Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


RPG Reload File 074 - 'Hunters: Episode One'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we don't have much better to do than grind our daily quests. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up in the light of our futuristic society of today. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their place in the App Store's history, or just to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As the person carrying the giant hammer, I try to choose a balanced schedule of games from week to week that nicely represent the genre. If you feel like I'm missing something important, however, please let me know. You can do that by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. It might take a while for your suggestion to get featured, since I plan the schedule pretty far in advance, but I will add it to the master list at least...

'7 Mages' Review - A Magnificent Ode To The Classics

For the first half of my 20 hours and change with 7 Mages [Free], I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. For whatever reason, the game wasn't on my radar at all, and when it released seemingly out of nowhere with gorgeous screenshots and some lofty comparisons being thrown around, I was skeptical. Well, the game has its flaws, but nothing like what I was fearing. 7 Mages is a great addition to the iOS's RPG library, and one that fills a particular niche few other games on the platform do. Its apparent inspirations are numerous, but it's safe to say that if you've got any love for computer RPGs from the late 1980s and early 1990s, you should definitely give 7 Mages a try...




'9th Dawn 2' Review - Jumpin' Hack Slash

'9th Dawn 2' Review - Jumpin' Hack Slash

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March 22nd, 2016 10:30 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $7.99, 4.5 stars, Action, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Role-Playing
$7.99 Buy Now

The original 9th Dawn [$2.99] was released almost three years ago. It didn't look like much, but as long as you could get past the humble presentation, you would have found an open world action-RPG with a scale few other iOS games can match. It had a clunky user interface and for those who prefer a more guided experience with their RPGs, its old-school nature could be off-putting. Personally, I loved the game, as it brought back fond memories of fumbling around in games like Ultima, and the lack of explicit story-telling was often made up for by the provocative world design. The sequel, 9th Dawn 2 [$7.99], has a few useful changes to address issues with the the original game, but for all intents and purposes, this is another heaping plate of the same taste. If you couldn't get enough of the first, you can throw down your money without fear. 9th Dawn 2 won't let you down...

My favorite Kemco RPG developer, EXE-Create, has found their groove over the last couple of years. Their games typically have enjoyable characters, solid mechanics, and genuinely good localizations. They've also pushed the technical side of things more than Kemco's other teams, introducing a polygonal battle system with Alphadia Genesis [$9.99] just over two years ago that they've used in several subsequent releases. If there's a downside to EXE-Create's work, it's that they rarely attempt anything risky with their game designs. While their Kemco stablemates are often trying interesting new systems, gameplay perspective, or even other genres, EXE-Create seems content to focus on delivering a tasty, predictable plate of meat and potatoes every time. How much you enjoy their games depends heavily on how tired you are of that sort of dish and whether or not you can connect with the latest batch of characters. Revenant Dogma [Free / $4.99] is no different in that regard...

Update Mondays: 'Candy Crush Soda Saga', 'Marvel Future Fight', 'SimCity BuildIt', 'Alpha Omega', 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. Kind of a quiet week for cool updates, to be honest. Maybe because of GDC, maybe it's just the calm before the Easter storm, but there are only a few things on this week's list that aren't among the usual suspects. 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!..

RPG Reload File 073 - 'Fall Of Angels HD'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we kill a lot of big bees. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the hazy mists of App Store time to see how it's doing in the here and now. As the guy with the spikiest hair, I deftly lead our little group through a balanced schedule of games from week to week. That said, if you feel like I'm missing anything important, please let me know. You can do that by dropping a comment below the article, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in our forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. As the schedule is planned months in advance, you probably won't see your selection soon, but it will be added to the master list, I pinky-swear...

Nintendo's first iOS app, Miitomo, has finally launched in Japan, alongside Nintendo's new rewards program, My Nintendo. The two are, as expected, linked in a lot of ways. Playing Miitomo earns you points that you can exchange on My Nintendo for discounts on games, console themes, and other digital rewards. Among those rewards are special tickets and outfits you can use in Miitomo. Since a lot of the digital rewards are nice treats for their console and handheld players, there's a real incentive here to play with Miitomo whether you're interested in it specifically or not...

Update Mondays: 'World Of Tanks Blitz', 'Lost In Harmony', 'Final Fantasy 9', 'Planar Conquest', 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 we saw a nice mix of updates from big names, indies, free-to-play, and paid games. A rare moment of balance. 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!..

RPG Reload File 072 - 'Oceanhorn'

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we smash our neighbor's jars looking for pennies. 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 an opportunity to revisit old favorites, to reflect on a game's position in the overarching scheme of things, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As the person holding the magical baton, I try to choose a good balance of games to feature from week to week, but if you feel like I've missed something important, please let me know. You can make suggestions by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. The schedule is planned fairly far in advance, so you probably won't see your suggestion soon, but it will get added to the master list...

One of the fun things about following a specific platform over a number of years is watching how things progress. Developers and series will pop up, and if they hang around, you can see what they do to build on what they did before to try to make an even better game. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn't. In the case of developer TouchMint and its Adventure To Fate series of turn-based RPGs, it's happily been the former. When the first game launched almost two years ago, it was a fun, somewhat rough game that got better with a couple of updates. Last year, a free-to-play follow-up came out, focusing almost entirely on the combat system and character development mechanics. That game, too, got some really nice updates that made the game better. I don't know what the update plans look like for Adventure To Fate: Quest To The Future [$3.99] looks like, but even in its present state, it shows the experience TouchMint has gathered in its own personal quest for glory...

Dungeon Raid [$0.99] was one of those games where, if it got its hooks into you, you probably weren't going to play anything else for a good long while. There wasn't a lot of mystery behind that, to be honest. The mechanics were familiar and simple to learn, but offered a lot of depth to the player looking for more. The RPG elements gave you a feeling of progression that isn't typically found in many other puzzle games. You could pick the game up whenever you had a few minutes and have a good time, or settle in for a longer session. I Keep Having This Dream [$1.99], the latest from Dungeon Raid developers Fireflame Games, is not the same kind of game. It's a little more opaque, a little more complex, and it comes off like it's aimed at a narrower target in general...

Update Mondays: 'Injustice: Gods Among Us', 'Badlands 2', 'Temple Run 2', 'Vainglory', 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's another relatively light one, with many familiar names and not much more than that. Still, the Update Mondays must flow, so here are my picks. 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!..

In between crunching RPGs, I often like to unwind with various types of interactive fiction games. They're relatively short, and they're easier to fit into small pockets of time during the day compared to many other games. At the same time, they give me the satisfaction of reading a story, even if it's not always a great one. I've reviewed many of these types of games here at TouchArcade, but one of the more popular companies whose works I had yet to touch on was Voltage. You may not have heard of them, but they're basically the Harlequin Romance of the App Store. Their games are incredibly successful in Japan, their home market, but they've also found quite a bit of success worldwide. The closest we've come to covering their games was when I reviewed Queen's Gambit [Free], a product of their American branch, but I figured with Voltage launching their latest game and me needing something light to play, the time was ripe to finally cover one of their romance games...

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 early years of mobile, pocket computers, and the RPGs that came with them. While the pickings were a bit thin early on, a great deal of the modern mobile gaming culture was born from that period. At the time, however, it proved to be very little threat to traditional handheld gaming, which was about to hit its biggest boom yet. This month, we're looking at the first and biggest part of that equation, a system that initially seemed to be a desperation move on the part of Nintendo. As we know, things turned out rather differently from what most expected...

Virtually everything can be made better by doing it in space. Except breathing oxygen, I suppose. And eating potato chips. And using the toilet. Okay, let's revise that. Some things can be made better by doing them in space, and engaging in capitalistic ventures just happens to be one of them. The core principles of buying low and selling high simply go well with traversing a lonely universe and battling space pirates. Perhaps unsurprisingly, iOS gamers already have a few games to choose from in this style, including games that focus mostly on trading mechanics at the expense of action or visual flourish, ones that put most of their eggs in the combat basket, and some that try to dazzle you with their slick presentation and sense of immersion in order to build a believable universe. Simply put, there's a fair bit of established competition for Stellar Wanderer [$4.99], albeit little of it recent...

Hey, everyone! We're finally back on schedule! Once you're done celebrating that fact, come on back around and have a listen to Eric, Andy, and I discussing Spiderweb Software's Avadon: The Black Fortress HD [$9.99 (HD)]. That comes after a fairly lengthy discussion about RPGs in general, per usual. We talk about Final Fantasy 9 [$20.99], Hearthstone [Free], Fire Emblem Fates, and Eric's latest shenanigans. But how does Ernest Borgnine figure into all of this? You'll have to listen to find out!..

Update Mondays: 'Marvel Contest Of Champions', 'Perfect Paths', 'Final Fantasy 9', 'Hello Hero', 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 little lighter than usual this week, and I can only assume it was because developers took time off to observe Eli Hodapp's birthday. Still, we've got some good stuff in here, so be sure to take a look. 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!..

I've been spending a lot of time with TinyCo's Marvel Avengers Academy [Free] recently. What can I say? I have a documented weakness for Marvel fan-service, and this app really packs it in nicely. Now, there's not a whole lot of playing to be done here, since at its heart it's more or less a superhero aquarium, but I have found a few tips to help things move along a little quicker for those of us who want to enjoy the game for free. Some of these are obvious to anyone who has messed around with a game like this before, but for the sake of anyone who hasn't, I'm going to include basic advice along with the rest. Excelsior!..

RPG Reload File 071 - 'Final Fantasy 3'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where salad days sometimes give way to onion knights. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see if it stands up to the test of time. It's an opportunity to revisit old favorites, reflect on their place in iOS gaming's history, or just to take a deeper dive than our reviews usually allow for. As the Cid on this particular airship, I try to plot a fair course from week to week, but if you feel like I'm missing out on any important RPGs, please let me know. You can comment below the article, post in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or tweet me at @RPGReload. It might take a while before the game shows up, since I plan these things pretty far in advance, but you will see it sooner or later...

Asdivine Menace [Free / $4.99] represents something of a benchmark for prolific JRPG publisher Kemco. While it's not the first time they've released a sequel, or even the first time characters have returned from a previous game, this is the first time they've put out an RPG where the story directly follows up on the game that came before, right down to sharing the same main character. While you don't need to have played Asdivine Dios [Free / $4.99] to enjoy this game, if you have, you're going to get a lot more out of it. Furthermore, playing even a short way into Asdivine Menace will completely spoil the story of Dios right down to the ending, so tread carefully if you haven't finished that game yet. It's not just a follow-up in story terms, either. Unlike previous Kemco sequels, this game actually keeps all of the gameplay systems from the last game, adding only a couple of new things of its own. For some, this game might prove to be too much of a rehash from a publisher that already recycles a little too much, but if you enjoyed Asdivine Dios, I think you'll be happy with where this sequel takes the story...