Category Archives: Role-Playing

Around one year ago in Japan, Square Enix released a spiffy new version of their classic, quirky SNES RPG Romancing SaGa 2 [$17.99] on mobile devices and PlayStation Vita. Part of a three-game series that released in the later years of Nintendo's 16-bit console's life, it developed a devoted following through its innovative mechanics and intriguing story. The mobile version apparently hit its mark, because Square Enix just announced through Twitter and Japanese magazine Famitsu that they would be giving the same treatment to the third game in the series, Romancing SaGa 3. It will be coming soon in Japan, but the real question is whether it will get a worldwide release given the somewhat muted reception to the localized version of the second game...

There's something about a first-person dungeon crawler that just pulls me in and tugs at my brain. They're a nice contrast from the more talkative RPGs, which often involve intricate stories with large casts of characters. A dungeon crawling RPG will generally have a handful of NPCs, if that. Most of the time, it's just you and a big dungeon that you have to conquer one small piece at a time. Filling out a map, watching the floor count go up, raising your party to the point that earlier challenges are trivial, and finding hidden secrets are about as straightforward as markers of progress get, but somehow it still works for me every time. Whether or not you get into Crescent Moon's latest publishing effort, The Deep Paths [$3.99], is going to depend on whether you share that particular quirk with me or not. It's not the sort of game that is going to convince anyone who isn't already predisposed, but those who like to live their gaming life one uniform-length step at a time should be satisfied...




RPG Reload Glossary - What is a Social RPG?

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where I sometimes have to throw dinner together from scraps of leftovers. While I had planned to do a developer interview this week, my day job has become rather busy all of a sudden. Because of that, I haven't been able to conduct the interview as I had originally hoped. I gave some thought to the idea of taking a week off, but we haven't missed a Reload in three and a half years and I don't plan on changing that. Ultimately, I settled on an early debut for an idea I had been planning: the RPG Reload Glossary. The Glossary is a place where I can define things and go into their histories a little so that you, the reader, know where I'm coming from. I'll be doing a Glossary entry every month or two as long as I can come up with ideas for it, so if you have anything you want explored, let me know in the comments...

'Djinn Caster' Review - This Djinn's a Tonic

At this point, I'd forgive anyone for having a genuine case of Kemco fatigue. On the one hand, they're one of the few publishers left in mobile who frequently deliver new, traditional RPG experiences, and I really do appreciate that. On the other hand, it wasn't hard to notice how similar their games were to one another, particularly as their number of sub-contracted developers started to dwindle. Even with me being as enamored of RPGs as I am, my enthusiasm for new releases with Kemco's name on them has been ground down to the point that I tend to kick them off to the side for a couple of weeks after buying them. This is a publisher sorely in need of a new trick, and as luck would have it, I think they found one in Djinn Caster [$4.99]...

'Dungeon Rushers' Review - Rush and Attack

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March 6th, 2017 12:59 PM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $4.99, 3.5 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Role-Playing
$3.99 Buy Now

Dungeon Rushers [$3.99] makes a really strong first impression, and if I had only played the first hour or so of the game, I might have been inclined to give it more praise. Depending on how you want to look at it, it's either a simplified dungeon crawler or a more complex take on Dungelot [$0.99]. You start off with one character and slowly assemble a group of 10 adventurers, 5 of which can be in your party at any given time. Your team will make their way through grid-based dungeons, revealing one square at a time and dealing with whatever may appear. The battles take place on a separate screen and use a simplified turn-based RPG system. With a quick pace and a fair amount of strategic options, it's pretty fun at first. It's a longer game than you might expect, however, and by the end it's far more stick than carrot...

The RPG Reload Play-Along: 'Lunar: Silver Star Story Touch'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload Play-Along. Each month, we'll be playing an iOS RPG together, sharing laughs and tears in equal measures. The post on the front page (like this one!) is basically here to announce the game in question and give a few tips on getting started. The real action will be happening in the TouchArcade forums, where you'll find a thread dedicated to each month's featured game. Sign up if you haven't already, post your screenshots, ask for advice, or just chat about your misadventures with others. We've got a great community of RPG fans here at TouchArcade, so let's make the most of it! As a little incentive, at the end of each month, I will randomly pick one of the participants and send them something small and silly from here in Japan. All you have to do to be eligible is, well, play along with the Play-Along!..

'The Warlock of Firetop Mountain' Review - Warlock Has Changed

Ever since prolific gamebook developer Tin Man Games acquired the Fighting Fantasy license a few years back, there were a couple of releases many fans were waiting for. Tin Man has done a wonderful job of choosing books to adapt from the well-known line, but the more they released, the more a couple of titles really stood out by their absence. Well, I don't know when we'll see Deathtrap Dungeon, but if it turns out anything like The Warlock of Firetop Mountain [$4.99] has, I'm willing to wait as long as it takes...

RPG Reload File 101 - 'Dream Quest'

Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the not-so-weekly feature where we may not look pretty, but have it where it counts. Every so often, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it's holding up in the horrific present of today. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their place in iOS history, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. While this isn't a regular part of the RPG Reload feature anymore, I'll still occasionally be doing these Files when the mood strikes me. If you have a game you really want to see covered, let me know in the comments below, by tweeting me at @RPGReload, or by posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums...

When it comes to action-RPGs, the Ys series from Nihon Falcom is one of the most reliable thrill-rides around. Focusing on fast-paced action and challenging boss fights, the Ys games have a feel quite unlike most other games in the genre. As you would expect with a series this long in the tooth, the worldwide releases have been handled by a number of companies. For mobile gamers, Dotemu has been the main face for the franchise. They've ported the PC versions of Ys Chronicles 1 [$4.99] and Ys Chronicles 2 [$4.99] over to smartphones over the last couple of years, and just today, they released a port of the awesome Ys Origin on Sony's PlayStation 4...

If You Enjoyed 'Fire Emblem Heroes', Here are Some Other Games to Check Out

A lot of players are discovering (or re-discovering) the joys of Fire Emblem through the recent release of Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes [Free]. Enough people gave the game a try that I've been seeing some natural questions popping up in various places, including the TouchArcade Forums and the TouchArcade Discord server. Some people liked the game and are looking for more like it. Others like certain parts of the game, but would rather have a premium experience and are wondering if such a thing exists on iOS. Well, let it never be said that TouchArcade likes to leave a cry for recommendations hanging. For your consideration, I've put together a list of games for those whose SRPG passions have been stimulated by Fire Emblem Heroes and are hungry for more...

RPG Reload Developer Spotlight 005 - Jonathan Schneider from Aggro Magnet Games

Hello, gentle readers! It's time for the next installment in our monthly series of articles looking at the developers and publishers behind some of our favorite games. The aim here is for you readers to get a sense of the person, so the tone is more conversational than we usually use in interviews here at TouchArcade. it's also not necessarily about the games themselves, either. Basically, we'll kick off and see where the conversation takes us. This month, we're speaking to Jonathan Schneider of Aggro Magnet Games, the developer behind Vigil RPG [$0.99], an excellent game from 2014 that flew under the radar of many players...

It took a while, but it feels like the changes in the iOS market over the last few years are finally catching up to Kemco. Releases are more sporadic and increasingly reliant on one obviously overworked developer. Their games are now released in free and premium versions, both of which are typically packed with extra monetization techniques. If that's not bad enough, it feels like monetization techniques are almost the only aspects that these games are changing or improving. I wish I could say Fairy Elements [Free / $4.99] bucks that trend, but that would be fibbing. At its best, this is no better than the average EXE-Create game published by Kemco. At its worst, it feels cheap and hungry. The most notable thing about it is its soundtrack, where Kemco has made the bold move of pulling in someone with some name value...

If you're the type of person who spends a lot of time getting lost just wandering around and exploring in open-world games like Skyrim, then boy do I have a treat for you. Nimian Legends: BrightRidge HD [$3.99] is a game that's almost exclusively about exploring a big open world, and it's gone free for the first time ever. If the name sounds familiar, it's because the original Nimian Legends: BrightRidge [Free] launched all the way back in July of 2014. We reviewed it around that time and found it to be a nifty game for exploring and creating your own adventures, but kind of missed the structure and story found in most other action RPGs. For what it was though, and especially for a dollar or two, it was really cool...

If you've been interested in checking out the strategy RPG Demon's Rise [$7.99] but have been hesitant about dropping the money on it up front, then today (or technically, yesterday) is your lucky day. Developer Wavelight Games have released a brand new free version appropriately called Demon's Rise Free [Free] which will give you access to the first nine campaign battles for the low, low price of nothing. Then, if you like that initial taste, you can simply unlock the full game through a one-time IAP and have access to the full enchilada. In this case, the full enchilada is a whopping 85 campaign battles of monster slaying fun...

'RPS Saga' Review - Rock, Paper, Snoozer

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February 14th, 2017 10:30 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $0.99, 2.5 stars, Arcade, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Role-Playing
99¢ Buy Now

Rock, Paper, Scissors is probably as simple as a game can get while still having some sort of strategy to it. Indeed, its core mechanic works so well that we can see it incorporated into countless other games in the form of elemental strengths and weaknesses, weapon triangles, and so on. It's a simple and useful means of balancing weapons, skills, and magic. You need to use what is most effective against your current enemy while ensuring that you're well-guarded against whatever the enemy throws back at you. The strategy comes from making sure you have your bases covered, enough resources to make use of them, and figuring out how each enemy works. That's great, but it's also not really what Rock, Paper, Scissors is about as a game...

Fire Emblem Heroes [Free] is a lot of fun, but there are definitely a couple of things about it that can be a bummer. One of the biggest things is how maddeningly hard it is to rank up a star ranking on a hero. Moving a hero up from the four-star "almost useful" rank to the five-star "I'll keep them" rank requires grinding of two different items, and neither is particularly easy to come by. From now until the end of the month, however, Nintendo is making it a little bit easier to stock up on one of them...

'Dandy Dungeon' Review - Fine and Dandy

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February 8th, 2017 11:00 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in 5 stars, Adventure, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Role-Playing
Free Buy Now

At this point in iOS's life, it's getting hard to find a new spin on the whole roguelite genre. Most of the people reading this probably own at least twice as many as they've had time to play. I suppose my job here is to try to convince you that you ought to add Dandy Dungeon [Free] to that pile, because you really should. It's bizarre in all the most likable possible ways, and while its basic mechanics are familiar, the way it presents them is definitely unique. If the general theme of, say, Katamari Damacy appealed to you, this is a game you'll want to check out...

The RPG Reload Play-Along: 'Aralon: Sword and Shadow'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload Play-Along. Each month, we'll be playing an iOS RPG together, sharing laughs and tears in equal measures. The post on the front page (like this one!) is basically here to announce the game in question and give a few tips on getting started. The real action will be happening in the Touch Arcade forums, where you'll find a thread dedicated to each month's featured game. Sign up if you haven't already, post your screenshots, ask for advice, or just chat about your misadventures with others. We've got a great community of RPG fans here at TouchArcade, so let's make the most of it! As a little incentive, at the end of each month, I will randomly pick one of the participants and send them something small and silly from here in Japan. All you have to do to be eligible is, well, play along with the Play-Along!..

Once upon a time, there was a fairly popular Java-based online RPG named Wyvern [Free]. It began its life in 2001 and ran for 10 years before its server was shut down in April of 2011, much to the sadness of its devoted players. It took some legal wrangling, but its creator Steve Yegge was finally able to secure the rights to bring the game back, and he's opted to do it on iOS. Inspired by 1980s PC RPGs, Wyvern has something of a vintage look and feel to it, and it's anything but beginner-friendly. If you're okay with that, however, you'd be hard-pressed to find a deeper MMORPG experience on mobile...

RPG Reload Feature - The Curious Case of Premium Spin-Offs of F2P Hits

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, your destination for all things mobile RPG. In addition to the other kinds of articles you'll find under this banner, I'll also occasionally be writing not about specific games, but about a topic connected to mobile RPGs. This week is one such installment. We're taking a look at an interesting phenomenon that has started to occur with increasing regularity in the Japanese gaming market. Mobile gaming has long since overtaken the other gaming markets in Japan, and the result is that a lot of the most popular modern gaming IPs have their origins in the mobile market. We're all used to seeing cherished old console franchises trotted out wearing free-to-play skins on mobile, but in Japan, the opposite case is beginning to happen. This article will take a look at some of the most famous examples, with a little extra analysis on the sales performance of those games and the possible motivations behind creating them...

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