Category Archives: Role-Playing

It's really great when a well-made game seemingly comes out of nowhere, and that's just what seems to have happened with the stealthy release of Princess And Knight [$2.99], a new strategy RPG that is so under the radar, I can't find much proof of its existence beyond the App Store itself and a fairly new blog for the developer, Team SoftIceCream. Sometimes when that happens, it's because the game isn't quite ready for prime time, but apart from a really rough English translation, this is a remarkably solid effort from what appears to be an indie developer. The game design is unabashedly vintage, calling to mind SRPGs from the 16-bit console era and earlier, but there's a certain appeal to a game that drops out of the complexity arms race that the strategy RPG genre tends to get swept up in at times...

Fans of Kemco's RPGs are in luck this month. We only just saw the release of Soul Of Deva [$3.99] a couple of weeks ago, and here we are with another release already. Granted, this is Kemco trying to catch iOS up with previously released Android games, but let's not look a potential gift horse in the mouth. Amazingly, Crystareino [$3.99] is done by the same team that did Deva, Hit-Point, who at this point are probably in dire need of a vacation. If you read my review of Deva, you know that I ended up liking it quite a bit thanks to its sharp 2D visuals and strategic, unique battle system. Well, I also like Crystareino quite a bit, but for almost entirely different reasons. This game plays things very safely, eschewing innovation in exchange for delivering a solid, content-rich adventure. If you're tired of the tropes of the genre, it might not be the best choice, but if you thrive on them, you'll find this to be a decent meal...

RPG Reload File 011 - 'Solomon's Keep'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we go digging in the boneyard looking for something to keep. Each week, we dust off an RPG from the App Store's past, offer it a nice cup of tea, and ask it how the family's doing. It's a bit of revisiting, a bit of reflecting, and sometimes just an excuse to dive into a great game deeper than our reviews usually allow. We love all kinds of RPGs here, and I'll always do my best to cover a wide variety of games, but I need your help, my friends. That's why once a month I'll be playing and writing about an RPG chosen by your majority vote. Wait, not so fast with that pen and paper! You can cast your vote through the power of modern technology simply by commenting down below or dropping in on the Official RPG Reload Club in the forums. The next reader's choice feature will take place in RPG Reload 013, which means this is your last week to get your vote in. At the moment, Baldur's Gate [$9.99] has a fairly commanding lead, but anything can happen in the world of imagination if you believe in yourself...

Look upon me, peasants and nobles alike. For it is I who have slain the mighty yeti, traversed the caverns of the Snow Witch and put her to her final rest, and helped fend off the orc hordes from the dwarven stronghold of Stonebridge. It is I who, after enduring countless deadly battles and outsmarting fatal traps, began to ascend the mountain where I would at last find my goal. It is I, the mighty hero, felled by the bite of a simple rattlesnake because my luck points ran out. So it goes in Fighting Fantasy: Caverns Of The Snow Witch [$5.99], the latest gamebook conversion from the prolific folks at Tin Man Games. It's a fairly straight conversion using their trusty gamebook engine, so if you have fond memories of the original book and you're wondering whether or not the iOS version does it justice, you can rest easily...

I enjoy this current trend of games that are easy to pick up and play, but also present a challenge. And really, Swap Heroes hits a lot of my buttons. It's built for short sessions, winds up being challenging and highly replayable, and oh, it has pixel art. It's perfect for quick sessions, but delivers a challenge that demands practice to get better at it, though randomness does wind up hurting the experience a bit...

Ahoy hoy retro RPG enthusiasts, here's some very welcoming news: Square Enix has just updated their iOS port of Final Fantasy V [$15.99] with iCloud save syncing and MFi game controller support. As the update descriptions says, "Game data saved with iCloud can now be shared across devices! At home or away, on your iPhone or iPad, pick the play style that's best for you." Neat! The update description also mentions now supporting the Logitech PowerShell Controller specifically, but as was the case with a similar update to Final Fantasy VI, the game does indeed work with a Steel Series Stratus and I'd imagine all the other MFi controllers as well...

'Chaos Rings 3' Preview - Import Impressions

I've sunk over a dozen hours into Chaos Rings 3 these last few days since it released, and I'm going to be putting in plenty more in the future. I find myself constantly going back to it, even when I have other things I need to do. That should clarify perhaps the biggest concern about the game, I'd hope. This is a very good game, and a very good RPG. At the same time, I'm a bit torn about a few things, and I have worries about a few others. Let me start by saying that a fair length of time has passed since Chaos Rings 2 [$15.99 / $16.99 (HD)] was released, with the market changing rapidly in that period, not just in mobile but in gaming in general. Chaos Rings 3 is very much a reflection of those changes, and as a result, I'm not sure how satisfied fans of Chaos Rings in particular are going to be with this sequel...

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we open random doors hoping we aren't scared to death by what we find inside. Each week, we take a look at a game from the App Store's past and poke it with a stick to see what happens. It's a bit of reflection, a bit of revisiting, and perhaps a bit of an excuse to have fun with an old friend. As this week obviously demonstrates, all kinds of RPGs are welcome here, and I'll do my best to make sure we get a good variety chosen from the selection. Once per month, you guys get to choose what I play and write about, which should help that balance stay intact. The next reader's choice is in RPG Reload 013, so get your vote in as soon as possible by leaving a comment below or dropping into the Official RPG Reload Club thread on the forums. You can also feel free to leave your thoughts, comments, and suggestions in either place, since playing games is more fun when you can talk about it with your friends...

It's been quite a year for Dragon Quest [$2.99] games on iOS, and with all of those games comes a whole lot of slime-smashing. Those cute, nearly-harmless, little blue gumdrops with a perpetual smile sure take a lot of abuse from the would-be heroes of RPG worlds, and maybe it's time for a little payback. So goes the story of indie strategy RPG Ambition Of The Slimes [Free] from developer Masaya Takahashi. It's available for free in the App Store right now, with one little catch: It's entirely in Japanese. Worry not, however, because the App Store description says that English will be coming in the next update. It's a little tricky to navigate at the moment if you can't read anything, but it doesn't cost you anything to try, I suppose. If you'd rather wait, let me give you a few more details to hold you over...

'Chaos Rings 3' Launches On The Japanese App Store, Worldwide Release Date Still Unknown

It was only a few months ago that we heard Chaos Rings 3 was being made, and time sure does fly, because it's finally here. Well, depending on where 'here' is for you, I suppose. As of today, Chaos Rings 3 has officially launched on the App Store in Japan for the price of 2,800 yen, or about $25 US, with no IAP whatsoever. We've yet to get even an announcement of its release internationally, let alone a specific date we could expect it, but given the general success of the series worldwide, it's probably safe to assume it is coming at some point...

Over the years, I feel like I've developed a pretty good nose for my own tastes. Usually just from reading a brief outline and seeing a few screens, I can at least figure out in ballpark terms how well I'll like a game, and it's rare for a game to fall outside of those admittedly broad estimates. Surprises come in two flavors, then. Sometimes a game I don't expect to like much turns out to be totally up my alley, like SEGA's Yakuza, and other times, a game that I think looks great just doesn't click for me at all. Unfortunately, Card Dungeon [$3.99], a game that initially appears to have a great deal in common with the PC game Card Hunter, is an example of the latter. It's a roguelike with an interesting hook and a great visual style reminiscent of a board game, and while I could list off a lot of things I think it does very well, it never manages to come together into something I can truly enjoy...

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...

At this point, some 30 or so RPGs in, I really have to wonder how many people are actually playing all the games Kemco's putting out there. As regular readers know, I really love RPGs, and even I'm starting to feel like we're reaching some kind saturation point with this company. Nevertheless, we must put one foot in front of the other, because the games do at least improve over time, and you never know when something worth getting excited about will come along. Soul Of Deva [$3.99] is not quite that game, but like many other recent Kemco efforts, I feel like we're getting very close. Given that I can make decent claim to having written more words about Kemco mobile RPGs than just about anyone on Earth, a tragic title if ever there was one, I tend to build expectations about their releases before I even start them up. Typically, I base this on the specific developer, and it rarely fails...

'Terra Battle' Review - Final Fantasy's Creator Works His Magic On Social RPGs

Some gamers know Hironobu Sakaguchi's name. Others do not. Just about everyone is familiar with his work, however. He's the creator of the Final Fantasy series of games, the director of Final Fantasy 1 through 5, one of the designers of Chrono Trigger, the producer or executive producer of Final Fantasy 6 through 12, and unfortunately, the director of the feature film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. In 2003, he resigned from the company built on his efforts to strike out on his own, just before the merger that created Square Enix. His new company, Mistwalker, debuted with a bang, releasing two great RPGs on the Xbox 360, Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey. These titles were backed by Microsoft money, and it was hoped they would give the 360 what it needed to compete in the Japanese market. Unfortunately, they didn't go over quite the way Microsoft had hoped...

I've been even happier than usual with the recent releases from gamebook developer Tin Man Games. They've taken a couple of books that I enjoyed a great deal when I was younger and rather than simply present them faithfully as they typically do, they've shined them up into even better forms. The Complete Sagas Of Fire*Wolf [$9.99] represents a slightly different challenge, however. In my opinion, the original books that this release draws from are deeply flawed in a way none of the other books Tin Man have sourced for their adaptations are. They've made some serious improvements, but in the end, it's probably something that only the hardcore gamebook fans or people with nostalgia for Fire*Wolf ought to look into. Oh, and the asterisk stands for some kind of grunt that we can't make in our language. Basically, his parents were hippies...

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