Category Archives: Role-Playing

Turn of the Millennium Sci-Fi Adventure 'Galaxy of Pen & Paper' Hits the App Store

It figures that after I posted our weekly Out Now post where I mentioned that Behold Studio's highly anticipated Galaxy of Pen & Paper hadn't released yet that it would find its way to the App Store mere minutes later. That said, I have no problem writing up an extra post to alert all you fine and lovely people that at long last Galaxy of Pen & Paper [$4.99] is available in the App Store! Behold's original Knights of Pen & Paper [$4.99] released in 2012 and was a quirky if imbalanced love letter to old-school pen and paper gaming in a slick mobile game format. It had a ton of personality, and the following year Behold teamed up with the folks from Paradox Interactive to release a huge "+1" version of the game. A sequel was also planned but with Behold busy on other projects like Chroma Squad [$4.99] the sequel was left to KYY Games. Knights of Pen & Paper 2 [Free] did a lot of things right, but didn't quite live up to the original...

RPG Reload Glossary - Smells Like Ys Spirit, or Action-RPGs in the Early 90s

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the regular feature where we're either playing gods or slaying gods. This week, we're filling in the next chapter in our RPG Reload Glossary look at the history of action-RPGs. One of the messier and less-satisfying genre labels around, the action-RPG had already taken many forms by the end of the 1980s. In the next decade, some of the most successful examples of the genre would arrive on the scene. While you would think that might simplify matters, the 1990s closed with the genre being harder to nail down than ever. While I had intended to cover the entire decade in this installment, it became apparent halfway through that it was beyond the scope of a single article. So instead, we're going to look at the first half of this formative decade and pick out some of the genre highlights along the way...




Well, it's been a while, hasn't it? Two and a half years have passed since I was delightfully surprised by Lowlander [$1.99], the cool Ultima 2 homage from developer Flat Black Films. The game did a great job of capturing many of the things that made the early Ultima games fun while simultaneously sanding off a few rough edges in consideration of the platform and the passage of time. While players might have expected a sequel to the game to look to Ultima 3 for inspiration, the game's developer instead opted to deliver a slightly more refined, much larger adventure in a similar mold to the first game. That left me hemming and hawing a bit about doing a review, as it feels a bit like reviewing a foot-long meatball sub after I already reviewed the six-inch. Did you like the six-inch sub? Do you want a lot more of it? If so, here you go...

RPG Reload Glossary - The Origins of Action-RPGs

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the regular feature where we fight by slamming our bodies into things. To be specific, welcome to the RPG Reload Glossary, where we get all up in fussy semantics, history, and other things that polite society will shun us for. Having covered both social RPGs and tactical RPGs in previous installments, we now turn our attention to perhaps the most popular and hard-to-define sub-genre of RPGs: the action-RPG. You can expect this one to be another three- or four-parter, as trying to do it all at once would require some keen editing, and that is not a thing that I am good at. In today's installment, we'll be looking at the origins and early years of the genre, loosely covering the 1980s. Let's get ready to rumble!..

As the weeks count down until the launch of iOS 11 and the end of 32-bit app support, the status of many a mobile classic remains in question. We're going to lose a lot of great games from the era where paid games ruled the roost, many of which have never seen release on other platforms. Developers and publishers are having to make some hard choices about games that may not bring in much money in the future as a matter of customer service. In many cases, updates aren't even possible as the developer is no longer around. So which ones will survive? Well, I'm happy to say that Ravensword: Shadowlands [$6.99] is off the endangered list, at least...

With the announcement that Season 3 of Rick and Morty is sfinally launching at the end of July, it's certainly an exciting time to be a fan of Adult Swim's cult sci-fi cartoon. However, this reveal has left many wondering whether Pocket Mortys [Free], the excellent Pokemon-esque spin off that we loved in our review last year, would receive any attention now the Rick and Morty hype train is truly leaving the station. Off the back of an Android beta test in May, the developers have finally released a major 2.0 update for Pocket Mortys today, with the addition of a brand new online multiplayer mode so you can finally determine whether you have the Mortiest Morty in the multiverse...

One of the oldest and best RPG series on mobile just keeps on getting better as today the HD version of The Quest - Hero of Lukomorye [$2.99] arrived in the App Store. As we explained when the previous expansion Thor's Hammer [$2.99] arrived early this month, the game known simply as The Quest [$7.99] in the App Store is actually the HD remake of the original The Quest, which has been renamed to The Quest Classic [$4.99]. The Quest Classic has been around for ages, even before smartphones, and has had numerous expansions released for it, both by original developer Redshift and many by 3rd party developer Zarista Games. The five part Hero of Lukomorye is the work of Zarista and was one of the earliest and one of the biggest expansions, coming right on the heels of Redshift's own Islands of Ice and Fire [$3.99], which is also available as an HD version as of September of last year. ..

The Best Tactical RPGs for iPhone and iPad - An RPG Reload Ranking

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the regular feature where our battles to the death are usually turn-based. In each of these columns, we take a look at some aspect of RPG gaming on iOS. Often, it's in the form of a replay or a retrospective, but today I want to try out something new. In the last couple of months, we went through the history of tactical RPGs, from Dungeons & Dragons to Fire Emblem Echoes. Although I felt that was finished with the end of the historical line, so to speak, I got to thinking this week that these trips through history present us with an opportunity to do something that is often requested of us here at TouchArcade: lists of the best examples of each gaming genre. Consider this, then, your starter set for tactical RPGs on iOS. Are there other excellent ones? You bet! This is just my opinion, after all. But this gives you a place to get started in the genre with some assurance of reasonable quality...

RPG Reload Glossary - The Unexpected Modern Awakening of TRPGs

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the regular feature where we're all just trying to S-rank our relationships. Last month, we continued our look at the history of turn-based tactical RPGs with a look at the years from 2000 to 2010. The genre came into the decade blazing, but by the time it wound down, things were looking pretty bleak. As it turned out, hope was right around the corner. This month, we'll be wrapping things up by taking a look at the notable games in the genre from the last several years. At least at the moment, it feels like TRPGs are more popular than ever. The various things that had to happen for that to come about were so unlikely that it makes for quite a story...

After a soft launch in a couple of countries last week to make sure everything worked well, Flat Black Films' Lowlander 2: Lowerlander [$2.99], is out now, and officially in competition for the best game name of 2017. This is the sequel to Lowlander [$1.99], which despite its primitive looks was quite the fun Ultima 2-inspired RPG. It's not exactly going to win any best visuals awards, and still looks like something that could have existed three decades ago, but if you like expansive RPGs in the Ultima tradition, this is the game for you!..

'Beholder' Review - Oppressing People and Taking Names Was Never This Fun

Recently, we've had the "pleasure" of playing quite a few games that turn you into a cog in a totalitarian machine rather than a hero fighting against a ruthless State apparatus. Paper's Please and The Westport Independent played on the delicate balance between being moral and staying alive in an oppressive regime, although with differing levels of success. Still, they both managed to involve the player in what is a game of moral tug of war, where any initial desire to play the game as a moral and just individual slowly gets crushed under the reality that is survival for you and, in many instances, your family...

The Quest HD [$7.99], which actually isn't even called The Quest HD anymore because developer Redshift renamed it simply The Quest and then renamed the original The Quest and its many expansions to The Quest Classic but I didn't want to be any more confusing than I need to be and since this is the HD remake of The Quest I'm just going to go ahead and call it The Quest HD anyway… ahem, where was I? Oh yeah, The Quest HD has already received a lengthy expansion with Islands of Ice and Fire [$3.99], which was an HD remake of an existing expansion, but as was hinted at last month long-time The Quest expansion creator Zarista Games has been hard at work on a brand new expansion specifically for The Quest HD called The Quest - Thor's Hammer [$2.99], which just arrived in the App Store today...

The RPG Reload Play-Along: 'Final Fantasy 5'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload Play-Along. Each month, we'll be playing an iOS RPG together, sharing laughs and tears in equal measures. The post on the front page (like this one!) is basically here to announce the game in question and give a few tips on getting started. The real action will be happening in the TouchArcade forums, where you'll find a thread dedicated to each month's featured game. Sign up if you haven't already, post your screenshots, ask for advice, or just chat about your misadventures with others. We've got a great community of RPG fans here at TouchArcade, so let's make the most of it! As a little incentive, at the end of each month, I will randomly pick one of the participants and send them something small and silly from here in Japan. All you have to do to be eligible is, well, play along with the Play-Along!..

Earlier this month, news broke that Knights of Pen & Paper 2 [Free] was reverting from its previous $4.99 premium pricing to a brand new free-to-play monetisation model, and there was understandably a mixed reaction to such a sudden volte-face for one of the App Store's most beloved original series. Amidst fan criticism and issues surrounding save files being wiped from the new free version of the game, Knights of Pen & Paper 2 was promptly removed from the App Store, as many of our community wondered what this change would mean for the title. Today, we may finally have an answer - Knights of Pen & Paper 2 has returned to the App Store for free, and has been updated to rework the combat and game economy to be geared towards a new freemium existence...

There aren't many good games out there based on the Power Rangers franchise. Much of that is down to the nature of the licensing beast, similar to how hard it seems to be to get a superhero game of decent quality. There are many factors, both obvious and subtle, that work against licensed games. The Rangers certainly haven't been free of such hassles. The obvious solution is to take a swing at it without a license, but as Behold Studios found out, that's a delicate road to walk. Things worked out in the end, however, and Chroma Squad [$4.99] became an officially-endorsed spin on the Super Sentai concept that is free to do its own thing without the heavy restrictions that come with a full license. It's a good game, probably the best Ranger-themed game ever, though how much you like it will depend greatly on what you're looking to get out of it...

Much to the consternation of some long-time fans of the series, the recent Fire Emblem games have placed a strong emphasis on marriage. It's such a popular feature that it was a little odd when Fire Emblem Heroes [Free] launched without any signs of the popular relationship system included. The latest event for the game doesn't really do anything about that, but if it's a Fire Emblem waifu you want, then a Fire Emblem waifu you shall have...

RPG Reload File 103 - 'Fairune'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the regular feature where we know the trees are a lie. In each installment, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it stands the test of time. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their place in the overall library, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. Being the disembodied voice that tells you where to go, I try to choose a balanced plate of games to feature. If there's a game you really want to see, though, don't be shy! You can let me know in the comments below, by posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. You might not see your suggestion soon, but it will be added to the master list for future consideration...

A couple of months back developer Spellbind Studios were looking for beta testers for an upcoming mobile port of their rogue-lite dungeon crawling RPG Rogue Wizards, which launched on Steam to fairly positive reviews back in September of last year. Well, the beta testers have tested their little hearts out and, although it's a bit behind the rest of the week's new releases, Rogue Wizards [Free] for iOS has now arrived in the App Store. The game utilizes a neat isometric view that reminds me a lot of the excellent Shattered Planet [Free], and in addition to normal dungeon crawly things you'll also be doing a bit of city building, somewhat reminiscent of the wonderful Sproggiwood [$4.99]. Also the way the game world sort of pops in and pops out as you move gives me a heavy Bastion [$4.99] vibe. Basically, in a sea of mediocre dungeon crawlers, Rogue Wizards throws some interesting inspirations from a variety of great games into the mix to make itself stand out. One other cool touch about Rogue Wizards is that it offers two different modes. Story mode is the more casual option and features a quest-driven storyline and the town-building features. Gauntlet mode strips away the story and town-building stuff and throws you into an increasingly difficult dungeon with permadeath and challenges you to make it into the Hall of Fame...

Trusty JRPG publisher Kemco's been trying to spread its wings a little bit of late, trying out new developers and gameplay variations after years of serving up the same old. They haven't quite given up on the old formula yet, though. Developer EXE-Create is still by Kemco's side, cranking out their serviceable brand of JRPG joy every couple of months or so. Onigo Hunter [$4.99] is the latest offering, and it's more or less the usual fare for Kemco. It tries to do a few new things but was obviously constrained by the resources available, making for an experience that is likely to be a little too familiar to mobile RPG fans...

Let's face it: when it comes to strategy/tactical RPGs, iOS gamers have got it pretty good. Setting aside the occasional great port we get from PCs or consoles, there are also plenty of quality original games in the genre. The only catch is that they tend to be a little rudimentary in their presentation. Bucking that trend is the Demon's Rise series, which offers up accessible yet deep strategy gameplay with surprisingly high-quality production values. The games aren't much for story, but if you enjoy the mechanics of games like Final Fantasy Tactics or X-COM, you'll want to check out Demon's Rise [$7.99] or its sequel, Demon's Rise 2 [$7.99]. At the moment, you can grab the latter game for its lowest price yet...

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