Since summer of last year, Electronic Arts and Chillingo have been pumping out Nokia-exclusive Xbox Windows Phone games. Players not fortunate enough to own Nokia phones sometimes feel left out and/or upset because they can’t access those games from their phones. But we are talking about timed exclusivity here.
Six months after release, Mirror’s Edge became available to all Windows Phone users, followed by Risk and Connect 4. So while owners of HTC, Samsung, and other non-Nokia devices have to wait a while, Nokia’s deal with EA does pay off for them as well.
This week, two more former exclusives became available to all Windows Phone users: The Game of Life and Parking Mania. As if that wasn’t enough, Shoot 1UP, an Xbox game that was found to be incompatible with Windows Phone 8 has just gained compatibility. Gotta love being able to play more stuff!
LIFE, the Universe, and Everything
The Game of Life brings the popular board game to your phone. It simulates a person’s path through life, from getting a first job, going to college, getting married, having kids, and eventually retiring. Players spin a wheel for movement, collect ‘Share the Wealth’ cards that help them or hinder opponents, and occasionally choose between different life paths to follow.
The Windows Phone port supports single- or local multiplayer – no online play, unfortunately. But the Achievements are fairly easy and the game itself is decently interesting for a few playthroughs. Check out our review for more details and free ice cream*.
Parking Mania is something of a puzzle/driving game in which players must carefully steer one or more vehicles from one destination to another. Levels usually end when all of the cars have been parked in the designated spaces. Complicating matters are extremely tight spaces, occasionally large and unwieldy vehicles to drive, road traffic, and other obstacles.
Parking Mania offers a tense but reasonably challenging experience across its 80 levels, providing much more enjoyment than you might expect from a game about parking. Just make sure to turn off tilt controls in order to make your life easier.
Shooting for 1UPs
Now that it runs on WP8, we can take our own screenshots!
We have to give Nathan Fouts of Mommy’s Best Games (who we interviewed a while back) props. Shoot 1UP was found to be Windows Phone 8 incompatible last December. Fouts procured a WP8 device as soon as he could and then worked hard to solve the game’s crashing issues. It turns out that the differences in memory handling between Windows Phone 7 and 8 caused the problems, which are now fixed. If only the developers of incompatible games like The Harvest and Tentacles cared as much about getting their games running on all devices…
Shoot 1UP is my personal favorite shoot-em-up on Windows Phone. It boasts the unique ability for players to control up to 30 ships at once. Spreading the ships apart increases your firepower, while contracting into a tight formation keeps them safer. The surreal 2D artwork keeps things fresh too.
Just as importantly, it’s actually possible for normal human beings to complete the game without dedicating their lives to mastering it. Just turn down the game speed to reduce the challenge or turn up the speed if you need more thrills. See our full review for all the details.
Thanks to Guilherme and Pbroy for the EA games tips!