Category Archives: Role-Playing

'Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead' Review - A Learning Curve Like A Sheer Cliff, But Great Rewards Await

There are a lot of roguelike games on iOS, but that's going with the more modern definition of the genre. In the years between the earliest days when roguelikes were pretty easy to get into and their recent explosion in popularity correlated with more approachable or hybridized designs, the roguelike was something a lot more complex. It was like a secret club for the most obsessed type of gamer, offering virtually limitless possibilities and options for those who were willing to do a lot more learning than the average game demanded. That particular brand of roguelike is far more rare on iOS, and it's not hard to see why. A touch interface is a poor substitute for a full keyboard, and games of that sort of complexity are probably not what the majority of mobile gamers are looking for. At the very least, compromises have to be made on the granular nature of the player's actions, because the alternatives are having a keyboard's worth of buttons on the screen or using the software keyboard, and what kind of loon would do either of those?..

RPG Reload File 066 - 'Nameless: The Hackers RPG'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we never met a Gibson we couldn't hack. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's hanging in the here and now. It's a chance to revisit some old favorites, reflect on their position in the iOS RPG tapestry, or just to take a deeper dive than reviews typically allow for. I try to present a balanced plate of RPGs from week to week, but that's a job that gets more difficult the further into this we go. So, if you've noticed that I've missed a game that you'd really like to see, please let me know by commenting below, tweeting to @RPGReload, or by dropping in on the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the TouchArcade forums. I schedule pretty far in advance, so I can't promise your suggestion will appear soon, but it will go on the list...




During E3 in June of last year, Natsume Inc. announced Harvest Moon: Seeds of Memories [$9.99], a new entry in the long-running farming/RPG series and the first "true" Harvest Moon game to land on iOS, as the previous mobile game bearing the Harvest Moon name was a puzzle game. Great news, right? Well, maybe. As many know, the Harvest Moon franchise is a convoluted one, and later entries in the series haven't quite captured the magic that the original SNES Harvest Moon did back in the mid-90s. So fans of the series were understandably cautiously optimistic when it came to Harvest Moon: Seeds of Memories, but as of today they can find out for themselves as the game has officially launched on the App Store. Also, even though it would make TOTAL sense for this type of game to be free to play'd out the wazoo, Seeds of Memories is actually a fully paid game with zero IAP. Check out the official trailer...

Once upon a time, in the long-ago days before mankind knew how to wield fire, you could count the number of Kemco RPGs on the App Store on one hand. Among those early releases, one of the best games was Fantasy Chronicle [$4.99], among the first iOS releases from developer Hit-Point. Unlike their Kemco stablemate EXE-Create, Hit-Point isn't too big on making sequels to their games, preferring to come up with something a little different each time. It's a little surprising, then, to see Fantasy Chronicle get a sequel after several years. If Justice Chronicles [$4.99] is any indication, I think I'd like to see Hit-Point make sequels more often...

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload. This week, we're continuing our little monthly project looking at the history of handheld RPGs. That means that we will not be taking a look at a specific RPG from the App Store's past this time around. Last month, we looked at the various competitors to the Game Boy, including the Game Gear, Wonderswan, and more. This time around, we're pushing the timeline forward again with a look at the long-awaited follow-up to the Game Boy, Nintendo's Game Boy Advance. In total, this feature will span twelve columns, each one taking a look at a specific era in handheld RPGs. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I've enjoyed researching and writing them! Please let me know what you think by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload...

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to yet another special edition of the RPG Reload. In this weekly feature, we usually take a look at a game from the App Store's past, but due to the New Year's holiday, we're doing something a little different this week. That's right, it's time for the second annual listing of the RPG Reload's favorite RPGs of the year. I thought it might be cool to come up with a catchy name for these prizes, but since I couldn't come up with anything good, I've settled on calling them the Golden Pancho Awards, in honor of the frequently-seen Kemco monster. No actual trophies yet, unfortunately, but 'Golden Pancho' sounds a lot better than trying to spell out the whole article name, right?..

Based on a novel by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky, Metro 2033 has quickly become the video gaming world's third-favorite post-nuclear-apocalypse setting, give or take a rank or two. Set in a world where a nuclear war forced Moscow's survivors to live in the underground subway stations that sprawl out under the city, it's a setting ripe with possibilities for games. Ukrainian developer 4A games apparently felt it would make a good first-person shooter, and they proved themselves right in 2010 with the release of Metro 2033 on Xbox 360 and Windows PCs. That game was followed by a sequel called Metro: Last Light, and I'm quite sure we'll be seeing more games coming in that particular series. Russian developer DaSuppa and publisher TapStar Interactive seem to have come away from the book with a different kind of game idea, perhaps figuring that the struggle for resources and sprawling map filled with nodes would make a good strategy game. They weren't wrong. Metro 2033: Wars [$5.99] is awfully rough around the edges, but it's at least worth checking out for patient strategy fans who are looking for a lighter bite...

RPG Reload Special Edition - 'A TouchArcade Christmas Carol'

With Sincere Apologies To Charles Dickens, And The Readers

First Stave - The Editor's Ghost

Let me tell you the story of Shaun Musgrave. Though they say he used to be different, it's hard to imagine it. There was never such a staunch defender of free-to-play social RPGs as he, with a stubborn streak in him about paying even a cent for an app. The cold within his heart froze his features, made him walk stiffly, and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. Nobody ever sent him a tweet to ask how he was doing or when he would like to play Clash Of Clans together. No Facebook friends asked him for a life in Candy Crush, no children even asked him for a promo code. But Shaun didn't care, because he didn't care much for people. He wished only to be left alone to grind enough premium currency for his next Town Hall upgrade.

(more…)

..

I like roguelikes, don't get me wrong. I like the replayability that comes from their procedurally-generated structure, and I enjoy the challenge. I'm having a ton of fun right now with Rust Bucket [Free] from Nitrome, for example. But sometimes I think there's a value that comes from level design, of having an experience that was deliberately designed by someone. Thus, while Into the Dim [Free] looked like a roguelike, and has some of the hallmarks such as the turn-by-turn basis and the bumping into enemies to attack them, the game's fixed nature helps make it stand out among a sea of roguelike dungeon crawlers...

Nitrome's Rust Bucket [Free] is a really fun turn-based roguelike, it's just not quite complete yet. Sometimes it's unfair to compare one game to another, but comparing Rust Bucket to Ending [$1.99] is a totally fair comparison because the designer of both games is Aaron Steed, who also worked on Turnament for Nitrome. So, what you're getting is a game that's an evolution and refinement on those games' formulas. Standard turn-based roguelike rules are in play here: you move one square at a time, then all the enemies take their turns, all according to various predictable rules. The challenge comes in when you're trying to survive among several groups of enemies, where one hit kills you. It's tough but fair...

RPG Reload File 065 - 'King Cashing'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we take a spin and play to win. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the misty mists of the App Store's past to see how it's doing in the here and now. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, to reflect on their place in the overall market, or just to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As the king of this castle, I try to choose a balanced schedule from week to week, but if there's something you feel like I'm missing, by all means, let me know. You can do that by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. Since the current schedule is mapped out to somewhere like June of next year, you probably won't see your suggestion soon, but I will add it to the master list...

Having exhausted most of the relatively port-friendly Final Fantasy games and virtually all of the Dragon Quest games, Square Enix has got to be thinking about which of their remaining RPG classics are suitable for mobile ports. It looks like the lucky winner this time around is the SaGa series, specifically 1993's Romancing SaGa 2.While it's not the game's first trip to mobile, having been released in 2011 for Japan-exclusive feature phones, this will mark the first time a main entry in the SaGa series hits iOS. It will release in Japan this winter for iOS, Android, and PlayStation Vita. As this game has never been officially localized in the past, it's hard to say if it will ever leave Japan's shores, but stranger things have happened, I suppose...

The fundamental conflict surrounding how I feel about roguelike I Wanna Be a Hero [$2.99] is that the game owes a huge debt to Crypt of the Necrodancer, and if you've played that game, then a lot of what this is trying to do makes sense. Of course, Necrodancer isn't on mobile quite yet, so if you're just a mobile gamer, then perhaps you're only used to this. Still, I Wanna Be a Hero does a lot that is interesting and it's not a bad game, but it's definitely lacking...

RPG Reload File 064 - 'Terraria'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we never forget to pack torches. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up in the here and now. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their place in the overall library, or just to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As the boss of this dungeon, I try to set a balanced schedule of games from week to week, but if you feel like I'm missing something important, let me know. You can do that by leaving a comment below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. I plan the schedule really far in advance, so you might not see your suggestion soon, but it will be added to the master list...

Let's be honest: when it comes to mainline Final Fantasy games, Final Fantasy 2 [$7.99] is the Rodney Dangerfield of the bunch. While it has its flaws, it's not nearly as bad as its reputation would have you believe, and it actually lays down some important foundations for things the series would become famous for. Yet, because of its poor standing, it tends to sit near the bottom of most people's lists, and that seems to include Square Enix itself. The iOS port of Final Fantasy 2, which arrived way back in the pre-iPad days on the coat-tails of its more popular predecessor, has suffered from issues for years at this point. The first game, which suffered from similar problems, received an update earlier this year, but as the weeks went by, it seemed like Final Fantasy 2 was getting left out in the cold yet again...

We’ve been reporting on Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes [Free] since it was announced back in June of this year. As a freemium hero collecting turn-based game, there’s obviously a lot to keep track of in turns of currency and timers. While that’s obviously a turn off for a lot of players, there’s plenty here in terms of depth and character variety to make it worth trudging through for Star Wars fans. Thus, the purpose of this guide is to get new players acclimated to the freemium systems in the hope that they’ll be able to enjoy what Galaxy of Heroes has to offer...

The release of Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey [$4.99] was fraught with controversy when people found that the game was buggy and ended before all of the content in the game was made available, with the seeming episodic nature of the game being made clear only later. Well, Kobojo, after some behind-the-scenes discussions, has decided to make some changes to the game's price and to try and keep original buyers happy...

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload. This week, we're continuing our little monthly project looking at the history of handheld RPGs. That means that we will not be taking a look at a specific RPG from the App Store's past this time around. Last month, we looked at the later years of the Game Boy, from Pokemon's launch to the Game Boy Color. This time around, we're taking a step back to look at the largely unsuccessful challengers to the Game Boy's long reign. In total, this feature will span twelve columns, each one taking a look at a specific era in handheld RPGs. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I've enjoyed researching and writing them! Please let me know what you think by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload...

It seems like 2015 is the year of long-awaited games finally releasing. This year we've had Spider: Rite Of The Shrouded Moon [$2.99], Galactic Keep [$3.99], The Room Three [$4.99], and Dragon Fantasy: The Black Tome Of Ice [$9.99], among others, and it looks like we're going to be ending the year with another game that's been stewing for awhile: the follow-up to 2010's Aralon: Sword And Shadow [$4.99], from Galoobeth Games and Crescent Moon Games. For its time, Aralon was almost unbelievable for a mobile game. Offering a big 3D world that felt considerably more detail, open, and alive than the one found in Crescent Moon's previous title, Ravensword, Aralon felt like a big step towards having a fully-featured, modern, WRPG-style game on iOS. That was in 2010, however, and I'm sure I don't need to tell anyone how the market and player expectations have shifted in the intervening half-decade. Aralon: Forge And Flame [$4.99] is stepping out into a much different world than the one that welcomed its predecessor, and it doesn't quite have the sizzle to fill the footsteps it's walking in...

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we all gain experience to become something better. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's doing in the here and now. It's an opportunity to revisit old favorites, reflect on how they fit into the greater picture, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. I try to present a balanced plate as we roll through the weeks, but if you feel like I'm missing something important, don't hesitate, suggest...suggestitate? Look, I didn't think that through very well, but there's no going back now. Anyway, you can leave a suggestion by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. The schedule is already locked in for the next few months, but suggested games will be added to the master list, and provided I eat well and do my daily exercises, I will get to them eventually...

Copyright 2014, TouchArcade.com, LLC.