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New iPhone Games Out Now (and Coming Tonight): 'Final Fantasy IX', 'Ys Chronicles II', 'Tomb of the Mask' and Loads More

It's another weird Wednesday for iOS releases, but really, we're at the point where if something isn't weird about a particular week that in itself would be weird. Personally, I'm thankful this list is on the shorter side as I'm getting my furnace replaced today and am too cold to type out much more than this. As a day where it's 12° F with a huge snowstorm inbound is the best time for your furnace to die, but, I digress. Most of these games actually came out earlier in the week, which either means we're in for a whole bundle of games to randomly appear this evening, or every other developer was like, "Oh god, Final Fantasy IX, ABORT! ABORT!" (Or something else entirely as if the App Store is anything, it's totally unpredictable.) I know at minimum _PRISM is due to be released tonight, so there could be other surprises...

The First Episode of 'The Walking Dead: Michonne' Miniseries Releases February 25th

If you've been waiting to see what Telltale will do with the character of Michonne from The Walking Dead, you won't have to wait long because the first episode of the The Walking Dead: Michonne three-episode series, titled In Too Deep, releases on the App Store February 25th. The second episode, Give No Shelter, will come in March and the final one, What We Deserve, will land in April. The whole series will cost $14.99, the pretty standard 5 dollar an episode as the rest of the Telltale episodic stories. In the premiere episode (slight spoilers follow), Michonne joins Pete and his crew on the sailing ship The Companion as they cruise the coast for survivors and supplies. When they respond to a desperate signal for help, they find a horrible massacre. Michonne and the rest of the crew end up on the floating survivors' colony of Monroe, which might be harboring the person responsible for the massacre...




One of my major irritations with WOT Blitz [Free] gameplay so far has been the amazing strength of twigs and tiny pieces of debris. What do I mean? Imagine getting into the perfect shooting, tapping the button, and then seeing your shell explode because it hit a tiny twig on the way to devastating the opponent. Fortunately, Wargaming.net is finally changing the game's shooting mechanics to address those issues and, in general, improve how your shells behave. We can now fire through obstacles with the shell continuing its trajectory and hitting anyone hiding behind. However, depending on the obstacle's durability, the shell will lose an amount of its energy and might be unable to penetrate the target. Full-featured ricochets are now in the game too, with deflected shells damaging nearby enemies if they hit them...

It's a pretty nice week for early releases with both Final Fantasy IX [$16.99] and Ys Chronicles 2 [$4.99] out in the wild and likely sucking up a large portion of everybody's time. However, if you're feeling overwhelmed with these big ol' RPGs and looking to cleanse your palate with something a bit more breezy, another really awesome new game just dropped ahead of the normal weekly releases. It's Happymagenta's Tomb of the Mask [Free], and the best way I could possibly describe it is it's as if Pac-Man [$4.99 / Free], Downwell [$2.99], and The Last Rocket [$1.99] all had a three-way lovechild (which is totally possible, haven't you seen The Brothers Solomon?)...

If you thought you'd be able to kick back and soak in some Final Fantasy IX [$16.99] since its surprise launch earlier today, I have some bad news. Or good news, depending on how much free time you actually have and/or how massive your backlog already is. The classic Ys action RPG series continues on iOS with Ys Chronicles 2 [$4.99], which just dropped mere moments ago from the fine folks at DotEmu...

It seems crazy that the release of Jack B. Nimble [$1.99] was well over a year ago, back in September of 2014. This plucky little runner combined the simplistic running and jumping of a typical runner but added in an extra dimension with the ability to crack a whip mid-jump, making it feel like the lovechild of Canabalt [$2.99] and Castlevania. We really enjoyed it in our review, and two post-release updates sweetened the pot by adding in two extra environments, two new color palettes, Game Center integration, and an extra playable character. Since its last update in December of 2014, Jack B. Nimble hasn't seen a whole lot of love, mostly due to it being the passion project of sole developer Sean Noonan. There have been big plans in the works for the game, they just haven't had a chance to come to fruition. ..

Upcoming 'Cube Escape: Birthday', from 'Rusty Lake Hotel' Developer, Looks Intriguing

Developer Rusty Lake has shown that it has its finger on the pulse of creeping people out with its use of imagery, sound, and theme. Or it could be the developers know what I find somewhat creepy and use it in all their trailers. After the very weird (in a good way) trailer for their game Rusty Lake Hotel [$1.99], the devs have another trailer out for their upcoming Cube Escape: Birthday, the continuation of their Cube Escape series, and it's once more a really well-made trailer that makes me want to check out the game simply because of the tone. Although I usually don't care much about room escape games, this one definitely has the kind of atmosphere I enjoy. And it has a black cat at the end, which I can't ignore otherwise my own black cat would hold it against me forever (and you know how cats are)...

Ex-BioWare Writer Joins Team Behind 'Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear'

As many already know, Beamdog, the company that has brought Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II to mobile, is developing a new game in that universe, Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear. Well, if you were worried that the game might have a hard time retaining the feel of the original ones, you should be able to sleep better tonight after the news that ex-BioWare writer, David Gaider, has joined the studio as creative director. Gaider has worked on the original Baldur's Gate games while in BioWare and was also a writer and designer on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and more. By bringing in someone who's had a hand in the original games, Beamdog hopes that its Baldur's Gate game will retain the franchise's feel and please its fans...

Blue Lola Headphones Review: Good Microphone Maker Also Good at Headphones

Blue Microphones has been most known for their, well, microphones. It's not uncommon to see someone at least somewhat dedicated to higher-quality microphones than built-in setups to be rocking the Blue Snowball or Yeti. Blue has started getting into headphones as well, and their second pair, Lola, is a fantastic entry into the market. The Lola is a bit bulky, but it offers fantastic, balanced sound for the price...

Charming Point-and-Click Adventure 'Love You to Bits' Arriving February 25th

It was all the way back in December of 2014 that we first learned of Love You to Bits, an upcoming point-and-click adventure game from some of the same folks who made the excellent Tiny Thief [Free], and in many ways a spiritual successor to that game. Fast forward 6 months to July and a new batch of screens was released along with news that Love You to Bits would be a paid game. Great news! Then another 6 months down the line we got some not-so-great news in December when Love You to Bits was delayed until February of 2016. Sad face. But wait! THIS month is February! And wouldn't you know, the Love You to Bits developers have announced in our forums a confirmed release date of February 25th!..

Action Runner 'The Amazing Bernard' Launching February 25th, New Trailer Released

The Amazing Bernard is an interesting type of runner we first caught a glimpse of in August of last year, where you guide your auto-running hero Bernie O'Tag through levels by jumping and sliding like any other runner, but you also have the ability to use the touchscreen to draw your own platforms and other helpful objects right on the screen to help the little fella along. It looked a bit rough, but really cool. In November we learned that The Amazing Bernard wouldn't make its 2015 release as intended, and instead would arrive sometime in early 2016. Developer Kumkwat Entertainment has sent word that the game is now slated for a February 25th release, and they've released a new trailer that's again narrated by Bernie O'Tag himself...

Surprise! What we initially thought was going to be a Japan-only release turned out to be a worldwide release under a totally different iTunes ID (which is sort of rare to see). Final Fantasy IX [$16.99] should now be available everywhere. If you're looking for the Japanese (and potentially other regions?) iTunes link, click here. Some interesting things of note now that the English iTunes description is available is that it's selling for $16.99 with a 20% off sale that runs out on February 21st, so hurry up and grab this before it goes up in price...

Late last year we learned of Final Fantasy IX coming to the App Store, and a couple weeks ago we posted an (entirely Japanese) video where Square Enix said that it was complete and launching very soon. Well, "very soon" in Squeenix-speak apparently means today, as Final Fantasy IX is now available on the Japanese App Store...

'Adventures Of Mana' Review - The Secret Is Simplicity

Adventures Of Mana [$13.99] is a remake of a classic Square Enix game, something that could be said for more than half of the company's iOS releases. Yet it's quite different from the usual Square Enix remake in that it's positively restrained in how much it chooses to change from the original game. It's especially interesting in light of the fact that said original game, Seiken Densetsu/Final Fantasy Adventure/Mystic Quest (henceforth Final Fantasy Adventure), was a 1991 release for the original Game Boy. On top of that, there was already one high-profile remake of the game, 2003's Sword Of Mana for the Game Boy Advance, which changed and added in a lot of things. Seeing Adventures Of Mana essentially present an early handheld action-RPG without doing much more than re-rendering everything in 3D and cleaning up the translation is certainly unexpected, but it's also most welcome...

We're all looking forward to Tinytouchtales' new upcoming game Card Thief, but that doesn't mean we've forgotten about the original game Card Crawl [$2.99], one of my own personal favorites from last year. After the hefty update back in December which added the fantastic Deck Merchant and a bunch of new ability cards, the next big Card Crawl update will rebalance a bunch of the game's ability cards and replace the current Streak Mode with a new tweaked version called Delve Mode, Tinytouchtales has detailed on their blog yesterday. ..

New 'Lumines' Games Coming to iOS in Both Paid and Free to Play Flavors

Lumines is a legendary musical puzzle game from the early days of the Sony PSP, and even to this day it's considered an all-time classic. The Lumines brand as a whole, however, has had a rocky road ever since. A handful of odd spinoffs and a poorly-received iPhone version released in 2009 failed to capture the magic of the original. We learned more than a year ago that the Lumines IP had been acquired by Japanese developer Mobcast, and that together with Enhance Games they would be reviving Lumines and bringing it to mobile devices in Japan. Enhance Games is Lumines creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi's studio, so this all sounded like a pretty good thing. We hadn't heard much on that since since, but according to The Verge Mobcast has announced that not just one but TWO new Lumines games are heading to mobile, with the first one arriving on iOS and Android this summer. Here's the very first screens...

Hello, friends! We're almost back to the normal schedule for the RPG Reload Podcast, and that means we've only got one featured game this time around. Our usual roster of Eric Ford, Andy Fretz, and I take a look at Nameless: The Hackers RPG [$2.99] in this episode, and as usual, there's a lot of chat about other things beforehand. Each of us shares our thoughts on Crashlands [$4.99] and its many wonders. We also spend some time discussing some of the difficulties in factoring price points into reviews. We also got around to answering a reader question sent to us way back in the distant year of 2015. Admittedly, we go off topic for a while in the middle of the show, but it's all for the sake of droning on about games, so I'm sure we're fine, right?..

We didn't hear a whole heck of a lot from Wayward Souls [$6.99] after we awarded it our Game of the Year honors back in late 2014, but that wasn't really a big deal as the game was already so darn incredible as it was. However, Rocketcat has had major plans for Wayward Souls ever since its release, and although it's taken quite some time those plans are starting to come to fruition, starting with the big update last month that added a whole new pet system into the game. Now we're close to getting even more of those plans in an update that adds in a wicked sounding Gauntlet Mode and which Kepa from Rocketcat says will be available on the 18th of this month...

Moony Baboon's 'Waste in Space' Submitted to Apple

Back in December just before the iTunes freeze developer Moony Baboon unveiled their upcoming iOS game called Waste in Space. The premise is that in the not too distant future of 2026, humanity has created more garbage than they can handle on Earth, so all the nations of the planet decide to blast all their garbage into space. Except… it doesn't work out quite right, and now all that garbage is threatening to wipe out the planet's population by crashing back down to Earth. The solution to this is obvious: Send a team of wacky astronauts into space to fling themselves into the trash to destroy it. It makes perfect sense! Check out the trailer if you missed it before...

'Tennis Champs: Returns' is an Upcoming Remake of 1995 Amiga Cult Classic 'Super Tennis Champs'

Back in 1995 a tiny Amiga game by the name of Tennis Champs was released for free as part of a pack-in disk with the August '95 issue of Amiga Power magazine. This colorful and arcadey game of tennis was well-received by players, which prompted the developers to release a full-fledged follow-up titled Super Tennis Champs. I mean, obviously, right? That's what games did in the '90s, they went from Game Name to Super Game Name. Super Tennis Champs was also well-received by players and critics alike, and went on to become something of a cult classic. Fast-forward a couple of decades and the original programmer of Super Tennis Champs, Elton Bird of Uprising Games, is releasing a modern remake for iOS devices appropriately titled Tennis Champs: Returns. Check out the trailer...

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