Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


It's been a long while since we've seen an update to Beamdog's iOS version of Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition [$9.99], but finally, version 1.3 has arrived, and it brings with it a ton of fixes and changes, including one of the most requested and significant changes yet: Fixing the colors on Drizzt and giving him his signature scimitars. Yes, at long last, the legions of fans and general iOS gamers can rest easily knowing one of pulp fantasy's biggest characters is now faithfully transcribed in video game format. Oh, and they've also added support for iPhone, if anyone was asking about that...

Boy, all kinds of surprising news related to Final Fantasy today, isn't there? The latest surprise is that the latest game from Hironobu Sakaguchi, the Final Fantasy creator and current Executive Surfer of Mistwalker Corporation, has soft launched. Perhaps, like me, you thought Terra Battle would make its debut on the Japanese App Store. Well, put on your fake Canadian mutton chops, because if you want to get an early start on Sakaguchi's latest, you'll find it north of the digital border in the untamed wilds of the Canadian App Store...

Well, we all wondered what Square-Enix's strategy was going to be for making Final Fantasy games available to mobile gamers from Final Fantasy 7 onward, but I don't think anyone called this one. Square-Enix announced today that they will be launching a mobile streaming service called Dive In, allowing mobile gamers to stream and play select Square-Enix games over wi-fi to their devices. The service will launch in Japan on October 9th, 2014, with three titles: Final Fantasy 7, Final Fantasy 13, and The Cherry Blossom Murders.  November will see the additions of Final Fantasy 8 and The Last Remnant, and in December, Final Fantasy 13-2, Murdered: Soul Suspect, and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 will arrive...

'Battle Riders' Review - Wreck And Roll Racing

Once upon a time, there were shooting games and there were driving games. Two fine genres enjoyed by many gamers, young and old. Then, in the early 80s, in a move precedented only by the peanut butter-chocolate combination that was so delicious it kicked off the concept of democracy, the two ideas were finally brought together. It's hard to nail down who did it first, with it largely depending on how broad you go, but by the time the theme from Peter Gunn was pounding in your local arcade, there was no going back. We were driving cars, we were shooting at other cars, and it was pretty great. As a genre, its certainly had its ups and downs, but I don't think it's ever going to disappear entirely...

After playing Colorbs for a few minutes and going back to the home screen of my iPhone, everything looked so much more boxy that I thought Apple had done a stealth UI update or something. That is probably the most interesting thing I can say about Colorbs [$1.99], a very minimalistic puzzle game from One Minute Games, who previously brought us the well-liked Commander Pixman [$1.99]. The game pulls in elements from many staples of the genre such as Puyo Puyo and Panel de Pon to create something mostly familiar but with a few little twists to set it apart. It's all packaged up in a terribly bland presentation that leaves the game feeling just a little bit too lifeless...

Of all the many complaints I've levied against the games released by Candy Crush Saga [Free] publisher King, one I haven't been able to make up until now was that their games lacked polish. A whole lot of that is owing to their relatively simple nature, but nevertheless, King games were generally bug-free and ran well enough. Their games don't typically suck a whole lot of battery power and are pretty good for filling in those gaps in the day where you want to play something without paying much attention. I could say all of that stuff until now, with the release of Diamond Digger Saga [Free], a battery-hogging, crash-prone game that in its current build has one of the worst kinds of bugs: the type that steals away your premium currency. Unintentionally, to the comedian in row three of the comments section...

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome once again to the RPG Reload, our weekly quest to revisit some golden RPG classics of the App Store. Each week, I take a look at a different previously-released RPG to see how it holds up these days, or just to do a little deeper dig than we normally have a chance to do in our reviews. I try to cover a variety of RPGs from various times and places, but just to keep me from going mad with power, once a month I turn the task of choosing the game over to you, the readers. In fact, what you are reading on your screen right now is the very first Reader's Choice RPG Reload, and your deadly mob justice has proven to have some spectacular taste. Nevertheless, that means it's time for you to do your thing again and cast a vote for the topic of RPG Reload 008 in the comments below or in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in our forums. Feel free to also chime in with your thoughts, anecdotes, and fresh humor...

Are you the type of gamer that likes to get angry at a game? You're going to be quite interested in Glue Knight [$0.99], if so. I mean that in the kindest possible way, too. Glue Knight is a really cool game, with reliable controls, exciting level designs, and a really good tempo overall. It's also cruelly difficult in a way I haven't personally experienced in about a year. This is a level-based auto-run platformer where death comes swift and often, and the only real way to succeed is to have superhuman reflexes or die, die, and die some more until you learn the right sequence. I know some of you out there must dig this because even I sometimes get a kick out of games like this...

'ALONE' Review - Forever Alone

With all the gimmicks endless runners tend to have bolted on them these days, it's sometimes easy to forget that it all started with just a simple score attack. No IAPs, no coins, no cosmetic upgrades, no power-ups, just an endless, increasingly difficult, randomized stage and a challenge to see how far you can go before inevitably failing. That's not to say gimmicks are bad, as they can be quite a lot of fun. Just look at Jetpack Joyride [Free], which is so loaded with stuff you could almost forget about the goal of going farther in favor of collecting things and still have tons of fun. There's something about that pure experience, however. It's something I greatly appreciated in Boson X [$2.99], and it's something I very much enjoy here in ALONE [$1.99]...

The genre label 'Metroidvania' is a combination of Metroid and Castlevania, referring to just about any Metroid game and the post-Symphony of the Night Castlevania games largely overseen by Koji Igarashi. The genre itself, though, stretches back pretty far, and there's at least one series concurrent to Metroid and well before Symphony that hasn't really gotten its due in the grand history of things. I'm referring to Westone's Monster World series, which spun of out the action-oriented Wonder Boy, got a lot of confusing localizations and revisions, and sadly bowed out after the 16-bit console generation. It's a great series that had a lot of clear influence on later titles such as Shantae [$2.99], but seems to get little credit for its contributions to the genre. With that in mind, I am not going to call Ninja Smasher [$3.99] a Metroidvania. It's a non-linear action game with a big, interconnected map where you find new abilities to open up new routes, but at least in my estimation, this game is taking notes less from Metroid or Igarashi's Castlevania and more from Westone's colorful, cartoonish adventures...

Having just finished my review of the final episode of The Walking Dead Season Two [$4.99], I thought it might be nice to decompress with a little pinball, as I often do after finishing a story-heavy game. Luckily for me, the developers behind Zen Pinball [Free] just released a thematically-appropriate new table as both a standalone app and an in-app purchase within the regular app. The Walking Dead Pinball [$1.99] follows most of the well-established trappings of Zen Studios's take on silverball, so it's hard to say if people burnt out on their offerings will be all that excited with it. For fans of The Walking Dead game, however, it brings just enough of the character of Season One [Free] to make it worth checking out...

You might recall that with The Walking Dead: Season One [Free], we did something of an unorthodox review due to the episodic nature of the game. There was a basic overview that was appended to with a review of each episode as they released, with the score adjusting appropriately. As it worked pretty well last time, we'll be doing the same thing here. I'll do my best to avoid any serious spoilers for the current season, but I'm going to talk frankly about the first season, so if you haven't finished it yet, consider yourself warned about possible spoilers...

'Appointment With F.E.A.R.' Review - My New Favorite Superhero Is Tin Man

If you ever need proof that competition is healthy for the customer, just check out the gamebook scene on mobiles. What started as simple conversions of the text of existing books has spun out into three developers each, in their own way, trying to combine the essence of classic gamebooks with the flexibility that modern technology allows. It started with Tin Man Games essentially giving you the keys to the game via a bunch of extra features, followed by inkle's brilliant adaptation of Steve Jackson's Sorcery! [$4.99] and Forge Reply's original RPG adventure based on the popular Lone Wolf [$0.99] character. Then, in April, Tin Man released their version of Starship Traveller [$5.99], where for the first time, the developer didn't simply bring the original book over with some bells and whistles, but elaborated on it. Recently, inkle again upped the ante with their stunning take on Jules Verne's classic novel, 80 Days [$4.99], and now we've got Tin Man replying in kind with what is clearly their most confident conversion yet, Appointment With F.E.A.R. [$2.99]...

I always love to see a game that doesn't take itself too seriously. If it also happens to be genuinely funny at times, that's even better. Ace Ferrara And The Dino Menace [$3.99] packs in enough self-awareness, charm, and humor, it's easy to forgive some of the failings in its gameplay. It's a space shooter that feels a lot like a Saturday morning cartoon, with a colorful cast of characters, a goofy plot to take over Earth, and plenty of action. The gameplay also feels like it's tuned for a younger crowd, with short, easy to clear missions and very simple controls. Veteran starfighters looking for their next battle probably won't be satisified, at the very least. As a fun little popcorn experience, however, Ace Ferrara has a lot going for it...

RPG Reload File 003 - 'The Bard's Tale (1985)'

August 28th, 2014 4:30 PM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in News
$2.99 Buy Now

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, a weekly feature where I take a look back at a previously released iOS RPG to do a little reflection, reconsideration, and to perhaps dig in directions that are outside the scope of a regular review. I cover RPGs of all kinds here, but even though I try to cover as many bases as possible, I'm still just one person and prone to potential blind spots. That's where you come in, my friends. Once per month, I'll be playing an RPG selected by you nice people, as voted in the comments of these articles and in our RPG Reload Club thread in the TouchArcade forums. Yes, I'll have to play whatever the cruel majority decides and write a whole bunch of words about it, so please, go easy on the Kemco games. I'm happy to announce that the subject of our very first Reader's Choice RPG Reload is none other than The Quest Gold [$7.99]! Please look forward to that one in next week's article...