Games

Our interview with Alienware's Senior Vice President discussing the Alpha

While game consoles like Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Xbox One have found their way into hundreds of millions of homes to be connected to televisions, it's been a challenge for the PC industry to offer a product that's designed to connect to a big screen TV and be used in a living room setting. A year ago, Valve announced a plan to launch its own Linux-based operating system, SteamOS, that was designed to be used in small living room PCs to play native Linux games and to stream PC games from their Steam service.

While Valve announced earlier this year plans to team up with a number of third party PC OEMS for a SteamOS hardware launch later in 2014, the company later revealed those plans have been pushed back to sometime in 2015. However, one of those SteamOS partners, Alienware, decided to go ahead and launch their SteamOS machine this year as a Windows 8.1 PC, the Alienware Alpha. While it may use Microsoft's latest operating system, the team at Alienware (which Dell acquired in 2006) are also developing their own UI that will allow owners to use the Alpha as a gaming PC with an included Xbox 360 controller, with no requirement to use the Windows 8.1 desktop.

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Windows Phone Store Collection: I Love Ninjas

Windows Phone Central Game Roundup: Ninja Games

Two of the more common characters in Windows Phone games have to be zombies and ninjas. Aliens are popular as well but that's an awfully broad category. Ninjas are the stealthy assassins known for tossing razor sharp throwing stars or slicing through their enemies with a sword.

Both ninjas and zombies have their own Windows Phone Store Collection and this week's round-up will focus on the I Love Ninja Collection. The Collection showcases a handful of games featuring our black robed warriors. We've plucked a few of the titles to highlight and for the most part, all five titles are entertaining time wasters.

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Which is represented more in the Windows Phone Store, Match-three games or endless runners? My money is on the match-three styled games and you can add Fruit Heroes Saga to the genre of games available in the Windows Phone Store.

Fruit Heroes Saga is a colorful, multi-level styled match-three game where, as you might guess, work towards creating matches of the same type of fruit. Each level has a scoring goal that has to be met in a set number of moves or before time runs out. Fruit Heroes Saga also includes bonus items that can be purchased with your winnings to improve your chances of success.

Available for low-memory devices, Fruit Heroes Saga isn't a bad game to consider adding to your Windows Phone gaming library but it lacks that "zippity doo da" to let this game stand out in the crowded field of match-three games.

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If you like puzzle games, then you are going to like Defuser for Windows Phone. The goal is to prevent bombs from going off. There are five different button types to defuse and 40 levels that will test your skills of multitasking and puzzle solving. We've installed the game on our Nokia Lumia 930. Watch our gameplay video to see if it's your type of game.

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Long rumored, but only officially confirmed just before release, Assassin's Creed Pirates finally sailed onto Windows Phone last week. One week later, the phone game has been delisted due to many users experiencing crashing issues. In its stead, the less buggy Windows 8 and RT version of Assassin's Creed Pirates has arrived. Tablet and PC gamers can now take on the role of an eighteenth century pirate and terrorize the seas!

The Windows 8 and RT versions also bring along a couple of caveats. First, their Xbox Live Achievements don't work just yet. For whatever reason, it's not uncommon for Achievements on Windows 8 and RT to kick in a few days after a game becomes available. This game's Achievements will arrive soon.

The other bad news? Like Ubisoft's Rayman games, Assassin's Creed Pirates is not a universal purchase. Still, the game is worth buying at least once. Read on for our early impressions.

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If you're looking for an action/arcade game for your Windows Phone that is a tough nut to crack, take a look at Couplinked.

The game has you controlling two nodes (or dots) that are connected by an electrical field. Your job is to collect colored rings that are flying across the screen with the corresponding node you control. You also have a red ball that flies through from time to time that will ruin your day.

Available for low-memory devices, Couplinked may not appeal to everyone but there's little doubt that this is a Windows Phone game that is frustratingly challenging.

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Woody Infinity is an endless runner that is played out on a wakeboard. Towed by a jet ski, you are tasked with helping Woody navigate an endless obstacle course full of islands, docks, ski jumps and other objects bent on ruining Woody's day.

Game play is timed and you'll need to make it to various check points to keep the game going. There are bonus items along the course that will help Woody survive the courses and to keep the game interesting, there are a handful of missions to complete.

Unfortunately the game is not available for low-memory devices. However, for those with 1GB+ devices Woody Infinity isn't a bad option to consider if you're looking for a time waster of a game for your Windows Phone.

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The Kinect is no longer as important to Microsoft's Xbox One plans as it used to be (neither of the Call of Duty nor Sunset Overdrive bundles will include it). The Xbox One launched without any compelling Kinect games (though we enjoyed Zumba Fitness World Party), and developers haven't been too eager to pick up the slack since then.

Luckily, Harmonix is on the case. The studio has two Kinect-specific Xbox One games in store for the fall: the downloadable Dance Central Spotlight and the retail Fantasia: Music Evolved (Xbox One and 360, published by Disney). Dance Central comes with built in-good will from Xbox 360 Kinect owners, but Fantasia is a more unknown property. To help get things moving, Disney has announced that Fantasia preorders will include a bundle of three bonus songs – including "Let it Go" as performed by Demi Lovato!

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Over the last few weeks, we have been reporting on the forthcoming new game from Press Play (and published under Microsoft Studios). Named 'Tentacles: Enter the Mind', the game is an exclusive Xbox LIVE title for Windows and Windows Phone, with cloud synchronizing of game saves and data. The games have been available in Press Play's home turf of Denmark for a few weeks as a soft-launch, but as of today, the game should be available globally for everyone.

Tentacles: Enter the Mind is the sort-of-sequel to the previous Tentacles game, which came out years ago for Windows Phone. In the new version, the gameplay has changed to a more 3D view, along with a new story line, goals and that highly-desired cross-platform sync ability.

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Red Herring is a new Windows Phone word game from the developers behind 7 Little Words. It's more of a casual game with no timer or score to achieve.

The goal is to group a collection of words into the correct category. The game has three levels of difficulty and daily challenges. Red Herring comes loaded with fifty puzzles with additional puzzle packs available through in-app purchase.

Available for low-memory devices, Red Herring makes a nice first impression and with three difficulty levels, the game has appeal for Windows Phone gamers of all ages.

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July and August have been slow months for Xbox One releases. We got Guacamelee and Sniper Elite III (both excellent, both also available on Xbox 360) but the well dried up for a bit after that.

Luckily, today sees two new and very different titles released: Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition from Blizzard Entertainment launches both at retail and for download on Xbox One and retail-only on 360. Meanwhile, the Xbox One gets its second golf game: The Golf Club from Nova Scotia, Canada-based HB Studios. The Golf Club is an ID@Xbox release and can be downloaded for $34.99.

Should you join the fight against an eternal evil, or grab your bag and hit the links? Let our impressions and gameplay footage help you decide!

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Table Tennis 3D hit the Windows Phone Store recently and offers a fantastic gaming option for those who like to smack the little white ball around the table.

Available for 512MB devices, Table Tennis 3D offers twenty unique table tennis players to challenge, online multi-player gaming and career or single game play.

Table Tennis 3D has had a fair amount of success over on iOS and Android platforms and, based on the short time we've had with the game, is bound to have similar achievements here on the Windows Phone platform.

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A long time ago in a galaxy very close to home, man created the game Doodle God. On Windows Phone, it was an Xbox-enabled game built around the concept of alchemy. Doodle God never got the bug-fixing update it deserved, but it did spawn a number of non-Xbox sequels such as Doodle Devil and Doodle Creatures. They were all very similar to one another.

Last week, developer JoyBits released a brand new Doodle God game that is also very similar to the others: Doodle Planet (also known as Doodle God: Planet). While Doodle Planet won't surprise anyone with drastic changes from previous games, it does have one big difference: it's free to play. If previous Doodle God games were too rich for your blood, maybe this version will make you a believer.

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A lot of our devices are capable of running 3D games, but there's something about games in old-school pixel graphics that we seem to like. Javelin Masters does not have intense graphics, but it's really fun to play. You play as a javelin thrower. The goal is to throw it as far as you can. We've installed this free game on our Nokia Lumia 930. Watch the gameplay video to see if it's something you'd play.

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Plight of the Zombie is one of the latest zombie genre games to land in the Windows Phone Store. It has seen a fair amount of success over on iOS and Android with the developer hoping for similar results here on the Windows Phone platform.

Plight of the Zombie isn't a tower defense game or a game where you get to hunt down and wipe out the zombie hordes. Instead, the game offers over 50 puzzles that you have to help your zombie solve. Of course, in the process there is plenty of brains to indulge upon.

Available for low-memory devices, Plight of the Zombie comes across as a fun, casual paced game for Windows Phone. The biggest downside to the game is the lack of a trial version (but we've got a trick to work around that).

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Last month we reported on a new Xbox One controller design from Controller Modz, a UK-based controller modding specialist. The company basically allows users to buy authentic first-party controllers for a variety of consoles and choose to have them decorated with a variety of custom paint jobs and designs. The service doesn't come cheap, but Controller Modz promises professional-quality results.

Reading about the Controller Modz service via press release is one thing, but as a controller enthusiast I was eager to get my hands on a custom controller for review. Controller Modz offers 19 unique Xbox One designs to choose from, as well as a "Build Your Own" feature for greater customization. For this review, I went with the "Sticker Bomb" design that features a colorful combination of racing-style livery across the front of the controller.

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Qais Quest is a nicely animated Windows Phone platform game where you play the role of Qais, a lost knight trying to find his way home.

The graphics remind me a little of the Rayman series of games and the game play is your traditional platformer style with plenty of obstacles to jump, enemies to slay and gems to collect.

Qais Quest is a fun game to pass the time with and is available for low-memory devices. If you are a fan of platformers or just looking for a nice title to add to your gaming library, Qais Quest is worth a try.

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