Category Archives: Role-Playing

'Crowntakers' for iPad Review - A Royally Good Roguelike Spin

Some of the earliest video game RPGs were roguelikes, but if you didn't notice them around for a couple of decades, nobody would blame you. After being fairly popular in the early stages of home computing, they soon gave way to bigger, more persistent adventures. They still had a dedicated following during those years, with games like Nethack, Angband, and Japan's Mystery Dungeon series carrying the torch for the genre. The boom of indie developers and the surging interest in more compact gaming experiences in the last ten years has seen the genre make a big comeback. The basic elements of the genre have been used in many popular games that might not be strictly considered roguelikes but owe a massive debt to the genre nonetheless. A genre once almost totally represented by so few games that you could count them off on your fingers now has a strong influence, especially in the PC and mobile gaming markets...

Apparently, There's a 'Kingdom Hearts' Smartphone Game in the Works

Whether or not you like its doofy writing or calculated Disney licensing, Kingdom Hearts has always been refreshing in the face of the stridently grimdark self-seriousness of other big-budget console games. Soon, the industry's collective unicorn chaser will be available on the go: in an interview with Japan's Famitsu Weekly, veteran series director Tetsuya Nomura let slip that a Kingdom Hearts game is in the works for mobile...

In the ever-present artistic struggle between playing it safe or trying something new at the risk of failure, most of the games that Kemco releases fall in the former camp. Sure, almost every game has something unique about it, but it's often buried in minutiae that even most genre fans don't pay much attention to. Their latest game, from developer Hit-Point, is the most unusual RPG they've published in quite some time. I'm an old hand at this genre, as regular readers know, and my initial reaction to Valkyria Soul [$3.99] was a disproportionate amount of excitement. The game looks like nothing Kemco has released on iOS before. The tone of the story is different from Hit-Point's usual breezy fare, and it even has a more competent translation than we typically see from that developer's works. The game doesn't even have the standard top-down dungeon exploration, playing out instead from a pure side-scrolling viewpoint...

Okay, we all saw this one coming after the last few weeks, but just in case you aren't up to speed, Spiderweb Software will be releasing their latest on iPad next Thursday. Titled Avernum 2: Crystal Souls, it's a remake of the second game in the Avernum series of CRPGs, which was itself a remake of the 1996 release Exile 2: Crystal Souls. In anticipation, Spiderweb Software has been putting one of their games on sale each weekend for the last few weeks. With this being the final weekend before the sequel releases, it's only natural that Avernum: Escape From The Pit [$9.99 (HD)] should be on sale, and apparently the developer agrees with that because here it is...

The next time you're settled into a Shinkansen bullet train and get the urge to play Final Fantasy XIII, you can: Square Enix launched a cloud-streaming version of the game on the Japanese App Store last night. Final Fantasy XIII is free to download but includes a lump sum ¥2000 (roughly $16.65) in-app purchase to unlock the full game after a 30-minute demo...

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we often learn a thing or two about cultural differences. Each week, we head back in time through non-magical means and play an RPG from the App Store's past. It's a chance to revisit some old favorites, reflect on their place in the history of mobile gaming, or just to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. In my efforts to cover a genre wide enough to contain both Wizardry and Yakuza, I try to put together a pretty varied bag of RPGs as I go along. Even the best of us has blind spots, however, and I'm far from the best. That's where you fine people come in. Once per month, I throw the choice over to you. Simply comment below, post in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or tweet me at @RPGReload with your suggestion, and you might see me playing it in the first week of May. Just think, you could make me play almost anything! Even Shelterra The Skyworld [$3.99]! Please don't make me play Shelterra The Skyworld again...

'Out There: Ω Edition' Launches on PC and Mac, but the Free iOS Upgrade Should Follow Soon

Last week, Mi-Clos Studio released Out There: Ω Edition, a graphical overhaul of last year's excellent iOS space-faring adventure game, on Steam for Windows, OS X, and Linux. The Ω will come as a free upgrade for Android and iOS players who purchased the original, but we haven't heard much about it since last year...

There are certain games that remind me of those little activity books you used to be able to find in gas stations before every child in North America owned a handheld gaming system of some sort. The ones that had a "magic" marker that would reveal invisible ink as you ran it over the pages. When I was a little fellow, I loved those books a lot. As far as I was concerned, those were magic. There was just one problem with them. Once you went through the whole book and marked up all the pages, they were finished. There was no reason to keep them, and you certainly couldn't redo them. You couldn't even admire them the way you could with a particularly well-done coloring book since most of the fun came from the discovery...

Continuing on its (hopefully consistent) trend of releasing new events on a weekly basis, the folks at Square Enix and DeNA launched their latest Final Fantasy: Record Keeper [Free] event late Tuesday night. Dubbed ‘Light Against the Darkness’ this event has you taking your group of Final Fantasy misfits to Mt. Ordeals, the famous spot in Final Fantasy IV where Cecil renounces his dark sword and becomes a Paladin...

'Drylands' Preview - Jumping your way to your next Quest

For people who grew up playing computer games in the late 80s and 90s, few games are spoken in a more venerable tone than Wasteland and the Fallout series (Wasteland's spiritual successor). These were games that gave players a post-apocalyptic playground to explore, back when the apocalypse wasn't happening on TV every couple of days, and translated pen-and-paper RPG systems to computer games to help players develop and invest in their characters. Wasteland and the Fallout series directly or indirectly influenced the development of most RPGs in the last two decades and have even continued to spawn sequels to this day (Fallout: New Vegas was published in 2010 and, just last year, Wasteland finally got a sequel)...

'Attack the Light - Steven Universe' Review - Power Levels Over 9000

There are pretty much three things that I care about in life: mobile games, baseball, and cartoons. How society decided I was an adult was a tremendous failure on the part of a lot of people, but we've got to live with the consequences. My latest obsession besides games or crying over Texas Rangers players suffering season-ending injuries? It's Steven Universe, created by Rebecca Sugar, who pretty much wrote and storyboarded all the best episodes of Adventure Time before she became the first woman to create a Cartoon Network show. And Steven Universe is amazing. It's gotten better and better as it's passed its first season, it's picking up fans, and it is now the recipient of its own licensed game, in Attack the Light [$2.99]...

I've been kicking this review down the road for a while now. I don't typically wait for games to get patches before reviewing them, because once the game is on the store, it's fair game for any customer to buy. I had to make an exception in the case of Echo Dawn: Shattered Visions [$3.99], which worked on my device when I first grabbed it, then broke with the next update, then broke some more before finally getting fixed with its last update. That's not a promising start to a review, I know, but I think it's important to be clear about one side of Echo Dawn. It lacks polish in more ways than one, and there's really no ignoring that aspect of it. There's another side to Echo Dawn, however, and it's a far more pleasant one. It's an enthusiastic indie take on a typical JRPG, more complete than many that attempt to deliver a full package, and it has some genuinely interesting gameplay systems, even if they don't quite come together as cleanly as one might hope...

One of the coolest aspects of Final Fantasy: Record Keeper [Free] is the ability to eventually unlock and battle with a large variety of different characters. While the Japanese version has a myriad of heroes to choose from already, the recently released English version debuted with a limited amount of unlock able warriors. Well, with today’s new event, the folks at DeNA have started to slowly introduce new participants to the battle, starting with Tifa and a “secret” character that can be earned by completing the entirety of the event...

Friends, I don't claim to be a fortune teller, but I think I'm sensing a pattern with these sales. Awesome indie RPG developer Spiderweb Software has a new game coming out on April 15th, and to celebrate, it seems like each of their iPad titles is taking a turn going on sale for half off the regular price. Two weeks ago, it was Avadon: The Black Fortress [$9.99 (HD)]. Last week, it was Avadon 2: The Corruption [$9.99 (HD)]. This week, we finally get around to the Avernum series of games with Avernum 6 [$6.99 (HD)] on for the ridiculously low price of $2.99...

'Shadowrun: Dragonfall' Review - The Matrix, Reloaded

I'm of two minds about Shadowrun Returns [$1.99 (HD)], the 2013 Kickstarter-fueled return to the cult cyberpunk setting. On the one hand, it's a really strong RPG that pays respect to the beloved 16-bit games. The pacing is snappy, the systems are enjoyable to play around with, and while the setting isn't quite as unique as it was twenty-five years ago, it's still unusual enough to help invigorate the experience. I mean, this vision of a dystopian cyberpunk future is almost adorably retro at this point, like looking back at the 1960s idea of where the space race would lead us. The writing quality is strong enough that those feelings of quaintness are quickly shaken as you get into the plot. On the other hand, the iOS release was extremely buggy at launch, the developer was slow to fix anything, and it's still missing content from the PC version, a situation that will likely never be resolved. The game has a tendency to grab you by the wrist and drag you along, with little in the way of role-playing options or any real agency on your part. That's a valid choice and I enjoy many games that use that kind of design, but at least where I'm concerned, I tend to feel that Shadowrun RPGs are best when they're a bit more open-ended...

RPG Reload File 032 - 'Undercroft'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where rat is on the menu at an alarmingly frequent rate. Each week, we take a look at an iOS RPG from years gone by. Some of them are originals, others are ports, some from this side of the world, others from that side. It doesn't matter what kind of RPG it is, we still take a nice deep dive and check out how the game fares these days. I try to keep the offerings balanced between the many kinds of RPGs out there, and to aid me in that, I turn to you, the readers once per month. Simply make your suggestion known by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload, and your choice might be featured next month. This week's game is one such selection. The next reader's choice will be featured in the first week of May, so you've got plenty of time to make your voice heard...

Like the eternal battle between nachos and quesadillas, the Final Fantasy series and the Dragon Quest series constantly struggle for the hearts and minds of RPG fans. My answer to that is the same as my answer to the former dilemma: why not both? Square Enix is making it really easy for you to fill out your Dragon Quest collection on iOS by putting a few of their recent releases on sale. Square Enix sales don't come terribly often, and the Dragon Quest games are only sometimes a part of them, so you might want to stockpile these for a rainy day even if you're working on other things. So far, the sale consists of three of the six games available on iOS. We'll let you know if any of the others join...

Spiderweb Software makes some mighty fine RPGs that you can enjoy on your iPad. The developer's latest game, Avernum 2: Crystal Souls, is due to hit the App Store in a couple of weeks on April 15th. Presumably in celebration of that pending release, Spiderweb has been running some sales on their previous titles. Last weekend, the first Avadon [$9.99 (HD)] game was on sale for half-price. This weekend, it's the 2014 sequel to that game, Avadon 2: The Corruption [$9.99 (HD)]. Regularly $9.99, you can pick up this gem for just $4.99 for the next couple of days...

RPG Reload File 031 - 'Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we never try to brush a wookiee's teeth. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's huge back catalog. We revisit the game, expand beyond the borders of a typical review, and see how it's doing in the wild future that is today. The RPG genre is an incredibly broad one, and I try to bring a balanced plate from week to week. I want your help with that, however, so once per month, I'll be featuring a game selected by you, the readers. Simply make your selection known by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or tweeting to @RPGReload. Next week's article is one such choice, and will feature Undercroft [Free], as selected by TouchArcade forum user DrJD. Thanks Doc, I like to get a physician's opinion once in a while!..

Last week, I had the opportunity to talk to the producers behind DeNA and Square Enix's new social RPG, Final Fantasy: Record Keeper [Free]. We had a fairly lengthy discussion about the game itself and Final Fantasy in general. So lengthy, in fact, that we decided to run the interview in two parts. Yesterday, we covered introductions, the genesis of the game, region differences, and a few other gameplay aspects. Today's portion gets more into hardcore Final Fantasy discussion, which was a lot of fun. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did...

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