Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


Classic Reload - 'The Room'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the Classic Reload, the regular feature where we just want to know what's in the box. In this column, we take a look at classic games from the App Store's past to see how they hold up in the light of the modern day. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, to reflect on their position in the overall iOS library, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. I try to pick a balanced plate of games from month to month, but if there's something you'd really like to see, don't be shy! Simply comment below and I'll add your suggestion to the master list for future consideration...

Best iPhone Game Updates: 'The Simpsons: Tapped Out', 'Junk Jack', 'Phoenix 2', 'Temple Run 2', 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 are some really, really good games in this batch. But don't worry, if you're here to read me go off the rails as my sanity slowly crumbles over the course of writing the article, we've got that, too. Naturally, 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!..




'Kami 2' Review - 2 Kami 2 Furious

StarStarStarStarNone
March 31st, 2017 10:00 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in 3.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
Free Buy Now

Say what you will about other aspects of gaming, but one area where mobile games can frequently go toe-to-toe with those on other platforms is in their style. Games like Monument Valley [$3.99], Sword and Sworcery [$3.99], and Prune [$3.99] are as much about taking the player on an audio-visual journey as they are about pushing their gameplay mechanics. 2013 puzzle game Kami [$2.99] might not be as famous as some of those games, but it's certainly done well enough for itself. It has made the jump to multiple platforms and now has a sequel to call its own. Unfortunately, Kami 2 [Free] runs into a lot of the same troubles that puzzle game sequels usually do, and with much of the novelty of its gimmick worn off, its fundamental issues shine through a little too brightly...

The RPG Reload Play-Along: 'QuestLord'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload Play-Along. Each month, we'll be playing an iOS RPG together, sharing laughs and tears in equal measures. The post on the front page (like this one!) is basically here to announce the game in question and give a few tips on getting started. The real action will be happening in the TouchArcade forums, where you'll find a thread dedicated to each month's featured game. Sign up if you haven't already, post your screenshots, ask for advice, or just chat about your misadventures with others. We've got a great community of RPG fans here at TouchArcade, so let's make the most of it! As a little incentive, at the end of each month, I will randomly pick one of the participants and send them something small and silly from here in Japan. All you have to do to be eligible is, well, play along with the Play-Along!..

For a series that regularly tackles some fairly serious situations, Fire Emblem also has a bizarre sense of humor running through it. So while you might expect an Easter-themed event for Fire Emblem Heroes [Free] to just add some of the were-rabbit Taguel heroes from Fire Emblem Awakening and call it a day, it's not all that surprising that the developers have opted to go in a different and entirely more silly direction. The Spring Festival event kicks off today, adding a new Paralogue chapter, some new quests, and some brand-new versions of characters to the game...

To tell the truth, I've put off playing Versus: The Elite Trials [$3.99] for a while. I didn't particularly enjoy The Hero Project: Redemption Season [$4.99], the last gamebook from author Zachary Sergi, and I was worried that I had completely forgotten where the story left off at the end of Versus: The Lost Ones [$3.99]. That gamebook, which you should definitely play before getting into this one, was something of an information dump. There were too many characters to keep track of, lots of world-building, and a plot that threatened to branch off in some truly confusing directions. With more than a year passing since playing the first chapter of Versus and now, I wasn't confident that I remembered anything from it anymore and wasn't looking forward to having to refresh myself. I kept shuffling The Elite Trials to the back of my to-do list, and now that I've finished it, I feel pretty silly about doing that...

Okay, look. Regular readers know that I am of the Canadian persuasion, and if you are a Canuck of a certain age, you probably have a moderately unhealthy appreciation for Sailor Moon, the highly influential series of anime and manga about a magical teenage girl from the moon, her talking moon cat, and a useless guy in a tuxedo who shows up when the heroine is in a pinch and offers only platitudes as support. I'm not going to apologize or make excuses. It's silly trash and I constantly skipped out early for lunch in high school so that I could go home and watch it on YTV. Taped the whole series onto VHS tapes and everything. Even made a custom box to keep them in. Printed a picture for it just to give it the authentic look...

Around one year ago in Japan, Square Enix released a spiffy new version of their classic, quirky SNES RPG Romancing SaGa 2 [$17.99] on mobile devices and PlayStation Vita. Part of a three-game series that released in the later years of Nintendo's 16-bit console's life, it developed a devoted following through its innovative mechanics and intriguing story. The mobile version apparently hit its mark, because Square Enix just announced through Twitter and Japanese magazine Famitsu that they would be giving the same treatment to the third game in the series, Romancing SaGa 3. It will be coming soon in Japan, but the real question is whether it will get a worldwide release given the somewhat muted reception to the localized version of the second game...

Update Mondays: 'Super Mario Run', 'Death Road to Canada', 'Rush Rally 2', 'High Risers', 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. It's a fine mix of new and old, big and small, and a few things in between this week. Once again, not a huge number, but I think I've picked out some good ones for your consideration. 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!..

Developer Zach Gage has a knack for putting together simple, accessible games that you can play for hours on end. He's been involved in a number of high-profile iOS games, but one of his earlier hits was the word game SpellTower [$2.99]. That was one of those games that seemed to transcend the usual crowd that played mobile games, appearing on the devices of the most unlikely of people. And why not? Word games play well with a large audience for a variety of reasons, and SpellTower was a very good one. Gage is back at the genre with TypeShift [Free] , but I can't help but feel this is aimed at a very different sort of player. It's an attractive game with an enjoyable primary mechanic, but there are a few things that keep it from reaching the heights of Gage's previous tower...

I'll give this to Capcom, they sure picked an unusual bunch for their latest mobile initiative. Given the original game's importance in Capcom's history, 1942 Mobile [$1.99] made a certain amount of sense. It was their first big hit, and shooters tend to play well with the mobile audience. Ghosts 'n Goblins [$1.99] is certainly a significant game but it wouldn't be my first choice to adapt to touch controls. Capcom disagreed enough that the next game in the series is Ghouls 'n Ghosts Mobile. The meat in that Arthur sandwich, however, might be the oddest choice of the lot. Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando Mobile [$1.99] is a technically-sound port of the game once known outside of Japan simply as Commando. It was a decent hit in its time, and it's certainly an influential game, but it manages to suffer from the negative points of both prior Capcom Mobile ports...

Readers with better memories than mine might recall a game I looked at way back at the 2015 Tokyo Game Show called Empire of Angels from developer Auer Entertainment. At the time, I wasn't aware that the game was a spin-off of a popular Chinese SRPG series, but I enjoyed its 3D visuals, light action elements, and its gorgeous... vistas. Since then, we've seen a release in the main series on iOS in the form of Empire of Angels 4 [$9.99], but there had been little word on Auer's free-to-play action-RPG spin-off Empire of Angels: Lunar Phantom [Free]...

Classic Reload - 'Card Crawl'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the Classic Reload, the feature where we were told to deck some monsters and took it far too literally. Each month, we take a look at a game 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 library, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As the trustworthy barkeep of this feature, I try to pick a balanced selection that reflects the diversity of the mobile gaming scene, but if there's something you really want to see, don't be shy. Simply comment below and let me know the games you would like to see and I'll add them to the master list for future consideration...

For all of the interesting themes that can be found in the published works of Choice of Games, one of the more common ones is that of war. I suppose that's no different from a lot of forms of entertainment, but it does start to feel like I'm re-living Disney's Mulan over and over again. Somehow a plucky (and usually lowly) hero manages to upset the certainly-evil invading bad guys almost entirely on their own, and usually gets a smooch or two along the way before being declared the best person that ever was. Yes, I'm over-simplifying, but it's only because this premise is starting to get a little weary. I had hoped Runt of the Litter [$3.99] would put a new spin on the theme, with its central conceit being that you need to raise and train a war gryphon. Indeed, it does play out differently than I would have guessed, but it's hard to say if that's for the better or the worse...

There's something about a first-person dungeon crawler that just pulls me in and tugs at my brain. They're a nice contrast from the more talkative RPGs, which often involve intricate stories with large casts of characters. A dungeon crawling RPG will generally have a handful of NPCs, if that. Most of the time, it's just you and a big dungeon that you have to conquer one small piece at a time. Filling out a map, watching the floor count go up, raising your party to the point that earlier challenges are trivial, and finding hidden secrets are about as straightforward as markers of progress get, but somehow it still works for me every time. Whether or not you get into Crescent Moon's latest publishing effort, The Deep Paths [$3.99], is going to depend on whether you share that particular quirk with me or not. It's not the sort of game that is going to convince anyone who isn't already predisposed, but those who like to live their gaming life one uniform-length step at a time should be satisfied...

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. It's another somewhat slow week, but given all the new games we all have to play at the moment, maybe that's for the best. 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!..

Like anyone who has been playing games for any length of time, I've seen so many endings that they barely even register in my memory anymore. But I distinctly remember the Saturday one summer in high school when I finally finished Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts. My friend owned the game, and I had dabbled with the game here and there over the couple of years leading up to that moment thanks to the occasional loan. It was something I had originally written off as being too frustrating to care about, but I was staying at my buddy's house that weekend and he was out for the day. Lacking other options, I sat down and played through the whole thing (twice). It's an incredibly difficult game even for its era, but there's a certain rhythm to it that will carry you through once you learn it. And to be perfectly honest, it's probably the easiest game in the series that started with 1985's Ghosts 'n Goblins...

My big beef with Capcom, as a mobile fan, is that I never really know what level of effort to expect from them. I consider them responsible for some of the finest ports to iOS (Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies) and some of the worst (Mega Man Mobile, Mega Man X). Since the games they choose to port are selected from their excellent library of classics, it's hard not to get excited when they announce something new is coming. But somewhere in the back of my brain, I worry that we're going to end up with another unreasonably poor effort. Such was the case when Capcom recently announced that they would be bringing four of their arcade classics to the platform. Well, the first one is here, and I'm happy to say that we got the good Capcom this time. While it's not perfect, 1942 Mobile [$1.99] is a very good re-creation of Capcom's classic vertical shoot-em-up, with all that implies...

If you've been playing Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes [Free] for any length of time, you surely know the pain of a terrible 20-orb draw. You end up with a bunch of heroes you have no use for, and there's nothing to do with them but send them home for a meager amount of Hero Feathers. To address that problem, Nintendo has added a new system to the game called Skill Inheritance, which allows you sacrifice a unit to teach its skills to another unit. There are only a few restrictions, so you can theoretically create some very powerful units if you have the right stock to work from...

RPG Reload Glossary - What is a Social RPG?

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where I sometimes have to throw dinner together from scraps of leftovers. While I had planned to do a developer interview this week, my day job has become rather busy all of a sudden. Because of that, I haven't been able to conduct the interview as I had originally hoped. I gave some thought to the idea of taking a week off, but we haven't missed a Reload in three and a half years and I don't plan on changing that. Ultimately, I settled on an early debut for an idea I had been planning: the RPG Reload Glossary. The Glossary is a place where I can define things and go into their histories a little so that you, the reader, know where I'm coming from. I'll be doing a Glossary entry every month or two as long as I can come up with ideas for it, so if you have anything you want explored, let me know in the comments...