Category Archives: Retro

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!..

There are a lot of pieces of Pixel Heroes [$6.99] that would have had a much stronger effect on me a couple of years ago. The well-designed faux-retro graphics and sound, the roguelike elements, and the referential sense of humor are all things that have appeal for me, but even the marriage of these particular aspects is getting a bit too familiar to be exciting. That means the game has to carry forward on its gameplay, and it's honestly a mixed bag. This is a challenging streamlined RPG that doesn't take itself too seriously and offers a lot of replay value, but its repetitive nature and tedious combat eat away at the fun, bite by bite...

RPG Reload File 028 - 'Phantasy Star 2'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where men get discounts on piano lessons for reasons not divulged in the localization. Each week, we jump into the time tunnel and grab an RPG from the App Store's past to give it a play in modern times. It's a bit of revisiting, a bit of reflection, and a chance to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. The RPG genre is a wide one with a lot of different kinds of games in it, and I try to present a good variety in this feature from week to week. To help me out with that, I turn to you, the reader, to choose what I'm playing once a month. Today's article is one such reader's choice, and the next one at the beginning of April could be yours! All you have to do is tell me the name of the game you'd like to see me play in the comments below, in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by via a tweet to @RPGReload. I'll randomly choose a winner each time, so even if your choice is unpopular, it still has a chance. Go for it!..

'Baldur's Gate 2: Enhanced Edition' Review - One Of The Best CRPGs Ever Is Now On iPhone

Okay, yes, this is a pretty late review of Baldur's Gate 2: Enhanced Edition [$9.99]. The game initially released on iPad about a year ago, and we didn't do a write-up of it for various reasons. There are plenty of reviews of the original Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows Of Amn out there, and given the existence of the first game's Enhanced Edition, we sort of assumed there wasn't much demand for one of our own. With the game's recent update that moves it to being a universal app, we've had a lot of requests from readers for a review of the game. Well, I guess we had that one wrong, but nobody's perfect, right? With that explanation out of the way, let's break down this port of one of the all-time greats of the genre...

'Pinball Arcade: The Addams Family' Review - And Now, This Mamushka Is For You

The developers behind The Pinball Arcade [Free / $0.99], FarSight Studios, are nothing if not extremely passionate about pinball. They've been in the games industry a pretty long time, over 20 years now, but they didn't truly find their niche until the 2004 release of Pinball Hall Of Fame: The Gottlieb Collection on the PlayStation 2. Its initial release was perhaps a little too early to catch the renaissance of video pinball, but it at least did well enough that they followed that up a few years later with The Williams Collection. With Williams tables being a lot more well-known among Americans, that release ended up doing pretty well, earning high praise for its faithfulness to the real machines. While this was all happening, digital storefronts started to become more popular. Soon, retail retro collections were becoming retro themselves, with a la carte offerings proving more popular with fans. It was a natural fit for the type of work FarSight was doing, and so The Pinball Arcade was born...

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we never run out of amnesiac magical princesses. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's doing in the amazing land of tomorrow. It's a bit of revisiting, a bit of reflecting, and the chance to take a deeper dive than you would usually see in our reviews. Any and all RPGs are welcome here, and I try to put together a reasonably balanced plate from week to week. In order to assist me with that, I need you to vote for a game you would like to see me play and write about. Simply drop your suggestion in the comments below, post in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or tweet me at @RPGReload. This is your last chance to put in your choice for the March reader's choice article, as it's coming up in just two weeks. Make it count!..

Much as I love it, I have to admit that video pinball is a very, very strange thing. They're sort of like those homemade recipes for Ecto Cooler that you can find around the internet: a shadow of the real thing, an attempt to replicate an incredibly tactile but now nearly-extinct experience. For most people, there haven't been any pinball tables around their locale since Clinton was in office. I wouldn't be shocked if many of our readers have never laid eyes on one in their lifetime. But for those of us who love them, if we can't wrap our fingers around a real machine and build the callouses on the palms of our hands by slamming them into the side of a wooden box to nudge a steel ball a half-centimeter off its course, we'll take what we can get. We'll take the video pinball. Because even though there's an unquestionable component of the game intrinsically tied to physical sensations, the games themselves have strong merit on their gameplay. The lights and sounds pulled us in, but the gameplay is what kept us coming back...

It's been just under a year since RPG fans were treated to the first ever official English release of Atlus's Shin Megami Tensei [$3.99], the game that launched the brand Atlus built its company around. It's a great port that mixes various pieces of different remakes to create the ultimate version of the game, though its UI in portrait mode sure does look strange. It was on the RPG Reload list of the best iOS ported RPGs of 2014, owing largely to its unique atmosphere and teeth-gnashing challenge level. There's really nothing else quite like it on iOS, and now you can own it for just $3.99, half the usual price...

'Dragon Quest 5' Review - The RPG Of A Lifetime

Dragon Quest 5 [$14.99] is a rare jewel. This is a game that carried the burden of being a sequel in one of the most successful franchises of all-time. In the pre-merger days, it's safe to say that Enix as a company depended on the performance of Dragon Quest games. It's the very definition of a AAA installment in the middle of a long-running series. Such products are not where we would expect to find the unique voice of the game's creator telling such a small and personal tale. That's just what designer and writer Yuji Horii did, however, and the result is perhaps one of the finest stories ever seen in an RPG. In my opinion, the series was never able to top this installment, but that's fine, because not many games in general have...

'Lowlander' Review - More Highs Than Lows

Of all of the Ultima games you would expect someone to want to make a tribute to, Ultima 2 has got to be near the bottom of the list. Oh, it's no Ultima 9, to be sure, but I've always seen it as the little road bump on the way to Ultima 3 and 4 more fully realizing the concept of the series. It's a familiar story for sequels, I suppose, but by playing things a bit too safely, it had to succeed without the novelty of the original game and all of its faults. It was still a pretty good game in its time, but relative to the series on the whole, I think it's kind of underwhelming. I'm sure a whole list of people might disagree with that, and at least one of the names on the list would be the developer behind Lowlander [$1.99]...

There's no two ways about it, sometimes an RPG fan just gets the urge to play a good, classic CRPG. While iOS offers plenty of options for the gamer who wants to revisit 90s CRPGs or early roguelikes, adventures that recapture the 1980s era of Ultima and the SSI gold box games are a bit harder to come by. Fortunately, we've seen a few developers try to fill the gap in recent times, and one such game is the iPad-only Dungeons Of Chaos [Free (HD) / $1.99 (HD)]. While it doesn't quite have the scope of some of the great games of old, it's certainly got the feeling down pat. For many, that might be a turn-off, but for some of you, and you probably know who you are, you're going to find this one hard to put down until you've finished it...

RPG Reload File 018 - 'Final Fantasy 2'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we pummel each other to get stronger. Each week, we take a look back at an RPG from the App Store's past. It's a little bit of reflecting, a little bit of revisiting, and sometimes just an excuse to take a deep dive in a way that doesn't suit a regular review. The RPG genre is a pretty wide one, and all kinds are welcome here. I try to keep a good balance of different ones from week to week, but I need your help now and then. Once per month, I'll be playing an RPG selected by one of you. All you need to do is vote for the RPG you'd like to see by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. When the time comes, a roll of the dice will determine the winning game, and much fun will be had by all...

'Dragon Quest 3' Review - The Stuff Of Legends

This is the fifth Dragon Quest game I've reviewed in 2014, and by now I'm sure I've hammered in the significance of this series to the JRPG genre, if nothing else. After starting the year with Dragon Quest 8 [$19.99], one of the more recent and certainly the most technologically advanced installments in the series, we took an odd side path to Dragon Quest 4 [$14.99] before heading back to the beginning of the series. I'm a firm believer that Dragon Quest games are like pie in that there's no bad one, but the first two games require a certain understanding of the context in which they were released to fully enjoy them. They're very much formative works of the genre, and as such have all kinds of prickly bits and loose ends hanging off of them. Dragon Quest 3 [$9.99] is where that proviso can be safely removed...

Hello, friends. Are you enjoying Dragon Quest 3 [$9.99]? You may have already read my import impressions of the game, and I'll have a full review ready for you soon, but I'm here today to talk about a different Dragon Quest game. With the release of Dragon Quest 3 in English, the rest of the world had finally caught up with the Japanese App Store. Such things cannot stand, however, so I'm afraid I must report that Dragon Quest 5: Hand Of The Heavenly Bride will be hitting Japan next week, on December 12th, for the price of 1800 yen, or about $15 US. An English release will surely follow, but there's no information as to when at the moment...

One of the things I love about RPGs is how wide and diverse the genre is. There are so many different things an RPG can do well to make a name for itself, whether it be telling a great story, having deep character customization options to play with, bringing an interesting world to life for players to explore, using interesting combat mechanics to force you to think in new ways, or any other of the genre's fine traits. Generally speaking, no two RPGs are quite alike, and some of them are so different from each other it's a wonder we fit them into the same genre at all. I enjoy digging into any RPG and trying to find that thing that makes it special, and even if it's not to my personal tastes, it's always interesting to see how it works and who it might appeal to...

Fans of classic JRPGs have been eating well this year on iOS, with four installments from the juggernaut Dragon Quest series releasing so far and very likely one more to come before we flip the calendars. All of the Dragon Quest games that Square Enix has put out so far on mobiles in 2014 are pretty strong games, particularly taking their age into account, but in this humble RPG fan's opinion, the best of the bunch is without a doubt Dragon Quest 4: Chapters Of The Chosen [$14.99]. I gave it top marks in my review both on the strength of the original game and the excellent quality of the port. It's easily the best version of Dragon Quest 4 available to English gamers and a must-have for any RPG aficionado. If you haven't picked it up yet, fortune smiles upon thee, for thou hast found the great sale price. While the game regularly goes for $14.99, the price is currently reduced 33% to a mere $9.99...

A little more than a year ago, id Software updated two of their old iOS ports–Doom Classic and Rage HD– with 4-inch widescreen support and support for Apple's then-new iOS 7 software. Both games had quietly disappeared from the App Store at least a month prior to the updates, which was scary for me as I'm a massive fan of the Doom iOS port. I was delighted to see them return with updates, and hoped that id might see fit to update some of the other games in their iOS catalog...

RPG Reload File 015 - 'Zenonia'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome back to the RPG Reload, our weekly quest to discover the nature of the demon found within our regrets. Each week, we dust off an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up in the futuristic world of today. Whether it's revisiting an old favorite, reflecting on its place in time and space, or just digging in a bit deeper than our reviews typically allow for, this feature gives a chance to break away from the crazy march of releases for a brief second and enjoy a trip to simpler times. I do my best to cover a broad range of RPGs from week to week, but just to help keep things balanced, once per month the choice falls to you, the readers. Simply cast your vote in the comments below, pop into the Official RPG Reload Club thread on the forums, or fire off a tweet to @RPGReload to let me know what you want to see me play. The next reader's choice article will be RPG Reload File 017, which is coming up pretty quickly. There's still no clear winner yet, so get to voting! If you guys don't pick something, I'll just take the week off from writing the column and play old Super Famicom games instead. Don't make me do it!..

RPG Reload File 014 - 'Final Fantasy'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome back to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we scour for the severed tails of rodents so that we can wear fancier clothes. Er, metaphorically speaking, of course. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up today. It's a chance to take a deeper dive or go off on side-quests that might not otherwise fit in our usual reviews. Also, it guarantees that I get to play a good RPG every week and call it work. I try to grab a variety of RPGs covering the many corners of this broad genre, but just to keep things interesting, I throw the choice over to you, the reader, once per month. Simply vote for the game you'd like to see featured by commenting below or popping into the Official RPG Reload Club thread in our forums and you just might see your choice show up next! The final reader's choice Reload for 2014 will be in RPG Reload 017 at the beginning of December, so get those votes in as soon as you can...

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