Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


Fans of classic JRPGs have been eating well this year on iOS, with four installments from the juggernaut Dragon Quest series releasing so far and very likely one more to come before we flip the calendars. All of the Dragon Quest games that Square Enix has put out so far on mobiles in 2014 are pretty strong games, particularly taking their age into account, but in this humble RPG fan's opinion, the best of the bunch is without a doubt Dragon Quest 4: Chapters Of The Chosen [$14.99]. I gave it top marks in my review both on the strength of the original game and the excellent quality of the port. It's easily the best version of Dragon Quest 4 available to English gamers and a must-have for any RPG aficionado. If you haven't picked it up yet, fortune smiles upon thee, for thou hast found the great sale price. While the game regularly goes for $14.99, the price is currently reduced 33% to a mere $9.99...

Brace yourselves, we're going to talk about some truly old-school gaming in this review. Before there was Clash Of Clans [Free], Call Of Duty, Tetris [$0.99], Super Mario Bros., or even Pong, a huge gaming craze swept the world. It was a puzzle game known to the western world as Tangrams, brought over in the early 19th century from China, where it had been around for several hundred years. Suddenly those months-long New Zealand soft launches don't look so bad, do they? If you aren't familiar with Tangrams, the puzzle involves using seven pieces to try to match a set shape. You would think this to be a pretty shallow affair, but there have been several thousand different puzzles made. I'm not sure if it's still the case, but books of Tangram puzzles were always a mainstay in gas stations and convenience stores when I was a kid...

Welcome to the week, everyone! It's time for our weekly look at notable or interesting updates from the last week that you may or may not have missed. Remember, you can keep an eye out for interesting updates yourself by using AppShopper Social [Free], the watchlist in the TouchArcade App [Free], or by paying very careful attention to the TouchArcade forums. If I've missed anything you think should be mentioned, please leave a comment so others can see it. Following on last week's feedback, I'm going to present things as more of a list this time around. Lots of big ones this week, and a couple of interesting smaller ones, too. Let's dig in!..

Gamebook developer Cubus Games is only on their third swing at the genre, but they've already become a player worth paying attention to in that sphere. So far they've released the off-beat horror tale The Sinister Fairground [$0.99] and the crazy yet awesome sci-fi story Heavy Metal Thunder [$0.99], both bringing themes and unique writing styles that helped them stand out in an increasingly crowded field. Their newest game, Necklace Of Skulls [$0.99], is an adaptation of a 1993 book by veteran gamebook author Dave Morris, whose name you might recall from inkle's recent take on his book Down Among The Dead Men [$0.99]. It carries on the same strengths as Cubus's earlier releases, with an adventure through an exotic backdrop of Mayan mythology, relayed in captivating fashion by Mr. Morris's usual top-shelf writing...

RPG Reload File 015 - 'Zenonia'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome back to the RPG Reload, our weekly quest to discover the nature of the demon found within our regrets. Each week, we dust off an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up in the futuristic world of today. Whether it's revisiting an old favorite, reflecting on its place in time and space, or just digging in a bit deeper than our reviews typically allow for, this feature gives a chance to break away from the crazy march of releases for a brief second and enjoy a trip to simpler times. I do my best to cover a broad range of RPGs from week to week, but just to help keep things balanced, once per month the choice falls to you, the readers. Simply cast your vote in the comments below, pop into the Official RPG Reload Club thread on the forums, or fire off a tweet to @RPGReload to let me know what you want to see me play. The next reader's choice article will be RPG Reload File 017, which is coming up pretty quickly. There's still no clear winner yet, so get to voting! If you guys don't pick something, I'll just take the week off from writing the column and play old Super Famicom games instead. Don't make me do it!..

Coming into iOS gaming from a background in consoles, dedicated handhelds, and old computers, my first steps into the already-massive catalog were cautious ones. I stuck to familiar brands and the odd breakthrough that had made waves in the traditional media, such as Game Dev Story [$4.99]. One of the first real iOS originals that I fell absolutely in love with was League Of Evil [$1.99], from Ravenous Games. The game will always hold a special place in my heart for hammering it into me that, yes, virtual controls could work marvelously for an action game if they're handled correctly. These guys had their stuff together, I decided, and I began to follow them closely, anxiously awaiting their next big title. By all accounts, that game looked to be Random Heroes [Free], and I bought it pretty much the second it became available...

It's a frequently-visited topic throughout the history of the hobby, but the topic of the length of games (or the lack thereof) has been coming up a lot recently among mobile gaming fans. Faced with a market that that is often frighteningly resistant to handing over more than a few dollars in lump sums, many developers who want to build a traditional game with a beginning and ending, free of IAP consumables and other monetization techniques, are faced with a pretty hard economic reality. The answer to that problem is usually to scope the game's content according to some very meager budgets, leading to some great games that don't take all that long to play through. This was a very hot discussion when it came to Monument Valley [$3.99], and it may well be the same for those who pick up Space Expedition: Classic Adventure [$0.99]...

If you've got any holes in your mobile Final Fantasy collection, now's the time to fill it out. Square Enix has put almost every game in the series on sale, and some highlights include the lowest price we've seen yet for Final Fantasy 4: The After Years [$7.99] and the first ever sale for Final Fantasy 6 [$7.99]. Even Final Fantasy Dimensions [Free] is getting in on the action, with the price for the IAP for the full game reduced to $7.99. The only titles sitting out so far are Final Fantasy Tactics [$6.99 / $7.99 (HD)] and the various free-to-play spin-offs like All The Bravest [Free]. The rest of the games are available for half-off their usual prices, making them a Locke-level steal for any RPG fan who doesn't have them already...

Following on the heels of yesterday's news that a free-to-play follow-up to Final Fantasy Dimensions [Free] is on the way in the form of Final Fantasy Legends: Crystal Of Time And Space, yet another Final Fantasy mobile game is on the way this winter, at least in Japan. This one is also free-to-play, and it's going to look familiar to some of you out there. The name of the game is Final Fantasy Exvius, and it's a social RPG developed by Alim, the team behind the popular Brave Frontier [Free]. For all intents and purposes, it looks like a Final Fantasy-skinned version of that game...

Square Enix Announces New 'Final Fantasy' Title For Smartphones

Well, Square Enix is fresh out of 2D Final Fantasy games to port to mobile, and the easy DS ports are all accounted for, as well. Dragon Quest games are well and good, but nothing keeps food on the table at Square Enix quite like the Final Fantasy name. So what's next, beyond endless variations on social RPGs mixed with every puzzle game concept under the sun? If you said Final Fantasy 7, sorry, you should know better by now. Shame on you!..

Update Mondays: 'Monument Valley', 'Battle Supremacy', 'Farm Heroes Saga, 'Chaos Rings', 'Game Of War: Fire Age', And More

Okay, so we're going to try a new weekly thing here at TouchArcade. Let's face it, no matter how well you try to keep tabs on interesting new updates, whether it's through the App Store itself, the TouchArcade forums, AppShopper Social [Free], or what have you, there's always a lot of them you might miss. With that in mind, every Monday, I'm going to do my best to highlight interesting or noteworthy updates from the last week. I am just as human as the rest of you, so when I inevitably miss something cool, please feel free to point it out in the comments. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of updates from the last seven days, particularly since many updates are of the 'bug fixes, etc.' sort that are very important but generally not all that newsworthy. So, with the premise explained, let's get on with it...

Being the ever-watchful observer that I am, I've noticed a trend in paid puzzle games of late. Perhaps battling against the effervescent, candy-coated, pastel shine of King's free-to-play offerings, puzzlers from the little guys are turning to the dark side. First, it was Darkin [$0.99], and now, Muertitos [$0.99]. Two games make a trend, right? I'm going to go ahead and call that science. While Darkin gave Dungeon Raid [$1.99] a spin with creatures of the night, Muertitos does something both familiar and unusual with its setup. That little bit of innovation combined with its very stylish presentation is enough to help it rise above the dense crowd, though just barely...

RPG Reload File 014 - 'Final Fantasy'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome back to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we scour for the severed tails of rodents so that we can wear fancier clothes. Er, metaphorically speaking, of course. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up today. It's a chance to take a deeper dive or go off on side-quests that might not otherwise fit in our usual reviews. Also, it guarantees that I get to play a good RPG every week and call it work. I try to grab a variety of RPGs covering the many corners of this broad genre, but just to keep things interesting, I throw the choice over to you, the reader, once per month. Simply vote for the game you'd like to see featured by commenting below or popping into the Official RPG Reload Club thread in our forums and you just might see your choice show up next! The final reader's choice Reload for 2014 will be in RPG Reload 017 at the beginning of December, so get those votes in as soon as you can...

Ah, the spin-off. A truly noble creature, brought into creation typically by a secondary character becoming so popular that it's believed by the powers that be that they can anchor a story of their own. Sometimes, it works out well, as in Frasier, The Jeffersons, and Wario Land. But for each success, there are a handful of failures like Joey, The Ropers, and Shadow The Hedgehog. Deep Silver's attempt to spin out a character iOS gamers have yet to meet leans more towards the latter group than the former, but point and click adventure fans are still likely to find some merit in the whole exercise. Secret Files: Sam Peters [$2.99] is a much shorter, simpler game than Secret Files: Tunguska [$4.99], and its protagonist is considerably more abrasive than that game's duo. That said, there are a couple of good puzzles and, along with occasionally clever bits of dialogue, it just barely manages keep its head above water...

'Monument Valley: Forgotten Shores' Review - Take Another Trip To The Valley

As I mentioned back when I reviewed Monument Valley [$3.99], it was bound to be a love it or hate it affair, and I was actually pleasantly surprised to see that most people felt as strongly about the experience as I did. It's a beautiful thing to play with, an artfully-constructed world that you can manipulate and bend around in ways that only a few other games have allowed. It was a gorgeous, pure experience, free of the flashing lights and urging pace that seems to be the general speed of things in this wonderful hobby of ours. It was also very short, with a mere ten levels to its tale, about a third of which were basically tutorial stages. By the time it turned up the gas even a little bit, it was soon finished. As an experience, it's hard to argue with it. As a mechanical game, it was a whole lot of potential with a somewhat wanting level of realizing it. Generally, it was very well-received, with most people left crying for more. So developer Ustwo got working on some more, and after several months of development, they've released an expansion for Monument Valley called Forgotten Shores...