Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


It's that time of the year again when tons of great games can be had at deep discounts, and for RPG fans, that means it's time to get some of Square Enix's usually relatively pricey games at bargain prices. It wasn't too long ago that Square Enix held a Final Fantasy sale that included many of these games, but this sale also includes some spin-offs and a few non-Final Fantasy titles. Some of the price changes are still rolling out, so if you don't see the sale price in your store yet, just hang in there, they'll be along soon. Here's the list so far:..

RPG Reload File 019 - 'Bastion'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we hear creepy voices narrating our every action in our heads, or maybe that's just me? Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up in the light of modern times. I try to cover a wide spread of RPGs in this feature, but just to keep things spicy, I turn the decision over to you, the readers, once per month. All you have to do is comment below, post in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or tweet me at @RPGReload with the game you'd like to see me play. When the time comes each month, a roll of the dice will determine whose selection wins. Every vote has a chance, so make sure you make yourself heard!..

Visual novels have been a pretty big genre in Japan since nearly the inception of gaming in the country. A major presence on PCs in the 1980s, they started appearing more frequently on consoles in the 1990s, and have enjoyed popularity on handhelds and mobile devices from the 2000s onward. Yet, for most of that time, the genre's been largely ignored outside Japan, with virtually none of the popular titles in the genre localized. The big break for the genre was likely Capcom's Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, a risky gamble that went over well enough to get other publishers to take a chance. Even then, though, most of the games that were localized were hybrids, mixing in adventure components or RPG scenes. Only very recently have we seen some pure visual novels getting a chance in the west, such as Banshee's Last Cry [Free]...

Square Enix Announces 'Mevius Final Fantasy'

You don't know how hard I had to fight myself not to include a punny reference to Carly Rae Jepsen with that title. That's your Christmas present, friends. Anyway, on to the meat of this little news item. Square Enix, a company rather fond of announcing new Final Fantasy games, has announced a new Final Fantasy game for smartphones and tablets. It's called Mevius Final Fantasy, which is not to be confused with Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, Final Fantasy Dimensions: Crystal of Time And Space, Final Fantasy Record Keeper, or Final Fantasy Agito. What makes this one so special is its planned scope. Perhaps I'll let Square Enix's words, from the game's official website, speak for themselves here...

I don't think a person needed to be a fortune-teller to see this outcome, but going back to my review of Tomb Raider 1 [$0.99] from last year, I ended it by expressing little hope for a potential port of Tomb Raider 2 [$1.99] fixing the control issues with the first game. It wasn't hard to guess because the problem is neither with the unorthodox and somewhat fussy controls of the Tomb Raider series, nor was it with virtual controls, but rather the marriage of the two that the mobile version offered. There's simply no clear way to map virtual controls to these games in a satisfying way. Tomb Raider 2 only makes that problem clearer with its increased challenge and greater emphasis on pulling off non-stop sequences of moves, particularly in timed situations. It's the kind of situation where I don't feel good about giving it a score, because if you have an MFi controller, this game is an incredible experience at a ridiculously low price, but if you don't, it's just about pointless to buy. Consider the number at the end of this review to be the middle of those two scenarios and apply it to your own situation accordingly...

You don't win the tutorial mission in BattleLore: Command [$9.99]. I found that kind of interesting, and in a way, it sets the pace for this strategy board game adaptation. While many strategy games like to puff you up with some early victories before pulling out the Customer Service Bat, this one teaches you the basics of how to play in a couple of turns and then almost immediately comes at you virtually as hard as it ever will. It's a real sink or swim situation, but if you've got the wits and patience to see it through, you'll find a game with a very rewarding core that suffers a bit from its overall lack of options...

I don't think I'll ever be accused of being stingy with my words, but if I were to wrap this entire review up into a short summary, here it goes. If you enjoyed Record Of Agarest War [$14.99]'s seventy-something hour campaign, spent dozens of hours more to fully complete everything, and still find yourself wanting another full-sized game offering a similar experience, you should buy Record Of Agarest War Zero [$14.99]. That's essentially the only scenario where I can see recommending this latest release from HyperDevBox, because just about everyone else with an interest in the Agarest series ought to be starting with the first game anyway. Agarest Zero tells a new story with new characters, but the underlying gameplay offers virtually little of note over its predecessor and actually streamlines a few things out that I'm not sure needed to be ditched...

'Dragon Quest 5' Preview - Import Impressions

It's been about five years since I last played through Dragon Quest 5. If you haven't played it before, I should start off by saying that this is a game that has a lot to say, if you choose to listen to it, and exactly what you hear is going to depend on where you are in your own life. That's because Dragon Quest 5 takes a very unusual approach to its story, following the personal journey of the main character from his birth all the way through to adulthood and the responsibilities that often come with it. I can't say too much about the story without spoiling things that ought not to be spoiled, unfortunately. What I can tell you is that Dragon Quest as a series is quite interested in exploring destiny and fate as concepts, and Dragon Quest 5 is perhaps its most nuanced take on the whole notion...

Tower Of Fortune [$0.99] developer Game Stew is a hard developer for me to get a read on. I mean, I think if you look hard enough you can find a designer's fingerprints all over just about any game, but you don't even have to do that with Game Stew. Their games are instantly recognizable thanks to their consistent, unusual presentation style. If you do choose to look a bit harder, you can see that also carries over to the gameplay, even if some of their games are ostensibly in different genres from each other entirely. It's interesting because even though their games are generally quite unique from almost every angle, once you understand Game Stew's way of doing things, you can reliably count on certain elements being present. Specifically, you're probably going to have quite a few trappings of the roguelike genre. Being predictably off-beat certainly isn't a bad thing. Tim Burton doesn't seem to be suffering for it, at least. The big problem with having that kind of reputation is that you need to keep coming up with ways to keep your audience's thirst for oddity quenched...

Update Mondays: 'Boson X', 'Candy Crush Saga', 'Oceanhorn', 'Boom Beach', 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. As we get closer to the regular holiday App Store freeze, the updates are flying fast and furious. That means another big wrap-up here, so buckle up, friends. 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!..

Last Friday, we had something of a new situation for the TouchArcade forums. TouchTen Games, the developer behind the upcoming Target Acquired, made the game's composer, Manami Matsumae, available for a brief "Ask Me Anything" in the game's thread. Matsumae's name may not be well-known, but her work most certainly is. She was the composer on the first Mega Man game, UN Squadron, Magic Sword, and other classics, and has made a recent return to video games, contributing tracks to Mega Man 10, Shovel Knight, Mighty No. 9, and more. Before the "Ask Me Anything" got under way, I had the opportunity to have a brief chat with Matsumae-san about her work with Target Acquired...

As prophesied by the great sages and Square Enix's official site, Dragon Quest 5: The Hand Of The Heavenly Bride hit the Japanese App Store yesterday at a price of 1800 yen, or as Square's been translating that into American dollars lately, $14.99. Just like Dragon Quest 4 [$14.99], this version is a port of the Nintendo DS remake, originally released in Japan in 2008 and elsewhere in 2009. The original game was released in Japan only on Nintendo's 16-bit Super Famicom in 1992, and its first remake was another Japan-only release, 2004's PlayStation 2 version.  The Nintendo DS version, although visually resembling Dragon Quest 4's remake, has all of the extra content and changes of the PlayStation 2 release, plus an additional option for the choice of the player's wife...

RPG Reload File 018 - 'Final Fantasy 2'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we pummel each other to get stronger. Each week, we take a look back at an RPG from the App Store's past. It's a little bit of reflecting, a little bit of revisiting, and sometimes just an excuse to take a deep dive in a way that doesn't suit a regular review. The RPG genre is a pretty wide one, and all kinds are welcome here. I try to keep a good balance of different ones from week to week, but I need your help now and then. Once per month, I'll be playing an RPG selected by one of you. All you need to do is vote for the RPG you'd like to see by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. When the time comes, a roll of the dice will determine the winning game, and much fun will be had by all...

'Injustice: Gods Among Us' Guide - More Tips To Win Without Spending Real Money

Roughly a billion years ago in App Store time, or about a year and a half ago in human time, I put together a guide for Injustice: Gods Among Us [Free]. It's a pretty nice guide, I think, but here's something interesting you may or may not know about Injustice: WB Games updates this game all the freaking time. While a lot of the advice I gave in that guide is still sound, some of it is outdated and there's a whole lot of new stuff to take into account if you play this game these days. With that in mind, I've decided to put together a new guide, a supplemental if you will, covering some of the changes and new aspects of the game as it currently stands. I'm going to start by revisiting some of the things I said in the old guide that don't quite work anymore. I'll then move into talking about Challenge Mode and Multiplayer Battles...

'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 [$19.99], 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...