Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


RPG Reload File 008 - 'Lunar: Silver Star Story Touch'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we keep marching on, all through the night, exploring RPGs from the App Store's past. It's a little bit of revisiting, a little bit of recollecting, and a whole lot of rambling. I try to cover a broad range of RPGs, but just to make things interesting, once per month, you, the reader, get to make a leap into the decision-maker role to set right what once went wrong. In fact, this week's feature was selected by the readers. If you want to cast your vote for the next reader's choice, which will be in RPG Reload 013, please take to the comments section below or pop into the Official RPG Reload Club thread in our forum. You can also leave your thoughts on the games I play or anything RPG-related you'd like to discuss. Let's enjoy a conversation together, joined by our mutual love of beating imaginary monsters with heaving swords made of math...

I've hit a point where I think I'm kind of spent on Kairosoft's isometric build-a-whatever sims. It's one of their go-to variations, along with their isometric groom-a-whatever sims, and while I was completely caught up in Hot Springs Story [$4.99], the first of that type they released in English, I hit rock bottom somewhere around Pocket Harvest [$4.99]. They can throw whatever paint they want on it, and it's still fun if you haven't played the other dozen or so, but there's just too little variation beyond the themes. The groom-a-whatevers are at high risk of getting played out, too, and all without following up Game Dev Story [$4.99] properly on iOS. They've done a couple things outside those two types, such as the recent and interesting Kairobotica [$4.99], and one of my favorites from early on is Mega Mall Story [$3.99], a concept they could have easily milked but haven't yet...

After about a month of soft release in the deadly wilderness of the Canadian App Store, Mistwalker's latest game Terra Battle will finally hit App Stores worldwide on October 9th. The latest project from Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of Final Fantasy [$8.99], Terra Battle is a more strategic take on the popular model of social RPG popularized by Puzzle & Dragons [Free]. While it features many familiar trappings, such as a stamina meter, premium currency, and random character and monster pulls, this game has a couple of things that set it apart from most of the pack...

Here at TouchArcade, we try to keep our eyes open for lesser-known treasures, since not every great game has a great marketing budget to go with it. I feel like we do a pretty good job of it, but sometimes, we do miss something interesting or cool. Star Saver [Free] assuredly qualifies as both of those things, and I'm sad to say that I don't think we're the only ones who missed it. This game is a huge Metroid-style action-adventure game that has elements of Kirby, Mario, and Knuckles Chaotix of all things woven into it. This is probably one of the longer games in this genre I've seen on iOS, and although it's not much of a looker and has a few rough spots, I think it's something any fan of the genre should at least check out...

Hey, everyone, did you know that not one, but two new Final Fantasy games were released in the last few weeks for iOS? Of course you do, because you are an avid TouchArcade reader. These are, of course, free-to-play spin-offs, but nostalgia cares not for your logic, so I think perhaps some of you want to know a little bit more about Final Fantasy: World Wide Words and Final Fantasy: Record Keeper, even if their chances of an English release appear to be dim and marginal respectively. By a stroke of luck, someone flipped the dipswitch in my system settings to Japanese, so I thought I'd bring you some brief impressions of both games. Perhaps it will help you decide how much you care if they never release outside Japan, or drop into the local App Store without a bit of English like Pictlogica Final Fantasy [Free] did...

'Tactics Maiden' Review - Now It's The Maiden's Turn

Let me cut right to the chase, for once. Tactics Maiden [Free], the latest strategy RPG from Mangobile, is basically the next game in the Kingturn RPG series. It's a new story in a new world, and there are some small differences in the gameplay systems that have a pretty big ripple effect in places, but it's very similar in most respects to the developer's previous games. As such, if you enjoyed any of the Kingturn games, you can safely dive into Tactics Maiden, confident that your money will be well-spent. If you tried those games and didn't like them, it's very unlikely you'll feel differently here. If you're not familiar with those games, you've got some reading ahead of you...

'Air Supply - SOS' Review - Baa-ttle Of The Planets

I'd like you to imagine an alternate universe where Rare/Ultimate Play The Game's Spectrum classic Jetpac wasn't just a huge hit, but was so influential that developers were still doing their own spins and refinements on it for generations to come. I'd also like you to imagine that people in that world are obsessed with cute, fluffy sheep. In that dimension, something like the newest game in the Air Supply series from developer Quantum Sheep might seem somewhat pedestrian. In our reality, however, Air Supply - SOS [$1.99]'s action-packed twist on the Rare classic is pretty special. It occurs to me that I should clarify that this game has nothing to do with the band, since someone always asks...

RPG Reload File 007 - 'Secret Of Mana'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome back to RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we spend a lot of time with magical swords and sprites of all varieties. Each week, I reload an RPG from the App Store's past for a little reflection, revisiting, or even just to do a deeper dig than what the scope of our usual reviews cover. I like all kinds of RPGs, and I hope you do, too, so I try to grab a varied selection to avoid leaning too hard on any particular style or subgenre. Just in case I miss something, however, once per month I'll be playing and writing about a reader-selected RPG. The next reader's choice is... hey, it's next week in RPG Reload File 008, where I'll be playing Lunar Silver Star Story Touch [$6.99]. How about that? Democracy in action! With that selection locked in, that means you can start voting for the next reader's choice, which will be RPG Reload File 013. Just leave your vote in the comments below or in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in our forum...

Frequent readers of TouchArcade know that I enjoy gamebooks quite a bit. What can I say? I grew up during the rise of Choose Your Own Adventures, when a pocket RPG meant a bunch of words written by Steve Jackson that you had to steal the dice from the family Monopoly set to play. It's more than just simple nostalgia, though. Call me an old curmudgeon, or maybe just a guy looking out for his livelihood, but I feel like there's a particular imaginative power to the written word that can't quite be matched by any other form of expression. That fight with the giant lizard king never turns out quite as awesome in illustrated or animated form as it does in your mind as you read the words off of a page. I'm thrilled that gamebooks have come back with a vengeance on mobiles. It's a perfect home for them, and allows developers and authors to push their ideas beyond the constraints of a physical media, while still using good old-fashioned words to beam the finest of adventures into your head...

'Dragon Quest 3' Releases On The Japanese App Store

English mobile gamers may just be wrapping up their nostalgic romps through the recently-released Dragon Quest 1 [$2.99], but as one might expect from its popularity in its home region, the Dragon Quest series is a little further along in Japan. RPG fans in Japan received their latest treat today with the release of Dragon Quest 3, available through the Dragon Quest Portal app for a cool 1200 yen, or $11 in fancy American dollars. Like Dragon Quest 1 and 2, this version is based on a previous feature phone remake, so it's a bit more colorful than you might remember from its NES or Game Boy releases in North America...

Okay, so I know that Gameloft's new runner Spider-Man Unlimited [Free] didn't go over well with some of our readers, mostly due to its use of a energy meter in what is perhaps the worst possible genre to put a stamina meter into, but I still think the game is a heck of a lot of fun, and it's been eating into my productivity since it came out. It's quite content-rich for a running game, and there are a lot of angles you could come at the game from and come away very satisfied, all without spending a cent. The energy meter is the biggest elephant in the room, and you can only mitigate it at best, but apart from that, this game is surprisingly generous to the frugal gamer. Rather than do my usual guide with a collection of tips in a list, I'm going to first present some general advice, then different sections based on what your personal goals are for the game. The way to progress in this game is pretty different depending on whether you're more interesting in chasing scores, completing the story portions, or just collecting characters...

Cubus Games is a relative newcomer to the surprisingly burgeoning gamebook market on the App Store, with Heavy Metal Thunder [$2.99] being just their second release. Mobile gamers have been getting spoiled lately by the heavy competition between the existing gamebook publishers, with each new release finding new ways to push beyond what was possible with an actual paper book. Heavy Metal Thunder won't be joining that particular arms race, but it does deliver a reasonably exciting adventure with some occasionally shaky but always enthusiastic writing. In most ways it's a very orthodox entry into the genre, though I do give it credit for its strong use of audio, and while it may lack in ambition, it's a very well-put together, enjoyable bit of pulp sci-fi action...

Before I write anything else, I want to commend the developer of Lith [Free] on their courage. Making an entire game around a gameplay concept that is likely most famously remembered as "the puzzley bits that everyone hates in middling JRPGs" takes some guts. Lith is a puzzle game made up entirely of those puzzles where you have to slide across icy surfaces to reach an exit. Once you've stepped onto the ice, you can't stop or change direction until you reach a tile with some sort of traction or bump into a wall...

TGS 2014: Indie Game Wrap-Up

I looked at and played a number of great games in the Indie Games area of the show floor. It was probably the most interesting part of the show as far as mobile games go. Square Enix put a good effort forward, but other big companies either weren't showing their mobile line-up or just showing off their latest attempt to catch onto the tail feathers of Puzzle & Dragons [Free]. I've written separate articles for some of the games I played in the Indie area, but the rest of the stuff I played was too early on, unlikely to leave Japan, or just not a great experience to be had on a noisy show floor. Here are some of the interesting ones...

TGS 2014: Hands-On With 'Ghost Blade'

I played quite a few games at the Tokyo Game Show, and as you would expect, there was a pretty wide range in terms of how finished games were and how enjoyable they were to play. While I was excited to play Chaos Rings 3 for obvious reasons, the surprise of the show for me ended up being Ghost Blade, an upcoming stylish action game from Shanghai-based developer Yushi Digital Entertainment. It's currently in soft launch in China, and should be coming to the rest of the world within the next month or two...