Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


RPG Reload File 076 - 'Ravensword: Shadowlands'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we respect giant dino-cows. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up in the here and now. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their position in the overall iOS RPG spectrum, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As per the prophecy, I try to choose a balanced variety of RPGs from week to week, but if you feel like I'm missing something cool, please let me know. You can do that by posting in the comments below, dropping by the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. Since the schedule is planned quite far in advance, your suggestion might not appear soon, but it will go on the master list...

As mentioned by Eli and Jared, this week has felt a little odd for new releases. Vague hints of something that smaller releases might want to get out of the way of. Is this it? Perhaps. Whatever else may or may not come, Warbits [$3.99] certainly adds some meat to the bones of this week's new releases. If turn-based strategy games like Nintendo's Advance Wars are your jam, you'll probably want to start hitting that link until fun things happen...




Friends, there are an awful lot of twin-stick shooters on iOS. After a period of relative dormancy, the genre came back into fashion at almost the exact same time as mobile gaming went through the roof and the indie boom kicked off, so it was in a lot of ways inevitable. The competition is so fierce that even the series responsible for getting the genre going again, Geometry Wars, has to be at the top of its game to earn a spot on people's devices. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved [$9.99] stepped up to that challenge, giving mobile players almost the same experience that could be found on consoles and PCs. If you haven't grabbed it yet, today is your lucky day, as the game has gone on sale for the nice price of $2.99...

It sometimes feels like Marvel is working towards a future where there will be a free-to-play game for every possible genre. The quality of those games has run the gamut from the bland Marvel: War Of Heroes to the surprisingly enjoyable Marvel Future Fight [Free]. Somewhere in the upper end of that range sits Marvel: Avengers Alliance, a rather fun game with a battle system pulled from turn-based RPGs. The one thing that ties most of these games together aside from the license is that no matter how well they start off, they all seem to end up becoming worse over the long run. The original Avengers Alliance is probably the worst example of that, with its poorly-implemented PVP, serious issues with cheating players, and completely broken character balance. At a certain point, it felt like Marvel Entertainment just gave up on it...

LEGO games on iOS are, by this point, nothing if not reliable. Apart from the earliest releases on the platform and the occasional experiment, the LEGO games based on licensed properties all essentially do the same things. They tell (or retell) a humorous story using a selection of stages from the console versions, offer up some mindless action gaming, and have a ton of unlockables. How much you enjoy them usually depends on how much you like the property involved, but all of the games kind of fall in that sticky zone that lay just between boring and interesting, and LEGO Jurassic World [$4.99] isn't any different. Except, you know, that this one has playable dinosaurs...

Update Mondays: 'Dungeon Link', 'Cardinal Quest 2', 'Final Fantasy 9', 'Real Racing 3', 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. The relative drought of updates continues, but that doesn't meant there isn't enough to stuff this article with! 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!..

Generally speaking, I'm not the sort of gamebook fan that replays books terribly often after finishing them. I'm usually okay with getting whatever story and ending comes from my choices, so long as it's an ending and not a "game over". With The Daring Mermaid Expedition [Free], however, I found myself going back a few times. It's a relatively short adventure, and it's almost impossible to satisfy your curiosity about the game's mysteries in a single play. The author takes a light approach to whole affair, and there's a playful feeling running through the whole story. I can't say it's one of my favorites from Choice Of Games, but if it catches you in the right mood, you'll probably enjoy it...

A couple of weeks ago, Square Enix released a wonderful remake of their 16-bit classic Romancing SaGa 2 on iOS, Android, and Vita in Japan. After putting the game through its paces, I put together some impressions of the game, but wondered at the end if the rest of world had a chance of seeing the game or not. After all, Romancing SaGa 2 had never been released outside of Japan before, and the last time any game in the series did get an international release was more than a decade ago. Well, chin up, friends. Direct from the game's official Twitter account just a few minutes ago, Romancing SaGa 2 will be launching worldwide on iOS and Android "soon"...

RPG Reload Presents - The History Of Handheld RPGs, Part Eight

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload. This week, we're continuing our little monthly project looking at the history of handheld RPGs. That means that we will not be taking a look at a specific RPG from the App Store's past this time around. Last month, we looked at the most successful dedicated handheld of all-time, the Nintendo DS, and the bounty of RPGs it brought with it. Quite impressive for a piece of hardware that most pundits felt had little chance against the opposition. This month, we're taking a look at the opposition in question, the Sony PlayStation Portable. Although it started its life playing the less-desirable role in a David vs. Goliath match-up, it would in time be the subject of its own feel-good comeback story. Most importantly for us here in the RPG Reload, it was home to a massive library of excellent RPGs...

Rayark's Implosion: Never Lose Hope [$9.99] was one of our favorite games of 2015 thanks to its impressively deep and stylish gameplay. It's a rare premium action game in a market full of smaller pick-up-and-play titles, and the lack of any IAP was certainly a plus for many players. That kind of gaming experience commanded a relatively higher price than many other mobile games, and if it was a little too high for you, I've got some good news for you today: Implosion is now on sale for its lowest price ever...

'Mimpi Dreams' Review - Dream A Little Dream

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April 5th, 2016 11:45 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $2.99, 4 stars, iPad Games, iPhone games, Platform, Puzzle, Reviews
$1.99 Buy Now

The original Mimpi [Free] was a cute, somewhat short puzzle-platformer with inspired art design and serviceable controls. Mimpi Dreams [$1.99], the sequel, is a cute, somewhat short puzzle-platformer with inspired art design and excellent controls. The original game was an excellent little bit of fun and still holds up quite well today, and the follow-up offers up another tasty serving with a few useful refinements. While its brevity and relative lack of difficulty might turn off those looking for something more substantial to sink their teeth into, Mimpi Dreams has enough appeal to carry it far...

'King Rabbit' Review - The King Has Returned

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April 5th, 2016 10:50 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $0.99, 5 stars, Action, Arcade, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
Free Buy Now

Making video game sequels has always been a tricky business, but in the modern age of updates and add-ons, I can't even imagine how difficult it is to make the best choice for a follow-up. On the App Store in particular, the audience has become accustomed to getting reasonably significant additional content delivered as free updates, with games like Angry Birds [$0.99] and Candy Crush Saga [Free] getting enough free add-ons to construct a dozen sequels under the old rules. Unless you're one of the biggest dogs in the yard, however, it doesn't take long for such efforts to yield weak dividends, since relatively few players ever actually play through all of the content in the base game to begin with. Now, if you're making the kind of game where you can make your sequel look obviously different in some regard, it's less of a problem, but for puzzle games, it can be difficult to sway people over to a new installment...

Hi there, friends! It's time once again for the RPG Reload Podcast, where Eric, Andy, and I discuss all kinds of things RPG and otherwise. First of all, I have to apologize. This was recorded at the height of a nasty cold I had, and I sound exactly how I felt. I hope to be more perky next month. Our featured game this time around is Hunters Episode One [$4.99 / $4.99 (HD)], which isn't exactly a massive epic. That leaves us with lots of time to talk about other things, and gosh, do we ever. I'd say my favorite part of this episode is hearing about Eric's trip to Blizzard to check out the latest Hearthstone [Free] info. I personally don't know much about the game past playing it a few times here and there, but Eric and Andy are scholarly enough to discuss the topic thoroughly...

Update Mondays: 'WWE Immortals', 'Jump Jack', 'Marvel Avengers Academy', 'Brave Frontier', 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. Well, I'm mostly recovered from last week's cold, though it did hang on through most of the week. But you're not here for Shaun updates, are you? You're here for game updates, and we've got a nice little selection this time around. 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!..

Monkey Swingers [Free] is a game that has some immediate appeal, but it doesn't take long for it start pushing you away. Not only is the game quite tough, it also demands a fair bit of concentration, and a good run usually lasts longer than the excitement does. If you intend on getting your little monkey up into space and beyond, you need to demonstrate a high level of skill, but also set aside a reasonably big chunk of time to dedicate to the task. I like the idea behind the game well enough, and it's certainly got a nice system of upgrades and fun cosmetic items to unlock, but it just doesn't come together as well as I'd hope...

RPG Reload File 075 - 'Crusade Of Destiny'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where everyone has pointy ears. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how the searing light of the modern age treats it. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on how certain games have settled into the overall market, or just to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. As the legendary hero of time, I try to choose a balanced schedule of RPGs from week to week that reflect the diversity of the genre, but if you feel like I'm missing something important, please let me know. You can do that by posting in the comments below, dropping by the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. The schedule is planned pretty far in advance, so you might not see your suggestion soon, but I will put it on my master list...

'Romancing SaGa 2' Import Impressions - Final Fantasy's Complicated Cousin

Square Enix's SaGa series has always had a difficult relationship with players outside of Japan. Although in certain details it's not terribly different from the Final Fantasy series, SaGa is very much a product of its creator, Akitoshi Kawazu. It's not afraid to go way outside of everyone's comfort zone in terms of mechanics. How that kind of approach works out depends on the individual game. While many RPG fans find the Game Boy release SaGa 2 (known in the US as Final Fantasy Legend 2) to be a fairly agreeable game, the PlayStation 2 title Unlimited SaGa is considered by many to be one of the worst games Square ever attached their name to. Most of the games in the series elicit a mixed reaction, making it difficult to know if they're going to be your thing or not. If nothing else, at least, Romancing SaGa 2 is considered one of the better installments in the series, which might explain why it's the first to get an iOS release...

While we're waiting for Nintendo to hit the big red button on the worldwide release of their first mobile app, Miitomo, let's catch up on how the social networking app is doing in its home country, where it launched a couple of weeks ago. Miitomo was an immediate success there, shooting up to the number one spot in the free rankings, racking up a million downloads in just three days. While it's not monetizing too well at this point, and it's fallen a bit in the free rankings since that explosive launch, it's doing pretty nicely for Nintendo so far. This is not only their first step into mobile apps, it's also their big relaunch of their rewards program, now titled My Nintendo, and the two programs work hand-in-hand with each other...

Tonight, Square Enix held a big event to discuss and show off all things Final Fantasy 15. The long-awaited RPG, previously known as Final Fantasy Versus XIII, will be hitting PlayStation 4 and other platforms later this year, and Square has planned a lot of extra side projects to go with it. Perhaps one of these will be delayed 10 years and become Final Fantasy 16? Well, anyway, the relevant part for mobile gaming fans is Final Fantasy 15 Mobile Justice Monsters Five, a companion game for people to play on the go. It's coming to all major mobile platforms, including iOS, sometime in 2016...

Prolific simulation developer Kairosoft, of Game Dev Story [$0.99] fame, has been releasing the Japanese versions of their latest iOS games in App Stores worldwide recently. The English versions of the games typically follow anywhere from two weeks to a few months later, but always as separate apps from the Japanese versions. Thus, it doesn't make a lot of sense for English gamers to jump the gun and pick up the Japanese releases, even if they do look pretty interesting. Worry not, friends! TouchArcade is willing to jump in on such occasions and let you know whether or not you should keep your eye out for the English release. Today, we're looking at two Kairosoft releases that hit the App Store on the same day. As the games don't have English titles yet, I'm just taking a stab at their possible translations, so don't be surprised if these titles end up being called something else...