Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we never run out of amnesiac magical princesses. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's doing in the amazing land of tomorrow. It's a bit of revisiting, a bit of reflecting, and the chance to take a deeper dive than you would usually see in our reviews. Any and all RPGs are welcome here, and I try to put together a reasonably balanced plate from week to week. In order to assist me with that, I need you to vote for a game you would like to see me play and write about. Simply drop your suggestion in the comments below, post in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or tweet me at @RPGReload. This is your last chance to put in your choice for the March reader's choice article, as it's coming up in just two weeks. Make it count!..

A couple of weeks ago, a trailer for Sonic Team's first original smartphone game, Sonic Runners, was released by SEGA. While it was accompanied by a fairly informative interview with Takashi Iizuka, the trailer itself was more of a teaser than anything, using footage from the beloved Genesis games and throwing out catchphrases and slogans without much actual information at all. Sonic Runners is getting pretty close to its launch in Japan, so we've finally got a gameplay video that gives out more details and, most importantly, shows us what the actual game looks like...

Okay, this is getting to be one twist too many even for an RPG fan like me. Last night, we brought you word that The World Ends With You seemed to be officially binned, leaving it broken from iOS 8 forward. Both the North American and Japanese support sites for Square Enix seem to state rather clearly that the game is off the App Store, not to return. That's that...

Hello, friends. Do you like strategy games? Have you somehow avoided playing the excellent Frozen Synapse from Mode 7? Are you in favor of saving some money? If you answered yes to all of those questions, today is your day! Both the iPad version [$12.99 (HD)] and the iPhone version [$2.99] have dropped from their regular prices of $9.99 and $2.99 respectively...

In what is turning into a bigger set of mind-games than the one that plays out in the game itself, Square Enix has announced on both its English and Japanese support pages that service for The World Ends With You: Solo Remix has come to an end. They go on to say that although the game will still work if you have it downloaded (unless you're on iOS 8 or higher, I suppose), it will no longer be able to be downloaded from here on out. I'm guessing they mean no new purchases, since it's still showing up in purchase histories, but it might be wise to back it up at this point if you haven't already...

'Auro: A Monster-Bumping Adventure' Review - It's Auro Good

The first half of 2014 was pretty packed with roguelikes, with games like Wayward Souls [$6.99], Cardinal Quest 2 [Free], and Hoplite [$1.99] all taking their respective stab at the venerable sub-genre. This year has been a little more quiet on that front, with only a few offerings of any note at all. The best of this year's bunch until now has been Lamp And Vamp [$1.99] which, while very fun, was riffing pretty closely on Hoplite. Well, mark it on your calendars, friends, because I think we've got our first fresh hit of 2015 in the genre with Auro [$2.99], the latest game from the developers behind 100 Rogues [$2.99]. This one's been cooking at Dinofarm Games for quite a long time now, but I think it's certainly worth the wait...

My holidays back in Canada over Christmas and the New Year were pretty awesome, but a theme quickly began among many of my mobile-toting family members. As soon as they were reminded that I write about iOS games, they would quickly reach into their pockets or bags and pull out their device, presenting it to me like they would a wounded animal to a veterinarian. "You have to help me," they would plead. Taking a sigh and preparing to do my usual holiday tech support, I'd ask them what the problem was. "It's this level in Candy Crush Saga/Pet Rescue Saga/Farm Heroes Saga/etc.," they said with a desperate look in their eye. I had to do this several times, helping them get through the various snags that had trapped them for, in some cases, literal months. I've decided to do something about it this year so that it won't happen again next time. I'm going to make guides for the whole King shebang. Yes, this will take a long time. I see it as a little work today for the sake of long-term time-saving. I hope you can see where I'm coming from here...

Much as I love it, I have to admit that video pinball is a very, very strange thing. They're sort of like those homemade recipes for Ecto Cooler that you can find around the internet: a shadow of the real thing, an attempt to replicate an incredibly tactile but now nearly-extinct experience. For most people, there haven't been any pinball tables around their locale since Clinton was in office. I wouldn't be shocked if many of our readers have never laid eyes on one in their lifetime. But for those of us who love them, if we can't wrap our fingers around a real machine and build the callouses on the palms of our hands by slamming them into the side of a wooden box to nudge a steel ball a half-centimeter off its course, we'll take what we can get. We'll take the video pinball. Because even though there's an unquestionable component of the game intrinsically tied to physical sensations, the games themselves have strong merit on their gameplay. The lights and sounds pulled us in, but the gameplay is what kept us coming back...

The long wait for Solomon Dark, the latest in the Solomon action-RPG series, is finally at an end. Sadly, it's not a happy ending, though there is a silver lining. Bad news first, it hurts less that way. According to a post on developer Raptisoft's new forums, Solomon Dark is officially canceled. The game was caught up in a legal situation for a year, and during that time, apparently several things happened that resulted in the game's cancellation. The developer didn't elaborate on what those things might be, but it's understandable. Having to sit on a project for a year can cause all kinds of issues. The developer may release the unfinished version at some point as freeware, but it's safe to say that likely wouldn't be on the App Store...

Update Mondays: 'Junk Jack X', 'Candy Crush Saga', 'Gems Of War', 'Subway Surfers', 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. Too many updates this week, my friends. Far too many. Some TouchArcade favorites, some App Store favorites, and even a couple that fall into both categories. 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!..

If you think about it, WayForward Technologies is one of the original indie stars of handheld gaming. They first gained notice when some poor soul who was assigned to reviewing licensed claptrap on the Game Boy was playing some games based on Sabrina: The Animated Series and realized they were decidedly less bad than usual. A couple of years after that, they released their first game based on an original property, Shantae, which ended up being one of those games that sold far fewer copies on release than its eventual demand would call for. The game's charming presentation and ambition to actually make a decent Game Boy Color game won it plenty of fans. Combined with its relative rarity, its high quality gave it a near-legendary status and elevated its developer in the eyes of core handheld gamers...

RPG Reload File 025 - 'Dragon Fantasy Book 1'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where some of us may be losing our hair, but we certainly aren't losing our thirst for adventure. Each week, we dive into the bountiful past of App Store offerings, looking for previously-released RPGs that we can pull out and get reacquainted with. It's a chance to take a deeper dive on games that we may have already reviewed in the past, and a sort of check-up to see how those games are getting on these days. I try to present a fairly balanced schedule that represents the broad spectrum of RPGs out there, but I need your help to make sure I'm not missing anything. Each month, the readers have a chance to select the game I'll be writing about. Hey, you're a reader! If you'd like to vote, simply head on down to the comments, pop into the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or tweet me at @RPGReload with your selection. The next reader's choice article is coming up in the first week of March, so get your vote in as soon as possible!..

'Final Fantasy Legends: The Crystal Of Time And Space' Hits The Japanese App Store

Just a couple of months ago, Square Enix announced they would be releasing a sort of follow-up to Final Fantasy Dimensions [Free] called Final Fantasy Legends: The Crystal Of Time And Space. Well, I guess time flies when you're having fun and developing free-to-play mobile games, because the game just hit the Japanese App Store earlier today. It is, as promised, free to download, and unfortunately for those holding out hope that it might have chapter unlocks similar to Dimensions, it seems that Square Enix is once again chasing the dragon...

'Dark Echo' Review - Silence Is Golden, And So Is This Game

While I love blockbuster gaming as much as the next person, there's no question that the ever-increasing budgets and thinner margins have made the whole upper-end of the video game business disappointingly conservative from the player's point of view. Iteration is great. It's how games have come as far as they have. Yet, as an exclusive diet, playing it safe can sometimes be a little bland. It's a good thing we've got smaller developers who can afford to take risks on crazy ideas, because without such occasional spices, the hobby would be a lot less interesting. Dark Echo [$1.99] is one of those games that simply couldn't exist under the traditional model, but I'm ecstatic it does...

We've all been waiting for this one, perhaps a bit too anxiously at times. As we all know, whenever new iOS updates come, a lot of Square Enix's games tend to stop working or break in strange ways. Some big titles were affected this time around, and Square has slowly been making their way around, updating them one by one. I'm going to level with you all, I had my doubts this update was ever happening, even though the game was still available in the App Store with a notice about Square Enix investigating an update. I mean, I had no reason to disbelieve, but it was just such a long time coming, it was hard not to get worried. It was especially sad in this case because the game in question isn't easily available in English anywhere else, with the exception being a somewhat rare release on last-generation Nintendo hardware...

Hello, gentle ... listeners? I've had the pleasure of writing the RPG Reload weekly feature for just over six months now, doing my best to play through one RPG each week in addition to my usual workload and writing a whole bunch of words for all of you to read and hopefully enjoy. It was a bit of a risk because, well, we don't usually do regular features, but thanks to all of you, it's been a great success. With the excellent response we've received, I wanted to expand on things a bit, so using the @RPGReload account on Twitter, I asked you what you wanted to see. The most popular choice was a podcast, and so here we are...

Evoland [$4.99] is an odd experience. It's packed to the brim with genuine enthusiasm for my favorite genre and many great games of that genre and outside of it. Like an experienced stage magician running through his act, it has a brilliant set of tricks that it cleverly lays out one after the other, upping the ante each time to maintain your awe and excitement. At first they come at breakneck speed, not unlike the progress of gaming technology itself. After a half hour or so of this, the designers must have realized that they had to space out their remaining cards so that the game wouldn't be finished too quickly. Things slow down. They ride out the previous trick for a while, perhaps too long. Then, having exhausted their bag of tricks and understanding that even a patient audience can get restless, things come to a swift, sweet finish. Evoland is too short at times and too long at others...

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. Who likes free-to-play games? Whoa, don't all raise your hands at once! Lots of updates this week, especially for the big free-to-play hits, but some nice ones for smaller titles, too. 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!..

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 [Free]. 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...