Category Archives: Role-Playing

Hot on the heels of the release of Final Fantasy VI [$15.99] last night, Square Enix has issued an update for one of the previous games in the series, Final Fantasy III [$15.99]. The update includes widescreen support for 4-inch devices, which is an incredibly welcome addition as nothing drives me crazier than those darn black bars on games that are not optimized for widescreen. However, there's sort of a catch: Square Enix simply stretched out the visuals to fill up the screen. So, it's essentially the same visuals as before, just slightly… elongated. Here's a comparison of the original screen up top and the new widescreen version below it...

One of the most unexpectedly wonderful genre mash-ups has proven to be the puzzle-RPG. On the surface, they seem like peanut butter and cheese, with puzzle games of the past emphasizing a play experience where a full game can be completed in one session, and RPGs pretty much being the reason the ability to save your game progress was invented. These genres existed beside each other for decades before the idea of smashing them together became popular thanks to Puzzle Quest. After that, the floodgates opened, especially on iOS, to the point where many of the most popular titles around are of this particular hybrid. The good ones find a way to bring a twist to the table, and such is the case with Glyph Quest [Free]...

I'm always a bit conflicted when it comes to Kairosoft's games. After making a big splash with Game Dev Story [$4.99], a hit simulation that was both fresh and hard to put down, they started to release more and more of their back catalog. As they did, it became more apparent with each release that Kairosoft weren't actually the innovating type they appeared to be initially. Rather, they had a few different spins on the simulation genre and basically bolted new frames onto them. For example, you wouldn't think car racing and soccer have much in common, but the Kairosoft takes on them were quite similar. In recent years, they've tried to implement deeper mechanics and new ideas into their sims, resulting in titles like Dungeon Village [$3.99] and Epic Astro Story [$3.99], which seems to have reinvigorated interest in their games. Sadly, that effort seems to have tuckered the poor developers out, because they're falling back into their old ways with their recent releases...

Square-Enix gets a lot of flak about their various ports and remakes of their games. Whether it's graphical alterations, remixed soundtracks, translation changes, or added material, seemingly anything ends up being fodder for those who want to tell the company that they broke the game in question. I'm not going to say whether or not I feel people are justified in those complaints, but I think that anyone who plays Namco's latest port of Tales of Phantasia [Free] is going to walk away with some new perspective on what exactly breaking a game entails. What has happened here is more than a little gross, and while I have my issues with the original game, it did not deserve this little Frankenstein experiment gone wrong...

In September of last year, during the Tokyo Game Show, Namco Bandai released an iOS port of their classic 1995 RPG Tales of Phantasia to the Japanese App Store. The game was entirely in Japanese, but it seemed like an English language version was in the cards, and indeed just today Tales of Phantasia [Free] has landed in the US and Canadian App Stores with full English language support...

It's been more than three years since the generally well-received Ys/Zelda mash-up action RPG Across Age [$3.99] was released on the App Store. It was a surprisingly well-done adventure, developed by frequent Kemco collaborators EXE Create, that used a simple time travel mechanic to make it stand out. Well, we finally have a sequel, and in spite of it being rather a long time coming, it's more refinement than revolution, delivering an experience that's a little bit too familiar in many ways. Still, there's a great time to be had here, especially if you enjoy the genre...

Kemco's latest in their line of monthly mobile RPGs comes by way of developer Magitec, whose name last popped up with Covenant of Solitude [$7.99], released several months ago. They are by far the least prolific of the teams Kemco uses on the English side, with just three of their games seeing release: Grinsia [$7.99], the aforementioned Covenant of Solitude, and this game, Chrome Wolf [$3.99]. Due to the breakneck release schedule of Kemco's games, we're used to seeing minor improvements at best from title to title, though in the last year or so, each of Kemco's development partners have made major engine changes or created new ones altogether. Everyone except Magitec, that is...

In my recent review of Hoplite [$1.99], I mentioned how the game benefited from a focused design. It's vitally important when the team is small to avoid biting off more than you can chew, because you might end up with a game full of content of wildly varying quality that doesn't measure up as an overall experience. This is unfortunately the case with the Trese Brothers' latest, the fantasy strategy RPG Heroes of Steel [Free]. The aspects of the game that are the most fun would have benefited from the extra resources that were spent on things that don't work well at all. Specifically, the turn-based battles are very solid, but almost everything between them is a slog. If you have the patience to deal with or embrace the slower bits, the game is without a doubt a good value for its content, with the free prologue spanning about five hours alone and the promise of more to come via IAP chapters, the first of which is available for just a dollar. With a lot of competition in the turn-based strategy genre on iOS, though, it's hard to recommend spending your time on this one...

In the past week, I played two zombie survival adventure games, which is two more than I played in the last full year. It's not that there aren't tons of great zombie games out there, it's just that as a concept I feel like the game industry has done a pretty good job of exhausting it, so it takes a lot to get me invested in the theme these days. One of the two titles I played was The Walking Dead [Free], a game I'd heard nothing but gushing praise about and felt I needed to check out. Well, I've now seen it all the way through, and yes, that was really something. At the same time I was making my way through that, I was also playing Overlive: Zombie Survival RPG [$2.99], and you would think that with a similar genre and theme, there would be a long shadow there that the game might not be able to shamble out of. Well, Overlive isn't as good as The Walking Dead in a general sense, but it does do a lot of interesting things that make it worth checking out for adventure fans...

Dubbed by its developers as a mix of Diablo and The Binding of Isaac, Hero Siege [$2.99] is a dual-stick shooter that immediately has big shoes to fill. With a simplified combat system combined with a load of randomization systems, Hero Siege may pick up some aspects from those titles in terms of theory, but not so much in terms of implementation. Still, while the action-RPG hybrid may not live up to the games that it’s inspired by, Hero Siege is still an enjoyable romp through a 16-bit styled randomized world with plenty of enemies to dispatch...

One of the problems with adaptations of existing works is that no matter how perfectly the conversion is pulled off, the end result still depends heavily on the quality of the source. If you're familiar with developer Tin Man Games, I probably don't even need to tell you that Fighting Fantasy: Island of the Lizard King [$5.99] is a perfect iOS version of the classic gamebook. The thing is, there are a lot of Fighting Fantasy books, and they're not all winners. Island of the Lizard King isn't a bad one, and oh my, are there some bad ones, but I've never been a big fan of it. The unfortunate result is that while I will once again applaud Tin Man Games's fine work in the gamebook genre, I don't think this one is all that great, through no fault of their own...

If you’ve been following iOS games for a while, then you’ve probably heard of The Shadow Sun at some point or another. Originally announced way back in August 2010, RPG fans were instantly intrigued at the idea of an original, 3D, Western-style RPG. This was especially the case considering developer Ossian Studio’s pedigree of having individuals that worked on games such as Baldur’s Gate II. However, after that announcement the hype machine went silent until this year. Now, over three years later The Shadow Sun [$4.99] finally makes its debut. While it may not necessarily match the hype of a game three years in the making it’s still a worthy addition to a growing library of impressive Western-style RPGs...

'Sorcery! 2' Review - Continue The Adventure In This Bigger And Better Chapter

If nothing else, the year 2013 has been a great one for gamebooks. With Tin Man Games continuing their excellent work with original and licensed works that faithfully recreate the feeling of a real book, Forge Reply and Bulkypix bringing back an old favorite character with stunning new presentation in Lone Wolf [Free], and inkle's great interpretation of the epic Sorcery! [$4.99] saga, I dare say fans of the genre have never had such a wealth of interesting, quality choices as they do today on mobile platforms. We reviewed the first part of Sorcery! earlier this year and came away quite impressed with inkle's spin on the concept, and I'm happy to tell you that it only gets better in Sorcery! 2 [$4.99]...

Bioware's classic Star Wars RPG Knights of the Old Republic [$9.99] found new life and a brand new audience when it launched on the iPad back in May of this year, and according to IGN, a forthcoming update will include iPhones and iPod touches in on the fun. The game will reportedly require users have at least an iPhone 4S or a 5th generation iPod touch in order to run the robust title. ..

I swear, Kemco must get a bulk discount on orphaned protagonists. As many games from this publisher do, Chronus Arc [$3.99] opens by showing us a horrible tragedy that befell the hero of the game at some point in the past. In fine RPG tradition, especially those with 'Chron' in the title, the introduction to our plucky lead in the present is with someone close to him waking him up. The past might have been grim, but here and now, it's party time. In an incredibly odd and sure-to-be-plot-significant ceremony held every ten years by the kingdom, they perform a ritual called "Time Rewinding". Certain broken items are restored to new condition right before the eyes of the people, and a good time is apparently had by all. Well, who am I to criticize? In the town I live in, we have a festival where people have fights using 25-foot poles with burning lanterns attached to the top. Festivals are nuts sometimes...

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