Category Archives: Role-Playing

'Soda Dungeon' Review - A Light, Fizzy Quest With Some Real Pop

I've lost more than a few weekends to offerings from Armor Games, and Soda Dungeon [Free] certainly didn't break that pattern. While it assuredly leans on the lighter side of the RPG scale, its combination of a compelling upgrade system and quick, yet not entirely brainless, battles make for a pretty good way to kill a few minutes or a few hours as needed. I'm also pleasantly surprised by its generosity. There are no catches in the game that you can't buy your way out of with in-game currency. I'm not sure what the business plan is here, but I'm not a business reviewer, am I?..

'Monster Hunter Explore' Import Preview - Impressions Of Capcom's Free-To-Play Hunter

Monster Hunter is a bit of a delicate subject with mobile gamers these days, and not without good cause. After less than two years on the market, the iOS version of Monster Hunter Freedom Unite has been pulled from the App Store due to compatibility problems with iOS 9. The note in the game's last App Store description was less than encouraging, notifying players that there were no current plans to update the game. It's a bitter pill to swallow, and not just because it was a recent, relatively expensive game. People I talk to are mostly upset because they won't be able to play an iPhone game that they love unless they give up on updating their device's OS. And if they already updated before the notice, they're just plain out of luck. It's difficult to talk about Capcom's latest mobile release in Japan, Monster Hunter Explore, without that spectre looming large over the conversation...




Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we require regular fitness checks to avoid instant death. In this weekly feature, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it fares in modern times. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on a game's place in the overall pantheon, or just to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As party leader, it's up to me to choose the schedule from week to week, and I do my best to keep it balanced. That said, if you feel something is missing, please let me know by making a comment below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. I schedule pretty far in advance, so you may not see your suggestion for a while, but I will add it to the master list...

'Gamebook Adventures 12: Asuria Awakens' Review - A Truly Epic Close

I can't recall if it's been formally announced, but this twelfth installment in Tin Man's long-running Gamebook Adventures series is, at least for now, the last. The series has had ups and downs, but even the weaker installments helped flesh out the fascinating fantasy world of Orlandes, so I'm a little sad to see it going on hiatus. I am, however, ecstatic that it's doing so with Asuria Awakens [$5.99], which is not only the best Gamebook Adventures yet, but also one of the finer traditional-style gamebooks I've ever played. The creative team behind this game seemingly held nothing back, giving us a quest that takes your character from a lowly gofer to a savior. There are a lot of gamebooks that do that, mind you, but you really have to earn it in this one, and it feels great...

With the Gamebook Adventures series winding to at least a temporary close, Tin Man has opted to release the last couple of volumes at the same time. I'm not going to fib, I'm a pretty big fan of this series and the fictional world of Orlandes it uses as a setting. From a story-telling standpoint, it's great to have a well-realized setting that players can take so many different perspectives in. On the gameplay side, the Gamebook Adventures gamebooks are usually fairer and more enjoyable than the paper gamebooks that inspired them. They're written knowing the player isn't having to stick a thumb in the pages and keep track of their inventory with a pencil, and they're stronger experiences for it. That we only have these last two volumes to hold us over for the time being makes each of them precious. That's why it kind of breaks my heart that I don't like Songs Of The Mystics [$5.99] more than I do...

It's the time of the month once again for merriment and wonder with Eric Ford, Andy Fretz, and yours truly on the RPG Reload Podcast. This month, our featured game is Wizardry: Labyrinth Of Lost Souls, but we spend just as much time talking about the series in general as we do about this particular installment. Between that, the Tokyo Game Show, a lot of Order & Chaos 2 talk, and a fun listener question, we ended up running just about two hours again. Well, hey, we're monthly, so just pretend it's a 30 minute podcast every week and it might not seem so grotesquely long. Things get a wee bit Canadian at the end, I'm afraid. Sorry about that!..

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

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 explored the earliest origins of pocket RPGs by looking at gamebooks and other interactive fiction. From this month on, we'll be following handheld RPGs as they entered the digital media, starting with the first half of the Game Boy's life. 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...

RPG Reload File 056 - 'Spectral Souls'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where disc access time isn't our problem. 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 old favorites, reflect on them, and take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. As your guide on this journey, I try to choose a balanced plate from week to week that properly represents the diversity in the genre, but if you feel like I'm missing something, I'm always happy to take suggestions. Since the schedule is planned months in advance, I can't promise your suggestion will show up soon, but it will go on the master list. You can give me tips by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload...

I feel like I've written about this before, but Kemco and their developers have an odd approach to sequels. They're not too big on them, for starters, with only EXE-Create among Kemco's stable of developers doing them with any sort of regularity. Then, when they actually do sequels, there are virtually no links at all to the previous games, save perhaps a single character or location that reoccurs. They'll even completely change the gameplay systems to the point that no one would be able to guess it was a sequel if it weren't labeled as such. It's not something that bothers me much in general, but Asdivine Dios [Free / $4.99] is one case where I would have appreciated a safe sequel. I've made no secret of my opinion that the first game, Asdivine Hearts [$3.99], is the best game in Kemco's iOS line-up, and I was rather excited to hear the series would be continuing...

'Dragon Quest 7: Warriors Of Eden' Preview - Import Impressions

The last of Square Enix's announced ports of the mainline Dragon Quest games arrived in the Japanese App Store late last week, and although I've been pretty busy, I've still managed to tuck in around 20 hours on it. Now, that's only between about a fifth to a quarter of the way through Dragon Quest 7, the longest game in the series by a good measure, but I think it's far enough to give you my impressions, friends. Fair warning: although I've called this article a preview, we have no confirmation or clue as to whether or not Square Enix plans to localize this game outside of Japan. It's a massive game and it needs a completely new English script. That was enough to keep the Nintendo 3DS version from making the jump so far, and it very well may turn out to be the case here...

RPG Reload File 055 - 'Ash'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, where sometimes we have to not only accept unhappy endings, but also no ending at all. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up in modern times. It's a little bit of revisiting, a little bit of reflecting, and sometimes just a chance to take a deeper dive on a game than our reviews usually allow for. I generally try to choose a varied schedule from week to week, but if you feel like I'm missing something important, by all means, let me know. You can do that by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. I plan my schedules pretty far in advance, so suggestions might take a while to show up, but they will go on the master list and appear sooner or later...

Just under a year ago, an enjoyable take-off of the classic board game HeroQuest was released. Called Arcane Quest 2 [Free], it offered up a single-player take on the concept, putting you in control of four different characters as they made their way through dungeons. It introduced a few new elements to make it more than just a copy, while retaining most of the core that made the original board game so much fun to play. The production values weren't the best, and without multiplayer it was missing a key part of the HeroQuest experience, but it nevertheless proved to be a pretty enjoyable turn-based RPG. This year sees a return to the series, not with a follow-up, but rather with a spin-off. Arcane Quest Adventures [Free] uses similar core mechanics to the previous game, but focuses on providing a solo hero adventure. In some ways, it's better than the last game, but in others, it falls well short...

It's been almost five years since Aralon: Sword And Shadow released [$4.99]. In that five years, there have been regrettably few 3D RPGs released on iOS that can sit comfortably beside it. Angel Sword [$4.99] is the latest to tackle the genre, and although it has a strong enough start, it quickly burns off much of its goodwill. The end result is something that looks decent enough, but plays like something from the early days of the App Store. It's nowhere near Aralon in terms of complexity and enjoyment, instead feeling very much like a prettied-up Ravensword: The Fallen King [$2.99]. I'm not saying there isn't any fun to be had here, but it comes in fits and spurts between long sessions of incredibly tedious grinding...

Dungeon Of the Endless [$4.99 (HD)] is an odd hybrid. On each level, you'll take your chosen heroes through a room-by-room search, looking for the exit. The layouts are random, so you'll never know what's behind each door until you open it. Sometimes you'll find a merchant who will sell you new gear, other times you'll find a room full of alien creatures ready to feast on your bones. For this part of the level, you're essentially going through the roguelike motions, trying to power up your characters and gather resources without pushing yourself too far and getting killed. Once you find the exit, there's a little twist. You'll need to go back to the starting room, pick up the heavy crystal contained within, and slowly carry it to the exit while constant attacks are rained down on you. You'll need to prepare ahead of time by spending resources on turrets and other such defenses, essentially setting up as though you're playing a tower defense game. Mixing genres is sometimes a recipe for disaster, but Dungeon Of The Endless manages itself quite well...

RPG Reload File 054 - 'Wizardry: Labyrinth Of Lost Souls'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we get knocked down, but get up again, and you're never going to keep us down. Unless we turn to ashes during resurrection, that is. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's doing these days. It's a chance to reflect, revisit, and take a deeper dive on old favorites, to take an expanded look at their history and any connected games, and so on. I try to pick a balanced range of titles from this admittedly wide genre from week to week, but if you feel like I'm missing something important, 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. I plan pretty far in advance, so it might take a while for suggestions to appear, but they'll go into the master list just the same...

Poker is an interesting game because it's essentially gambling, but with enough of a skill-based twist that ideally, a high-quality player is going to do better because they know how to do well at the things they can control. That doesn't mean that the best player will win, and there's nothing other than the laws of probability stopping a drunk tourist from winning the World Series of Poker by always going all-in. But that control of the meta-game is still important. Whether there's enough control over the non-luck aspects to be fair or fun is a good question in many aspects. For example, in the US, daily fantasy sports like FanDuel and Draft Kings are basically gambling, but there's a very subtle distinction that makes them legal. Essentially, Dice Mage [Free] is what happens if you take that balance of luck and the possibility that you could lose due to factors outside of your control, and made it into an RPG. ..

Back in May we got a very early glimpse and some details on an upcoming title called Oraia Rift when developer Compass Games looked to our community for beta testers. That early glimpse of the game showed a very Zelda-influenced action RPG with a colorful look and real-time combat. Well, a lot changed over the course of a few months and last month our own Tasos went hands-on with an in-progress version of Oraia Rift. Some of the changes included switching the tap-to-move system to a virtual stick and changing the combat to a more typical hack 'n slash variety with a magic spell system layered on top. It all sounded quite good, and as of today you can find out for yourself as Oraia Rift [$1.99] has officially launched in the App Store...

Kemco has sales pretty often, but it's been a while since they've had a nice $0.99 sale on their selection of JRPGs. The most frequent comment I hear whenever Kemco does this is about which games to buy. After all, Kemco has published somewhere around 40 or so JRPGs on the App Store, and while some will tell you that one is as good or bad as the next, it's just not so. There are TouchArcade reviews for many of the games, but sometimes you just want the straight beef at a glance. Well, my friends, let me give you my picks from the selection of nine titles that you can currently pick up for $0.99 each...

Okay, so we went way over our target time again on this episode of the RPG Reload Podcast, but that's only because we unintentionally sub-featured another game along the way. The main topic of this episode is Mage Gauntlet from Rocketcat Games, but we also spend a pretty long time talking about The World Ends With You, as well. Joining Eric Ford and me this month is good old Andy Fretz, once again calling in from floor B25 of TouchArcade Towers. We get a bit sillier than usual in this one, but it's all the name of good fun. Er, unless you're famed voice actor Cam Clarke, in which case, I sincerely apologize...

RPG Reload Presents - The History Of Handheld RPGS, Part One

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload. This week, we're starting a new project that will replace the monthly reader's choice articles seen in the first year of the feature. That means that we will not be taking a look at a specific RPG from the App Store's past this time around. Instead, we'll be digging back a little farther. We're going to be going into the history of handheld RPGs, from the paper age all the way up until the hardware of today. 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...

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