Category Archives: Role-Playing

We've had our eye on Eisenhorn: XENOS from developer Pixel Hero Games, makers of the ultra-underrated action RPG Spiral Episode 1 [$3.99 / Free], ever since we got a quick demo of the game at GDC 2015. An impressive-looking trailer followed about six months later, and before we knew it we were back at GDC 2016 this past March getting another great demo of the game. People who had been following along had been very excited for Eisenhorn: XENOS to arrive, and just yesterday we learned that the game was set to launch this Wednesday, August 10th. Pixel Hero even posted a brand new developer diary video in celebration of the much-anticipated launch. Well, the weirdness of digital app stores and world time zones strikes again and as it turns out Eisenhorn: XENOS [$9.99] is now available as of just a few moments ago...

RPG Reload Presents - The History of Handheld RPGs, Part Twelve

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload. This week, we're concluding 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 took a look at the PlayStation Vita, a troubled system that has quite a respectable library of games. There are a lot of reasons it wasn't able to take off in terms of sales, but the biggest one is probably that smartphones have swept the feet right out from under the dedicated handheld gaming market. One of the strongest regions for dedicated handhelds, particularly with regards to the adult demographic, is Japan, but that's also one of the regions that has most quickly and thoroughly adopted smartphones as its gaming device of choice. That didn't happen because of Final Fantasy ports and Kemco RPGs, though. Rather, it was through the smashing popularity of a new kind of RPG: the social RPG. In our final chapter, we're taking a look at the free-to-play era of smartphone RPGs...




To say Mobius Final Fantasy [Free] has been highly anticipated by fans of Square Enix, or simply RPGs in general, is perhaps an understatement. Ever since the title was announced back in 2014 (when it was known as Mevius Final Fantasy) it has been on our radar, and when we caught a glimpse of the game a few months later, the beautiful 3D graphics betrayed a level of depth that other mobile entries in the series hadn't managed to reach. A Japan launch in June 2015 followed this initial reveal, and despite some chastening words from Shaun in our preview, it has still been a game which many on our forums have been eagerly anticipating. Thankfully, Mobius Final Fantasy has finally been released worldwide today, ending the excruciating nineteen month wait for a global launch...

Once rare treats in an overall line-up that included a few other developers, EXE-Create's games for Kemco have recently had to shoulder most of the load for the near-monthly release schedule of the publisher. Of this year's seven iOS releases so far from Kemco, five have come from EXE-Create. Now, this developer knows how to put together solid RPGs in a short span of time, but that kind of breakneck schedule isn't going to make anyone look good. Taking things one step further, this month's selection, Asdivine Cross [Free / $4.99], is a remake of one of the developer's old feature phone releases. Many of the gameplay systems have been changed, which would be good if the "new" systems weren't simply copy and pasted from their last few original games. In a vacuum, Asdivine Cross is a decent enough JRPG, even quite good in places. Unfortunately, we're not in a vacuum. We're in the world where this is the second Asdivine game I've reviewed in the last six months...

I’m a sucker for sci-fi horror settings, so when I saw this brutal app icon alongside colorful screenshots that really pop, I knew I had to go for this app. Wait, what’s that? And it’s a premium game with no in-app purchases? Oh Dead Shell, you say all the right things! I was excited to dive deep into the ghoulish landscape of Dead Shell: Roguelike RPG [$2.99] from the word go. Sadly, my excitement was met with a game that doesn’t really seem to know what it wants to be. It’s definitely an interesting game with a very cool premise, but that only takes you so far...

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where everything opens up once you have the compass. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the past of the App Store to see how it's doing in the here and now. It's a little bit of revisiting, a little bit of reflecting, and a chance to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. I try to present a balanced plate of games from week to week, but if you feel like I'm missing anything important, please let me know. You can do that by commenting below, posing in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. The schedule is already set for the next several months, so you might not see your suggestion soon, but it will be added to the master list...

The Chaos Rings series holds an important part in mobile gaming history, as it was among the first truly full-featured sets of original games made specifically for mobile devices. That coupled with the fact that Square Enix was the developer lent a lot of credibility to mobile as a true gaming platform back in its formative years. Sadly, Square Enix pulled the older Chaos Rings games, among other titles, last month due to incompatibility with newer iOS hardware, and as of right now only Chaos Rings 3 [$19.99] is still available. So it sure was weird when a week ago Square Enix announced a brand new game in the Chaos Rings series, only this time it was exclusively for the Apple Watch. That game, called Cosmos Rings [$8.99], is now available...

Fans of the classic Milton Bradley/Games Workshop role-playing board game HeroQuest who are looking for a similar experience on mobile have a few decent choices available to them. There are games that use the basic concept as a springboard for a larger, deeper adventure such as Heroes of Steel [$3.99] from the Trese Brothers. Rodeo Games has their version of the official Games Workshop follow-up Warhammer Quest [$0.99]. If you happen to be searching for a more straightforward interpretation of the board game, however, the Arcane Quest series from Nex Games Studios is the way to go. The first game in the series, which released on Android and Windows Phones, was a pretty direct translation. Arcane Quest 2 [Free], the first in the series on iOS, built sensibly on that foundation, while Arcane Quest Adventures [Free] used many of the same gameplay mechanics but applied them to a different style of game...

Teeny Titans [$3.99] is perhaps my biggest surprise of 2016. If you're somehow unfamiliar with the game, it's a Pokemon-like that has you running around the world of Teen Titans GO battling and collecting little figures based off of characters from the show. It has a super clever battle system and is dripping with polish and charm. As someone who never really watched Teen Titans GO, I wasn't expecting Teeny Titans to be something that would float my boat, but holy moly was I wrong. We loved it in our review, and I became pretty obsessed with it once it came out, and even after beating the entire game I still come back to it just to battle and level up my crew because it's so darn fun. ..

I first played Guild of Dungeoneering [$4.99] on PC at PAX South 2015, and I thought from the first time I played it that it would be perfect for mobile. Well, it took a year and a half between the game's continued development and PC release to finally make it happen, but this curious little roguelike where you use tile cards to build the dungeons as you traverse them and fight enemies using a separate card system, is well worth the wait. It has its own quirks and shortcomings, but really it's like nothing you've ever played before...

RPG Reload File 087 - 'Chaos Rings 2'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where heroes might be gone, but are never forgotten. 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 position in the overall tapestry, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. I try to choose a balanced plate of RPGs from week to week in order to represent the diverse nature of the genre, but if you feel like I'm missing anything important, please let me know. You can do that by commenting below the article, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. Your suggestion might not appear soon, but it will be added to the master list...

In October of last year, Next Games launched a very interesting game based around AMC's The Walking Dead series called The Walking Dead: No Man's Land [Free]. In the game you were tasked with building a compound in order to keep your survivor friends safe from the zombies, so pretty typical base-building type of stuff, but when you actually had to engage in combat with them it turned more into a tactical turn-based strategy game. There were also plenty of RPG elements peppered in, and overall No Man's Land was a very cool way to experience the world of The Walking Dead. Today Next Games has connected the game even closer to the show as a new update adds Heroes to the game based off of many of the characters from the show...

Like it or lump it, there are some publishers out there who march to the beat of their own drum. Square Enix is definitely one of them, as today's news demonstrates quite nicely. Fresh from removing most of the Chaos Rings series of RPGs from the App Store storefront, Square Enix has announced a spin-off title in the series called Cosmos Rings. As one might expect, it's an RPG, and it's supposedly going to be releasing quite soon worldwide. Oh, and it's for the Apple Watch...

We don't really make a habit of posting about sales or freebies anymore, because frankly, most games nowadays are already free and most paid games go on sale so frequently that it kind of loses its impact after awhile. Both of these games fall in that latter category, both Bastion and Transistor have seen plenty of sales in the past, but gosh darn it these games are so incredibly good it just didn't feel right to not let everyone know that they're both currently on sale at the same time. ..

In a mobile market saturated with clones and "me too" copycats trying to ride the coattails of the mega hits, it can be rare to come across a game that genuinely feels fresh and unique. That was certainly not the case though when Rule With an Iron Fish [$2.99] launched early last month. This is one of those games that blends a lot of popular concepts together, but not in a way that feels like its treading familiar territory. ..

After the successful launch of Taichi Panda [Free] last year, Snail Games has been going hard with the new releases in 2016. Their latest is yet another free to play action RPG called Chaos Legends [Free]. Now, I have mixed feelings when it comes to the action RPG genre. I actually love hack 'n slash games, but holy jeez, they are like a dime a dozen nowadays and most of the time it's hard to tell one apart from another. With their grindy free to play systems it's nearly impossible to be actively playing more than one at a time, so while most of these games look and play pretty awesome, realistically I just don't have time for them, you know? At any rate, Chaos Legends does look really cool based on its release trailer...

Hello, gentle listeners, and welcome to a much-belated episode of the RPG Reload Podcast. We're a couple of weeks late this month, and that's partly from tech problems and partly from my strict schedule the last few weeks. It's here now, though, and the good news is that the next episode is just that much sooner. So join me, Eric, and Andy in a very special recording from the halcyon pre-Pokemon Go days as we discuss the latest in three-week-old news and our featured game, Stoic Studios' Banner Saga. We've got a good mix as Eric was playing it for the first time, while Andy had been through the game before when he wrote the TouchArcade review...

Ackeron [$2.99] is remarkable for a few reasons. First, it's a remake of a 15+ year old Palm Pilot game, which I can assure you is not something you see every day. Second, it's a large, complex, single-player RPG from an indie developer, something that is becoming rare these days on iOS. Perhaps the most amazing thing about it is just how much effort seems to have been put into this remake. Ackeron could easily pass for a new game on iOS, though its mechanics might quickly disabuse you of that notion. When a developer puts that kind of work into a remake, it's easy to see the passion behind the game. Indeed, Ackeron feels like a massive passion project, but it's also a surprisingly enjoyable RPG if you can stick with it through some of its bumpier parts...

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where pouring milk on an inn allows it to charge a higher rate. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's holding up in the modern day. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their position in the overall library, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. As mayor of this city, I try to choose a balanced plate of games from week to week, but if you feel like I'm missing anything important, you can let me know by leaving a comment below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. The schedule is already done up quite far in advance, so you might not see your suggestion soon, but it will be added to the master list...

It's interesting watching the flow of game design over time. While it's sometimes painful to watch established game designs hop from a paid model to a free-to-play set-up, those very same free-to-play hits have now been around long enough to start inspiring developers to travel that road in the opposite direction. The basic structure and look of Dungeon x Balls [Free] seem heavily informed by social RPG sensations like Puzzle and Dragons [Free], but rather than send the player down an endless rabbit hole of collection, evolution, and battling, it opts for a more traditional style. You'll find new characters with their own special abilities, battle boss creatures, and work your way through the story, and while there are IAP, they're solely of the cosmetic variety. Best of all, its core gameplay mechanic feels intuitive and fresh, a difficult thing to accomplish in the wildly crowded mobile market...

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