Category Archives: Adventure

RPG Reload File 007 - 'Secret Of Mana'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome back to RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we spend a lot of time with magical swords and sprites of all varieties. Each week, I reload an RPG from the App Store's past for a little reflection, revisiting, or even just to do a deeper dig than what the scope of our usual reviews cover. I like all kinds of RPGs, and I hope you do, too, so I try to grab a varied selection to avoid leaning too hard on any particular style or subgenre. Just in case I miss something, however, once per month I'll be playing and writing about a reader-selected RPG. The next reader's choice is... hey, it's next week in RPG Reload File 008, where I'll be playing Lunar Silver Star Story Touch [$6.99]. How about that? Democracy in action! With that selection locked in, that means you can start voting for the next reader's choice, which will be RPG Reload File 013. Just leave your vote in the comments below or in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in our forum...

Frequent readers of TouchArcade know that I enjoy gamebooks quite a bit. What can I say? I grew up during the rise of Choose Your Own Adventures, when a pocket RPG meant a bunch of words written by Steve Jackson that you had to steal the dice from the family Monopoly set to play. It's more than just simple nostalgia, though. Call me an old curmudgeon, or maybe just a guy looking out for his livelihood, but I feel like there's a particular imaginative power to the written word that can't quite be matched by any other form of expression. That fight with the giant lizard king never turns out quite as awesome in illustrated or animated form as it does in your mind as you read the words off of a page. I'm thrilled that gamebooks have come back with a vengeance on mobiles. It's a perfect home for them, and allows developers and authors to push their ideas beyond the constraints of a physical media, while still using good old-fashioned words to beam the finest of adventures into your head...

The short turnaround time between the iPhone 6 Plus' announcement and release has left developers scrambling to support the larger iPhone, which has some new technical wrinkles because of its higher resolution. It presents a conundrum because where the iPhone 6 renders @2X, the same pixel density as previous Retina Displays, the iPhone 6 Plus internally renders @3X, an entirely new pixel density. To help explain what is happening in action, David Frampton of Majic Jungle sent over some screenshots showing off The Blockheads [Free], and the differences between an unoptimized iPhone 6 Plus game, and what it would look like:..

Cubus Games is a relative newcomer to the surprisingly burgeoning gamebook market on the App Store, with Heavy Metal Thunder [$2.99] being just their second release. Mobile gamers have been getting spoiled lately by the heavy competition between the existing gamebook publishers, with each new release finding new ways to push beyond what was possible with an actual paper book. Heavy Metal Thunder won't be joining that particular arms race, but it does deliver a reasonably exciting adventure with some occasionally shaky but always enthusiastic writing. In most ways it's a very orthodox entry into the genre, though I do give it credit for its strong use of audio, and while it may lack in ambition, it's a very well-put together, enjoyable bit of pulp sci-fi action...

Hands-on with 'Hail To The King: Deathbat' - Gothic Hack N’ Slash

We’ve talked a bit about Subscience Studio’s collaboration with Avenged Sevenfold, Hail To The King: Deathbat. After taking it for a spin recently, there’s definitely more to this hack n’ slasher than just a big name, and setting and locale are worth keeping tabs on its impending release...

Microsoft announced earlier this morning that it had acquired Mojang — and Minecraft right along with it — for a cool $2.5 billion. The acquisition is expected to be finalized later this year, and Mojang's three co-founders, including Markus "Notch" Persson, are leaving the company...

One of the cool things about video games is how they let you do things that you might not be very good at in real life. For example, in the real world, I am about as stealthy as a cow on ice skates, but in video games, I can be a master big boss ninja. Stealth games were around as early as 1981's 005 from SEGA and enjoyed a few brief spikes of popularity around certain titles like Castle Wolfenstein on the Apple II and Konami's Metal Gear on the MSX, but for the most part, it was a genre waiting for technology to catch up with its ambitions. Finally, in the late 1990s, the genre broke out in a big way on the backs of titles like Metal Gear Solid, Thief, and Tenchu, and would keep going strong with heavy hitter franchises like Splinter Cell and Assassin's Creed. These big franchises are still going at it, though at times with a reduced emphasis on pure stealth, but the genre's recently been seeing a lot more small-scale projects. I think Stealth [$1.99] represents one of the smallest yet, having been created by just one person...

'The Journey Down: Chapter Two' Review - Bwana's Big Adventure Kicks Into High Gear

Nearly two years ago, or longer if you're a PC gamer, we were introduced to the world and characters of The Journey Down [$2.99], a point and click/tap adventure game from developer SkyGoblin. It was a mechanically sound example of the genre with charm to spare, but it definitely suffered from the usual chapter one problem of doing a whole lot of setting up and not much paying off. If you played it, chances are good that you fell in love with its jazzy, dark atmosphere and lovable protagonist, Bwana. Chances are also good that after finishing the game's two and a half hour adventure, you went looking for a magic lamp to wish up the next chapter. It's been a bit of a wait, but The Journey Down: Chapter Two [$4.99] is finally here, and it's an excellent continuation of the story...

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...

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]...

Ubisoft Clarifies Episodic Format for 'Valiant Hearts,' "No Comment" on Potential 'Child of Light' for Mobile

Earlier this month, Ubisoft announced the imminent release of a touch-friendly version of Valiant Hearts: The Great War for iOS. The announcement came with news that the game would would be "based on the episodic format allowing players to play the game they way they want, just like for comic books of TV series." That's not exactly the clearest description of an episodic game, so I asked Ubisoft to clarify...

'The Wolf Among Us' Review - Red in Tooth and Claw

The first thing that happens in Telltale Games’ The Wolf Among Us [$4.99] is that Sheriff Bigby Wolf talks to a toad in a cardigan. The second thing, at least for me, was that he gets beaten to death (twice). Apparent cause of death is an axe handle through the eye socket, but I’m no doctor. That’s a hell of a first impression for the series, adapted from Bill Willingham’s Fables franchise. Fables’ premise—that fairytale characters have come to live in the real-world Bronx—isn’t uncommon: The 10th Kingdom and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods both predate Willingham, and contemporary shows like Once Upon A Time and Sleepy Hollow continue the unevenly handled tradition...

In December of 2012 developer SkyGoblin released the point-and-click adventure game The Journey Down: Chapter One [$2.99]. It was modeled after the classics of the genre, and could have comfortably sat right alongside them back in the day – SkyGoblin did a really great job with The Journey Down. It featured interesting characters and a vibrant setting, but its low point was in the puzzles. They made sense at least, compared to some of the obtuse puzzles in older adventure games, but they felt a bit by-the-numbers and uninspired. The Journey Down's strength was definitely in its story and characters, but this too was a difficult point being that the game is episodic...

Ask M. Night Shyamalan: When you strike it big by giving people an amazing swerve, it's incredibly hard to follow it up in a way that will please that audience. You either give the people the twist they're expecting from you, totally losing the purpose of a twist, or you play it straight and leave out the reason why people are probably into you in the first place. That's the unfortunate position developer Amirali Rajan finds himself in with The Ensign [$0.99], an attempt to build on to the story found in the underdog hit, A Dark Room [$0.99]. If you didn't play that game but plan to, you should stop reading this review right about here unless you want to be totally spoiled, and you really shouldn't want that...

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