Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


'Dragon Quest 3' Review - The Stuff Of Legends

This is the fifth Dragon Quest game I've reviewed in 2014, and by now I'm sure I've hammered in the significance of this series to the JRPG genre, if nothing else. After starting the year with Dragon Quest 8 [$12.99], one of the more recent and certainly the most technologically advanced installments in the series, we took an odd side path to Dragon Quest 4 [$14.99] before heading back to the beginning of the series. I'm a firm believer that Dragon Quest games are like pie in that there's no bad one, but the first two games require a certain understanding of the context in which they were released to fully enjoy them. They're very much formative works of the genre, and as such have all kinds of prickly bits and loose ends hanging off of them. Dragon Quest 3 [$9.99] is where that proviso can be safely removed...

Update Mondays: 'Angry Birds Seasons', 'Siralim', 'Family Guy: The Quest For Stuff', 'Injustice', 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 been another big week of updates, with the expected tons of holiday stuff and a few major updates that have nothing to do with the season. Warm up the cocoa, this is another big list like last week. 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, friends. Are you enjoying Dragon Quest 3 [$9.99]? You may have already read my import impressions of the game, and I'll have a full review ready for you soon, but I'm here today to talk about a different Dragon Quest game. With the release of Dragon Quest 3 in English, the rest of the world had finally caught up with the Japanese App Store. Such things cannot stand, however, so I'm afraid I must report that Dragon Quest 5: Hand Of The Heavenly Bride will be hitting Japan next week, on December 12th, for the price of 1800 yen, or about $15 US. An English release will surely follow, but there's no information as to when at the moment...

RPG Reload File 017 - 'Silversword'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we do our best impressions of our cool uncles. Each week, we take an RPG out of the vaults of the App Store's past to reflect, revisit, and dive a little deeper than a usual review allows. Most of the time, you are subject to the tyranny of my selections, but in a stunning show of benevolence once per month, you get to choose what I play. Well, not always 'you'. It could be that guy, or maybe that nice woman over there, or maybe even that weird dog chewing on the tennis ball in the corner. But it might be you! How can this wonderful thing happen, you ask? Simply vote for your choice in the comments below, in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or tweet me at @RPGReload, and your selection will be entered into the running. At the end of the month, an appropriate set of dice will be rolled to determine a winner. It's an RPG solution to an RPG problem!..

'Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath' Review - You're Looking Mighty Good, Stranger

The story of the Oddworld Inhabitants themselves is almost as interesting as that of any of their games. Founded by Hollywood veterans to take advantage of the correctly-predicted boom that 3D graphics would bring, the company had a clear, ambitious plan for a series of five games that took place in their Oddworld universe. A new team planning for that many games before they've even finished one is the game development equivalent of a rookie stepping up to the plate and pointing at the stands, but when Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee released, it seemed like the Oddworld Inhabitants weren't bluffing. The game was a massive hit, and the lead character Abe become something of a cult icon in the 32-bit era. It was followed by an initially unplanned direct sequel, Abe's Exoddus, which was meant to help fill the gap while everyone waited for the next chapter of the quintology...

Honestly, I've just about had it with robots. They're either evil or annoying, and I'm tired of dealing with the fallout of either type. I think the last straw for me was finding out that nice Robo fellow from Chrono Trigger [$4.99] was actually rickrolling me for nearly the last twenty years. I mean, you think you know a tin can, only to find out it's been snickering behind your back. That's the trouble with robots, and if you're like me, you're always up for giving their shiny metal keisters a good kicking. Luckily, there's no shortage of games that let us do that, and the latest one is the pretty clever Trouble With Robots [Free]...

'Arcane Quest 2' Review - A Quest For Heroes

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December 1st, 2014 2:30 PM EST by Shaun Musgrave in $1.99, 4 stars, Board, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Role-Playing
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Like any lifelong enthusiast of role-playing games, I've got a few memories that are embarrassing to relate in mixed company. Since we're all friends here, I'll let you in on one of them. In junior high school, or middle school as some of our readers might call it, our class planned a trip to one of the islands in the lake my hometown sits beside. It's kind of a popular beach for those who have the means to reach it, and there are even a couple of food stands and a vague attempt at a boardwalk. Well, everyone was pretty excited about this trip, and when the day arrived, people came with bags packed with swimming gear, water guns, and sports equipment for the park. My tight little group of RPG-loving friends and I had our swimsuits and a couple of Super Soakers. I mean, we weren't totally out there. But instead of bringing a volleyball or anything like that, my good friend had Milton Bradley's HeroQuest board game tucked under his arm. We spent a good portion of the day sitting in the park beside the beach, making our way through a few campaigns...

I've been reviewing games for more than 15 years now, and one of the things that is still sometimes hard for me to sort out is how much value to place on creativity, or I suppose, how harshly I should criticize a game that lacks it. I don't think every game needs to reinvent the wheel, but I also think it's important that some games do strive to do new things. Otherwise, we'd all still be playing Pong and Space Invaders clones and nothing else. That said, a well-made game whose only real fault is playing it safe can still be quite enjoyable. Swords Of Anima [$2.99] is quite well-constructed, surprisingly so given that it's a rookie effort from a small developer. It's also a fairly rote take on the turn-based SRPG genre, so if you're looking for something that shakes up genre conventions, this one's probably not going to do it for you...

Update Mondays: 'Junk Jack X', 'Threes!', 'Candy Crush Saga', 'Duet Game', And More

Hello everyone, and welcome to the week! It's time for our look back at the noteworthy updates of the last seven days. It's been a heck of a week for updates between holiday stuff and Apple's RED fundraiser, so you want to prepare a cup of tea for this one, it's a bit of a long read. 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!..

The sports genre of video games is an interesting animal. It was probably the first genre to seriously concern itself with authenticity, both in terms of the recreating the play mechanics of the real game and acquiring real licenses. One of the first times I heard a licensed song in a game was in one of EA Sports's titles, and the only reason I ever learned who people like John Madden and Jack Nicklaus were was because of video games bearing their names. It took a little while for that to catch on properly with the sport of hockey, with the first licensed products hitting in 1991. Even then, publishers had trouble deciding if they wanted the NHL license, the NHLPA license, or both. After that genie was let out of the bottle, it never went back in, at least until mobiles came around. While you would see the odd unlicensed football or basketball game, hockey games virtually always carried a license of some sort...

One of the things I love about RPGs is how wide and diverse the genre is. There are so many different things an RPG can do well to make a name for itself, whether it be telling a great story, having deep character customization options to play with, bringing an interesting world to life for players to explore, using interesting combat mechanics to force you to think in new ways, or any other of the genre's fine traits. Generally speaking, no two RPGs are quite alike, and some of them are so different from each other it's a wonder we fit them into the same genre at all. I enjoy digging into any RPG and trying to find that thing that makes it special, and even if it's not to my personal tastes, it's always interesting to see how it works and who it might appeal to...

RPG Reload File 016 - 'Ravensword: The Fallen King'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome back to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where killing giants rats is always on the menu, but eating them is a rare treat. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past. Do we do this for honor? For glory? No, we do this because there are lots of great RPGs worth revisiting, and it's nice to break out of the weekly update cycle now and then. I try to choose a wide variety of RPGs to cover in this feature, but for the sake of balance, I throw the choice over to you, the reader, once per month. The next reader's choice Reload is next week, where I'll be covering Silversword [$3.99]. We actually had a tie this time around, so it went to a coin toss. Sorry, Avernum [$9.99 (HD)], maybe next time!..

I don't mind games that are free to try with an IAP to unlock the rest of the game, but one of the tricky things about them is that it's hard to notice when they go on sale. If you've been waiting patiently for Capcom's fantastic Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright Trilogy HD [Free] or Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies [Free] to come down a little bit in price, your court date is set for today. The games are initially free to download, so you won't see them showing up on useful services like AppShopper Social [Free], but the full game unlock IAPs for both are currently slashed down to prices so crazy, even Dr. Hotti can't believe them...

Even if you've never heard of the Lone Wolf series of gamebooks written by Joe Dever (with their sporadic publishing history I wouldn't blame you), Joe Dever's Lone Wolf [$0.99], a new adventure made specifically for mobile platforms, has got a lot of initial punch. While everything seems to start like any other gamebook you've played on iOS, as soon as you reach the first battle of the game, it's clear that this game has got some strong ideas about where to take gamebooks in the future. The 'Wow' factor of turning the page to an illustration that comes to life in full 3D can't be underestimated, but in its quest to escape the shackles of its old format, Lone Wolf trips over some very familiar problems inherent to its new one. In the style of our reviews of The Walking Dead [Free] and The Wolf Among Us [Free], this review will be appended to as each new act releases...

Love it or hate it, Candy Crush Soda Saga [Free] has made a fairly predictable march up to the top of the charts since its release not too long ago. That means tons of people are playing it, and knowing King's games as I do, that means tons of people are getting stuck and wanting to toss their mobile device every time they hear that smarmy voice-over guy say, "Oooh". Well, as usual, I've spent a good bit of time playing the game since its soft launch in the sandy deserts of Canada, and I've got some advice to help you turn those "ooohs" into "ahhhs". Well, there isn't actually an "ahhh", but you know what I mean...