbers go up. It's such an appealing element of RPGs that it's been wholesale lifted by other genres over the last several years to massive success. Some games have even gone as far as to ditch everything else, allowing you to mindlessly tap away to see your numbers go up. Templar Infinite Crusade [$1.99] doesn't go quite that far, but it's certainly in the neighborhood. It looks like the dog's breakfast, it's so random that you'll need as much luck as strategy to survive, and yet, there's a certain basic appeal to the game that might get its hooks into you if you give it a shot...

RPG Reload File 020 - 'Akalabeth: World Of Doom!'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we often take marching orders from a guy named British. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up in the modern day. It's a chance to revisit some classics, take a deeper dive than reviews allow for, or even just to reflect on the ever-expanding history of mobile RPGs and how certain games fit into it. For the most part, I set the schedule, and while I try to present a diverse line-up, just to make things interesting, I throw the choice over to you, the reader, once in a while. The next reader's choice article will be next week and will be covering Knights Of Pen & Paper [$4.99], a suggestion offered by reader Andre Garcia. If you want to put your choice in as a potential candidate for the next reader's choice article in February, simply post a comment below, drop by the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or tweet to @RPGReload. A roll of the dice determines the winner, so everyone has a chance, no matter how obscure their selection!..

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 week after the freeze is always a coin toss. Sometimes, it's packed full of updates that just barely missed the holiday deadline, while other times, it's almost eerily quiet due to everyone pushing updates through before. This year, it looks like the latter case, but that doesn't mean there's nothing to talk about. Remember, you can always 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 Special Edition - 'RPG Reload's Favorite RPGs Of 2014'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to yet another special edition of the RPG Reload. In this weekly feature, we usually take a look at a game from the App Store's past, and I suppose we're not far off from that this week, from a certain point of view. I'm writing this edition from the distant past of early December because as you read this, I am on the second week of my vacation back to my hometown in Canada, and likely just about ready to get back to Japan and my normal routine. I pinkie-promise we'll be back to regular RPG Reload articles next week, but just to tide you over, I prepared both last week's Christmas Special and this week's New Year's Special in advance. Please don't forget to vote for the next reader's choice article, which will be coming up in RPG Reload File 022. It's easy to vote, just drop your choice in the comments below, drop by the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or tweet me at @RPGReload. I'll roll a dice to randomly select the winner, so anyone could win!..

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 App Store was under its yearly freeze week last week, so you would think yours truly could take a week off, but updates wait for no one, friends. As such, we've got a small but powerful batch of updates this week to go over. Of course, you can always 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!..

Shaun's Top Ten Games Of 2014

Hello, gentle readers, I hope you're having a fine holiday, wherever you may be. It's that time of the year where we all get to change our calendars and reflect on the highlights of the 365 that passed, and for those of us into games, it's often a time of thinking back on our favorite games of the year. This year had plenty of great games, no matter what you were into. I was especially impressed at the increase in output from Asian developers, where a strong indie scene is starting to flourish. As I share my own picks with you, keep in mind that they represent my favorites from what I played during the year. There were so many great games this year, I didn't have a chance to play them all, so if there's a big, impressive favorite of yours missing from the list, odds are good that's why. Either that, or it's a terrible garbage game that you should be ashamed of liking. With that said, here are my favorites of 2014, in no particular order...

Hello, ye merry readers, and welcome to a very special edition of the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we understand the true meaning of the season is having extra time off to play our RPGs. Each week we usually take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up, but since I'm taking a rare Christmas holiday to my hometown in Canada this year, we're doing something a little different for the next couple of weeks. We'll be back to our normal schedule in January, but for the time being, let's spread a little holiday cheer with a special RPG Reload. Just because I'm slacking about, however, doesn't mean you get to relax! I need some votes for the next reader's choice feature, which will take place in RPG Reload File 021 in January. Just mention the name you'd like to see in the comments below, the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or through the magic of Twitter by tweeting @RPGReload. I'll be randomly selecting the winning game, so everyone has a chance, no matter how big or small the request...

I often am asked how we come across some of the games we cover here at TouchArcade. While I can't spill all of our secrets lest Eli end me with a single, swift swipe, I can tell you one of the things we keep an eye on is what the members of the TouchArcade forums catch on to. That's how I first caught notice of a humble little developer by the name of Quantum Sheep, at the time fresh off of releasing a clever endless runner called Air Supply - Infinite [$0.99]. It didn't look like much from the screenshots or description in the App Store, but our forum was absolutely crazy about it, so I gave it an honest go and found it to be a very compelling game, with a wry sense of humor and an enthusiastic appreciation for the 8-bit computing era. Quantum Sheep's next game, Air Supply - SOS [$1.99], took the Jetpac concept and gave it a good old twist, creating a frantic action game in the classic arcade style. SOS's development was fairly lengthy and the developer wasn't shy about discussing it, so I had a good idea early on of what it was and when it was coming...

Mobile gaming certainly isn't hurting for clever puzzle games. Perhaps due to their natural fit with touch controls, puzzle games were one of the earliest genres to flourish on iOS. If you ask the average person to name off the mobile games they know of, chances are many of the entries will be from the puzzle genre. Candy Crush Saga [Free], Angry Birds [$0.99], Cut The Rope [$2.99], and similar fare are to many people the face of mobile gaming. Puzzle platformers, on the other hand, seem to have a rougher go of it. The puzzle part is usually fine, of course, but touchscreen platforming is a hard thing to nail down properly. Volt [$0.99 / $0.99 (HD)] tackles the problem by having you play as a little battery, who can't do much more than flop around on its own. Instead, it can generate beams of electricity to grapple onto various surfaces. It's like Cut The Rope meets Bionic Commando...