Category Archives: Role-Playing

The parade of licensed Warhammer games continues unabated with the release of Warhammer: Arcane Magic [$9.99] from Turbo Tape Games, which arrived earlier today ahead of the normal weekly new game release schedule. Hey, gotta get out ahead of that whole Angry Birds 2 thing, eh? ..

'Million Arthur' Review - A Rusty Blade

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July 24th, 2015 12:45 PM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in 2 stars, Card, Free, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Role-Playing
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Although it's a new arrival in most of the world, Million Arthur [Free] is a relatively old game in a very young sub-genre. In Japan, it arrived mere months after the release of Puzzle & Dragons [Free], and while its story and production values made it a cross-media hit in its home country, the gameplay feels it's from another era. The best analogy I can make is to go back to the early days of first-person shooters. Developer id Software had released their breakout hit Wolfenstein 3D [$1.99] through publisher Apogee, but were going it alone for their next title. Apogee created a new game called Blake Stone that was built on Wolf 3D's skeleton, offering greater interactivity and a more open structure. It was a fine evolution of the gameplay established in Wolf 3D. The only problem was, the week after Blake Stone released, id Software released Doom [$4.99], and suddenly the whole tea table was up-ended. Million Arthur is Blake Stone, but for social RPGs, and outside of Japan, it's not releasing in the same window as its assassin, but years later...




'Warhammer 40K: Deathwatch - Tyranid Invasion' Review - Glorious Space Hunters

Rodeo Games has a niche, and they're getting better and better at satisfying it with each new release. Their last game was a fairly well-received conversion of the classic Warhammer Quest [$4.99] board game, and their newest release is another Warhammer-themed turn-based strategy game. Of course, before all of that, Rodeo Games made their name with their excellent Hunters series of turn-based strategy games, and its from those roots that Warhammer 40K: Deathwatch [$4.99] draws most strongly from. This is basically Hunters 3, albeit with a Warhammer 40K skin. Some might frame that as a negative, but it's been a few years since the last Hunters game. I'm more than willing to entertain a sequel at this point, especially one as high-quality as Deathwatch...

RPG Reload File 048 - 'Puzzle & Dragons'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we try not to blow our weekly allowance on Magic Stones. 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 chance to revisit, reflect, or simply take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. The RPG genre is impossibly broad, and I try to do my best to balance things out from week to week, but if you've got a game you'd like to see me play, please let me know. You can comment below, post in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or tweet me at @RPGReload with your suggestions. The last regular reader's choice article is coming up soon, and with the way the votes have gone, it's all but decided. That said, I'll still be taking anything you kind folks throw at me under advisement for future features, so feel free to speak up...

There really aren't enough expansive RPGs or dungeon crawlers on the mobile platform. It's a pretty hard pair of genres to translate, but the ones that do shine on mobile are perfect for quick "pick up and play" sessions. That's basically where Exsilium [Free] stands, and although it doesn't do a whole lot more than your average top-down action game, it's a free affair that is easy to get into...

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we need food badly. Each week, we dig into the archives to find an RPG from times past, all just for the little old purpose of seeing how it holds up today. It's a bit of reflection, a little revisiting, and a chance to dive deeper on a game than our usual reviews allow. As ever, I try to present a sensible spread of titles to represent this vast genre from week to week, but if you think I'm missing something cool, please let me know. You can make suggestions by commenting down below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. We've only got one last regular reader's choice article coming up in August before starting the new format, so if there's something you want to see soon, let me know now...

'Avernum 2: Crystal Souls' Review  - The Empire Strikes Back

If you’ve been following along on our RPG Reload Podcasts, you’ll know that we have a soft spot for Spiderweb Software’s excellent old-school RPGs. In addition to dedicating a whole segment to Avernum: Escape from the Pit [$9.99 (HD)]on Episode 2, we’ve also spoke at length to the recent drama regarding Avernum 2: Crystal Souls [$9.99 (HD)]. Released and taken off the market within a day, issues with iOS 8.3 threatened not only its release but also the release of future titles. Thankfully, all that has been resolved and Jeff Vogel’s group has rereleased the second game in the Avernum series on iPad. It’s a big win for RPG fans, as Avernum 2 continues the excellent tradition of old-school RPG goodness with a new adventure deep underground...

RPG Reload File 046 - 'Final Fantasy 5'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we appreciate the subtle pun of the root of all evil being a tree. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their place in the overall scheme of things, or just to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. I try to present a balanced schedule of RPGs from week to week, but if you have any suggestions, I'm certainly open to hearing them. Simply comment below, post in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or tweet me at @RPGReload and let me know what you'd like to see featured. We've got one last normal reader's choice article coming up in August, so get those suggestions in! Although I'll be sad to see it go, I'm pretty excited to tell you about its replacement for the following month. I'll be giving you all more details on that pretty soon...

Is a high level of difficulty a necessary part of a roguelike? It's something I've been thinking about a bit as I've played Alchemic Dungeons [$2.99], the latest from Rogue Ninja [$2.99] developer Q-Cumber Factory. Most genres don't factor challenge into their definitions, but I suppose the roguelike genre isn't like most others. For decades, roguelikes acted something like the horror B-movie of the games industry. There was always a very strong cult following, but outside of certain limited successes in Japan, those outside the circle rarely gave the games much attention. In recent years, things have changed, however, and that has forced a somewhat insular community to reassess exactly what it is that they get out of games using the roguelike descriptor. Alchemic Dungeons checks off all the boxes as a Japanese-style roguelike, but its main gameplay hook gives it a certain fairness that isn't typically present in this genre...

'Avernum 2: Crystal Souls' Is Back On The App Store

Friends, 2015 has been an emotional roller-coaster for mobile RPG fans. There's been the business with The World Ends With You [$17.99 / $19.99 (HD)] and its update, the teasing of a new Baldur's Gate game, and the long-awaited announcement of Final Fantasy 7. Then there was Avernum 2: Crystal Souls [$9.99 (HD)], a release that seemed as open-and-shut as anything you could imagine. That is, until it wasn't...

Has iOS been around long enough now to start talking about some of its earlier releases as classics? If so, Redshift's early 2009 port of their Pocket PC RPG The Quest [$4.99] surely must qualify. The initial release alone offered dozens of hours of exploration, solving quests, navigating treacherous dungeons, and battling deadly creatures. If that wasn't enough to slake your thirst for adventure, the game also received 16 expansions, each one giving you another 30+ hours of fun. The Quest in its entirety is likely one of the biggest RPGs on the App Store, and it's just as much fun today as it was several years ago. In short, this is the kind of game that is worth preserving and curating as our young branch of the hobby continues to grow. With that in mind, it's scary how close we came to losing it recently...

'Pixel Dungeon' Review – Simple Name, Legendary Game

Eons ago, a roguelike was created, and lo, all was good. The game was highly praised, and many flocked to bask in it’s simple but difficult glory. This congregation became a community, discussing the game’s many elements and even creating a wiki, raising the lowly game to great new heights. The roguelike grew over time, incorporating new mechanics and levels, but still something was amiss. This game was not to be found in lands of iOS. Thus a prophecy was born, that this game would come to iOS, heralding a great new age of…. Something, something. That’s getting tiresome. Long story short, Pixel Dungeon [$2.99] is here, fools!..

RPG Reload File 045 - 'Sorcery!'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we never seem to have enough rations to get by. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how well it's holding up in the present day. It's a bit of revisiting, a bit of reflecting, and a chance to take a deeper dive than our usual reviews allow for. I'll try to present a balanced plate of RPGs from week to week, hopefully representing what is an incredibly wide genre, but I'm always open to suggestions. If you know a game that you'd like to see featured, simply leave a comment below, post in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or tweet me at @RPGReload. There's just one more regular reader's choice article after this one, with September bringing a few changes to the schedule. If there's something you really want to see me play and write about soon, it's time to get those recommendations in!..

Given the economics of the mobile market, it's hardly surprising that we're seeing developers try to figure out how to make a workable free-to-play model out of every traditional genre. Some have taken to it well. Puzzle games, racing games, and building/simulation games in particular have made fairly smooth transitions. RPGs, on the other hand, have seen a lot of experimentation. After some misguided steps like Tales Of Phantasia and Final Fantasy: All The Bravest [Free], it seems like the model set forth by Puzzle & Dragons [Free] has settled in as the default template. That might be good for developers, but as a player, it's kind of bittersweet. I've enjoyed a lot of games built in that vein, but few of them hit what I really enjoy about RPGs. Unfortunately, the discovery of a successful model means most have given up experimenting with anything else. We still see the odd attempt at something different, though, and Beast Bound [Free] is one such example...

I hold two very strong opinions about the Dragon Quest series, one of which is agreed upon by many, and the other of which is slightly more controversial. First, Dragon Quest is like pie in that there is no bad one. My least favorite is either Dragon Quest 2 [$4.99] or Dragon Quest 8 [$19.99], but I'd still hand over a weekend to replaying both, no questions asked. With that being said, the other thing that I believe is that the series hit its creative peak with Dragon Quest 5 [$9.99]. That's not to say subsequent games didn't sometimes hit some very high notes, as my pie opinion shows. But if there is such thing as a work that a creative mind invests in so completely that they leave a big piece of themselves with said work forever, Dragon Quest 5 would be a huge example. That's an ominous way to begin a review of Dragon Quest 6 [$14.99], I'll admit, but I felt it was important to be upfront about that...

This week’s Final Fantasy: Record Keeper [Free] event takes us back to the world of Final Fantasy VIII and the epic battle against the Sorceress Edea. Balamb Garden: The SeeDs of Conflict not only offers the opportunity to unlock two more heroes of the game but also their memory crystals (assuming you pass the Elite Dungeon tests). Before you go forth and recall the record of one of the world’s most emo heroes (…whatever), let’s take a closer look at the event, its bosses, and the heroes themselves...

RPG Reload File 044 - 'Chaos Rings Omega'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we make the very most out of the assets we have. 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 a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their ultimate place in iOS's history, or just to take a deeper dive than our review typically allow for. I try to present a balanced plate from this admittedly wide genre from week to week, but I'm always open for suggestions. If you have a game in mind that you'd like to see featured, simply comment below, post in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or tweet me at @RPGReload. After next week, there's only one regular reader's choice Reload left, so if there's something you're dying to see, now's the time! Next week, we'll be talking about Sorcery! [$4.99], a request that came in via our Twitter account. Good times ahead!..

After an event that lasted a big longer than most normal limited time events (most likely due to the debut of Memory Crystals as well as the Festival of Gold which replaced the normal content), Record Keeper [Free] is back to its normal schedule of weekly limited events. For this event, entitled Princess of Alexandria, Record Keeper debuts content from Final Fantasy IX for the first time and offers some pretty cool high end rewards for players with the skills (and equipment) to pass them. As is the custom, we’ve run through the content and have some tips for players looking to unlock as much of the content as available...

I rag on Kemco quite a bit sometimes, but I really have to commend them for sticking to their guns even as the whole market has changed around them. Just about every month, we can look forward to getting at least one traditional JRPG, albeit with wildly varying levels of quality between titles. To the best of my knowledge, they are pretty much the last publisher on Earth regularly serving that niche, as even companies like Square Enix are shifting further towards the popular social RPG model that has captured the affections of Japanese gamers. I may not like every game they release, but I greatly appreciate what they're doing. Their latest iOS release in English, Legend Of Ixtona [$3.99], has the publisher taking on a slightly different, but no less traditional, model of RPG. It's an isometric turn-based strategy RPG in the style of Yasumi Matsuno's Tactics series of games, and although it's a bit rough, it's surprisingly decent for a first effort...

'Transistor' Review - An Action-Packed, Evocative Journey in an Amazing World

I love stories, always have; give me a book, and I'm a happy man. It's not surprising, then, that I always appreciate games with strong, emergent stories that seamlessly mix with the gameplay. Yet, all too often many of the games I play show a distinct disconnect between story and gameplay or contain any story elements in the few, obligatory cutscenes. Don't get me wrong, I also like games with fantastic gameplay and nothing else, but the games that stick with me are those with great stories. Fortunately, there are those rare occasions, those rare games whose story and gameplay are so intertwined that they blend beautifully. Transistor [$9.99], Supergiant Games' second game, is precisely one of those rare occasions where the story emerges from the gameplay and the gameplay emerges from the story, one of those rare games that prove the importance of cohesiveness in narrative and gameplay. That cohesiveness made Transistor one of my most memorable gaming experiences in quite a while; perfect it is not, but it is a fantastic experience that most iOS gamers will really enjoy...

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