Category Archives: Role-Playing

I like roguelikes, don't get me wrong. I like the replayability that comes from their procedurally-generated structure, and I enjoy the challenge. I'm having a ton of fun right now with Rust Bucket [Free] from Nitrome, for example. But sometimes I think there's a value that comes from level design, of having an experience that was deliberately designed by someone. Thus, while Into the Dim [Free] looked like a roguelike, and has some of the hallmarks such as the turn-by-turn basis and the bumping into enemies to attack them, the game's fixed nature helps make it stand out among a sea of roguelike dungeon crawlers...

Nitrome's Rust Bucket [Free] is a really fun turn-based roguelike, it's just not quite complete yet. Sometimes it's unfair to compare one game to another, but comparing Rust Bucket to Ending [$1.99] is a totally fair comparison because the designer of both games is Aaron Steed, who also worked on Turnament for Nitrome. So, what you're getting is a game that's an evolution and refinement on those games' formulas. Standard turn-based roguelike rules are in play here: you move one square at a time, then all the enemies take their turns, all according to various predictable rules. The challenge comes in when you're trying to survive among several groups of enemies, where one hit kills you. It's tough but fair...




RPG Reload File 065 - 'King Cashing'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we take a spin and play to win. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the misty mists of the App Store's past to see how it's doing in the here and now. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, to reflect on their place in the overall market, or just to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As the king of this castle, I try to choose a balanced schedule from week to week, but if there's something you feel like I'm missing, 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. Since the current schedule is mapped out to somewhere like June of next year, you probably won't see your suggestion soon, but I will add it to the master list...

Having exhausted most of the relatively port-friendly Final Fantasy games and virtually all of the Dragon Quest games, Square Enix has got to be thinking about which of their remaining RPG classics are suitable for mobile ports. It looks like the lucky winner this time around is the SaGa series, specifically 1993's Romancing SaGa 2.While it's not the game's first trip to mobile, having been released in 2011 for Japan-exclusive feature phones, this will mark the first time a main entry in the SaGa series hits iOS. It will release in Japan this winter for iOS, Android, and PlayStation Vita. As this game has never been officially localized in the past, it's hard to say if it will ever leave Japan's shores, but stranger things have happened, I suppose...

The fundamental conflict surrounding how I feel about roguelike I Wanna Be a Hero [$2.99] is that the game owes a huge debt to Crypt of the Necrodancer, and if you've played that game, then a lot of what this is trying to do makes sense. Of course, Necrodancer isn't on mobile quite yet, so if you're just a mobile gamer, then perhaps you're only used to this. Still, I Wanna Be a Hero does a lot that is interesting and it's not a bad game, but it's definitely lacking...

RPG Reload File 064 - 'Terraria'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we never forget to pack torches. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up in the here and now. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their place in the overall library, or just to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As the boss of this dungeon, I try to set a balanced schedule of games from week to week, but if you feel like I'm missing something important, let me know. You can do that by leaving a comment below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. I plan the schedule really far in advance, so you might not see your suggestion soon, but it will be added to the master list...

Let's be honest: when it comes to mainline Final Fantasy games, Final Fantasy 2 [$7.99] is the Rodney Dangerfield of the bunch. While it has its flaws, it's not nearly as bad as its reputation would have you believe, and it actually lays down some important foundations for things the series would become famous for. Yet, because of its poor standing, it tends to sit near the bottom of most people's lists, and that seems to include Square Enix itself. The iOS port of Final Fantasy 2, which arrived way back in the pre-iPad days on the coat-tails of its more popular predecessor, has suffered from issues for years at this point. The first game, which suffered from similar problems, received an update earlier this year, but as the weeks went by, it seemed like Final Fantasy 2 was getting left out in the cold yet again...

We’ve been reporting on Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes [Free] since it was announced back in June of this year. As a freemium hero collecting turn-based game, there’s obviously a lot to keep track of in turns of currency and timers. While that’s obviously a turn off for a lot of players, there’s plenty here in terms of depth and character variety to make it worth trudging through for Star Wars fans. Thus, the purpose of this guide is to get new players acclimated to the freemium systems in the hope that they’ll be able to enjoy what Galaxy of Heroes has to offer...

The release of Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey [$4.99] was fraught with controversy when people found that the game was buggy and ended before all of the content in the game was made available, with the seeming episodic nature of the game being made clear only later. Well, Kobojo, after some behind-the-scenes discussions, has decided to make some changes to the game's price and to try and keep original buyers happy...

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 looked at the later years of the Game Boy, from Pokemon's launch to the Game Boy Color. This time around, we're taking a step back to look at the largely unsuccessful challengers to the Game Boy's long reign. 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...

It seems like 2015 is the year of long-awaited games finally releasing. This year we've had Spider: Rite Of The Shrouded Moon [$4.99], Galactic Keep [$3.99], The Room Three [$4.99], and Dragon Fantasy: The Black Tome Of Ice [$9.99], among others, and it looks like we're going to be ending the year with another game that's been stewing for awhile: the follow-up to 2010's Aralon: Sword And Shadow [$4.99], from Galoobeth Games and Crescent Moon Games. For its time, Aralon was almost unbelievable for a mobile game. Offering a big 3D world that felt considerably more detail, open, and alive than the one found in Crescent Moon's previous title, Ravensword, Aralon felt like a big step towards having a fully-featured, modern, WRPG-style game on iOS. That was in 2010, however, and I'm sure I don't need to tell anyone how the market and player expectations have shifted in the intervening half-decade. Aralon: Forge And Flame [$4.99] is stepping out into a much different world than the one that welcomed its predecessor, and it doesn't quite have the sizzle to fill the footsteps it's walking in...

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we all gain experience to become something better. 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 an opportunity to revisit old favorites, reflect on how they fit into the greater picture, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. I try to present a balanced plate as we roll through the weeks, but if you feel like I'm missing something important, don't hesitate, suggest...suggestitate? Look, I didn't think that through very well, but there's no going back now. Anyway, you can leave a suggestion by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. The schedule is already locked in for the next few months, but suggested games will be added to the master list, and provided I eat well and do my daily exercises, I will get to them eventually...

RPG Reload File 062 - 'Dragons Odyssey Frane'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we believe love can bloom between a cat and a human. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past and shine a little light on it to see how it's holding up. It's an opportunity to revisit old favorites, reflect on how they fit into the overall iOS RPG landscape, and to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. I do my best to present a balanced menu from week to week, but if you feel like I'm missing something important, don't stay quiet about it. Post in the comments below, drop in on the Official RPG Reload Club thread, or tweet me at @RPGReload to make a suggestion. I plan the schedule quite far in advance, so you probably won't see the game you mention soon, but it will go on the master list, I assure you...

Wizards and Wagons[$4.99] is out now from Touch Dimensions and it is one of the more active and engaging item shop sim games I have played. Known for more traditional strategy games, Touch Dimensions is stretching their dev skills to reach into the sim genre. Rather than sitting in town and waiting for customers to come to you, W&W mobilizes the store and puts you in the drivers seat. As last week's Touch Arcade Game of the Week, I was not surprised to find dynamic gameplay and an addictive quality that has put some extra rings under my eyes for the last several days from lack of sleep. ..

Kemco appears to be on a bit of a strategy game kick of late on iOS, with Legend Of Ixtona [$3.99] releasing a few months ago, and now, Legna Tactica [$3.99]. Well, I can appreciate them wanting to change things up a bit here and there. Although I know many of their fans appreciate the regular trickle of traditional JRPGs, there has to be some kind of saturation point. Forty titles in, Kemco might just be finding it. Of course, it's also possible that their stalwart developers simply feel like making something different. Whatever the reason, we've got another strategy RPG in front of us, and I'm sure no one will fall out of their chair when I say that it's very derivative of the classic Tactics Ogre. This genre seems to have trouble shaking off Yasumi Matsuno's influence, and Kemco certainly weren't going to be the ones to do it...

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...

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