Category Archives: Retro

'Air Supply - SOS' Review - Baa-ttle Of The Planets

I'd like you to imagine an alternate universe where Rare/Ultimate Play The Game's Spectrum classic Jetpac wasn't just a huge hit, but was so influential that developers were still doing their own spins and refinements on it for generations to come. I'd also like you to imagine that people in that world are obsessed with cute, fluffy sheep. In that dimension, something like the newest game in the Air Supply series from developer Quantum Sheep might seem somewhat pedestrian. In our reality, however, Air Supply - SOS [$1.99]'s action-packed twist on the Rare classic is pretty special. It occurs to me that I should clarify that this game has nothing to do with the band, since someone always asks...

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...

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome back to the RPG Reload, the weekly journey to seek the long-buried legends of iOS RPGs, revisit them, and escape within 2,000 words. I haven't succeeded in that yet, and I'm pretty sure today isn't going to buck that trend. As this week's installment hopefully demonstrates, we are welcome to all kinds of RPGs here in the Reload, and while I will do my best to share the love around, there is someone who can keep an eye on me to make sure I'm not sticking too closely to my comfort zone. That someone is you. Yes, as regular readers know, once a month, I'm playing and writing about an RPG selected by the readers. The next reader's choice is coming up pretty fast in RPG Reload 008, so get your votes in now by leaving a comment below or posting in the Official RPG Reload Club in our forums. This is your last week to cast a vote, because even Batman needs prep time. In addition to voting, I'd also love to hear your thoughts on this week's game or any other games I've covered. I'm also not going to say no to any fresh humor, just throwing that out there...

'Goblin Sword' Review - It's Still Rock and Roll to Me

My thumbs are feelin pretty raw after playing Goblin Sword[$0.99]. As a guy that grew up playing platformers in the late 80's/early 90's I don't think I can give higher praise for a game workin' it's tail off to give that old feeling back. Unforgiving yet short levels give this game a mobile focus while still retaining that frustrating level of difficulty we all had a love hate relationship back then. Gelato Games has hit all the selling points square on the head with this retro title. With controls better than Swordigo[$2.99], and more sophistication than Dodo Master[$0.99 / $0.99 (HD)], Goblin Sword is setting the bar nice and high for it's competition...

Reviewing a game like Dragon Quest [$2.99] is never easy. First of all, as many of you probably do, I have a very deep childhood connection to this game, which means it's a nostalgic trip for me every time I play it. Then there's the fact that this is a genre-defining game, and as a result, can't possibly be expected to be as refined as the games that followed in the path it carved out. Ultimately, this game is both a classic and a curio, a piece of history that feels like one, no matter how much Square Enix tries to pretty it up. Its age is in its fundamental structure. I think it holds up very well relative to other games from its era, but that's perhaps faint praise, given the state of console RPGs in 1986. A completely new player without any sort of fondness for the history of the series would be better off checking out Dragon Quest 4 [$14.99] first. That doesn't mean that the first Dragon Quest has nothing to offer, but it's probably not the best way to break the ice in 2014...

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...

In a burst of stunning pixel art and a flourish of chip tunes, Sunny Side Games has landed on the app store with The Firm [$0.99]. This developer has strong momentum with follow up game Towaga already in the works. From a glance at their site, you can see their commitment to visual presentation, the only question is do their games live up to the fanfare that is on display...

If the recent exhumation of the Sierra name (as a publishing imprint of Activision) incites a nostalgic impulse toward adventure in you, Bik - A Space Adventure [$2.99] should satiate. Even if relics like Space Quest are outside your experience, Bik offers an efficient, humorous jaunt punctuated by light puzzles that anyone can enjoy. Its ambitions are modest, but all the key elements work well enough, and they fit together to make a coherent, entertaining whole...

RPG Reload File 002 - 'Chrono Trigger'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome back to RPG Reload, the regular weekly feature where we jump into the time machines in our minds and take another look at an iOS RPG from days past. All types of RPGs are welcome here, and just to make sure things don't get tilted entirely towards my tastes, each month I'll be playing and writing about a game chosen by you. Right now, it's looking very much like The Quest Gold [$7.99] will be the topic of RPG Reload 004, but if you have a different idea, please make your voice heard in the comments below. I also encourage you to share your thoughts on the topic game in the comments, and if you have some spare gaming time, fire it up and play along in the RPG Reload Club thread in our forums...

'Dragon Quest IV' Review - But Thou Must Play This!

Dragon Quest IV [$14.99] is one of my favorite games in the entire Dragon Quest series. That also makes it one of my favorite RPGs, and by extension, one of my favorite games. Every time I run through this game, I find myself impressed that a game of this vintage hasn't lost even a bit of its shine. Dragon Quest IV does many interesting things, some of which are rare even today. As a result, while a lot of elements of this game are going to feel familiar to RPG fans, there's still nothing else quite like it, even with nearly 25 years of road behind it. So, you know clearly now where I stand concerning this game, but that's not much use to you without telling you why I think so highly of this game...

I don't think I'm alone in feeling a bit disappointed by the way Kairosoft's been spinning their wheels with most of their releases. It's not that the games aren't fun individually, it's just that they provide such similar experiences that it's hard to get all that interested in another one if you've already played more than a few. So it was with a slightly weary sigh that I downloaded their latest game, Kairobotica [$4.99], expecting another Pocket Harvest [$4.99] -level rehash and little more. Much to my surprise, this is Kairosoft's most innovative new game in quite some time. That might sound like faint praise, but with the change-up in mechanics, the developer's strengths shine through brighter than they have in a while. The result is a game that may not please everyone, but should at least be a welcome sight to exhausted fans of any of the developer's prior games...

You really have to hand it to The King of Fighters series. Not only has it survived through 20 years and more than one company sale, it's actually seen fairly regular releases throughout that span, proving to be just as prolific, if not more so, than its more well-known competitors. It also has long roots on handhelds, with semi-regular handheld versions dating all the way back to the second installment, King of Fighters '95. I feel like the series has never quite gotten its due from the general public, but it enjoys a strong reputation among fighting game fans, and The King of Fighters '98 [$2.99] is arguably the best of the bunch...

Appeals to nostalgia have become something of a commodity these days in video games. With the generation of kids who grew up on 8- and 16-bit sprite-based games all grown up and making their own games, the relatively low cost of producing assets in the style compared to assets that push the bleeding edge of technology, and the generally favorable response from an audience pining for the carefree days of their youth, it's not really a surprise that what once was a rare treat has now become commonplace, particularly in indie and mobile circles. The most common way games tip their hats to the past is in the presentation, using graphics, sound, and music that reflect popular hardware of the past, such as the NES and the Spectrum...

There have been a lot of grumblings about Square-Enix's lack of updates on some of their games, but the company has been slowly and quietly going through their back catalog in the last little while making little touches here and there. Final Fantasy 3 [$15.99 / $16.99 (HD)] and Final Fantasy 4 [$15.99] have both received updates for MFi controller support, Final Fantasy Tactics [$13.99 / $15.99 (HD)] got a major overhaul, and now it seems like one of Square-Enix's first iOS ports, Secret of Mana [$8.99], has gotten its turn. ..

Siralim [Free], the rookie effort from Thylacine Studios, is hard to fit into a box. Well, it's easy to fit it into a big box. It's definitely an RPG of sorts, but from there, it doesn't fit neatly into any of the sub-genres that we perhaps too gleefully like to use to organize these things. It's an odd fusion of elements, a stew made of up various pieces of different types of RPGs. Games that try this kind of thing run a high risk of ending up with something almost entirely inedible, but on very rare occasions, everything comes together nicely, creating a dish that is both familiar and fresh. You know, I'm kind of hungry. I'm going to get a sandwich and then come back and tell you why Siralim is an awesome game without using food metaphors...

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