Category Archives: Interactive Fiction

Cannonfire Concerto [$3.99] is another gamebook release from Choice of Games that offers an unusual premise and excellent world-building. You play as a touring musical virtuoso in a setting that has something of an 18th century European feel. It's a time of momentary peace for the region, but things are starting to fire up again. It's up to you to decide whether or not you want to get involved and which side you'll pull for, but whatever you choose, the show must go on. Written by Caleb Wilson, Cannonfire Concerto is a lighter and faster-paced read than some of the last few ChoiceScript games released, but that doesn't stop it from creating an interesting setting and having a good bit of fun with it...

In my first year or so here at TouchArcade, it felt like Tin Man Games had something new coming out pretty regularly. In the last couple of years, however, the well-known gamebook developer has opted to spend more time with each release, with the results being quite impressive. From the experimental subscription-based gamebook app Choices to their stunning conversion of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, it seems like a new era for the Australia-based developer. Falling somewhere in the middle of those two is Tin Man's first crack at the popular visual novel genre, Miss Fisher and the Deathly Maze. The first chapter is due out on February 8th, just a few weeks from now, and it's looking great...




'Empyrean' Review - Empyrean Rex

'Empyrean' Review - Empyrean Rex

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Empyrean [$5.99], one of the recent releases of prolific gamebook publisher Choice of Games, doesn't start off on a good foot. Major events are happening to your character before you can even get your bearings, and it feels like the story is telling you a lot more than it's asking you. It doesn't help matters that the game's primary setting, the dieselpunk-styled city of Actorius, has a lot of lore to explain. The whole thing comes on a bit too strong initially, and I had to force myself to push through it in the early going. Give it some time to unfurl a little, however, and Empyrean proves to be great fun. It's a pulpy thing, to be sure, but it's high-quality pulp. I ended up enjoying it so much that even though this is one of the longer ChoiceScript games I've played, the time seemed to fly by...

Nomads going on massive treks across the land with their tribes in tow. A lot of quality entertainment has been mined from that concept, most notably in recent gaming history with The Banner Saga [$4.99]. This time, Choice of Games is taking a crack at it with Saga of the North Wind [$4.99], a relatively lengthy adventure gamebook from writer Tom Knights. It's a good idea for a game like this, and the quality of the prose here is strong, but a few elements keep it from being all that it could have been. If you've got an interest in the topic matter, though, you'll probably find something to like here...

A few years back, I got into the show Pretty Little Liars, and I'm still not sure exactly why I did so. It is a pretty entertaining show, and even though I'm not the target demographic - I know many, many teenagers who love that show - I still enjoyed the, well, interesting plot lines and the entertaining mystery. The show is launching its final season in 2017, but you can continue to enjoy the glorious adventures of Hanna, Aria, Spencer, and Emily, in the form of an interactive fiction game. Specifically, Pretty Little Liars is launching today on Episode [Free], the interactive stories platform that has hosted stories like Mean Girls in the past...

RPG Reload File 099 - 'Joe Dever's Lone Wolf'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we do it all for Sommerlund and the Kai! Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's doing in the here and now. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their place in the overall library, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. As one of the last remaining Kai Lords, I try to choose a balanced selection of games from week to week. If you feel I'm missing something important, however, you can let me know by posting in the comments below, stopping by the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. The schedule is planned well in advance, so I can't promise you'll see your suggestion soon, but I will add it to the master list...

If you were an iOS-only gamer following Capcom's Ace Attorney series, things probably got a little confusing with Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies [$0.99]. Why did it seem like Phoenix Wright was coming back to his job from a long time off? Who is this Apollo guy that takes up a third of the game? Wait, Phoenix has a daughter? What's up with that? I'm not sure why Capcom decided to give mobile players the fifth game in a series before the fourth one, but they've finally decided to fill that gap. Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney [$0.99] is a beautiful remaster of the original game which, up until now, was exclusively found on the Nintendo DS. While the graphics aren't polygonal like Dual Destinies, they were originally rendered at a much higher resolution than the Game Boy Advance sprites that were redrawn for the Phoenix Wright Trilogy. It's also, for various reasons, generally not as well-liked as most of the other installments in the series. Nevertheless, it's safe to say that if you enjoyed your time in the courtroom in previous Ace Attorney games, you'll want to show up to the stand here, too...

'Apollo Justice Ace Attorney' Hits the App Store

We're just mere moments away from our usual "Out Now" post, but I figured the arrival of Apollo Justice Ace Attorney [$0.99] was worth it's own little heads up. For those keeping score at home, Apollo Justice is the fourth game in the beloved Ace Attorney main series, though it doesn't actually star everyone's favorite ace attorney Phoenix Wright. No matter though, as our own Shaun Musgrave notes in the original announcement of this iOS port, "Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney is both important to the overall story of the series and still a pretty awesome game in its own right." Just over a week ago the release date for Apollo Justice was announced, with iOS hitting right now and the Android version coming just one week later...

Our culture's fiction has a fascination with werewolves. We've explored what it would be like to be an American werewolf tourist in Europe, what it would be like to have a werewolf Michael J. Fox, what it would be like to have a werewolf boyfriend, what it would be like to have a werewolf boyfriend who competes with our vampire boyfriend but then ends up being the boyfriend of our daughter instead, and so on. But I feel we could be doing a better job of digging into the fascinating subject of what it would be like to have a werewolf member of congress, a niche I was hoping Congresswolf [Free], a recent gamebook release from Choice of Games, would fill...

South Korean indie developer Somi has already made an impression on mobile gamers when his twisted puzzle platformer RETSNOM [$0.99] made its way from desktop to mobile just last month. Now he's brought another one of his desktop hits to mobile in the form of Replica: A Little Temporary Safety [$1.99] which arrived earlier today. Replica is a point-and-click adventure at heart, and plays out via a fake smartphone interface which you must poke around and inspect in order to unlock the secrets of the phone and its original owner. You're doing all of this at the Government's insistence, which leads me to think that there will be more to this story than meets the eye...

Back in early August, we caught our first glimpse of an upcoming courtroom drama game from developer Atreyu Games called Twelve Absent Men, and just over a month later we saw it in action with a humorous trailer. Apparently, the game quietly snuck out last week and as of today you can download Twelve Absent Men [$4.99] on the iOS App Store as well as on Google Play. Twelve Absent Men pokes fun at the tropes in your typical courtroom dramas on television and in movies, which always have a way of doing magical things like instantly going to trial after arresting a suspect and of course angering a judge into holding someone in contempt of court. ..

Capcom's Ace Attorney series has seen many twists and turns since its debut on Game Boy Advance in 2001. Initially only available in Japan, the series was brought to the world via Nintendo DS remakes. For the most part, those remakes were pretty close to the original games, but the remake of the first game included a new case designed to set up the then-upcoming fourth Ace Attorney game. Much to everyone's surprise, however, when Ace Attorney 4 was announced, it didn't star the previous protagonist of the series. Instead, the baton was passed to Apollo Justice, albeit with an awfully familiar mentor...

Back when I reviewed developer AJTilley's first visual novel release on iOS, Sword of Asumi [$1.99], I found myself underwhelmed by the weak follow-through on what I felt was a fairly good premise, but had some hope for future releases from the team. Well, we now have a another game from AJTilley, and I have to say that I'm a lot less optimistic about their future work. Divine Slice of Life [$3.99], like the developer's previous effort, has a good enough premise. You play as the reincarnation of Zeus who had been living a normal student life until two demigoddesses came crashing in, demanding you marry one of them and ascend to the Pantheon. Silly? Sure, but romantic comedies often are. Unfortunately, just as in Sword of Asumi, a decent premise ends up being entirely squandered. Somehow, it's even worse this time around...

Inkle's Steve Jackson's Sorcery! [$4.99] is a fantastic series, but it has unfortunately reached its end with the release of the fourth and final installment. With the series concluded, the developers talked about how the series came about, the many challenges they faced along the way, and much more. The story begins five years ago when the developers sat down with Steve Jackson to talk about bringing the famous gamebook to life on an iPad in the form of an "inklebook," the choice-driven story game we've become so accustomed to during the series. The retrospective is quite interesting for anyone who's enjoyed the games and anyone who's interested in what it takes to port a physical game or book to the digital world...

'Steins;Gate' Review - Desperately Seeking a Good Time

There's a certain attraction to time travel stories. Sometimes, they're about comparing the present to the past, particularly by sticking a fish out of their water. Other times, they're used as a way to think about the future and the promise it holds. Most of them really come down to a simple question: what would the present be like if things had gone differently in the past? Ultimately, time travel stories are more often than not morality tales about appreciating what we have and who we are. A warning about greed and how it can leave you with less than you had. A means of dealing with regret and the paralysis it can bring. Well, except for Back to the Future. That one's about making out with a younger version of your hot mom and getting a new truck...

'Sorcery! 4' Review - The End of an Incredible Journey

It's been over three years since inkle released their adaptation of the first book in the Steve Jackson's Sorcery! series. In a lot of ways, that app redefined what players expected from a mobile version of a gamebook. It would have been a far simpler matter for inkle to do the expected thing and do a straight conversion of the original books. They had the engine for it, and the series is well-regarded enough that it probably would have done fairly well. Instead, the developers decided to make something that a physical book would have a hard time approximating, while at the same time appealing to the fairly large overlap between gamebook readers and tabletop gaming fans. The first game mostly relied on a unique presentation and reworked battle mechanics, but the following two games brought more and more complexity to the table. Sorcery! 3 [$4.99] was so near to a full-on RPG that its roots were hard to spot at times...

I know many of you have been anxiously waiting for Sorcery! Part 4 [$4.99] to drop, and it's finally here. Now you can play the fourth and final(?) installment of a series that has really raised the bar on the quality of interactive fiction on mobile. If you've played the first three parts of the series, your decisions will of course affect the story in Sorcery! 4 (by the way, the exclamation mark in the title was clearly an attempt to honor Barkley Shut Up and Jam!), but if you haven't, Sorcery! 4 should feel like a complete experience. Of course if you plan on playing this one, you really should pick up the other 3 because they are all fantastic...

Last month, a new game from Night School Studio and Telltale Games called Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n.ipa [$2.99] (or simply Exfiltration for sanity's sake) made a big splash when it hit the App Store. Designed as a companion experience to the first season of the award-winning Mr. Robot TV series, Exfiltration put you in the role of a hapless citizen who happens to find a smartphone on the sidewalk and, upon opening and investigating the phone, gets sucked into a crazy hacker plot. The game plays out entirely through a faux text messaging application interface as you discover new information and plot your way through by communicating with all sorts of people, some who are actual characters from the show. ..

When I first heard about Hatoful Boyfriend [$4.99] at its original release on Steam back in 2011, it was one of those games that was just so bizarre in concept it had to be played. If there was ever such a thing as a niche, a pigeon dating simulator certainly was one, so beyond the humor of the initial concept, I didn't expect much. However, I was blown away - Hatoful Boyfriend manages to not only be amusing, but an extensive - and at times shocking - experience, that contains a fantastic visual novel with multiple entertaining endings that are far bigger than merely a parodic take on some of the weirder dating games that have emerged in recent years. When Hatoful Boyfriend was ported to iOS back in May, it was a great excuse to revisit St. PigeoNation, and today, the game has gone on sale for the first time to $2.99, so if the absurdity of the concept initially put you off, this is a fantastic time to find your very first pigeon partner...

'Mr. Robot: 1.51exfilitrati0n.ipa' Review - Behind a Believable Hacker's Screen Looking Out

Have you played Lifeline? It came out in 2015 and had a very clever concept: it turned one of the primary purposes of a phone - sending and receiving messages - into a game. The game had you talking to a survivor of a spaceship crash and you couldn't do anything but advise him, all the while trying to keep him alive. At its core, Lifeline was a choose-your-own-adventure game, but its use of "real-time" messaging as the main game mechanic made the game feel more like a real-life communication rather than a spreadsheet of choices and consequences. As much as it tried to imitate real life, though, Lifeline was a bit too stilted, the communication never really tricking you into believing that the person on the other side of the fictional line was a real human being...

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