Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


Back when I reviewed the third Five Nights At Freddy's game, I foolishly predicted it might be the last. I'm not falling for it this time, Scott Cawthorn, you wily developer. I've already seen you change the wording in the description ever so slightly to call Five Nights At Freddy's 4 the last game in the original story. Freddy will be back, and regrettably, I probably will be, too. Everyone else at TouchArcade Towers seems to think it's hi-lar-i-ous to see me spew out a stream of curses at semi-regular intervals, so the Freddy reviews tend to fall to me. Well, having played the games all quite a bit, I have to admit that my appreciation for the series has grown. It's actually grown to the point that I'm pretty disappointed with some of the decisions made for the iOS port of the latest game...

Update Mondays: 'Jurassic Park Builder', 'Ire: Blood Memory', 'Warhammer 40K: Deathwatch', 'Fruit Ninja', 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 big games got big updates this week, but there are a few smaller ones you may not have caught on the list, as well. 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!..




It's often said that there's a fine line between inspiration and imitation. We see both in varying degrees in the hobby of gaming. The former is without question a good thing, but even the latter can be okay depending on how closely it hews to the source. There's one more category that expression doesn't cover, however, and it's something a bit closer to plagiarism. It's a practice that is unfortunately all too familiar to mobile gaming fans in particular, and it's almost universally frowned upon. In these situations, games are basically copied one-to-one, adding nothing to the medium and depriving the original creator of their rightful reward. It's legal, as far as I can tell, particularly if you're wise enough to swap out art assets, but at least as far as I'm concerned, it's not ethically okay nor is it contributing anything positive to gaming on the whole...

RPG Reload File 050 - 'The World Ends With You: Solo Remix'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we celebrate our one-year anniversary not with cake, but with potions. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up in the present day. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their place in the overall scheme of things, and to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. I try to present a balanced plate to represent the genre from week to week, but if there's something you feel like I'm missing, please let me know. You can do so by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload...

'Spider: Rite Of The Shrouded Moon' Review - The Prettiest Parlor That Ever You Did Spy

Sequels seem to come in two different flavors these days. Most commonly, we get yearly installments, enough time to hopefully throw in just enough iteration to make an ever-worn concept feel fresh enough to sell again. Then there are the throwbacks, sequels to long-dormant franchises that somehow have to live up to impossible legends. On iOS, we see more of the former than the latter, and when the latter does show up, it tends to be a horrifying, free-to-play, quick-buck spin on an old gaming franchise whose core audience would prefer anything but. Generally, sequels used to be different, back when the industry could afford the luxury of not lining up all their big-name IPs on each yearly financial statement. Developers used to have time to work on them, time to let the original game settle in its groove, and perhaps most importantly, time to consider and tease out ideas in order to make each installment as strong as possible. Given how young iOS gaming is, it's not something we've gotten much of a taste of, but Tiger Style is prepared to give everyone a heaping helping with Spider: Rite Of The Shrouded Moon...

Whether you love Square Enix or hate them, you have to admit that they're behind some of the best premium RPGs on the App Store. They've got so many of them up, in fact, that while they have frequent sales, if you're waiting for any one game in particular, you might be waiting a while. Take, for example, Dragon Quest 8. It's been out for a year and a half, and it's only been on sale a couple of times. Well, if you were waiting for its number to come up again, you're in luck. That game, along with a couple of other cool Square Enix RPGs, is on sale for a limited time. Here's the full list, along with links for reviews and/or RPG Reloads where appropriate:..

'Mazes Of Karradash' Review - A Fun, Light Dungeon Crawler

Here's the thing: I love RPGs an awful lot, but there are plenty of times during my day where it would be somewhat futile to try to get anything done in bigger games. Yes, I could grind up a little, but that leads to my characters being overpowered, and that's not much fun. So I'm always on the lookout for something a little bit lighter that still provides a nice, classic RPG punch. The latest game to occupy that role on my device has been Mazes Of Karradash [$1.99], a dungeon crawler that feels both classic and modern in different ways at once. It combines vintage first-person dungeon crawling and turn-based combat with a simplified gear system and a splash of roguelike elements to create an enjoyable challenge that doesn't require a major commitment...

Recently, we've seen sim-factory Kairosoft make efforts to mix things up a bit in their releases. In some cases, they've broken away from their established templates, while in others, they've revisited a familiar framework but gone considerably deeper with the simulation elements. Fish Pond Park [$2.99] is yet another release that feels like it's outside of the norm for this little developer, though it's not quite as successful with its approach as other recent efforts. You're building and maintaining a business yet again, in this case a nature preserve of sorts, but the sim elements are lighter than they've been in quite some time. Instead of the usual case where the theme serves the simulation, in Fish Pond Park, all of your building and resource management is for the sake of some good old fishing...

Hello, everyone! We're right in the middle of the dog days of summer, and what better way to beat the heat than laying in front of a fan or air conditioner and listening to an ultra-long episode of the RPG Reload Podcast? This month, Eric Ford and I are joined by a special guest. His name is Eric "RK" Koziol, and in addition to being an iOS developer, he's also the man behind the Final Fantasy 5 Four Job Fiesta. It's an annual charity event that takes place each summer where hundreds of players run through Final Fantasy 5 under special challenge rules in order to raise money for Child's Play. Not only does he provide us with some insight behind the event, but he also drops some serious Final Fantasy 5 knowledge on us all. Also, he has a bell! It all runs a bit long, but it's a fun one, I promise...

Five Nights At Freddy's 4 [$2.99] wasn't the only surprise to pop up on the App Store today. We've known for a while that a follow-up was in the works to the goofy and fun parody RPG Doom & Destiny [$2.99]. Titled Doom & Destiny Advanced [$2.99], it released as an Early Access game on Steam just over two months ago, which seemed to indicate it wasn't terribly far off from launching on mobile. Well, the wait is over, as the game just sort of appeared today, and at a killer price to boot. A mere $0.99 will get you the sequel to one of my favorite mobile RPGs of 2013...

'Shibuya Grandmaster' Review - I Left My Heart In Shibuya

A long time ago, by App Store standards anyway, a unique puzzle game named Shibuya released on iPhone. Said to be inspired by the neon lights and the tall buildings of Tokyo's famous Shibuya district, it also seemed to be following in the footsteps of stylish puzzle games like Lumines and Meteos produced by Q Entertainment. The game got a lot of acclaim and a few updates, but it eventually fell behind the times and was pulled from the App Store. I had kind of thought we'd seen the last of it until I got word from the developer that Shibuya was returning, better than ever. Shibuya Grandmaster [Free] is a well-crafted update to the original, bringing modern features and style to the game while still offering up a strong and unusual twist on falling block puzzles...

Freddy's Here: 'Five Nights At Freddy's 4' Is Out Now On iOS

Well, I hope you all are having a lovely Tuesday. Mine could be better, and let me tell you why: the long-awaited Five Nights At Freddy's 4 [$2.99] is now available on iOS. Oh, I don't dislike the games, don't get me wrong. In fact, I felt like they've gotten a little better with each installment, and this one seems like it's the best one yet. It's just that I wasn't really planning on getting the ca-ca jump-scared out of me tonight, but it looks like that's how it's going to be...

Update Mondays: 'Marvel Future Fight', 'Shadow Blade', 'Soccer Spirits', 'Pako', 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 light one this week, friends. I don't know about you, but that suits me and my poor typing fingers just fine once in a while. That said, what's here is pretty good, if you ask me. 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 049 - 'Doom 2 RPG'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we sometimes vanquish demons with toilet water. 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 for a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow, giving us the chance to revisit old favorites and reflect on their position in the overall iOS RPG scene. Your only guide on this journey is Shaun, an observer from your own time, who appears in the form of a hologram only you can see and hear. I try to choose a balanced plate of RPGs from week to week in hopes of properly representing this gnarling hydra of a genre, but if you have a particular game you'd like to see me tackle, please let me know about it. You can do that by making a comment below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or tweeting me at @RPGReload...

Thanks to the massive success of Rovio's Angry Birds [$0.99] during the formative years of the App Store, physics-based puzzle games are probably one of the more, shall we say, over-represented genres on the App Store. At this point, I'd imagine most people have plenty of them in their purchase histories, and as a result, it takes something really special to make any actual waves in the genre. An initial glance at Earth Vs. Balloons [Free], which in screenshots looks very much like something that's been done again and again on iOS, isn't likely to turn anyone's head. But after seeing the name of the developer, I had to check the game out. This game comes to us from Mangobile, the developer behind the equally plain-on-the-surface Kingturn [Free] strategy games. They're probably never going to win any awards for presentation pizazz, and while the Kingturn games certainly have their twists, they don't get by on innovation as much as they do from immensely solid construction and clever scenario design...

'Champion Of The Gods' Review - Destiny's Child

The gamebooks released by publisher Choice Of Games are a bit of a tough sell to the uninitiated. I mean, gamebooks in general are a tough sell, but many of the other gamebook publishers on the App Store put a lot of work into the stuff around the text. Whether it's a plethora of illustrations, a unique visual presentation, added music or sound effects, or even just playing around with the appearance of the virtual pages, considerable effort seems to be spent to try to get people to give the actual meat of the experience, the text, a proper chance. Choice Of Games offers little more than a splash image, generic radio buttons for choices, a couple of splashes of color in the status screen, and black text on white pages. There is no sleight of hand here. It all falls on the plot, the quality of the writing, and the success of the choices presented in creating a compelling personal experience for the player...

Classic Reload - 'Spider: The Secret Of Bryce Manor'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the first edition of the Classic Reload, a semi-random feature where we take a look at classic games from the App Store's past. Yes, it's a spin-off of the RPG Reload, but let's hope this is more Laverne & Shirley than Joanie Loves Chachi. Anyway, the idea here is the same. There are lots of great games in the iOS library that don't get talked about much anymore, even though they're still worth playing. When the App Store was fairly young it wasn't a huge problem, but with several years and countless hundreds of thousands of new apps behind us, some really great games have become invisible to many players. The aim of this column is to pick out some of those games and give them a thorough going-through to see how they hold up in the modern day and take a deeper dive than we may have initially. This will not be a weekly feature, but I do plan to put one out every once in a while. Think of it as a hopefully-pleasant surprise you can expect now and then...

Update Mondays: 'The Simpsons: Tapped Out', 'Ambition Of The Slimes', 'Farm Heroes Saga', 'The Ensign', 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 it's nearly all about free-to-play and little indies, but I suppose that makes sense, doesn't it? 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!..

'Million Arthur' Review - A Rusty Blade

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July 24th, 2015 12:45 PM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in 2 stars, Card, Free, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Role-Playing
Free Buy Now

Although it's a new arrival in most of the world, Million Arthur [Free] is a relatively old game in a very young sub-genre. In Japan, it arrived mere months after the release of Puzzle & Dragons [Free], and while its story and production values made it a cross-media hit in its home country, the gameplay feels it's from another era. The best analogy I can make is to go back to the early days of first-person shooters. Developer id Software had released their breakout hit Wolfenstein 3D [$1.99] through publisher Apogee, but were going it alone for their next title. Apogee created a new game called Blake Stone that was built on Wolf 3D's skeleton, offering greater interactivity and a more open structure. It was a fine evolution of the gameplay established in Wolf 3D. The only problem was, the week after Blake Stone released, id Software released Doom [$4.99], and suddenly the whole tea table was up-ended. Million Arthur is Blake Stone, but for social RPGs, and outside of Japan, it's not releasing in the same window as its assassin, but years later...

'Warhammer 40K: Deathwatch - Tyranid Invasion' Review - Glorious Space Hunters

Rodeo Games has a niche, and they're getting better and better at satisfying it with each new release. Their last game was a fairly well-received conversion of the classic Warhammer Quest [$4.99] board game, and their newest release is another Warhammer-themed turn-based strategy game. Of course, before all of that, Rodeo Games made their name with their excellent Hunters series of turn-based strategy games, and its from those roots that Warhammer 40K: Deathwatch [$4.99] draws most strongly from. This is basically Hunters 3, albeit with a Warhammer 40K skin. Some might frame that as a negative, but it's been a few years since the last Hunters game. I'm more than willing to entertain a sequel at this point, especially one as high-quality as Deathwatch...