Category Archives: Retro

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...

'Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition' Review - Another Remastered Legend Released for iOS

Beamdog is back. If you aren't excited as a D&D fan you should be. Not just a straight port, Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition[$9.99] is bringing some new toys to the table and I've been geeking out ever since I got my hands on them...

'Mr. Particle Man' Review - At Last, One For The Gentlemen

Up-front disclaimer: I hadn't played or even heard of Ms. Particle Man [$1.99], the game this is a sequel to, until about a week ago. It was apparently released in late 2012, so I was probably busy building my deluxe shelter to protect myself from the impending inevitable apocalypse, which appears to be rather late at this point. I wish I had discovered it sooner, but I'm glad I finally did, even more so because I've found it by way of its superb follow-up, Mr. Particle Man [$1.99]. It's an unabashedly old-school experience that manages to make use of a few modern tricks, one of which I've never seen implemented in quite the same way before in an iOS game. Fair warning: Mr. Particle Man is one of those tough as nails games where you'll die, die, and die some more, and it's very possible, likely even, that you'll hit the limits of your own skill before the game is finished. If you're the sort that gets frustrated by games like that, move along with your sanity intact. For the rest of us weirdos who meet such adversity with laughter and an insane need to keep playing, what this game does is going to be a nice, comfortable fit...

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we teach cute little animals to go for the eyes. Each week, we'll be revisiting a classic RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up to the cruel light of the modern day. We'll also have some laughs and learn some valuable lessons about friendship and not leaving a can of Coke in your car overnight in Winnipeg in December. In my carefully planned schedule for this column, I've tried to strike a good balance of various types of RPGs from developers of differing sizes and fame, but once per month, I turn to you, dear readers, to choose the game you'd like to see me cover. Simply cast your vote in the comments below or in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in our forums. As this very installment you are reading is a reader's choice Reload, the next one will be RPG Reload 017 in December. I'm probably going to change the rules on the reader's choice in the New Year to allow for some wackier picks, so this might be the last time the majority will rule. Take advantage of it!..

'Pixel Boat Rush' Review - Everybody Do The Wave

I've often felt that the genre that perhaps benefited the most from the jump from 2D to 3D was racing. Really thinking about it, racing is one of the genres that begged the most for polygons, having already spent years working in pseudo-3D with scaling sprites and optical tricks. Hardware that couldn't manage said tricks tended to have racers that skewed the perspective to at least offer some sort of visual depth. Racers that opted for a strict, flat side-view to the action were historically pretty rare outside of obstacle course time-attacks like Motocross Maniacs. There are lots of reasons as to why that was likely the case, but it mostly comes down to the simple idea that it's hard to express the excitement of racing from that point of view. If there is no depth, there's no passing, no hairpin turns, no drafting, and collisions become hard to sort out. You have to find other ways to bring the beautiful tension that makes racing so compelling, and that's just what Pixel Boat Rush [$1.99] sets out to do...

As a developer, if you're going to wade neck-deep into a crowded genre, especially one in a very crowded marketplace in general, you have to have some kind of means of standing out from the crowd. When it comes to side-scrolling running games, it's getting harder and harder to find something that can actually accomplish that job. Jack B. Nimble [$1.99], from developer Sean Noonan, opts to take the approach of a double-barreled appeal to nostalgia, with graphics that look like they came off a torqued-up Game Boy and a theme that will be instantly recognizable to Castlevania fans. It's got an interestingly familiar cadence to it that I don't see very often in this kind of game, and it will certainly have strong appeal for those who appreciate streamlined runners like Canabalt [$2.99] or Boson X [$2.99]...

Imagine you're the creator of Dragon Quest [$2.99]. You've successfully streamlined the somewhat impenetrable RPG genre to a point where anyone and everyone can play the game and enjoy it, and now it's time for a sequel. Obviously, people are ready and asking for something a bit bigger and more complex, and simply delivering something in the same scope as the first game isn't going to satisfy them. How far do you walk the concept back to its inspirations, Wizardry, Ultima, and the like? That's a question I suspect Yuji Horii grappled with when coming up with Dragon Quest 2 [$4.99] , and while he wouldn't hit the sweet spot until the next installment, it's undeniable that the sequel to Dragon Quest is a considerably bigger and slightly more sophisticated game...

'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[$1.99]. 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...

Copyright 2014, TouchArcade.com, LLC.