Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


To tell the truth, I've put off playing Versus: The Elite Trials [$3.99] for a while. I didn't particularly enjoy The Hero Project: Redemption Season [$3.99], the last gamebook from author Zachary Sergi, and I was worried that I had completely forgotten where the story left off at the end of Versus: The Lost Ones [$3.99]. That gamebook, which you should definitely play before getting into this one, was something of an information dump. There were too many characters to keep track of, lots of world-building, and a plot that threatened to branch off in some truly confusing directions. With more than a year passing since playing the first chapter of Versus and now, I wasn't confident that I remembered anything from it anymore and wasn't looking forward to having to refresh myself. I kept shuffling The Elite Trials to the back of my to-do list, and now that I've finished it, I feel pretty silly about doing that...

Okay, look. Regular readers know that I am of the Canadian persuasion, and if you are a Canuck of a certain age, you probably have a moderately unhealthy appreciation for Sailor Moon, the highly influential series of anime and manga about a magical teenage girl from the moon, her talking moon cat, and a useless guy in a tuxedo who shows up when the heroine is in a pinch and offers only platitudes as support. I'm not going to apologize or make excuses. It's silly trash and I constantly skipped out early for lunch in high school so that I could go home and watch it on YTV. Taped the whole series onto VHS tapes and everything. Even made a custom box to keep them in. Printed a picture for it just to give it the authentic look...




Around one year ago in Japan, Square Enix released a spiffy new version of their classic, quirky SNES RPG Romancing SaGa 2 [$17.99] on mobile devices and PlayStation Vita. Part of a three-game series that released in the later years of Nintendo's 16-bit console's life, it developed a devoted following through its innovative mechanics and intriguing story. The mobile version apparently hit its mark, because Square Enix just announced through Twitter and Japanese magazine Famitsu that they would be giving the same treatment to the third game in the series, Romancing SaGa 3. It will be coming soon in Japan, but the real question is whether it will get a worldwide release given the somewhat muted reception to the localized version of the second game...

Update Mondays: 'Super Mario Run', 'Death Road to Canada', 'Rush Rally 2', 'High Risers', 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. It's a fine mix of new and old, big and small, and a few things in between this week. Once again, not a huge number, but I think I've picked out some good ones for your consideration. 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!..

Developer Zach Gage has a knack for putting together simple, accessible games that you can play for hours on end. He's been involved in a number of high-profile iOS games, but one of his earlier hits was the word game SpellTower [$2.99]. That was one of those games that seemed to transcend the usual crowd that played mobile games, appearing on the devices of the most unlikely of people. And why not? Word games play well with a large audience for a variety of reasons, and SpellTower was a very good one. Gage is back at the genre with TypeShift [Free] , but I can't help but feel this is aimed at a very different sort of player. It's an attractive game with an enjoyable primary mechanic, but there are a few things that keep it from reaching the heights of Gage's previous tower...

I'll give this to Capcom, they sure picked an unusual bunch for their latest mobile initiative. Given the original game's importance in Capcom's history, 1942 Mobile [$1.99] made a certain amount of sense. It was their first big hit, and shooters tend to play well with the mobile audience. Ghosts 'n Goblins [$1.99] is certainly a significant game but it wouldn't be my first choice to adapt to touch controls. Capcom disagreed enough that the next game in the series is Ghouls 'n Ghosts Mobile. The meat in that Arthur sandwich, however, might be the oddest choice of the lot. Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando Mobile [$1.99] is a technically-sound port of the game once known outside of Japan simply as Commando. It was a decent hit in its time, and it's certainly an influential game, but it manages to suffer from the negative points of both prior Capcom Mobile ports...

Readers with better memories than mine might recall a game I looked at way back at the 2015 Tokyo Game Show called Empire of Angels from developer Auer Entertainment. At the time, I wasn't aware that the game was a spin-off of a popular Chinese SRPG series, but I enjoyed its 3D visuals, light action elements, and its gorgeous... vistas. Since then, we've seen a release in the main series on iOS in the form of Empire of Angels 4 [$9.99], but there had been little word on Auer's free-to-play action-RPG spin-off Empire of Angels: Lunar Phantom [Free]...

Classic Reload - 'Card Crawl'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the Classic Reload, the feature where we were told to deck some monsters and took it far too literally. Each month, we take a look at a game from the App Store's past to see how it holds up in the here and now. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their position in the overall iOS library, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As the trustworthy barkeep of this feature, I try to pick a balanced selection that reflects the diversity of the mobile gaming scene, but if there's something you really want to see, don't be shy. Simply comment below and let me know the games you would like to see and I'll add them to the master list for future consideration...

For all of the interesting themes that can be found in the published works of Choice of Games, one of the more common ones is that of war. I suppose that's no different from a lot of forms of entertainment, but it does start to feel like I'm re-living Disney's Mulan over and over again. Somehow a plucky (and usually lowly) hero manages to upset the certainly-evil invading bad guys almost entirely on their own, and usually gets a smooch or two along the way before being declared the best person that ever was. Yes, I'm over-simplifying, but it's only because this premise is starting to get a little weary. I had hoped Runt of the Litter [$3.99] would put a new spin on the theme, with its central conceit being that you need to raise and train a war gryphon. Indeed, it does play out differently than I would have guessed, but it's hard to say if that's for the better or the worse...

There's something about a first-person dungeon crawler that just pulls me in and tugs at my brain. They're a nice contrast from the more talkative RPGs, which often involve intricate stories with large casts of characters. A dungeon crawling RPG will generally have a handful of NPCs, if that. Most of the time, it's just you and a big dungeon that you have to conquer one small piece at a time. Filling out a map, watching the floor count go up, raising your party to the point that earlier challenges are trivial, and finding hidden secrets are about as straightforward as markers of progress get, but somehow it still works for me every time. Whether or not you get into Crescent Moon's latest publishing effort, The Deep Paths [$3.99], is going to depend on whether you share that particular quirk with me or not. It's not the sort of game that is going to convince anyone who isn't already predisposed, but those who like to live their gaming life one uniform-length step at a time should be satisfied...

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. It's another somewhat slow week, but given all the new games we all have to play at the moment, maybe that's for the best. 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!..

Like anyone who has been playing games for any length of time, I've seen so many endings that they barely even register in my memory anymore. But I distinctly remember the Saturday one summer in high school when I finally finished Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts. My friend owned the game, and I had dabbled with the game here and there over the couple of years leading up to that moment thanks to the occasional loan. It was something I had originally written off as being too frustrating to care about, but I was staying at my buddy's house that weekend and he was out for the day. Lacking other options, I sat down and played through the whole thing (twice). It's an incredibly difficult game even for its era, but there's a certain rhythm to it that will carry you through once you learn it. And to be perfectly honest, it's probably the easiest game in the series that started with 1985's Ghosts 'n Goblins...

My big beef with Capcom, as a mobile fan, is that I never really know what level of effort to expect from them. I consider them responsible for some of the finest ports to iOS (Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies) and some of the worst (Mega Man Mobile, Mega Man X). Since the games they choose to port are selected from their excellent library of classics, it's hard not to get excited when they announce something new is coming. But somewhere in the back of my brain, I worry that we're going to end up with another unreasonably poor effort. Such was the case when Capcom recently announced that they would be bringing four of their arcade classics to the platform. Well, the first one is here, and I'm happy to say that we got the good Capcom this time. While it's not perfect, 1942 Mobile [$1.99] is a very good re-creation of Capcom's classic vertical shoot-em-up, with all that implies...

If you've been playing Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes [Free] for any length of time, you surely know the pain of a terrible 20-orb draw. You end up with a bunch of heroes you have no use for, and there's nothing to do with them but send them home for a meager amount of Hero Feathers. To address that problem, Nintendo has added a new system to the game called Skill Inheritance, which allows you sacrifice a unit to teach its skills to another unit. There are only a few restrictions, so you can theoretically create some very powerful units if you have the right stock to work from...

RPG Reload Glossary - What is a Social RPG?

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where I sometimes have to throw dinner together from scraps of leftovers. While I had planned to do a developer interview this week, my day job has become rather busy all of a sudden. Because of that, I haven't been able to conduct the interview as I had originally hoped. I gave some thought to the idea of taking a week off, but we haven't missed a Reload in three and a half years and I don't plan on changing that. Ultimately, I settled on an early debut for an idea I had been planning: the RPG Reload Glossary. The Glossary is a place where I can define things and go into their histories a little so that you, the reader, know where I'm coming from. I'll be doing a Glossary entry every month or two as long as I can come up with ideas for it, so if you have anything you want explored, let me know in the comments...

It's starting to look like Nintendo is looking at a monthly schedule for new features for their hit free-to-play title Fire Emblem Heroes [Free]. We got a bunch of new characters and stories around the beginning of March, along with some new features like the Voting Gauntlet and improved experience point gains. You can argue about whether or not those things were big improvements or not, but it at least shows the developer's commitment to working on the game on an on-going basis. For April, Nintendo is looking to add a couple more new things to the game, largely in response to player feedback...

Update Mondays: 'Mortal Kombat X', 'Dan the Man', 'Space Marshals 2', 'Pixel Starships', 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'll say it: this week was kind of... so-so. But I was still able to sniff out some cool updates to check out. 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!..

'Jelly Juggle' Review - Jelly Fish Pong

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March 10th, 2017 11:00 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $1.99, 4 stars, Arcade, Free, Game Center, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews
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I've been down the road a couple of times before with games from developer Ian MacLarty, and I feel like I know at least a few things to expect from his work. First, my poor pride is going to take a serious beating. Second, I'm going to keep on playing anyway. That was true for Boson X [$2.99] and Black Hole Joyrider [$0.99], and it's true again for Jelly Juggle [Free]. This one has a cuter, softer, kid-friendlier look to it than MacLarty's last couple of iOS games, but don't be fooled. That smiling, goggle-eyed fish wants only one thing in this world, and that's to make you cry. You might not feel like you need another ultra-tough, one-touch game on your device, but if you've ever enjoyed that sort of thing, I certainly encourage you to give this quirky Pong take-off a try...

Classic Reload - 'Plants vs. Zombies'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the Classic Reload, the monthly feature where we don't want zombies on our lawn. Each month, we take a look at a game from the App Store's past to see how it holds up in the present day. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their place in the overall iOS library, or just to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. I try to pick a nice selection of titles from month to month, but if there's a game you really want to see, don't be shy! Leave a comment below and let me know. If I think it's cool, I'll add it to the master list and you'll see it pop up sooner or later...

'Djinn Caster' Review - This Djinn's a Tonic

At this point, I'd forgive anyone for having a genuine case of Kemco fatigue. On the one hand, they're one of the few publishers left in mobile who frequently deliver new, traditional RPG experiences, and I really do appreciate that. On the other hand, it wasn't hard to notice how similar their games were to one another, particularly as their number of sub-contracted developers started to dwindle. Even with me being as enamored of RPGs as I am, my enthusiasm for new releases with Kemco's name on them has been ground down to the point that I tend to kick them off to the side for a couple of weeks after buying them. This is a publisher sorely in need of a new trick, and as luck would have it, I think they found one in Djinn Caster [$4.99]...