Category Archives: Retro

Adventure To Fate [$2.99] bills itself as a JRPG-style game, but if the Internet has taught me anything, it's that no two people can agree on exactly what 'JRPG' means. I'm not going to even try to go into the million different definitions I've come across in my time. That said, if your personal definition of 'JRPG' is turn-based random encounters, then Adventure To Fate upholds its promise. If your personal definition of 'JRPG' involves an off-the-wall story, deep battle systems, interesting characters, party building, exploring a big world, customizable character growth and development, or awkward laughing scenes, you might find this game to be a bit lacking. Adventure To Fate takes the basic ideas of very early console role-playing games and somehow creates something even more simple. On paper, this sounds like a horrible idea, but somehow, I still found Adventure To Fate to be a fairly enjoyable game...

The early 1990s were a crazy time in gaming. Nintendo's near-monopoly in the American market was being broken. Consoles were finally starting to make a dent in the computer-dominated European market. Both of these things were being accomplished by SEGA, and in both cases, a tremendous debt was owed to a blue hedgehog whose career has seen more ups and downs than John Travolta's. As if we weren't flooded in mascot platformers already due to Super Mario Bros., Sonic The Hedgehog [$2.99] unleashed a positive tidal wave of games featuring animals with attitudes hopping through levels. Even if they didn't have any of SEGA's hardware, people wanted something like Sonic, and a great many developers were all too happy to comply. This is the era that birthed Superfrog, an Amiga platformer from eventual Worms developer Team17. In yet another reflection of the era, Superfrog had a sponsorship deal with energy drink Lucozade, with the drink appearing all throughout the game as a power-up...

A sweet new easter egg was recently discovered for the brilliantly remastered version of Sonic The Hedgehog 2 [$2.99] which allows you to play Hidden Palace Zone in its original, unfinished form. For some quick backstory, Hidden Palace Zone was a level originally intended to be included in the 1992 release of Sonic The Hedgehog 2, but was scrapped at the last minute as it wasn't going to be finished by the release deadline. It was so close to being finished that assets for the level were distributed to media and featured in magazines, and a partially complete version of Hidden Palace Zone was included in a prototype version of the game. That prototype, as the story goes, was stolen from a New York toy fair in 1992 and subsequently released online, meaning that the parts of Hidden Palace Zone that existed could be experienced through various hacked roms...

Fans of indie titles on Steam have probably heard of David Williamson’s rogue-like Hack, Slash, Loot. True to its name-sake HSL is an exceedingly streamlined take on the genre that is known for its occasional unforgiving difficulty, all due to the random nature of the game. In its debut on iOS, Hack, Slash, Loot [$4.99] for makes a decent transition to iPad complete with navigable touch controls. Whether its barebones gameplay makes a splash amongst a crowd of great rogue-likes on iOS is another question, however...

When I was younger, I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined bite-sized RPGs to work at all, let alone become popular. Of all game genres, the RPG was the one where you had to set aside a pretty good chunk of time on a fairly regular basis to see the games through, and that long-term investment seemed to be an intrinsic part of the appeal. Yet, here we are today, and RPGs that can be enjoyed in two or three minute slices are not only successful and prolific, they actually seem to have taken the majority position in the genre over their more time-intensive forebearers. With the benefit of hindsight, you can kind of see how it happened. Most people love particular aspects of RPGs, with the satisfaction of raising a character from weak to ultra-powerful being one of the more popular elements. At the same time, not everyone enjoys sinking in the copious amount of time and focus that's usually required. Developers found a way to give those people what they wanted while cutting away what they didn't, and it seems to have gone well, especially on mobiles...

The recorded story of modern man has been divided in to chapters of historical significance, with events and accomplishments that every person alive today is taught about in grade school. The ancient Egyptians constructing of the pyramids, Alexander Flemming discovering penicillin, Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon first, and now, Madgarden releasing Hodappy Bird [Free] on the App Store. A new age of iOS gaming is upon us, and nothing will ever be the same...

Arena battle games have really come into their own in recent years. Mobile platforms in particular have enjoyed a great crop, including Super Crate Box [$1.99], Muffin Knight [$0.99], Spell Sword [$0.99], and many others. It's a great way for a small developer to make a great action game without busting the bank, while providing a nice bite-sized bit of fun that suits mobiles well. Of course, for the gamer looking for something more than just a slice of game now and then, the better examples in this sub-genre have included some sort of progression system that persists beyond individual plays. Typically, this is done by putting in some sort of collectible or experience system that will unlock new weapons or abilities, which not only gives you something to shoot for over the long term, but also refreshes the game experience over time to keep it from getting dull...

Twinsen is a dreamer, and soon learns that dreams can change the world. He finds himself imprisoned in an asylum, but he can’t let the evil Dr FunFrock just rule the world. Escaping the asylum is the first steps in Little Big Adventure, [$0.99] and you will get to repeat this part a couple of times. Little Big Adventure was released back in 1994 for MS-DOS, and I fell in love with the whimsical world of Twinsun right away. I don’t remember if I ever completed it back then, or if I just enjoyed exploring the quite open game world. DotEmu has recreated the original, as close as I can remember it. ..

'Shin Megami Tensei' Review - A Genuinely Classic RPG Gets Its English Debut

We've reached a point in gaming where, at least when it comes to major franchises, there are very few great JRPGs that haven't been eventually released in English. There are no lost Final Fantasy mainline games, all the holes in Dragon Quest have been filled, and even less famous series such as Ys and Monster World have had previously skipped over installments finally brought to English gamers. There are still a few significant gaps, though, and for me personally, none more significant than the missing games in the Shin Megami Tensei series. This is a franchise that, largely through the popularity of spin-off series Persona, has never been so relevant in the west as it is now. Sure enough, missing games connected to the franchise have made it over, one-by-one, with the entire Persona series now available in English and even the cursed Soul Hackers finally finding its way overseas, but we're still missing the games that started the whole ball of wax...

One of the cool things about indie games is that concepts that literally have no chance of getting greenlit via traditional means can still find a way to get out there. Everything from inside jokes to personal stories to insanely specific niches can all become games for the world to see and play. Shinjuku Dungeon [Free], from one-man developer Uehara Labo, is a great example of this. On the one hand, it's a very typical retro-styled adventure that has you exploring a winding labyrinth, solving a variety of puzzles, and collecting keys and items that allow you to open up new areas. On the other hand, it's a nearly perfect recreation of a real place that tens of thousands of people walk through every day. While the game itself is decent enough, it's certainly nothing special. Yet, for anyone familiar with the real place, Shinjuku Dungeon takes on a whole new meaning...

The Winter Games may be behind us for a few more years now, but Old Man Winter's grip on the Northern Hemisphere seems to be holding strong. With flaky white stuff inevitably on the minds of more people than just the usual dandruff shampoo marketing executives, we've been seeing lots of great games that take place in or around snow. Not long ago I reviewed SuperPro Snowboarding [$0.99], which called back to the Tony Hawk era of extreme sports video games, albeit from a 2D perspective. Cubed Snowboarding [$0.99] takes things back a bit farther, with a feel more reminiscent of 8-bit computer sports games. Rather than trying to stuff in all of the intricacies of the sport, it gives you a limited and somewhat simple moveset, a mountain full of increasingly difficult courses, and a challenge to get the highest score you can in a single run of the whole sequence...

'Continue?9876543210' Review - In My Time Of Dying

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March 4th, 2014 2:16 PM EDT by David Clarke in $3.99, 4 stars, Adventure, Retro, Reviews, Role-Playing
$3.99 Buy Now

Does anything drive humans as much as our awareness of mortality? No other animal sees a bush, calls it a bush, draws the bush, gives the bush a back story, then cries when the bush dies. It's arguably the saddest, and most beautiful quality humans possess. We have awareness of the world, we can create art, and we know we are going to die...

Ninja games! One might say there are not enough of them out there, if one were the sort of person who needed a new ninja game every hour of every day for the rest of one's life. It might seem silly that there are so many games featuring them, but like their equally overplayed colleagues, zombies, it's really just because they (or at least the pop culture image of them) fit video games almost perfectly. While zombies are great for letting a player cut loose on a crowd of human-like figures without any of the messy moral implications, ninjas are great shorthand for a nimble character who could potentially have any tools at his or her disposal. If a ninja pulls out a smoke bomb, we don't question it. If a ninja launches a grappling hook at the ceiling Batman-style, hey, it just works. Wall-jumping is really hard in real life, but if anyone can do it, a ninja can. Plus, they look really cool...

Nostalgia is a heck of a thing. Like many of you, I like to indulge in revisiting my childhood on occasion. To tell the truth, though, when it comes to games, I feel like I never fully left my childhood favorites behind. Not only am I big on retro collections and classic re-releases, I actually have an NES and SNES connected to my main TV, plugged in and ready to go at all times. I keep my old brick Game Boy in an empty drawer in the kitchen in case I want to play some Tetris while I wait for the water to boil. There's one important part of my gaming past that I fell out of touch with over the years, however, and that's computer gaming. My first gaming hardware that I actually owned and had in my house, apart from a Coleco Mini Arcade version of Galaxian, was a Commodore 64. It was only a couple of years later at most that I got an NES, but those Commodore years remain as formative to my gaming memories as hanging off of arcade machines at the restaurant where my mother worked...

The old-school dungeon crawler can be a cruel mistress. First-person movement, gameplay that basically drops you in the middle of a world and tells you to figure it out - it’s certainly a far cry from the handholding that most RPGs do these days. Coldfire Keep [$4.99], the latest title published by Crescent Moon Games, does a decent job of recreating the basics of the classic genre with a large world that kept me wanting to return, explore, and conquer. However, it left me wanting more in terms of combat and controls...

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