Category Archives: Role-Playing

'Chaos Rings 3' Review - Put A Ring On It, This One's A Keeper

Chaos Rings 3 [$19.99] is hauling a lot of baggage with it. It carries the hopes of a series that seems to be hanging on by a thread, the expectations of a fanbase who were heavily engaged by the storytelling chops of the series to date, and potentially the future of original, premium mobile RPGs from Square Enix. Like the protagonists of the previous games, it's a creation pulled out of its context, struggling to find relevance in a changed world that offers little mercy. The entire game feels like it was heading down a particular path only to get yanked in an entirely different direction just before it was finished. This whole situation likely explains why this game has a lot of cruft and loose ends hanging from it. It feels like they threw in everything, the kitchen sink, and the whole housewares department while they were at it. As a result, I think this game has a little something for everyone, but few people are going to indulge in everything. It's just the sort of messy RPG that Square Enix used to fill our bellies with on a regular basis when they weren't quite so risk-averse, and I personally love it for that...

RPG Reload File 040 - 'Infinity Blade'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we don't ask how dad's gear gets back to his family every time. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up in the modern day. It's a little revisiting, a little reflecting, and a chance to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As the host of this little program, I try to choose a wide variety of RPGs from week to week, but I need your help to make sure I'm not missing anything. That's why once per month, I turn the selection to you. Simply make your suggestion known by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. Since June's reader's choice has already been decided, any votes at this point will go towards the July reader's choice. The next reader's choice, coming up next week, is Guardian Saga [$1.99]...

I’m a big fan of this week’s Final Fantasy: Record Keeper [Free] limited time event. For one, the major reward is unlocking the record for Vanille, a character that I enjoyed when I played through Final Fantasy XIII. More importantly, the event takes place in FFXIII which means I get to listen to the game’s awesome battle theme some more. For fans of DeNA's RPG looking for some tips to get through this week’s The Fal’Cie of Pulse event, we got you covered below...

'Drylands' Review - A Great RPG/Platformer that's Anything But Dry

It's one thing for a game to promise players the moon and the stars, and it's another for it to actually come close to delivering what it promised. Angry Bugs' Drylands [$2.99] has managed to both promise and deliver a great iOS game that manages to artfully blend RPG and platformer. A few weeks ago, I decided to preview Drylands because the promises of a Fallout-like game for iOS were sirens too enticing to ignore. My time with the game back then left me hopeful that Angry Bugs hadn't made their promises lightly; the developers were really trying to evoke those old PC RPGs that have gone down as among the most influential games of all times. Even though the game had a failed launch (technical issues due to the 8.3 iOS update), the developers weren't deterred and even managed to improve the game for its second, official launch. The game is a pleasure to play and adds to iOS a kind of game it was missing, a quality RPG platformer that will keep players entertained for hours...

Though there was little risk of this ending up as a "weak week" for releases as it was, Square Enix has decided to give us a little victory lap in the form of an out-of-nowhere English release of Chaos Rings 3 [$19.99]. Announced in August of 2014, the game was released in Japan just a few months after in October. While there was no formal announcement of an English release, it was assumed it would make the hop overseas due to the success of the previous games worldwide. Well, it's been a bit longer than we might have hoped, but early this morning, the Japanese version of the game received an update adding English support and the switch was flicked to release it outside of the Japanese App Store. At $19.99, it's a bit cheaper than the Japanese price of 2,800 yen, but still on the higher end of Square Enix's line-up...

The Alphadia series represents something of an oddity in prolific RPG publisher Kemco's line-up. For all of the iOS games they put out, roughly one per month for the last few years, there's only one sequel in the bunch that isn't part of the Alphadia series. Alphadia [$3.99], on the other hand, has three sequels, though the links between them are becoming increasingly tenuous as time goes on. Of course, with at least two more Asdivine games released in Japan, that's going to change soon enough, but it's still quite interesting. Are these games particularly popular, or does developer EXE-Create just like the trappings of Alphadia's mythos? That's a question I can't answer, but it's clear that the developer and publisher both give the Alphadia games a bit of special treatment. Alphadia Genesis [$9.99] was the game that debuted EXE-Create's new 3D combat engine, used in a few other titles since. Now that title is getting a follow-up, Alphadia Genesis 2 [$4.99]...

If you're into classic computer RPGs like the Ultima series, then 2015 has been pretty kind to you. One of the handful of interesting retro-style RPGs that popped up earlier this year, Dungeons Of Chaos [$1.99 (HD)] offers a decidedly vintage non-linear feel with a lot of depth to it. I enjoyed it well enough in my review of the game, but worried about whether we'd see the story of the game finished due to its open-ended chapter-based structure. Luckily, the developer has been pretty dedicated to to the game since its release, updating a few times to fix and re-balance a couple of things, and the latest update finally brings the story to a close...

'The Last Warlock' Review - A Strife Less Ordinary

Like every genre, turn-based strategy RPGs have a certain common grammar to them. Most decent ones will bring their own ideas to the table, but the core gameplay rarely ventures outside of the well-established rules of the genre. Likely owing to its roots in chess and similar strategy board games, there's a certain rigidness inherent to this particular sub-genre that you might not see in others. While many games try to push against that by trying to offer the player a more free-form experience, balance is generally considered paramount. The more freedom a game gives the player, the harder it's going to be to maintain that balance. The end result is that once you've learned a good set of strategies for one game, that training will often serve you well in many others. It's not necessarily a bad thing, since most of these games are trying to simulate wars. It's not exactly reasonable to expect a commander to eschew time-honored strategies in favor of sending a pegasus-mounted zombie to chuck home-made bombs at a castle...

Dragon Blaze [Free], by producers Gamevil and Flint, is as fun as it is aesthetically pleasing. It sports a brightly colored world, intricately detailed backdrops, and characters animated with a puppets-on-a-string feel. The game opens with a pretty generic prologue, the extent of which is relatively unnecessary. The gist of the story is that Deathcrown the “King of the living and the dead,” has returned from banishment with an army of dragons, intent on opposing the humans and their ruler, King Gram. The main character is then tasked with unraveling the true story that lays beneath the war between dragons and humans, including the mysterious death of the princess and a royal plot that is darker than first appears...

Fresh off their recent launch of new permanent records and characters to unlock, the folks at Square Enix and DeNA have already restarted their weekly event that offers an opportunity for players to earn new characters and loot. This week's Final Fantasy: Record Keeper [Free] event sees the launch of ‘The Fire Crystal Awakens,’ which is a Final Fantasy V based event focused on the heroic attempts to save the Fire Crystal from exploding (spoiler: they fail). Lenna Charlotte Tycoon is the big reward for participating in this Collector’s Event and we’ve got the tips and strategy needed to make it an easy endeavor...

RPG Reload File 039 - 'Rogue Ninja'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we beat up kappa and eat up kappamaki. Friends, you do not want to mix those things up, I assure you. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to give it another spin. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, check up on games that might have seen some improvements over time, or even just to take a deeper dive on particularly interesting titles. As the leader of this particular party, I try to balance out the schedule with a wide variety of RPGs. That said, every person has their own biases, so to make sure nothing gets left behind, I throw the choice to you, the readers, once per month. Simply let me know your suggestion by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload thread in the forums, or tweeting me at @RPGReload. I randomly choose the winner, so anyone has a chance! The next reader's choice article is coming up in a couple of weeks, so be sure to get your selection in soon...

Heroes and Castles 2 [$1.99] runs into the problem that trying to bring big-scope, console-style games to mobile often have: these games are often well-made and can be fun to play. But sometimes, they're terrible fits for the actual platform. And that's where my issues with Heroes and Castles 2 lie: the game's good, I just came to dread playing it because it isn't a good fit for the mobile platform...

The official iOS release of Kickstarter-funded monster-training RPG- EvoCreo [$0.99] from brand new development company Ilmfinity LLC has finally come to pass. The game features a world that fans of a certain wildly popular Nintendo game will jive with pretty quickly. From its patches of vigorously shaking bushes to the impromptu destruction of random children’s precious pets, EvoCreo might leave you feeling a little nostalgic. ..

Beast Quest [Free] is an action RPG where you explore the fantasy world of Avantia in an attempt to combat a variety of creatures who have been cursed by an evil wizard. Follow Tom, a young warrior tasked with breaking the wizard's curse, and his friends as they slay monsters, collect provisions, hunt for treasure, and navigate a dynamic landscape...

It would be awfully easy for me to say that if you liked Knights Of Pen & Paper [$4.99], you'll love Knights Of Pen & Paper 2 [$4.99]. When I first started playing the game, I know that's how I felt. If I had called it quits an hour or so in, I might have walked away thinking this was a marginally improved, safe follow-up to the original. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, I stuck it out to the end, and while I think fans of the first will probably enjoy this game and get their money's worth out of it, Knights Of Pen & Paper 2 is in my opinion a step down from the first game in several ways...

The iOS gaming market has demonstrated a lot of interesting things over the years. One of those things is that even with a library containing literally hundreds of thousands of games, there can still be big holes in the lineup waiting to be filled. Even after a hole is plugged, there's no guarantee that it'll stay that way as games are removed from the App store. One of the biggest holes right now, in my opinion, is that of the Diablo-style action-RPG. I see people all over the place looking for a good one for their iOS device. Now, it used to be that you could just direct someone to Gameloft's Dungeon Hunter series and they would probably come away satisfied. The recent turn into free-to-play has turned the series into something that not everyone can get on board with, however, and the older paid installments have been gone for a while now. That leaves us with a gap, and its continued existence certainly isn't for a lack of trying. The latest attempt is The Barbarian [$9.99], which comes from a fairly small developer that appears to be stretching its legs for the first time. Unfortunately, it shows...

'Ire: Blood Memory' Review - A Hardcore F2P Game that's Challenging in all the Right Ways

I often hate when I'm right; you tell a friend not to climb that tree, he does, he falls, and then you have to rush him to the ER. Yet, there are times when I'm glad to be right, and the case of TenBirds' Ire: Blood Memory [Free] is one such case. When I decided to draw attention to the game recently, I did so because of the influences cited by the developers: Demon Souls, Dark Souls, and Monster Hunter, three games that are demanding and relatively-slow paced and that aren't the kind of influences most iOS developers will cite. I was quite positive in my write-up, and even though most commenters dismissed the game outright because of its F2P monetization model, now that I've played the game, I'm glad to say that I was right about this game being one to look forward to. Ire is a brave and successful attempt to give iOS gamers a challenging, tactical Action-RPG that offers a great and complex battle system wrapped in a demanding inventory and forging system. While the game isn't perfect, it might actually come pretty close to that if some of its issues are addressed in the future, provided you enjoy difficult games that punish you often but reward contemplative, tactical gameplay...

It's hard to imagine a more generic studio name than "Game Dev Team," but their recently-released title Hardboiled [$1.99] is anything but generic. A lot of energy has gone into this one, the game content is rich, compelling and definitely worth a play through. Hardboiled is a turn based, strategy RPG that explicitly mentions the classic Fallout series as inspiration. In Hardboiled, you play as Max, a wanderer in a world ravaged by nuclear war. Armed with makeshift weapons and equipment, your mission is to explore the devastated town in search of items you need to progress in the game...

Fans of DeNA’s Final Fantasy: Record Keeper [Free] will notice that the freemium RPG didn’t have a new timed event this week. Instead, players that logged in over the weekend were met with the English version’s second large content update...

It's been almost a year and a half since the last volume of Gamebook Adventures, the homegrown series of adventures that kicked things off for prolific gamebook publisher Tin Man Games. The developers at Tin Man have certainly kept busy in that time, adapting several Fighting Fantasy books and a few other treasures like Ryan North's To Be Or Not To Be [$5.99], and while many of those have been great fun, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has been waiting for a return to the world of Orlandes. The tenth volume of Gamebook Adventures, Lords Of Nurroth [$2.99], brings the setting back with style, casting you as a professional liberator of goods who heads out on a routine job and finds a lot more than they bargained for...

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