Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


Would you like to play a fun RPG today, but don't have the cash to spare due to holiday burnout? The Cartoon Network has your back, friend. The Steven Universe RPG, Attack The Light [$2.99], has just gone free, no strings attached.Since the game has no IAP to speak of, you're getting a full, great game for absolutely nothing in return. That's an amazing deal for a game that earned a five-star review from the perpetually-grumpy Carter "3.5 Stars" Dotson and (spoiler alert) a spot on the upcoming RPG Reload's Favorite RPGs Of 2015 list...

Having exhausted most of the relatively port-friendly Final Fantasy games and virtually all of the Dragon Quest games, Square Enix has got to be thinking about which of their remaining RPG classics are suitable for mobile ports. It looks like the lucky winner this time around is the SaGa series, specifically 1993's Romancing SaGa 2.While it's not the game's first trip to mobile, having been released in 2011 for Japan-exclusive feature phones, this will mark the first time a main entry in the SaGa series hits iOS. It will release in Japan this winter for iOS, Android, and PlayStation Vita. As this game has never been officially localized in the past, it's hard to say if it will ever leave Japan's shores, but stranger things have happened, I suppose...




Update Mondays: 'Clash Of Clans', 'The Simpsons: Tapped Out', 'Star Wars: Uprising', 'Terraria', 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. There were an awful lot of games updated this week, friends, and even I had to wave the white flag a little and cull this list down to the best of the best. And Final Fantasy 2. 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!..

There were lots of great things happening in the iOS scene in 2015, but one of the not-so-great things was the way several awesome, fairly new apps stopped working from iOS 8.4 onward. Even less great was the lack of any update from some of the publishers of those games. Despite assurances of a fix from 2K, we're still waiting on Bioshock to get its update, for example. In the case of Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, publisher Capcom outright said they had no plans to update the game, and pulled the game not long after iOS 9 arrived, breaking it completely. Well, at least they were upfront about it, right?..

RPG Reload File 064 - 'Terraria'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we never forget to pack torches. 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 place in the overall library, or just to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As the boss of this dungeon, I try to set a balanced schedule of games from week to week, but if you feel like I'm missing something important, let me know. You can do that by leaving a comment below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. I plan the schedule really far in advance, so you might not see your suggestion soon, but it will be added to the master list...

As regular readers know, I play a lot of interactive fiction games. Visual novels, gamebooks, text adventures, I enjoy them all just the same. While I'm often pleasantly surprised by the writing or structure of these games, it's quite rare for me to come across something that is different from a gameplay perspective. Veteran gamebook developer Tin Man Games has been full of surprises recently, however, so I suppose I should start expecting things like Choices: And The Sun Went Out [Free]. It's a choice-based adventure with a couple of clever twists, with chief among them being that it's not finished. Okay, that's normally a bad thing to say about a game, but in the case of Choices, it's actually its main hook. Rather than presenting a complete story that players can purchase up-front, Choices instead offers a subscription-based model where new content arrives every week, building on the story bit by bit...

Let's be honest: when it comes to mainline Final Fantasy games, Final Fantasy 2 [$7.99] is the Rodney Dangerfield of the bunch. While it has its flaws, it's not nearly as bad as its reputation would have you believe, and it actually lays down some important foundations for things the series would become famous for. Yet, because of its poor standing, it tends to sit near the bottom of most people's lists, and that seems to include Square Enix itself. The iOS port of Final Fantasy 2, which arrived way back in the pre-iPad days on the coat-tails of its more popular predecessor, has suffered from issues for years at this point. The first game, which suffered from similar problems, received an update earlier this year, but as the weeks went by, it seemed like Final Fantasy 2 was getting left out in the cold yet again...

In any given year, it's hard to predict which of the many cool and interesting indie mobile games will escape our little bubble and catch on with the wider audience. Although it's not exclusive to mobile, Her Story [$4.99] appears to be one of this year's winners in that regard. It earned great reviews from critics and players alike, and has already received recognition from Time Magazine and The Game Awards, placing in the former's Top 10 Games Of 2015 and receiving two awards from the latter. The thing is, it's kind of a weird game, so I could see some people still being hesitant to drop the money on it even with all of the praise. If that describes you, you're in luck, because Her Story is on sale for the first time ever...

'Code Of Arms' Review - Bar Versus The World

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December 8th, 2015 11:30 AM EST by Shaun Musgrave in 4 stars, Card, Free, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Strategy
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In a review of a different game that made use of barcode scanning, I talked about how I've always been enamored of the idea, but rarely found the games attached to the scanning to be of much merit. Well, I've finally found a pretty decent game that integrates barcode scanning. It's called Code Of Arms [Free], and it's basically like a simplified version of Dungelot [$1.99] fused with a card battler. If you enjoyed that game, you'll probably enjoy this one even if the scanning mechanic does nothing for you. Best of all, it's inexplicably free, without even so much as ads to support it...

Update Mondays: 'Marvel Contest Of Champions', 'Swordigo', 'Jetpack Joyride', 'You Must Build A Boat', 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. Some very surprising updates this week, along with lots of the usual suspects. As a bonus, you can watch my sanity unravel as I work my way through the list, thanks to a lack of sleep this weekend. 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!..

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 later years of the Game Boy, from Pokemon's launch to the Game Boy Color. This time around, we're taking a step back to look at the largely unsuccessful challengers to the Game Boy's long reign. In total, this feature will span twelve columns, each one taking a look at a specific era in handheld RPGs. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I've enjoyed researching and writing them! Please let me know what you think by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload...

It seems like 2015 is the year of long-awaited games finally releasing. This year we've had Spider: Rite Of The Shrouded Moon [$4.99], Galactic Keep [$3.99], The Room Three [$4.99], and Dragon Fantasy: The Black Tome Of Ice [$9.99], among others, and it looks like we're going to be ending the year with another game that's been stewing for awhile: the follow-up to 2010's Aralon: Sword And Shadow [$4.99], from Galoobeth Games and Crescent Moon Games. For its time, Aralon was almost unbelievable for a mobile game. Offering a big 3D world that felt considerably more detail, open, and alive than the one found in Crescent Moon's previous title, Ravensword, Aralon felt like a big step towards having a fully-featured, modern, WRPG-style game on iOS. That was in 2010, however, and I'm sure I don't need to tell anyone how the market and player expectations have shifted in the intervening half-decade. Aralon: Forge And Flame [$4.99] is stepping out into a much different world than the one that welcomed its predecessor, and it doesn't quite have the sizzle to fill the footsteps it's walking in...

Late last year, iOS gamers were treated to an excellent port of the cult classic Xbox title Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath [$2.99]. In my review of that game, I sounded off on the series on the whole, making no bones about my admiration for the tight design and excellent gameplay found in Stranger's Wrath, referring to it as without question the developer's best game. I also made no secret of my feelings about the previous games in the series, which I've always felt were lovingly-crafted but ultimately quite middling outside of their production values and strong art direction. I think there are valid reasons why they were like that, but the point remains that I don't think very highly of the gameplay they offer. I guess that's kind of a foreboding way to start this review, but stay with me...

'Blendoku 2' Review - Does It Blend?

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December 2nd, 2015 12:14 PM EST by Shaun Musgrave in 4 stars, Free, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
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I don't envy puzzle game designers. In our hobby, there are plenty of genres where you can more or less get away with looking at what the big dog is doing, slapping a slightly different look on it, and maybe tossing in a new hat or two if you're feeling particularly ambitious. You probably won't do extraordinarily well doing things that way, but it's certainly viable in some genres. Puzzle games are not one of those genres. Perhaps owing to the generally minimalist presentation most puzzle games use, people can spot gameplay imitations pretty quickly. Whether they'll care or not is another thing altogether, mind you. That's why I'm somewhat sympathetic to puzzle game developers who go back to the well a few times on an original concept. It's hard enough to come up with something new and fun, let alone trying to successfully reinvent the wheel thereafter. Just ask Alexey Pajitnov...

It's been a while since we've had occasion to sound the "Five Alarm" here at TouchArcade Towers, but this one is so hot we're thinking of selling Andy Fretz to our prestigious competitors to cover the costs of installing a sixth alarm. For the very first time, ustwo's Monument Valley [$3.99] is completely free on the App Store. If for some reason you haven't already bought the game, you can now pick it up for nothing but a couple of taps from your finger. No word on how long this will last, so you might want to do those little taps as soon as you can...

For a game that wasn't received with much excitement when it was released, Sanitarium [$3.99] has held up pretty well over the years. The game first released in 1998, when adventure games were just about to drop off a cliff sales-wise for the next several years. Some of the things it was criticized for at the time actually seem to have anticipated the way the genre would evolve once it became healthy again, making this game something of a pioneer. Even setting its historical value aside, however, it's a compelling psychological adventure ported to iOS in fine fashion by the good people at DotEmu. It has its weak points, but I'd honestly recommend Sanitarium ahead of most other point and click adventures of its era...

Update Mondays: 'Bubble Witch 2 Saga', 'Apocalypse Meow', 'Lara Croft GO', 'Afterpulse', 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. This week is the calm before the storm, friends. The Christmas updates will soon be upon us, so let's enjoy the peace while we can. 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!..

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we all gain experience to become something better. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's doing in the here and now. It's an opportunity to revisit old favorites, reflect on how they fit into the greater picture, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. I try to present a balanced plate as we roll through the weeks, but if you feel like I'm missing something important, don't hesitate, suggest...suggestitate? Look, I didn't think that through very well, but there's no going back now. Anyway, you can leave a suggestion by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. The schedule is already locked in for the next few months, but suggested games will be added to the master list, and provided I eat well and do my daily exercises, I will get to them eventually...

It's A Black Friday Sales Bonanza On The App Store, Here Are The Best Deals

Hello, friends. I hope all of you in the United States enjoyed your Thanksgiving Day, and all of you not in the United States enjoyed your sweet Thursday. As anyone liable to read this site knows, today is Black Friday, a day of wild sales and even wilder shoppers out seeking said sales. Fortunately, it's become easier than ever to indulge in Black Friday without having to brave the crowds, and if you're a gamer who likes to build a digital collection, you've got it better than anyone...

'Diabolical' Review - Ridiculously Evil

The flexibility of topics in the interactive fiction genre is one of its greatest strengths. I've said this before, but due to the relatively low production costs of putting words on a page, interactive fiction can take risks that other games dare not. Thankfully, nearly every company releasing gamebooks isn't shy about flexing that privilege. The occasional release even goes for comedy, a fairly hard topic to do well in gaming. Earlier this year, we had the absolutely delightful Ryan North's To Be Or Not To Be [$5.99] from Tin Man Games, and now, from Choice Of Games and author Nick Aires, we have the madcap super-villain simulator, Diabolical [Free]. I'm feeling a little bit spoiled, to be honest...