Category Archives: Role-Playing

'Micromon' Review - All It Needs Is A Micromon Rap

Pokemon clones are by no means a new thing. With as much success as Nintendo's monster-catching RPG has enjoyed, clones are simply an expected part of doing business. They're not even a new thing for iOS. I've reviewed both Hunter Island [$0.99] and Band of Monsters [Free] in the last year, to say nothing of the many Puzzle & Dragons [Free]-inspired games released that borrow liberally from Pokemon. That said, with all of the clones, homages, parodies, and more that I've played over the years, none have skated quite so closely to Pokemon's game design as Micromon [$0.99]. There's little pretense about what they're doing here, with cheeky references all over the place and gameplay that is certainly the spitting image of Pokemon imagined as a $0.99 mobile game. Well, originality isn't everything...

Square-Enix has been running a sale on its mobile games catalog for almost two weeks, but it’s been limited to the Google Play store until now. Between now and the end of the week, you can save a fiver on the iOS version of Secret of Mana [$8.99], which is usually $8.99...

I don't think I'm alone in feeling a bit disappointed by the way Kairosoft's been spinning their wheels with most of their releases. It's not that the games aren't fun individually, it's just that they provide such similar experiences that it's hard to get all that interested in another one if you've already played more than a few. So it was with a slightly weary sigh that I downloaded their latest game, Kairobotica [$4.99], expecting another Pocket Harvest [$4.99] -level rehash and little more. Much to my surprise, this is Kairosoft's most innovative new game in quite some time. That might sound like faint praise, but with the change-up in mechanics, the developer's strengths shine through brighter than they have in a while. The result is a game that may not please everyone, but should at least be a welcome sight to exhausted fans of any of the developer's prior games...

Back in October of 2011, Rocketcat Games blew our collective minds when they released Mage Gauntlet [$2.99] on the iPhone. No but really, Mage Gauntlet was a fantastic homage to 16-bit era action RPGs and we enjoyed it tremendously in our review. In the few months following release, several updates were released for Mage Gauntlet that tweaked things, fixed things, added some new things, and most significantly updated the game with Universal iPad support. But that was really the last time Mage Gauntlet got any serious update love, and ever since the iPhone 5 debuted in September of 2012, it's felt like it's sorely missing support for 4-inch widescreens...

Square-Enix Announces 'Chaos Rings 3'

Square-Enix does a lot of business on mobiles with ports and remakes of some of their greatest hits of yesteryear, but once upon a time, they put out a bunch of original games, too. Of that assortment of games, the most well-known is probably the Chaos Rings series, a trio of titles developed by Media.Vision. The most recent release in the series, Chaos Rings 2 [$15.99 / $16.99 (HD)], came out in early 2012, and apart from a couple of promised updates and talk of a F2P spin-off called Chaos Rings Sigma, we've heard very little concrete information about any further games in the series. That is, until today, when Square-Enix announced via Famitsu that Chaos Rings 3 will be releasing this winter on iOS, Android, and PlayStation Vita...

Lucky Frame Bringing Roguelike Puzzler 'The Nightmare Cooperative' to iOS

Lucky Frame, the Edinbugensian studio behind Bad Hotel [$1.99], Wave Trip [$0.99], and Gentlemen! [$4.99 (HD)] (all of which we loved), are brining their newest game to iOS. ..

In my review of the game based on Thor: The Dark World [Free], I remarked about how, as a child, I never would have expected Thor of all characters to become a major media star for Marvel. There are always bigger miracles, however. I remember flipping through the pages of a Marvel Handbook when I was in elementary school and coming across Rocket Raccoon. It was my first time seeing him, and to my eyes, he looked stupid. Not just The Shocker-stupid, but genuine, unadulterated Razorback-level stupid. He was the kind of character who you would only see in a Marvel Handbook, with a handful of appearances to his name, doomed to disappear entirely for 15 years of publications. Several years ago, he and many other somewhat forgotten members of Cosmic Marvel returned as a new Guardians of the Galaxy team, in an effort to revamp that part of the Marvel Universe. It was so successful, they've got a live action movie coming out next week, and with it, their very own game. Now, that's improbable...

When it comes to the games business, I'm not sure if there's any task that offers quite the same challenges as trying to convert a series from premium to free-to-play. Generally speaking, the upfront price tag ends up being the main advantage a free-to-play game can tout, with its paid predecessors usually offering a better longterm value for more frequent players. Some types of games have it easier than others, since certain genres almost demand improved visuals and major content updates as time goes by. In the case of a puzzle game, however, it's often hard to get people to buy into a sequel even without changing the deal much. Did anyone really go in for Tetris 2? People are often happy with good puzzle games as they are. Of course, one approach a publisher can take is to pull the previous games in the series, artificially shunting people to whichever version you want them to go to, but outside of that, it can be a minefield, as the creators of Dungelot [$1.99] found earlier this year with the initial blowback from Dungelot 2 [Free]...

Generally speaking, RPGs tend to stick to the same sorts of settings and broad plot strokes. Some big evil thing is threatening a typical fantasy world, and it's up to some plucky young guy and his ragtag group of accomplices to defeat the bad guy, save the world, and bring about a happy ending. Even the recent shift towards more dark fantasy settings still has us exploring a fantasy world of some kind, and still usually going after that big evil threat that will end the world. That plot outline loosely describes just about every game released by prolific mobile RPG publisher Kemco, and though I can usually find something interesting in the mechanics to catch my attention, it does get a bit tiresome at times watching the same story play out again and again. Of course, given the rapid pace of releases Kemco works with, a lot of the similarities are down to neccessity, but it's hard to deny that there's a certain stubborn streak running in the genre in spite of a few great counter-examples...

Lots of people in our forum are having fun with Gameloft's take on the social RPG genre, Dungeon Gems [Free]. As you can read in my review, it didn't exactly knock my socks off, but if nothing else, it's a fairly competent variation on Puzzle & Dragons [Free] with some spruced up visuals. Like I do for most games in this subgenre, I've spent a fair bit of time playing it during my downtime, and have put together a guide to help out beginners who are looking to dip their toe into the game. Some of this advice will be familiar to people who have played similar games, while other tips are unique to this game, but if you're getting started, you should find most of it helpful...

There have been a lot of grumblings about Square-Enix's lack of updates on some of their games, but the company has been slowly and quietly going through their back catalog in the last little while making little touches here and there. Final Fantasy 3 [$15.99 / $16.99 (HD)] and Final Fantasy 4 [$15.99] have both received updates for MFi controller support, Final Fantasy Tactics [$13.99 / $15.99 (HD)] got a major overhaul, and now it seems like one of Square-Enix's first iOS ports, Secret of Mana [$8.99], has gotten its turn. ..

Late last month, we posted news of Konami buying the Sword & Poker IP and soft launching a totally new, re-worked free to play version of the game. If you read the story, Jared details an extensive meeting we had with the developers at WWDC about how they were still actively tweaking the payment model of the game and were highly receptive to our feedback on it. This, of course, didn't stop commenters from as predictably as the sun rising going completely off the handle...

Siralim [Free], the rookie effort from Thylacine Studios, is hard to fit into a box. Well, it's easy to fit it into a big box. It's definitely an RPG of sorts, but from there, it doesn't fit neatly into any of the sub-genres that we perhaps too gleefully like to use to organize these things. It's an odd fusion of elements, a stew made of up various pieces of different types of RPGs. Games that try this kind of thing run a high risk of ending up with something almost entirely inedible, but on very rare occasions, everything comes together nicely, creating a dish that is both familiar and fresh. You know, I'm kind of hungry. I'm going to get a sandwich and then come back and tell you why Siralim is an awesome game without using food metaphors...

'Monster Hunter Freedom Unite' Review - Good-bye Free Time, Hello Wildlife Slaughter

Capcom's iOS games present a truly insane roll of the dice. You've got terribly reimagined ports of classics like Mega Man X [$4.99], wonderful ports of underappreciated games like Ghost Trick [Free], ports that are maybe a bit too perfect like Street Fighter II Collection [$3.99] or the dearly departed Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, and games that take familiar names and series and go in strange directions like Ghosts 'n Goblins Gold Knights [$0.99]. This time, however, they've really gone and done it. Just when you think they can't make you doubt them any further, they go and totally redeem themselves with an absolutely fantastic iOS version of Monster Hunter Freedom Unite [$14.99]...

Storm Casters [$0.99] from Get Set Games – yes, the Mega Jump [Free] people – is a fun little take on the hack 'n slash genre. It's essentially Gauntlet meets the cinema classic, Crank. Players have a limited amount of time to rush through levels with hordes of enemies, before the portal that warped them in closes. Thus, there's not much in the way of dawdling about in levels, as it's all about getting to the next room, fighting a boss, and going on before the timer runs out, collecting sweet loot upon the way to buy upgrades, so that the next run can progress further thanks to longer portal times, increased damages, and more potent card effects. And yes, there's a card system in the game, but it is shockingly non-onerous...

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