Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


Kairosoft makes a lot of games. Rather, I suppose they made a lot of games and have been diligently porting them over to smartphones ever since. They're not bad games. If you happened to be trapped in an elevator for a couple of days with one, you might not even notice you didn't hit your floor. That said, they are extremely similar to one another, relying on the same few templates spread across every single job anyone ever had or will have. It wears on you after a few games, especially if you fall into a row of their building simulations. I've often said that any given Kairosoft game is going to be amazing if it's your first and mind-numbing if it's your fifth. The sad thing in all of this is that the template that brought them to the dance, so to speak, is the least-recycled of them all. Game Dev Story [$3.99] put Kairosoft on the international map years ago, and the biggest request everyone has made since is for a sequel. Kairosoft marches to their own beat, though, and that beat apparently dictates that there shall be only one Game Dev Story per Halley's Comet appearance...

In the early months of each year, I like to comb around for anything we might have missed in the rush leading up to the holidays. This extremely intensive effort typically involves heading to the TouchArcade forums and looking for big threads on games we haven't reviewed. Every time I've visited recently, one game keeps surfacing to slap me with its fins: Shark Eaters: Rise Of The Dolphins [$0.99]. While I had originally passed over the game due to its frankly aggravating controls, I saw it received an update that was supposed to address the problem, so I've given it another solid try. While I have to admit it's better than it was, it's still not doing much for me...

RPG Reload File 024 - 'Adventure Bar Story'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we serve only the finest wolf-ham sandwiches. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's doing these days. It's a chance to step out of the hustle and bustle of weekly releases and instead, think back to some of the great games we've left behind in our hungry search for the next bite of entertainment. I always strive to provide you with a balanced diet of RPGs, but to help me cover any blind spots, I've got the best sous-chef around: you. Once per month, the task of choosing the game falls to you, my appreciated readers. All you have to do is say the name of the game you'd like to see me feature in the comments below, in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or in a tweet to @RPGReload. I'll randomly choose one winner each month, and plenty of fun will be had by all. The article you're reading right now is the result of one such suggestion, in fact. That means the next reader's choice Reload will be in the first week of March, so get those suggestions in now. February's a short month, after all...

Final Fantasy [$8.99] is a game that wears its age well, from a gameplay perspective. What doesn't wear its age well is the iOS version of the game, released so long ago that it doesn't even support multi-tasking, let alone retina or larger screen displays. In fact, apart from critical fixes and added languages, the app is pretty much the same as it was when it launched five years ago in February of 2010. I've banged the drum a few times about wanting an update for the game, and it looks like my wishes are finally coming true. Sort of...

There are a lot of issues with Heroes Of Might & Magic 3 HD [$9.99 (HD)], the spiffy remaster of the 1999 classic PC strategy game. The control layout has done little more than map things directly from keyboard and mouse to touch, with not much in the way of explanation of the intricacies, even in the tutorial. There's significant content missing in the form of the two expansions, which will not be coming to this version due to the source code being lost. The map editor found in the original game and the PC version of this HD remaster is not included in the iPad version. The updates are few in number, with just a bit of spit-polish done on the sprites and text to make them look a little less pixelated. These are all good reasons to pass on Heroes Of Might & Magic 3 HD, especially if you have a computer, where you can buy and play the complete version of the game with all expansions included for the same price...

DeNA continues their strange new pattern of releasing iOS versions of PC indie games under new names with Yet It Moves [$0.99], probably the most famous of the batch so far. Originally titled And Yet It Moves, it was first released on PC back in 2009 before making its way to WiiWare, of all places, in 2010. It received a fair bit of praise back then for its clever take on platforming and unique presentation. Here in 2015, it's not quite as unusual as it once was, but its strong level designs and good pacing make it a game still well-worth checking out...

New Trailer And Details For Sonic Team's 'Sonic Runners'

Around a month ago, we brought you news of SEGA creating a new Sonic The Hedgehog game for mobiles, this time developed by Sonic Team themselves instead of SEGA's usual stand-by developer Hardlight. The game's title was announced as Sonic Runners, and that was basically all of the information we had at the time. Well, a lot more information came out today through Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, and we've even got a trailer with absolutely no footage whatsoever of the game. SEGA, you're spoiling us here...

Well, that was quick, wasn't it? Like several other of Square Enix's games, The World Ends With You [$17.99 / $19.99 (HD)] doesn't play nice with iOS 8. They've been updating their titles one by one, but TWEWY is still in a sad state of disrepair. This past weekend, a whole lot of fans of the game decided they were tired of waiting for the end of the world and emailed Square Enix's North American support asking when an update was coming to fix it. I was pretty surprised when people started hearing back on Sunday, personally. I can't speak for how things are set up in the US, but nobody with the information to answer that kind of question fully is going to be in the office on Sunday in Japan...

'Lamp And Vamp' Review - This Campy Vamp Is Hoplite-Like And That's Alright

It was just over a year ago that I reviewed Douglas Cowley's excellent strategy game Hoplite [$1.99]. I found it to be a superb game, as many did, with tremendous depth and not an ounce of fat on its bones. It's one of the most efficiently-designed mobile games I've ever played. I can't say for sure if Mucho Party [$2.99] developer GlobZ was inspired by Hoplite when they made their latest game, Lamp And Vamp [$1.99], but it sure feels like they were. Not in a bad way, mind you. Lamp And Vamp certainly feels familiar, but it's different enough that it doesn't feel superfluous. Like Hoplite, you're trying to make your way across a single board, divided into hexagons, to an exit. In this case, it's a coffin. All you need to do is survive the gauntlet of enemies that lay in the path. It's harder than you might think...

Update Mondays: 'Geometry Dash', 'Farm Heroes Saga', 'Real Racing 3', 'Doug Dug', 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 another full week this time, with plenty of big and little titles in the mix. 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!..

I have a confession to make to all of you. About a month and a half ago, I started playing Final Fantasy: Record Keeper, and I've been hooked ever since. I'm in deep, playing every day to open up new chapters from the games and unlock new characters. For a Final Fantasy fan, it's almost the best case you could imagine for a free-to-play social RPG. A lot of that is because it understands that you have to give people some of what they want or you're going to lose them right away. It's not as strategic as Terra Battle [Free], and it certainly has some pay boundaries when you get several hours in, but all-around, it's one of the more generous and fun social RPGs I've played so far. It's certainly not what I expected from DeNA, a company who has earned a bit of a reputation over the years...

RPG Reload File 023 - 'Final Fantasy Tactics'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where birth and faith wrong us, not Delita. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past for a little revisiting, a little reflection, and even a cheery bit of fun now and then. RPGs of all stripes are welcome here, and I try to plan out a fairly balanced schedule covering the four corners of this broad genre. I look to you, the friendly readers, to assist me with that by choosing one game each month for me to play and write about. Simply comment below, post in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or tweet me at @RPGReload to let me know what you'd like to see in the next reader's choice article. I'll choose one of the suggestions randomly and much entertainment will be had by all. The next reader's choice RPG Reload is next week, which means I have a winner to announce. I'll be playing Adventure Bar Story [$2.99], suggested by readers Zepfhyr and Curtisrshideler. Thanks for voting, friends! Now, everyone get voting for the March reader's choice feature. No rest for the wicked!..

We're really going down the meta-rabbit hole here. The latest release in the long-running and prolific LEGO series of video games from TT Fusion and Warner Bros. is The LEGO Movie Video Game [$4.99]. It's a game based on a movie, based on a toy, whose sense of humor and visual style was heavily drawn from the games based on the toys made from licenses of other movies. This version specifically is a slightly modified port of the game as it appeared on the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita, so don't expect any open world shenanigans or levels drawn from the console version of the game. It most closely resembles LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Universe In Peril [$4.99], which I enjoyed more than the usual fare due to it being less of poor imitation of the console versions and more of a game built for handheld play...

Last year when I reviewed TouchMint's Adventure To Fate [$2.99], I suggested in the review title that if the game were boiled down much more, there wouldn't be anything left. Apparently, the developer took that as a thrown gauntlet, because the follow-up to the game, Adventure To Fate: Battle Arena [Free], manages to trim the concept down even more. Remarkably, it does so without losing any of the things that worked well in the first game, making for a more smartly-paced game all-around. Fans of the original title should be very pleased, while those who felt that it was a bit too grindy might be happy about certain cuts. Don't be alarmed by its free price tag, it's one of those good ones that makes you wonder how the developer plans on making any money...

Ambition Of The Slimes [Free] appeared on the App Store worldwide a few months back, but until recently, the only language it offered was Japanese, making it tough to play for people using every App Store except Japan's. An English patch was promised in the notes, but after a few updates came with no sign of a translation, I had assumed the developer meant it in a 'someday' kind of way. Apparently not, however, as the game's most recent update finally opened up the game to English players. So, as I promised back in the first article I wrote about the game, I'm here to give the game a proper review...