Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


A while back, I reviewed the original Five Nights At Freddy's [$2.99], and while I could appreciate what it was doing from a clinical point of view, I didn't really get the game properly. When Five Nights At Freddy's 2 [$2.99] came out, I thought I'd step aside and let someone else take a crack at it, but with how busy the holiday season was, the game ended up falling into the dreaded TouchArcade sofa cushions instead. Before anyone could catch their breath, Five Nights At Freddy's 3 [$2.99]'s release was imminent. I'll own up to a couple of little quirks that I have. First of all, it really bugs me when I don't get why something is popular. I don't have to like everything, but I do like to understand points of view other than my own, and exploring them often leads to me finding new things to enjoy. I see it as a failing on my part when I'm not able to do this. Another odd habit of mine is that I don't like gaps, so if I'm to come back to the series to review the third game, I really needed to do this one first. Hopefully, that explains why we're running this review at an admittedly late stage of the game. You can expect a review of Five Nights At Freddy's 3 pretty shortly after this one...

RPG Reload File 031 - 'Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we never try to brush a wookiee's teeth. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's huge back catalog. We revisit the game, expand beyond the borders of a typical review, and see how it's doing in the wild future that is today. The RPG genre is an incredibly broad one, and I try to bring a balanced plate from week to week. I want your help with that, however, so once per month, I'll be featuring a game selected by you, the readers. Simply make your selection known by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or tweeting to @RPGReload. Next week's article is one such choice, and will feature Undercroft [Free], as selected by TouchArcade forum user DrJD. Thanks Doc, I like to get a physician's opinion once in a while!..

Last week, I had the opportunity to talk to the producers behind DeNA and Square Enix's new social RPG, Final Fantasy: Record Keeper [Free]. We had a fairly lengthy discussion about the game itself and Final Fantasy in general. So lengthy, in fact, that we decided to run the interview in two parts. Yesterday, we covered introductions, the genesis of the game, region differences, and a few other gameplay aspects. Today's portion gets more into hardcore Final Fantasy discussion, which was a lot of fun. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did...

Square Enix and DeNA's new social RPG, Final Fantasy: Record Keeper [Free], just came out in English, but it's been available in Japan for several months. I like the game quite a bit and have been playing it almost every day, which means I'm hopefully well-equipped to give any starting players some pointers on getting the hang of the game. You can consider this guide something of a starter manual for the game, covering some of the important strategies you'll need to get yourself established in the world of Record Keeper, but it will also help you over the long term as new features are added to the international version of the game. Let's mosey!..

'Final Fantasy: Record Keeper' Long Play Impressions - Five Months Later

One of the difficult things with evaluating games on the App Store is how much they tend to evolve over time. It's especially tricky with free-to-play games that are often set up to be gentle in the early stages and more punishing over time. It's like waiting for the other shoe to drop a lot of the time, and I think that contributes to why some people are hesitant to get into those kinds of games to begin with. Even though I've played Square Enix and DeNA's new social RPG Final Fantasy: Record Keeper more than anyone at TouchArcade, I won't be doing the main review. We agreed it would be interesting for readers to get another point of view on the game, so my co-host on the RPG Reload Podcast Eric Ford will be handling that...

We've been waiting for a while, but the time that we can start talking about the English version of DeNA and Square Enix's new social RPG, Final Fantasy: Record Keeper. Last week, I had the opportunity to visit Square Enix's offices in Shinjuku to have a chat with the producers of the game. Of course, I'm coming from the angle of having played the Japanese version quite a bit, so I was particularly interested in any changes they might have made, but we covered a pretty wide range of topics. It was immediately clear to me that all three of the people I talked to are huge fans of Final Fantasy and had a lot of passion that they put into Record Keeper. I think in reading their responses, you'll be able to see that yourself. Since this ended up being a pretty long talk, we're going to run half of the interview today and the other half tomorrow. Today's part focuses on introductions, the genesis of the game, localization changes, and some elements of the gameplay...

Last year's Flappy Bird phenomenon was certainly a sight to behold. People became obsessed with it, playing again and again, just trying to push a little bit farther than their friends. Clones and homages arrived to the App Store by the bucket load, even well after Hodappy Bird [Free] rocked us all with its take. For several months, there was a heavy influence on the entire iOS market from the players to the media to the developers and publishers themselves. Then, partly snuffed out by its own creator, the whole fire just sort of went out and things went back to normal. There were some lasting lessons for those interested in picking them up, however. For one thing, simplicity isn't a four-letter word. For another, large groups of people actually like games that figuratively smash your thumb with a hammer. You don't need a slick presentation with this kind of game, since what you're really targeting is the competitive instinct and tenacity in the face of certain failure that resides in almost everyone...

Even today, it's rare to see a developer's name affixed to a video game title. There are a lot of reasons for that, depending on which period we look at, but one of the bigger exceptions to that is the name of Sid Meier. I'm not sure how or why his name ended up in the title of Sid Meier's Pirates! [$2.99], but it might have simply been to help make the somewhat generic title more unique. The game was a massive hit, and while publishers generally don't like to canonize developers, they'll make an exception for just about any rule if the money looks right. So it is that after just a few more games, nearly every game Sid Meier had a hand in, and a few that he didn't, carried his name. It's an odd outcome for someone who seems to be a relatively low-key guy. The problem with his name becoming a brand, however, is that you can't be too sure with any given release just how much of the game is Sid Meier the designer versus Sid Meier the marketing tag...

Update Mondays: 'Family Guy: The Quest For Stuff', 'Candy Crush Saga', 'Cardinal Quest 2', 'Auro', 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 really huge updates last week, with many big titles and plenty of unexpected ones. 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!..

We have just a few weeks left until the April 15th release of the iPad version of Spiderweb Software's latest RPG, Avernum 2: Crystal Souls. iPad-owning RPG fans everywhere are likely getting pretty excited, but there might be some of you out there who are curious about these Spiderweb RPGs and aren't sure if you want to take the plunge at full price yet. Well, I could direct you to the demo versions that you can try out on your computer, but we're an iOS site, so instead I'm going to point you at Avadon: The Black Fortress HD [$9.99 (HD)]. Like the rest of Spiderweb Software's games, it usually sells for $9.99, but likely in celebration of the upcoming game, it's currently on sale for half-price, or $4.99. That's a great deal for a huge game filled to the brim with content...

RPG Reload File 030 - 'QuestLord'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we heal ourselves by eating Lizard On A Stick. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the increasingly lengthy history of the App Store to see how it holds up in the present day. It's more than that, though. It's also a chance to revisit some good times, and go for a deeper dive than a review typically allows us. Although I'm the captain of this particular ship, once a month I give the helm to one of you, allowing you to select the featured RPG. Simply tell me your choice by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. Through a process of random selection, one of the suggestions will be chosen to be featured in the next reader's choice article. The next one will be RPG Reload File 032, which means I'll be rolling the dice next week. Vote now if you're interested...

Not long ago, we brought word that the amazingly deep RPG Siralim [Free] would be receiving a very substantial update quite soon. If you've been waiting with anticipation, the day has finally arrived. Siralim 2.0 features heavily overhauled graphics and adds a ton of content to an already large game. There are now more than 100 new creatures in the game, a new skill point system, hundreds of new items, and lots more. You can check a full list of the changes by visiting the forums at  developer Thylacine Studios's homepage. This update is of course free, as all of the many other updates made to the game have been...

Japanese mobile game developer DeNA has always had a fairly high profile, but whatever we knew before, it's peanuts compared to its visibility after the announcement that they would be partnering with Nintendo to bring the Japanese gaming giant's properties to smartphones. There are suddenly more eyes on DeNA than ever before, and many of them are skeptical. While that's not an unearned reputation, many people are imagining the DeNA of a few years ago rather than the DeNA of today. While they're still putting out free-to-play games that fall along their traditional lines such as Blood Brothers 2, they've also been trying to serve a different audience, one that prefers more traditional experiences...

A Special Version Of 'Final Fantasy 11' Is Coming To Mobile, Square Enix Announces

Following hot on the heels of the announcement of Final Fantasy Grandmasters, an action-RPG set in the Final Fantasy 11 world, Square Enix also announced plans to create a special mobile version of Final Fantasy 11 itself. Under development by Nexon, the developers behind the hit free-to-play online RPG MapleStory, this version of the game will have some changes made to it in order to better fit the mobile market. Which is to say, it's going to be free-to-play, among other changes...

Square Enix Announces 'Final Fantasy Grandmasters' For Mobile

Today in Japan, Square Enix held a press conference centered around Final Fantasy 11, their popular first MMO based in the Final Fantasy universe. The game was one of the company's biggest financial successes of all time, but with it getting pretty long in the tooth and its successor finally finding stable ground, one can't help but wonder how long Vana'diel's future is. When you think about it, it's pretty remarkable that such a substantial MMO was able to be realized on the PlayStation 2. Those days are coming to an end with the announcement that service for all versions except the PC build will come to an end in March of 2016...

'TouchTone' Review - Tricky Puzzles, Touchy Tone

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March 18th, 2015 11:30 PM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $2.99, 4 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
$2.99 Buy Now

It's been a few years since we've seen a new iOS release from Mikengreg, the developers behind the hit Solipskier [$0.99]. Mike Boxleiter and Greg Wohlwend gave the label a bit of a rest while they worked on other things after Gasketball [Free (HD)] didn't catch on quite the way they'd hoped. Notably, Wolhwend ended up teaming up with Asher Vollmer to create Puzzlejuice [$1.99] and Threes! [$1.99], both excellent puzzle games with strong visual designs. Well, the band is back together again, and perhaps somewhat informed by their experiences had apart. TouchTone [$2.99] is a striking puzzle game, the sort of thing we've come to expect from Wohlwend's recent projects, but it's also a compelling politically-charged statement on modern America, something both Boxleiter and Wohlwend have strong ideas about. While these two sides of the game don't blend together as well as I might like them to, they're individually strong enough that if you're only coming to the game for one, you'll likely find the other to be quite enjoyable...

I've reviewed a lot of Kemco games in the last couple of years here at TouchArcade, and while the quality varies wildly, I can easily say my least favorite of that two dozen, give or take, was Shelterra The Skyworld [$3.99]. It basically encapsulated everything that I dislike about developer Magitec's games. The archaic engine with its jerky scrolling, the localization so stiff you could iron a shirt on it, the irritating dungeons that have you doubling back and forth hitting switches with damage floors everywhere, the asinine approach to character development, and more all added up to one sad little reviewer. Every time I see Magitec's name on a new Kemco release now, I take a deep breath, flinching the way one would when a static shock is expected from a touch...

Update Mondays: 'CSR Racing', 'Diner Dash', 'Hay Day', 'Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition', 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. Lots of interesting stuff this week, as usual. 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!..

'8-Bit Creator' Contest Announced For 'Final Fantasy: Record Keeper'

A couple of weeks back, DeNA and Square Enix finally made the announcement that an English release of Final Fantasy: Record Keeper was on the way. The free-to-play social RPG that covers the entire main Final Fantasy series has been a pretty big hit in Japan since its release about six months ago, and with a vague Spring release date planned, English players will get their hands on it soon. Leading up to its release, a pre-registration campaign is being run at the game's official site. Special bonuses are unlocked based on how many people register, and the latest is the 8-Bit Creator contest...

Who's ready for chimichangas? To celebrate the arrival of Marvel's biggest star to PlayNext's X-Men: Battle Of The Atom [Free] card battle game, Deadpool has had his agent set up a one-of-a-kind deal for all his fans. For a limited time, you can get Marvel Pinball [$0.99] from Zen Studios for free. That stand-alone app comes with the table based on the Avengers movie, and it's the only way to get the Spider-Man table for reasons. Spidey's agent just isn't as good as Deadpool's, I guess. Maybe you're a fan with discerning tastes, though, and you think that goofy webhead is just a zero-calorie version of everyone's favorite merc with a mouth. Well, Papa Deadpool still has something nice for you. For an equally limited time, almost* all of the Marvel tables in both the Marvel Pinball app and Zen Pinball [Free] are on for half-price. That's just a dollar per table!..