Games

Fans of Disney's Nemo will be able to join the cute, little fish and his friends in the latest time management game to hit the Windows Phone Store. Nemo's Reef enables players to construct their own beautiful habitat and make a home for all their favourite Finding Nemo characters. Are you ready to help Nemo and his dad, Marlin to create the best reef in the class? Swim past the break for the full read.

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This has been a terrible year for Xbox games on Windows Phone. Microsoft has all but dropped support for the Xbox branding on phones, developers have stopped releasing Xbox games en masse, and new Xbox games are basically a rare occurrence nowadays. Don’t you wish the Windows Phone team cared a lick about gamers?

The latest sign of the inevitable demise of Xbox on Windows Phone comes with last week’s Tetris Blitz update. The game launched in a bug-ridden state (see our review). But to Electronic Arts’ credit, the publisher has released a steady stream of updates to improve its product. The latest update certainly packs some improvements, but it sort of looks like it removes Tetris Blitz’s Xbox branding. Could this be the end of EA’s Xbox support or just a snafu?

Update: EA's official response after the break!

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This one is coming out of nowhere but Kiloo Games and Sybo Games have released Subway Surfers for Windows Phone. We’ve confirmed with Microsoft that this is an official release and not a clone. Indeed, it’s the same version number as the one for the iPhone, that is version 1.16.

Subway Surfers is yet another endless runner, but it has gained a ton of popularity, rivaling Temple Run. First released in May 2012, this game has been one of the top requested titles for Windows Phone and now that day is here.

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Every year since time immemorial, Microsoft has put a ton of downloadable Xbox 360 content on sale around Christmastime. The sale returns once again this year as the Countdown to 2014. Running from today through December 31, the Countdown consists both of daily and weekly sales. The first batch of weekly deals runs through the 23rd. 

Head past the break for a full list of today’s Countdown sales and the weekly deals.

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We have seen a wide range of games hit the Windows Phone Store shelves and Cliff Diving may be the first and only diving game available for Windows Phone 8.  It may not be your typical Windows Phone sports game but the game has potential.

Cliff Diving 3D has two levels of difficulty and a healthy range of dives to perform.  Graphics aren’t terrible but could use a little polishing and game play is fairly easy but not without challenge.  You will find your diver performing plenty gut-busters or belly flops until you get the game's timing down just right.

If you are looking for a unique game for Windows Phone 8 or just a change of pace from the puzzle games, Cliff Diving is worth trying.

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Slowly but surely, the upcoming Windows Phone 8 games we previewed from Casual Connect a few months ago have started to appear on the Store. First came Babel Rising 3D, then Yeti on Furry (awful name!) and Nightmares from the Deep: the Siren’s Call. Now Puzzle Retreat, the first game we covered from the show, has finally become available on Windows Phone 8.

Puzzle Retreat (from Australian developer Voxel Agents) is quite clearly a puzzle game. Windows Phone owners can enjoy the first 60 levels for free, and then opt to purchase additional level packs if they like. The developers took great pains to ensure Puzzle Retreat runs on devices with 512 MB of RAM, so everyone rocking a Windows Phone 8 device can play it.

We’ve got impressions, hands on video, and new behind the scenes info from the developer – all after the break!

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Word Soup is a relatively new word game for Windows Phone 8 that has had a fair amount of success over on iOS and Android platforms.  Word Soup is a puzzle game where you are given a sea of letters and have to find hidden words within.  The game does have a bit of a "find-a-word" puzzle game feel to it but with more pep.

Word Soup includes three single player modes, two two-player modes and comes across as an entertaining, challenging word game for Windows Phone 8.

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The Xbox One includes a free fitness and exercise game called Xbox Fitness for Xbox Live gold subscribers – see our console review for a detailed description. Not to look a gift mouth in the horse, but Xbox Fitness has a lot of room for improvement. Where’s the personality – the verve? A player serious about working out might want something more.

Luckily, Majesco Entertainment (publisher of Double Dragon: Neon for Xbox 360) and British developer Zoë Mode (makers of fellow Xbox One launch title Powerstar Golf) have a fitness game of their own for early Xbox One adopters. Zumba Fitness World Party is the latest game in the Zumba series. Combining dozens of workouts with surprisingly good music from around the globe, World Party is a title that fitness-focused Xbox One gamers should not overlook.

Head past the break for more details, exclusive screenshots, and our first-ever Xbox One video review!

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Forza Motorsport 5 is one of the premiere titles in the Xbox One launch lineup. With hyper realistic graphics, excellent physics, and innovative cloud-based driver AI, Forza 5 should keep fans of racing sims busy for months on end.

That’s all well and good, but my favorite feature of the Forza series has always been its unrivaled livery editor. Players have an impressive amount of freedom to make practically any decorations they want. An enterprising gamer could even make some classy Windows Phone designs with which to adorn the game’s cars. That’s just what our reader “B0BCAT wp” has done, as a matter of fact. Look at the detail on that phone!

Meanwhile, Forza 5 is set to receive a significant balancing update sometime within the next week or two. More details and custom car design pictures after the break.

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It’s Saturday, so it’s time for another round of our weekly app highlights. This is the part of the week where we sit back and go over the big news around apps that you might have missed. We’ll look at new apps to the Windows Phone Store, big updates to some of your favorite apps, and any new betas worth checking out. Let’s jump in.

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Reindeer Round-Up, a cool physics-based puzzle game, is now free at the Windows Phone Store. It’s probably free only for a limited time, so we recommend downloading it now. Reindeer Round-Up is normally $1.29 without a trial.

This game will get you in the holiday mood as you stack reindeers on top of each other to reach the presents above them without falling. Reindeer Round-Up has originally launched for iOS and Android, so we are really happy the game has released for Windows Phone 8, too.

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Anodia, a brick-breaker styled Windows Phone 8 game

Anodia is a Windows Phone 8 game that has the feel of a brick breaker styled game but loses the traditional feel with the variety of targets you are called upon to destroy.  You do not have a series of bricks to destroy but instead you have to take out light bulbs, hanging lamps, groups of bouncy balls, and more.

The game has over one hundred gaming levels, over twenty different power-ups, and if you are a fan of the brick-breaker styled games Anodia is worth a try.

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Windows Phone has been slow to pick up some of mobile gaming’s heavy hitters – though the promise of Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas coming next week is certainly a big step in the right direction. Still, many of the most unique and interesting mobile games come from smaller developers instead of the big guys. Windows Phone is making great progress with indie game makers, as evidenced by the developers we interviewed at Casual Connect who are preparing to dip their toes into Microsoft’s mobile waters.

Yesterday we reviewed BigBot Audio Drop, and today we bring news of another just-released indie game for Windows Phone 8: Aztec Antics from Bouncing Ball Limited. Not only does Aztec Antics sport some terrific retro-style pixel art, it also features MOGA controller support! That makes six MOGA-enhanced games on Windows Phone 8 and counting.

Head past the break for our Aztec Antics hands-on video and the developer’s video guide for setting up a MOGA controller with Windows Phone 8!

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They might not always achieve release date parity with other platforms, but Disney Interactive is still a major supporter of Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. This year we’ve seen new releases like Where’s My Water? 2 and Where’s My Mickey arrive in fairly timely fashion, and even a few slightly older games like Wreck-it-Ralph make the trip to mobile Windows platforms.

Today Disney’s latest mobile game Frozen Free Fall has popped up on Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8, just a few weeks after the iOS version’s November 21 release. Free Fall is a free-to-play match-3 puzzle game, not unlike that Candy Crush Saga game that everyone raves about. Head past the break for impressions and Store links!

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Microsoft is running a 12 Days of Deals for the Microsoft Stores and to match that, they’ve quadrupled their Red Stripe Deal from three apps to twelve. Starting today, users can head to the Windows Phone Store to grab these twelve popular apps, heavily discounted for next few weeks.

Which twelve get the discount? Head past the break to find out!

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If you are yearning for a tennis game for Windows Phone 8, you need to check out Cross Court Tennis 2.  It is a relatively new sports game for Windows Phone and once you get used to the controls, it is an entertaining game to pass the time with.

Graphics are top notch, game play challenging but the screen does feel a little cramped.  Nonetheless, overall, Cross Court Tennis 2 is a welcomed addition to the Windows Phone gaming library.

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Catch, a fun touch puzzle game for Windows Phone 8

Catch is a casual game for Windows Phone 8 that calls upon you to connect like symbols together without getting your lines crossed.  The game is simply drawn-up but challenging enough to keep you interested.

The game has forty levels of game play with the free version with additional levels available through in-app purchase.  Catch also has a colorblind mode that adds a letter to the colored stars to make them distinguishable.

If you are looking for a challenging game to help you pass a few minutes with, Catch is worth a try.

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GTA: San Andreas comes to Windows Phone next week

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is Rockstar Games’ biggest release to mobile yet with a vast open-world covering the state of San Andreas and its three major cities – Los Santos, San Fierro and Las Venturas. While it has just released for iOS devices, Windows Phone users don’t have to wait long. According to Engadget:

Rockstar Games tells us that the promised Android and Windows Phone versions will hit next week.

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After taking last week off to review Microsoft’s Xbox One console, I’m back with a look at a just-released indie game for Windows Phone 7 and 8. BigBot Audio Drop comes from Wisconsin-based indie developer BigBot Systems. Not only is it their first game, it’s also exclusive to Windows Phone.

BigBot Audio Drop blends traditional falling block gameplay with thumping electronic music and slick visuals. The gameplay and design are closely modeled after Lumines, an early PSP hit that later came to XBLA and other platforms. But Lumines never came to Windows Phone, so Audio Drop fills a nice gap in our favorite smartphone’s software lineup. It also comes in both paid and free versions, so it won’t break the bank.

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