Category Archives: Retro

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...

'Final Fantasy 9' Review - Celebrating The Series In Style

I had often wondered if we were going to see Final Fantasy 9 [$20.99] on iOS. As the only installment of the PlayStation 1 trio without a PC port, it was going to take a lot more work to get the game going on other platforms. At the same time, it's also the lowest-selling among its PlayStation peers, and while it seems to be generally more well-liked than Final Fantasy 8 these days, it's hard to say how well Square Enix would be able to financially justify what would have to be a high-effort port. Well, I guess the numbers must have finally worked out, because not only is Final Fantasy 9 now available on iOS, the quality of the port is well beyond my expectations. This is a great RPG from one of Square Enix's best eras, and it's been given an exceptional amount of care in the transition to mobile...




'Circa Infinity' Review - Like a Record, Baby

'Circa Infinity' Review - Like a Record, Baby

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February 5th, 2016 10:14 AM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Arcade, Games, Platform, Retro, Reviews, Universal
$2.99 Buy Now

In our recent review of Super Phantom Cat [$1.99] I remarked that I “wished the developers had been as creative with the platforming genre as they’d been with the art”. I loved the game in large part because of its wonderful presentation, and the solid gameplay was definitely fun despite feeling a bit too safe at the end of the day. And now, immediately after, I have Kenny Sun's Circa Infinity [$2.99] in my hands. It’s striking in that I like the game just as much as Phantom Cat, but my reasons for it are exactly the opposite. The gameplay in Infinity is unlike anything I’ve played before, to the point where I’m not even sure you could call it a “platformer” at all. The game’s presentation, however, is pretty solid but nowhere near as eye-catchingly beautiful as Phantom Cat. None of that should be taken as complaining, though, because I’m sure there are plenty of people who are completely over the moon for the traditional gameplay of the former and absolutely in love the sparse pixel stylings are of the latter...

Let's be honest: when it comes to mainline Final Fantasy games, Final Fantasy 2 [$7.99] is the Rodney Dangerfield of the bunch. While it has its flaws, it's not nearly as bad as its reputation would have you believe, and it actually lays down some important foundations for things the series would become famous for. Yet, because of its poor standing, it tends to sit near the bottom of most people's lists, and that seems to include Square Enix itself. The iOS port of Final Fantasy 2, which arrived way back in the pre-iPad days on the coat-tails of its more popular predecessor, has suffered from issues for years at this point. The first game, which suffered from similar problems, received an update earlier this year, but as the weeks went by, it seemed like Final Fantasy 2 was getting left out in the cold yet again...

For a game that wasn't received with much excitement when it was released, Sanitarium [$3.99] has held up pretty well over the years. The game first released in 1998, when adventure games were just about to drop off a cliff sales-wise for the next several years. Some of the things it was criticized for at the time actually seem to have anticipated the way the genre would evolve once it became healthy again, making this game something of a pioneer. Even setting its historical value aside, however, it's a compelling psychological adventure ported to iOS in fine fashion by the good people at DotEmu. It has its weak points, but I'd honestly recommend Sanitarium ahead of most other point and click adventures of its era...

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

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 covered the beginnings of handheld electronic RPGs with a look at the Game Boy's first several years. This month on, we'll be exploring the rest of the Game Boy's lifespan, including the event that brought the system back to life, and what came in its wake. In total, this feature will span twelve columns, each one taking a look at a specific era in handheld RPGs. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I've enjoyed researching and writing them! Please let me know what you think by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload...

Between Horizon Chase [Free] and Kalin Krastev’s Moto RKD Dash [$1.99], it seems there’s been a bit of a resurgence in retro racers lately on iOS. Which is totally fine by me, as one of my earliest gaming memories ever was playing Pole Position on my parents’ Atari. Dash apparently takes its inspiration from a series of old motorcycle games that spanned a number of mechanical, arcade, and LCD handheld systems involving a motorcycle sliding back and forth avoiding other motorcycles. I’d never actually heard of any of those old games, but watching youtube videos of Sega Moto Champ in particular was certainly illuminating. Anyway, Horizon Chase ended up being a great throwback that worked surprisingly well on iOS, so what about Moto RKD Dash?..

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

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 explored the earliest origins of pocket RPGs by looking at gamebooks and other interactive fiction. From this month on, we'll be following handheld RPGs as they entered the digital media, starting with the first half of the Game Boy's life. In total, this feature will span twelve columns, each one taking a look at a specific era in handheld RPGs. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I've enjoyed researching and writing them! Please let me know what you think by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload...

'Cavernaut' Review - The Eagle Has Landed

'Cavernaut' Review - The Eagle Has Landed

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September 29th, 2015 10:59 AM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $0.99, 4.5 stars, Arcade, Cave-Flyer, Games, Retro, Reviews, Universal
$1.99 Buy Now

I had several moments while playing EinheitB's Cavernaut [$1.99] where I thought to myself, "This is exactly why I love mobile." It's a game that's probably not going to change the world, but that's okay. It's just a great, tight little experience that could really only exist on this platform...

Ravenous Games has been around iOS for a long time. League of Evil [$2.99] was one of the first platformers on the App Store that actually worked, and it quickly became one of my favorite iPhone games. The controls were shockingly responsive (for the time), and speedrunning each level for leaderboard supremacy wasn't just doable, it was actually really fun. Of course, these days there are hundreds of platformers on the App Store and it seems the genre has come a long way since LoE took over my iDevice all those years ago. Unfortunately, though, in a lot of ways Ravenous's own games (which seem to make up about half of all the platformers on iOS) haven't changed with the times...

'Final Fantasy 7' Review - Square Enix's Classic, With A Few Clouds In The Sky

With the exception of some of Nintendo's Pokemon games, there is no Japanese RPG more famous and high-selling than Final Fantasy 7 [$15.99]. That might be the only non-controversial thing a person could say about the game. It's the JRPG's Star Wars, a game that changed the course of the genre in many ways. It proved there was an audience for RPGs in the Western market, but it was also a bold statement for consoles adopting optical media and perhaps even Sony's entire mission with the PlayStation. Here is the future, its commercials screamed, and though they were pretty deceitful in one way, those commercials helped pave a new road for console gaming's future. For many people it was their first JRPG love, and the passion it drove in its fanbase pushed Square into the limelight worldwide to the extent that they could push a ridiculously-budgeted CG movie into wide theatrical release. It spawned spin-offs, sequels, prequels, and merchandise galore. And now, in 2015, you can play it on the phone you keep in your pocket...

'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...

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we need food badly. Each week, we dig into the archives to find an RPG from times past, all just for the little old purpose of seeing how it holds up today. It's a bit of reflection, a little revisiting, and a chance to dive deeper on a game than our usual reviews allow. As ever, I try to present a sensible spread of titles to represent this vast genre from week to week, but if you think I'm missing something cool, please let me know. You can make suggestions by commenting down below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. We've only got one last regular reader's choice article coming up in August before starting the new format, so if there's something you want to see soon, let me know now...

'Dinofour' Review - Craig, Stop Eating Crayons

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July 8th, 2015 8:04 PM EDT by Brittney Broder in 4 stars, Action, Adventure, Platform, Puzzle, Ratings, Retro, Reviews
99¢ Buy Now

Dinofour [$0.99] is a charming retro-inspired puzzle platformer where the goal is to guide four dinosaurs to their egg at the end of the level. Each of the four dinosaurs has a different color and power to assist you on your quest: red breathes fire, green can move boulders, blue can fly, and purple can manipulate gravity to walk on the ceiling. The game was created by the new indie developer Craigeatscrayons and is the first launch of the Melbourne-based company. As far as first projects go, Dinofour set the bar high with playful yet challenging level design, interesting mechanics, and a vast amount of available content, including 3 worlds, over 70 levels, and secret areas and collectibles...

'Pixel Dungeon' Review – Simple Name, Legendary Game

Eons ago, a roguelike was created, and lo, all was good. The game was highly praised, and many flocked to bask in it’s simple but difficult glory. This congregation became a community, discussing the game’s many elements and even creating a wiki, raising the lowly game to great new heights. The roguelike grew over time, incorporating new mechanics and levels, but still something was amiss. This game was not to be found in lands of iOS. Thus a prophecy was born, that this game would come to iOS, heralding a great new age of…. Something, something. That’s getting tiresome. Long story short, Pixel Dungeon [$2.99] is here, fools!..

I hold two very strong opinions about the Dragon Quest series, one of which is agreed upon by many, and the other of which is slightly more controversial. First, Dragon Quest is like pie in that there is no bad one. My least favorite is either Dragon Quest 2 [$4.99] or Dragon Quest 8 [$19.99], but I'd still hand over a weekend to replaying both, no questions asked. With that being said, the other thing that I believe is that the series hit its creative peak with Dragon Quest 5 [$14.99]. That's not to say subsequent games didn't sometimes hit some very high notes, as my pie opinion shows. But if there is such thing as a work that a creative mind invests in so completely that they leave a big piece of themselves with said work forever, Dragon Quest 5 would be a huge example. That's an ominous way to begin a review of Dragon Quest 6 [$14.99], I'll admit, but I felt it was important to be upfront about that...

About two weeks ago, Jared and I were discussing when we might see Dragon Quest 6 on iOS. Let's face it, we kind of got a flurry of Dragon Quests to the face last year, but since Dragon Quest 5 [$14.99] released in January, things have been awfully quiet. Much to our surprise and delight, Dragon Quest 6 dropped on the Japanese App Store out of the blue late last week. It's likely to be at least a couple of months before it makes its English debut, but like Dragon Quest 4 [$14.99] and 5, this version of the game has seen an English release before, so its chances are pretty good. If and when it does, you can probably expect it to cost $14.99 the same as the other two games in the Zenithian Trilogy. I've put the Japanese version through the paces the last few days, so I figured I'd give you some impressions to mull over while you wait...

'Desktop Dungeons: Enhanced Edition' Coming to Tablets in May

When Desktop Dungeons (DD) was originally released as a paid game in 2013 (it existed as a freeware game prior to this release), it quickly found a place on many PC screens because of its addictive one-more-dungeon gameplay and its very challenging and intricate design. DD's developers, QCF Design, have been planning on bringing the game to mobile platforms for quite some time. Finally, that day is drawing near as DD has been updated to the Enhanced Edition on the PC, which means the mobile version of the game will be releasing at some point in May...

RPG Reload File 031 - 'Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we never try to brush a wookiee's teeth. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's huge back catalog. We revisit the game, expand beyond the borders of a typical review, and see how it's doing in the wild future that is today. The RPG genre is an incredibly broad one, and I try to bring a balanced plate from week to week. I want your help with that, however, so once per month, I'll be featuring a game selected by you, the readers. Simply make your selection known by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or tweeting to @RPGReload. Next week's article is one such choice, and will feature Undercroft [Free], as selected by TouchArcade forum user DrJD. Thanks Doc, I like to get a physician's opinion once in a while!..

RPG Reload File 029 - 'Shining Force'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we discover that there's a little Jogurt in all of us. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past for a little revisiting, a little reflecting, and a bit of a deeper dive than our regular reviews typically allow us. The RPG genre is as vast as the ocean, and I try to schedule games in such a way that we get a balanced plate as we go along, but I need your help with that. Once per month, the selection of the game falls to you, the reader. Simply let me know which game you'd like to see by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. The winner will be randomly chosen and featured in April's reader's choice article. I don't know what it will be, but I'm pretty sure we're fresh out of SEGA games now!..

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