Category Archives: Role-Playing

One of the best RPGs on the App Store is Redshift's The Quest [$4.99], a massive adventure with more than a dozen expansion packs. The game was ported to the iPhone in 2009, and up until a couple of years ago, it received a new expansion every six months or so courtesy of developer Zarista Games. The last one, Elemental Asteroids [$2.99], came out in January of 2014, after which Zarista began working on their own RPGs independent of The Quest. With Redshift hard at work on PC and iPad versions of the original game, the long-awaited sequel to The Quest seems pretty far away right now. What's an adventurer to do to satisfy their urges in the meantime?..

It's a shame when a game that you see so much potential in, and get so excited for, winds up being a clunky experience that fails to engross you in any way. I've been carrying the torch for Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey [$4.99] for a while now, enamored by its gorgeous looks, the slick interface I saw at my GDC demo, the talent behind the game, and the intrigue behind its pricing model. But with the final product now available, what we've got is a turn-based RPG that pales in comparison to other entries on mobile that include a wide selection of classics, and many modern games that carry on the tradition of many of the games that the talent on Zodiac worked on. But thanks to a miserable world, a sloppy plot, and a progression that feels like you're going nowhere fast, Zodiac is merely skin-deep beauty...




Ravenous Games is a developer I've always wanted to like more than I perhaps do; League of Evil [$2.99] still holds a place of greatness as one of the original trial platformers on mobile and a damn fine example of pixel art. Later games have always felt like they've had that missing spark that has prevented the great art and ideas behind the games to be something great. But Tiny Rogue [$2.99] appealed to me for two particular reasons: one, I dig the pixel art and the pocket-sized, turn-based roguelike concept. But the other reason was that Ravenous was now doing something completely different from what they had before, and I think moving into a different genre is a good thing for them...

There have been many games on iOS that tried to ride on the coattails of Nintendo's Pokemon, but very few have much merit to them. One of the better attempts came from NTT Resonant and ZigZaGame. It was called Dragon Island Blue [$0.99], and while it had its rough points, it scratched the urge to catch 'em all well enough for many. The sequel to that game, Hunter Island [$0.99], basically did what a great follow-up should. It took all of the strong points of the original game, addressed some of the weak points, and added in a few new things of its own. Neo Monsters [$0.99], in spite of ditching the Island naming theme, is for all intents and purposes the newest game in the series. I wish I could say it does for Hunter Island what that game did for its predecessor, but Neo Monsters seems less interested in how it can improve on the previous games and more interested in how it can get some of that fine Puzzle & Dragons [Free] cheddar...

RPG Reload File 061 - '9th Dawn'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where mushroom stew reigns supreme. Each week, we dust off an RPG from the App Store's past for another play to see how it holds up. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on a game's place in the overall library, or simply to take a deeper dive than our usual reviews allow for. As the village paladin, I decide which games will be featured here from week to week, a task I take most seriously. I try to present a balanced slate, but if you feel like I'm missing something important, you can give me a suggestion by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. I plan the schedule pretty far in advance, so you won't see your suggested game soon, but I will add it to the master list...

The first Dragon Fantasy [$7.99] game had a few things going for it when it released on iOS back in the summer of 2011. It was similar enough to classic JRPGs to feel like comfort food while simultaneously presenting a solidly-constructed, original adventure. It had a great sense of humor, and since the game was originally written in English, there was none of the awkwardness that could be found in many similar games. It received pretty substantial support after its release, getting a few new chapters at no additional cost. The game itself had a pretty heartwarming story behind its development, with the hero patterned after the designer's late father. It's also worth pointing out that at that time on the App Store, there were no Dragon Quest games and about 40 fewer Kemco JRPG releases. Thus, even though Dragon Fantasy was a pretty humble game in many ways, it still found an audience among mobile RPG fans...

RPG Reload Presents - The History Of Handheld RPGs, Part Three

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 covered the beginnings of handheld electronic RPGs with a look at the Game Boy's first several years. This month on, we'll be exploring the rest of the Game Boy's lifespan, including the event that brought the system back to life, and what came in its wake. 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...

Turbo Tape has been busy cranking out more content for it's digital board game, Warhammer: Arcane Magic[$3.99]. Today marks the release of the Jungles of Lustria expansion pack which introduces more monsters, more wizards and the titular new environment, the jungles where the Lizardman faction call home. ..

'Templar Battleforce' Review - A Battleforce To Be Reckoned With

I think we can safely say at this point that if Space Marines are your jam, iOS has been good to you. We've got what feels like at least a half dozen decent-to-excellent officially licensed Warhammer 40K games spanning a variety of genres, to say nothing of the fine selection of games that homage Games Workshop's popular franchise. Well, I think we can add one more to that list, and it's a very fine effort indeed. Templar Battleforce [$6.99] is the latest release from the Trese Brothers, a small development team most well-known for Star Traders [Free], a trading simulation in the vein of Trade Wars and Master Of Orion. Battleforce takes place in the same universe as that game, but it has its sights set on a different genre. Instead of dealing with groups of ships traveling through the galaxy, Battleforce focuses on the Templar Knights, a group of elite warriors whose job is to protect their charges from anything that threatens them. It's a turn-based strategy RPG, a genre with no shortage of quality entries on iOS, but it manages to make quite a mark anyway...

'Five Card Quest' Review - Kitchen Sink not Included

I dont usually prejudge games before playing them, but I would be lying if I said I didnt get excited by the sheer mention of a new Rocketcat game. Five Card Quest[$2.99] is that game and it is cool + awesome. Even though it could be described as a Card Battler/Tactical RPG/Roguelike, it doesn't play like a hybrid game. It is a sleek and challenging dungeon delver that really stresses making the right decision and playing the right card each turn. ..

Friends, I'm not going to fib to you. This month's RPG Reload Podcast is less a conversation and more a surgery. The patient is none other than Solomon's Boneyard [Free], and the surgeon is Mr. Andy Fretz, whose intricate knowledge of the game's mechanics kind of blindsided me and Eric Ford both. Before we get to that main topic, however, we spend a long time talking about all kinds of other games. The chat didn't strictly stay on the topic of RPGs, and it gets a little existential somewhere in the middle, but it's not much of a roller coaster if it's all downhill, right?..

One of the cool things about following iOS gaming is that you never completely know what each week will bring. Every Thursday, there are a few surprises even for the staff of TouchArcade, and then there are the odd out-of-nowhere launches on other days of the week, too. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the sequel to Dragon Fantasy [$7.99], Muteki Corporation's love letter to classic JRPGs, released out of nowhere today. Dragon Fantasy: The Black Tome Of Ice [$9.99] will carry a regular price of $9.99, but will be on sale for the first week for just $4.99...

RPG Reload File 060 - 'Shin Megami Tensei'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where your yen is worthless paper. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it has held up against the ravages of time. It's a chance to revisit old favorite, reflect on a game's overall place in the greater market, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. I try to balance things out from week to week so that we cover a good variety of games from the genre, but if you feel like I'm missing anything in particular, please 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 schedule is planned out far in advance, I can't promise you'll see any suggestions soon, but they will go on the master list...

It perhaps shows how ephemeral our hobby is that none of the major companies responsible for pushing the first decade or so of commercial computer RPGs exist anymore. Sir-Tech, who created Wizardry and got the ball rolling on the market, collapsed in the early 2000s. Origin Systems, the developer of the mega-hit series Ultima, was devoured by EA and formally disbanded in 2004, though they functionally ceased to exist well before that point. SSI, who made the wonderful Gold Box series of Dungeons & Dragons games, was absorbed into Ubisoft in 2001. Interplay, the original developer of Bard's Tale, Wasteland, and Fallout, technically still exists but only as a loose collection of tenuously-held IP rights. New World Computing, the creators of the Might & Magic series and its spin-offs, was bought out by 3DO and closed in 2002...

With its longer-than-usual development cycle and crazy anticipation awaiting its release, it's kind of hard to believe that Oceanhorn [$8.99] has been out for nearly two years now. This Zelda-inspired action RPG still feels as fresh as a daisy, and perhaps that's because developers Cornfox & Bros. and FDG Entertainment have consistently updated the game over the past two years adding new features and optimizing for the latest hardware. That trend continues this week with the debut of the new Apple TV, as Oceanhorn will be right there alongside it as a launch title...

RPG Reload File 059 - 'King Cashing 2'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we know when to hold them and know when to fold them. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's holding up in the far-flung future that is today. It's a chance to revisit classics, reflect on their place in the overall tapestry, or just to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. As the king of this castle, I try to choose a balanced set of adventures from week to week that represent this incredibly wide genre, but if you feel like I'm missing anything important, please let me know. You can give me suggestions by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. As I plan the schedule pretty far in advance, you might not see your suggested game for a while, but rest assured, it will be added to the master list...

Much as I've enjoyed recent releases from gamebook publisher Tin Man Games, I have to admit there's been one area I've wanted to see some improvement in that has remained largely static across the bulk of their releases: the combat system. Given that the raison d'etre for the company has been to bring Fighting Fantasy-style gamebooks to mobile as accurately as possible, it's hard to complain too much about the simple dice-based back-and-forth battles they've used in many of their releases. Still, the occasional tantalizing flash of something more, as in their brilliant conversion of Appointment With F.E.A.R. [$5.99], has had me wishing they would take greater advantage of not being shackled to the rules of physical books...

Skeletomb [Free], by Punk Labs, is a retro-style endless dungeon crawler set in a pixelated fantasy world whose "blocky" design is a nod to Minecraft's infamous aesthetic. With precious few lives, this game will have you frantically dashing, jumping, and swinging to try to survive as long as possible and climb deeper into this fun but deadly world. There are 28 characters to unlock, including a White Knight, a Skeleton, the "Dan in a Box" (think Jack-in-a-Box with a club), a Jester, and the Viking-like Bourboness, to name a few. The game doesn't take itself too seriously, which is an appropriate match to the quirky and simple art style. ..

RPG Reload File 058 - 'Solomon's Boneyard'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we leave no gravestone unturned. 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 go back to old favorites, consider their place in the overall iOS library, or even just to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. The RPG genre is a pretty broad one that I have little interest in precisely defining, but you can count on a wide variety of games appearing here from week to week. If you feel like I've missed something important, let me know by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or tweeting me at @RPGReload. Since I set the schedule pretty far in advance, I can't promise I'll get to any suggestions soon, but they will go on the master list, which means I'll get to them at some point...

'Dust: An Elysian Tail' Review - This Dust's No Bust

Dust: An Elysian Tail [$5.99] is the kind of game you can really lose yourself in. The sort of game that you want to take to a comfortable corner and just give all of your attention to until it's finished. In spite of the many releases each week on iOS, plenty of which are good games in their own right, we don't see efforts like this terribly often on the platform. At least half the time we do see titles like this, they're ports from another platform, as Dust itself is. That's a sad economic reality of the iOS ecosystem. The platform's main appeal, judging by the charts, is in games that entertain in short bites, perfect for the busy player or someone on the go. That's fine sometimes, but other times, you really want to get into a game, and players on mobile devices perhaps don't get as many opportunities to do so as we'd like. Luckily, it's easy to forget those gripes when you get stuck into something like Dust...

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