Games

This is a great week for Windows 8 game development. First the full version of Unity 4.2 arrived with Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 support. Now Autodesk, makers of Autodesk Scaleform and many more middleware solutions, has just released their latest development tool: Autodesk FBX Review.  The application will allow developers to view 3D characters and animations from a variety of devices, including Windows 8. Not only is FBX Review built specifically for Windows 8, but it’s free!

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Unity Technologies have announced on their official blog that version 4.2 of the popular game engine is now available. Three new platforms are officially supported with this version, including Windows Phone 8 and Windows. We've previously looked at the beta program opening up to Microsoft's new platforms, but this marks as a huge step in the right direction for developers to create more advanced content for consumers.

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Windows Phone 7 users must be feeling a bit left out of the Xbox gaming fun lately. We spent the majority of last week celebrating the release of Halo: Spartan Assault and publishing detailed strategy guides for Order & Chaos Online, both excellent Windows Phone 8 games. But what are the Microsoft mobile users who haven’t upgraded to Windows Phone 8 yet going to play?

Former Nokia exclusives, of course! Less than two weeks ago, Chillingo’s pretty decent Picnic Wars became available to all brands of Windows Phone. And just a few days ago, two more games dropped their exclusivity: Flight Control Rocket and Blobster. If you liked the first Flight Control, you’re going to love FC Rocket! Oh, and Blobster. Yayyyy.

Read on for details on both games and an updated list of current and former Nokia Collection exclusives!

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Assassin's Creed II is the next game available as a free download for consumers with Xbox Live Gold subscriptions. Simply boot up your Xbox 360 console and download the game from the Marketplace. As a title that's usually priced at $19.99, this is an absolute bargain, especially if you've played the first game and have not yet looked at continuing the experience. 

The second instalment has taken numerous awards, as well as a high rating of 90 at Metacritic. Sporting open world gameplay, Assassin's Creed II will surely zap some free time off your hands.

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Yesterday we published Part 1 of our guide to Order & Chaos Online for Windows Phone 8. Today we follow up with the second installment, which covers lots of fun subjects like guilds, auction houses, and crafting. This installment includes a brand new video guide as well!

Remember, these guides apply to the iOS and Android versions of the game as well as the Windows Phone 8 version, so all Order & Chaos Online newcomers can benefit from our tips and tricks.

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Last night at 7PM ET, the world finally got their hands on the highly anticipated first ever mobile Halo game, Halo: Spartan Assault. At least, that was the plan.

We already knew that here in the US, Verizon would have an exclusive for 30 days before those on AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint could grab it, but as it turns out, a lot of others in the rest of the world also had difficulty getting the game.

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Because indie games usually come from very small teams, their developers tend to take personal responsibility for their games’ shortcomings and actively work to improve them. Such is the case with Tainicom, the Greek developer responsible for The World of Dr. Pickaxe (a pinball game) on Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

Only two months after the Windows 8 and RT version of Dr. Pickaxe debuted, this week’s update fixes practically every complaint from our previous article. It adds a bunch of new features like Xbox 360 controller support as well. See all the improvements in our video after the break!

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Windows Phone Essential Games Collection

Windows Phone Central Roundup: Essential Games Collection
Windows Phone Central Roundup: Essential Games Collection

Over at the Windows Phone Store, Microsoft has created a handful of app and game collections that include photography apps, sports apps, music apps, and other categories. For this week's roundup we take a peek at the Essential Game's Collection.

The Essential Game's Collection is a wide range of gaming titles that include puzzle games, word games, card games and more. We plucked four titles for this weeks roundup that we concur are essential games for our Windows Phones. Games that are addictive, entertaining, and a great way to pass the time with.

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It’s been teased for a month now and we even told you that it was coming out today, but now we can tell you officially that Halo: Spartan Assault, is live in the Store for Windows Phone 8.

Building off of the hit franchise and 18 months in the making, Halo: Spartan Assault is Microsoft’s attempt to capitalize off of the famous first shooter game for mobile. Instead of just “porting” the FPS model over though, a paradigm that is difficult to translate onto tablets and smartphones, Microsoft and 343 Industries opted for a third-person overhead view, which is more arcade style. The game’s timeline takes place in the four years between Halo 3 and 4.

In addition, the developers spent months honing game play to make the frame rate as high (and smooth) as possible and just as importantly, ensured that the game controls were fluid and flexible. From our last 24 hours playing with it, we can confirm that as a “casual gamer”, we found the game highly accessible and extremely well-polished.

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A lot of you have cried foul over no Halo: Spartan Assault release yet for today, though we know for a fact it’s coming. Indeed, Nokia US on their Facebook just posted the exact time at which it will go live: 4PM Pacific Time (click here for your local time zone).

That’s not too far as it’ll happen in less than two hours. Game on!

Source: Facebook; Thanks, A A A, for the tip!

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Practically everybody who games on Windows Phone 8 is either anxiously awaiting today’s release of Halo: Spartan Assault (carrier issues notwithstanding) or knee-deep in last week’s release of Order & Chaos Online (don’t miss our Beginner’s Guide!). But some players are still stuck on Windows Phone 7 or just won’t pay seven bucks for a game, and those poor souls need stuff to play too. Won’t the Xbox Red Stripe Deal of the Week come to their rescue?

Sure, I guess! This week’s Xbox sale game is a repeat as usual, having gone on sale back in October last year. geoDefense Swarm from Critical Thought Games is on sale for 99 cents, down from $2.99. The indie Red Stripe game deal is 10tons’ Tennis in the Face for $1.49. In the non-game zone we have a news reader app called Collector from Squallstar Studio, on sale for 99 cents.

Head past the break for details and Store links!

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Last week’s Xbox Windows Phone 8 release Order & Chaos Online is pretty much the largest game on the platform, as far as quantity of content goes. One can’t possibly see all there is to see in an Massive Multi-player Online Role-playing Game (MMORPG) in only a week’s time, so we’re going to hold off on reviewing it for a bit.

Today Windows Phone Central brings you part one of our exclusive Order & Chaos Online Beginner’s Guide, complete with video. Stick with us to learn how the game works and get ahead quickly! Remember, you can play Order & Chaos Online until you reach experience level 8 for FREE (and purchase the game without losing your progress if you desire) so anybody who can run this game needs to give it a try.

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For at least a week we knew that the Halo: Spartan Assault launch party was scheduled for last night, July 16. But Microsoft didn’t want to announce the game’s actual launch date for some reason, so doubt remained that it would arrive this week. Well, Spartan Assault didn’t release today, but this evening we officially learned that it’s coming tomorrow.

Fans might have to wait another day to play Halo: Spartan Assault, but that doesn’t mean they can’t celebrate the game’s impending release right this minute. Microsoft and 343 Industries have just released seven new Spartan Assault-themed avatar items on the Xbox Marketplace. Hey, at least our avatars can be dressed for success when the game launches tomorrow!

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While we didn’t get a new Xbox LIVE game today for our Windows Phones, fear not as you were merely being teased. Yes, tomorrow at some time you will officially be treated to the long awaited Halo: Spartan Assault for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.

The information comes ironically from the official website (Halo Waypoint), which details the exact date as July 18th for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 devices. Even more interestingly, they detail how Verizon has the exclusive here in the US, which we told you about last week, for 30 days. That’s not too bad of a wait and should give Verizon customers something to be happy about. In the meantime, T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T users can keep themselves occupied with the Windows 8 PC or tablet version.

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Block the Trapper is a fairly new puzzle game for your Windows Phone where you have to guide your dragon through the various game levels while avoiding being captured by the Trapper.

The multi-level game has three arenas of play with some fairly challenging mazes to navigate through. Block the Trapper has more of a casual pace to it but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

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Windows 8 has a great free bowling game from Microsoft and Babaroga called Shuffle Party. Well, technically it’s a shuffle board game that plays like bowling. That leaves plenty of room for a regular bowling game. Hence Babaroga has adapted their Windows 8 and RT game engine into a straight up bowling game called Lucky Lanes Bowling.

Actually, Lucky Lanes does mix in a little something that you wouldn’t find in the average bowling alley: a Wild West theme called Death Valley. Yup, the default alley takes place in an 1880s-era western setting, complete with cow skulls, scorpions, and desert. The romantic setting doesn’t affect the gameplay in any way, but a cowboy-style bowling alley is far more interesting than a sterile realistic one. Babaroga tells us they have more alleys planned for the future, too.

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When it comes to mobile gaming on Windows Phone you’ve got a variety of choices. There’s something for everyone between killer Xbox Live enabled games to strong titles from independent developers. But Windows Phone is still a bit lower on the totem pole of important platforms when it comes to independent game developers. It’s always a nice day when a popular game on either Android or iOS makes the jump to Windows Phone. So it’s an even better day when it comes from both platforms, like Battleloot Adventure for Windows Phone 8 just did. Let’s check it out.

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Sparkle 2 is the follow up Windows Phone 8 game to the 10tons hit Sparkle. The game picks up where the original leaves off with you in a battle against the darkness that is threatening to sweep across the lands.

Sparkle 2 shares the three gaming modes of the original and has over ninety unique levels in the Story Mode. You have over two hundred combinations of sixteen enhancements for your slinger and fantastic graphics.

Sparkle 2 is as entertaining of a game as the original and quite possibly a must have game for your Windows Phone 8 device.

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Halo: Spartan Assault will be a landmark game when it launches on Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 later this month. It marks the first mobile entry in Microsoft’s Halo franchise, something fans have been clamoring for ever since Windows Phone 7 debuted back in 2010. While it took a long time for the game to actually be revealed to the world, the wait between the June announcement and Spartan Assault’s undisclosed July release date will be relatively short.

It turns out that some Windows Phone 8 users will need to wait a bit longer for the new Halo game than others, however. Today Microsoft and Verizon revealed that the Windows Phone 8 version of Spartan Assault will launch first on Verizon phones in the US before eventually becoming available to all domestic customers. This timed exclusivity does not affect countries outside of the US, nor does it affect the Windows 8 version of the game.

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