Author Archives: Shaun Musgrave


Cally's Caves 3 [Free] has been a big success for Canadian developer VDO Games. It started out as an iOS game, where it earned a ton of praise from critics and players alike. Not long after, it released on Android, where it also racked up high marks. After a few updates and a successful Greenlight campaign, Cally's Caves 3 then made its way to home computers through Steam, where an audience that usually shuns mobile ports wholeheartedly embraced the game. What can we say, she's a little charmer. But there was once a time where us iOS gamers had Cally for ourselves alone, and it's nice to see that VDO Games hasn't forgotten those days. They've just released a major update to Cally's Caves 2 [Free] that nearly brings the game up to the level of its successor...

What, another one? Well okay, Shadowy Consortium, you're the vaguely-defined and sinister bosses. Hello, friends! Since my prize-winning investigative journalism piece on the differences between Slither.io [Free] and peanut butter went over so well, I've been asked to write another. The problem is that I'm pretty sure I emptied all of my rounds into that hard-hitting piece, leaving me in an awkward position. So, like all people who have no idea how to entertain an audience, I'm going to resort to showing you random videos and some pictures I have laying around. I suppose the catch here is that only the videos are Slither.io related, so I hope you like weird or interesting food packaging from Japan!..




Update Mondays: 'Slither.io', 'Mortal Kombat X', 'Never Gone', 'Alphabear', 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. We've got a lovely list of fan favorites included in this week's set of updates, so buckle up your seatbelt and get ready to take a ride. A ride... through text. 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!..

Apparently, merpeople are the new trend in interactive fiction. Yes, I call something a trend if I spot more than one instance. I'm pretty weird that way. Anyway, a couple of months ago, Choice Of Games released The Daring Mermaid Expedition [Free], a somewhat farcical adventure that provided a brief, enjoyable window into a fantasy world under the sea. The Sea Eternal [Free] also chooses the ocean depths as the setting of its story, but from the other side of the coin. Rather than playing an inquisitive human who accidentally stumbles upon this strange world, you play as one of the merpeople who inhabit it. In spite of this shift in perspective, the core of the story largely tries to untangle what it is to be human, or at least what it is to be sentient. It takes on a lot of very difficult questions, and although it doesn't handle them all with perfect grace, The Sea Eternal is nevertheless quite engaging and thought-provoking...

Hello, friends. As you know, I spend most of my time at TouchArcade writing about things like old premium RPGs and interactive fiction. Real barn-burners, I assure you. Today, however, I was asked by the Shadowy Consortium who occupy the penthouse of TouchArcade Towers if I might be interested in writing something for a slightly different demographic. In the interest of being a fair and diverse member of our writing staff, I went on The Internet to find out what everyone's talking about these days. For the most part, it was the usual boring stuff: politicians, awesome TV shows being canceled, and sports results. But I also noticed a few more things that seem to be popular: numbered lists, Slither.io [Free], and, confusingly enough, peanut butter. Oh, I could write three different articles containing these things, but I've got RPGs to play. So instead, I've mashed them all together into something resembling alphabetic paste. Please enjoy its relaxing flavor, and remember to floss after reading...

RPG Reload File 079 - 'The Shadow Sun'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we rummage through garbage to find loot. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's holding up in the far-flung future that is now. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on the iOS RPG library, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As the wielder of the legendary blade Excalipoor, I try to set a balanced schedule of RPGs from week to week that reflects the diversity of the genre. If you feel like I'm missing something important, however, be sure to let me know. You can do that by posting in the comments below, dropping by the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. Your suggestion will be added to the master list, which means you might see it several months down the road. Hey, no one ever said it would be easy!..

The Heroes Rise trilogy of gamebooks are, as near as I can tell, among the most popular releases from Choice Of Games. There are probably a lot of reasons for that, including the popularity of both superheroes and reality show send-ups, the interesting, convoluted plot, and the overall quality of the writing. Most of those things are still just as popular now as they were before, so even though the author of Heroes Rise has already started a new series set in another universe, it's perhaps not that surprising that the Hero Project is coming back for a second season. That trilogy wrapped things up so well, however, that it's hard to say what the best way forward would be for a follow-up. The Hero Project: Redemption Season [$3.99] finds a new direction, and while it's a pretty good one, it's tackling some complex issues that it can't quite seem to get a proper handle on...

Update Mondays: 'Deemo', 'Clash Royale', 'Astra', 'Zenonia S', 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. Wow, what happened here? Was everyone else on holidays? Did everyone cut out to watch Civil War? There isn't much this week, but I've done what I can to round up some interesting updates. 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!..

Say what you will about Crescent Moon Games, but they're certainly big believers in mobile games aimed at the traditional gaming demographic. That's a quality that's getting harder and harder to find among mobile publishers as time goes on. It wasn't that long ago that Crescent Moon gave word that another premium release in the Ravensword series of RPGs was on the way, and the follow-up to Mines Of Mars [$4.99], titled Mines Of Andromeda, is also in the works. Well, everyone knows that you aren't really juggling until you have at least three balls in the air. Ever the jugglers when it comes to game releases, Crescent Moon's got another potentially huge game coming called Morphite...

'INKS.' Review - Paintball Wizard

'INKS.' Review - Paintball Wizard

StarStarStarStarStar
$1.99 Buy Now

There are a few ways you can look at INKS. [$1.99], the latest release from Lumino City [$4.99] developer State Of Play. On the one hand, it's a beautiful piece of interactive art, allowing each player to uniquely paint a design based on how they play. On the other hand, it's probably State Of Play's most conventional game yet, since it's really just pinball at its core. That's a genre which has no shortage of excellent entries on the iOS platform, and when compared on a strictly mechanical basis against them, INKS. is far from the front of the pack. You have to take it as a fusion of both of those things to see it on its best merits, I think. If nothing else, it will teach you more than a few things about how to play pinball, and it does it in quite the artistic fashion...

In an era where kids can fire up a game like Real Racing 3 [Free] for free on a mobile device, I can't imagine slot car racing sets are as ubiquitous as they were when I was a kid. Just about everyone seemed to own one back then, whether they were interested in cars or not. They're pretty simple toys, with the only real input being how fast the car is going at any given time, but there was a certain thrill in seeing how fast you could take corners without careening wildly off the little plastic tracks. There was a bit of technique to it, though the advantage certainly went to the player who was most familiar with the track. Black Hole Joyrider [$0.99], the latest from Boson X [$2.99] creator Ian MacLarty, might look and sound like a grand space adventure, but it's basically a gorgeous game of slot car solitaire...

RPG Reload Presents - The History Of Handheld RPGs, Part Nine

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 did the backstroke in the treasure trove that is the PSP's RPG library. It's where the idea of cooperative RPGs truly caught on in Japan, and its successes and failures had a large part in shaping the future course of handheld RPGs. While the PSP was one of the most successful handheld systems of all-time, however, it didn't manage to meet the high expectations many had for its multimedia capabilities. There were many reasons for that, but one of the big ones is the topic of this article. This month, we're taking a look at the early years of smartphone RPGs...

I can't decide if I'm happy or sad that we've gotten enough EXE-Create RPGs from Kemco this year that I'm getting a bit weary of them. The developer behind the Alphadia, Across Age, and Asdivine series, as well as numerous other one-off RPGs, EXE-Create generally creates the best games of any of the teams working for Kemco. They're particularly good at writing interesting characters and entertaining dialogue, and I can't honestly think of a single release from them that has let me down in that regard. The most common weak point of their RPGs is in how safe they tend to play things with gameplay mechanics. They seem to have really fallen into a rut of late, and it's made all the more apparent when you play their releases nearly back-to-back. For good or for ill, Glorious Savior [Free / $4.99] is another EXE-Create RPG through and through...

Hello, friends! It's that time of the month once more, which means we've got a delicious hot 'n ready episode of the RPG Reload Podcast ready for your consumption! The main topic this time around is Crescent Moon's Ravensword: Shadowlands [$6.99], and we ended up doing something a little different from usual. Due to conflicting holidays, Andy wasn't able to make it for the recording of this episode, so taking his spot in the third chair is none other than Crescent Moon's very own Josh Presseisen. The format's a little different this time around, and we ended up powering right on through without taking a break. I'd like to give a big thank you to Josh for coming on the show and answering a lot of questions, some of which were a little tough...

Just as the first game did a few years ago, Marvel: Avengers Alliance 2 [Free] has grabbed a lot of my attention since its release not long ago. It's a little buggy in places, but the turn-based battle system is very satisfying and strategic, and the team-building offers a lot of options to support a variety of play styles. Plus, it has Spider-Man in it. So, since I'm playing the game an awful lot anyway, I thought I'd put together a bit of advice for anyone else who might be interested in the game. Note that I'm going to try to keep away from recommending specific characters, since an overpowered character is often one update away from being toned down...

'VOEZ', The Latest Rhythm Game From 'Deemo' Developer Rayark Is Coming May 26th

While Rayark has recently received quite a bit of acclaim for their stylish action game Implosion: Never Lose Hope [$9.99], longtime fans of the developer likely associate them more with rhythm games. Both Cytus [$1.99] and Deemo [$1.99] are counted by rhythm game lovers as being among the best on iOS. The games provide challenging action, gorgeous visuals, excellent music, and even a little story to go with all of that. Rayark appears to be building on those strengths with its upcoming release, VOEZ. It's scheduled to release on the App Store on May 26th, so mark your calendars appropriately...

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. Technically, I'm on holidays right now, but you know that won't stop me from bringing you a batch of update notes to kick off your week. 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 078 - 'Pocket RPG'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we always seem to be starting from scratch. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up in the futuristic, post-apocalyptic world we inhabit. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their overall place in the iOS library, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews usually allow for. As the Lukahn of this little Circle Of Sages, I decide which game gets the canoe from week to week. If you feel I've missed any awesome games, however, you can make a suggestion by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. While it might not show up for a while, it will be added to the master list, so you'll see it sooner or later...

'Guns Of Infinity' Review - The Ravages Of War

My quest to stay more or less on top of major gamebook releases has been pretty tricky of late thanks to the speed at which new ChoiceScript-based games have released both through Choice Of Games and Hosted Games. It's hardly the worst problem to have, but readers who have stayed on top of my recent gamebook reviews know that none of them have really grabbed me recently. Coming off of the massive, disappointing Magikiras [Free], I was a little wary of Guns Of Infinity [$4.99]. It's by a completely different author, mind you, so there wasn't much of a logical basis for that fear, but the relatively large word count certainly had me cautious. An unpleasant read can result in very different levels of agony depending on its length, and if Guns Of Infinity missed the mark, it was going to be a very long haul...

It's always a downer when a game you really like at its core is dragged down by external factors. Such is the case with Trap Da Gang [Free], the latest release from Japanese publisher Obokaid'em Games. The basic gameplay is challenging, fun, and wonderfully reminiscent of vintage arcade games from the mid-1980s. But being a free game, it also has an economy that you have to deal with, and while that's not always bad in principle, the extra cruft it brings to the game hurts it. It's still a fun game, but I couldn't help but wish there were some way to play it in a purer form...