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2 years ago

Hydro Thunder GO update and Venice Canals map cross the finish line

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Hydro Thunder GO is one of the best-looking 3D games on Windows Phone, and it’s an exclusive to boot. Still, some readers reportedly experienced frame rate issues (which seemed to be handset dependent). When we interviewed Pixelbite, the game’s developer, they promised to look into it. Fast forward a few months and a major Hydro Thunder GO update has just been released.

Hydro Thunder GO version 1.3 release notes:

  • Performance improvements: [Pixelbite] did some performance profiling with the newly released Mango tools and managed to improve the game performance between 10-20% depending on the device and the in-game situation.
  • Minor bug fixes for the new OS releases, such as the music was not looping properly

The game always ran great on my Samsung Focus; now other handsets can better share in the visual splendor. Check out our review for more impressions.

But that’s not all! WPCentral is pleased to present this exclusive map of Hydro Thunder GO’s Venice Canals track. See, the game’s secret "Reckless Yachting" Achievement requires racers to destroy all seven gondolas in the Venice track. This map should make finding them much easier. For more maps, check out our Pixelbite interview.

Hydro Thunder GO costs $4.99 and there is a free trial. Swing by here (Zune link) to pick it up from the Marketplace.

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2 years ago

Xbox Live Developer Interview: PopCap Games, makers of Plants vs. Zombies

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PopCap Games, Game House (interview), and Zynga are probably the three heaviest hitters among casual game developers and publishers. PopCap is the most mainstream of the big three, selectively porting their games from PCs to consoles and mobile devices with amazing success. On Windows Phone they have produced Bejeweled LIVE (review) and Plants vs. Zombies (review), which I feel is the single best game on the platform. We’re super excited to bring you this interview with Andrew Stein, PopCap’s Director of Mobile Product Management.

Head past the break for an insightful interview and exclusive, never-before-seen Plants vs. Zombies concept art!

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2 years ago

Xbox Live: Minesweeper now available all over the place, US gamers make due with Super Monkey Ball

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Remember kids, there is no Xbox Live release in the US this week. Not a common circumstance, and hopefully the last time it occurs. The rest of the world, however, gets Babaroga’s Minesweeper, which was already released in the US a couple of weeks ago. It’s a free, ad-supported game. See my previous post on Minesweeper for details on how unfortunately busted it is.

No new games to play this week? Perhaps Super Monkey Ball from Sega will soothe your troubled soul. It’s the Xbox Live Deal of the Week with a sale price of $1.99. Mr. Cranky Pants is even less fond of this version of Super Monkey Ball, but let's just leave our review to do the talking.

Minesweeper is available here (Zune link) on the Marketplace and it costs nothing. Super Monkey Ball is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Roll over here to get it.

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2 years ago

Bike Mania - Review

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2 years ago

Windows Phone game roundup: Occassional Gamer

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Windows Phone game roundup: Occassional Gamer

Occasional Gamer developer Elbert Perez recently released his latest Windows Phone game, Air Dagger, over at the Marketplace. Perez has released thirteen games over at the Marketplace and they all have experienced some level of success.

With thirteen titles under his belt, there's simply not enough room above the fold to list them all.  So, to see Occasional Gamer's Windows Phone gaming portfolio, ease on past the break.

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2 years ago

Windows Phone "robot blog" launches

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Windows Phone "robot blog" launches

You know what we need? How about an awesome site dedicated to hacking Windows Phone hardware so that it can connect to printers, keyboards and robots. Yeah, robots!

The site is filled with all sorts of tutorials and videos on how to add a serial port, add some programming for interfaces, make your phone interact with Terminators, etc. Okay, that last one hasn't been posted yet, but c'mon, it's just a matter of time.

No doubt this is for the Radio Shack crowd as these aren't necessarily easy if you don't have hardware hacking or software programming skills (that's us on both accounts), but for those who tinker and want to push their Windows Phone to the next level...head here: www.wpbots.com

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2 years ago

MS confirms details about Tango

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MS confirms details about Tango

Today in Hong Kong Microsoft held a MSDN seminar called "The Next Generation of Development," during which they revealed some details about the WP7 update called Tango.  It turns out that Tango will not be a major update, but rather a minor update to Mango focused on developing countries like China and India.  It will bring improved Bing services to countries previously neglected, and as previously speculated, will serve as the OS version for lower price point devices made by Nokia, ZTE and others.

Though Tango turns out not to be exactly the next evolution of Windows Phone that we thought it would be, it was confirmed that Apollo will in fact be the next major update to the OS, which will be WP8.  If Tango is only a minor update, then what is build 8200 with its new "content search" feature?  If it is Tango, will we see it outside of emerging markets, like North America and Europe?

Source: We Love Windows Phone .HK (Thanks for the tip!)

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2 years ago

AT&T Roadmap leaks: Two Windows Phone 7.5 devices (Samsung & HTC)

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Here we go folks, looks like AT&T will be launching two all new Windows Phone 7.5 devices in "Q4". The first one up is the Samsung Kupua SGH-i937 and the HTC Bunyip pl39100.

The Samsung is basically the Galaxy SII phone we see a few months ago when Microsoft showed it off--no doubt this will be replacing the Focus and it looks to be a worthy replacement with an 8MP camera, 4.3" Super AMOLED Plus screen (assumed), 1650 mAh battery and 512mb of RAM.

We're not sure what the HTC Bunyip is exactly, though Pocketnow suspects it's the unannounced Eternity or Omega, which is a likely choice. That device will sport a 1600mah battery and also an 8MP camera. No other details are known yet.

Some very exciting stuff. Although not as grand as AT&T's original launch, these two devices will hopefully be more wow-worthy this time around.

Source: Pocketnow

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2 years ago

Facebook's dormant Places service axed

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Facebook's dormant Places service axed

Facebook has finally killed Places, the seemingly dead check in service that's remained fairly inactive for sometime. It's available in the Facebook for Windows Phone app so what happens to users? Well, we have Foursquare of course, but if you don't use the service or another competitor there might be another option.

We recently covered Microsoft's We're In service which resembles Foursquare and this could well become an integrated answer for a large portion of WP7 owners. Unfortunately, for the time being it's only available to the U.S. and Israel.

On a personal note: my girlfriend uses Facebook Places quite a bit (only checking in), especially when she's in the UK. I've still not fully understood the concept behind letting everyone knowing where I am. If I look up nearby places I get the typical teenage act cool entries including "my bed (:", "cinema wiv sexy bf" and "sofa!!!!!". Surely we should be able to moderate entries in some way, I mean who's going to check into someone else's bed, sofa or cinema with the sexy boyfriend?

Via: Gizmodo and thanks to Ghost for the tip!

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2 years ago

Super Monkey Ball goes on sale this week, promptly rolls off a cliff

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There may be no new Xbox Live release this week (unless we count Minesweeper launching outside of the US), but the Xbox Live Deal of the Week train keeps a-rollin’. Sega’s Super Monkey Ball will be on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99.

Super Monkey Ball on Windows Phone is a sad story. It launched at $4.99 and dropped to $2.99 just a few weeks later. Could the price drop have been indicative of the game having problems? Oh yes. As I state in our review, this version of Monkey Ball is just terrible. It looks and sounds pretty, but the tilt controls are the worst I’ve ever experienced. There are also two Broken Achievements which may or may not get fixed some day. If you’re a very patient and forgiving gamer, you may still enjoy Super Monkey Ball, but it sure drove me bananas.

Super Monkey Ball will go on sale for $1.99 on Wednesday, August 24. You can find the game here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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2 years ago

Steel Avenger coming to an Xbox near you

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Steel Avenger coming to an Xbox near you

The popular Windows Phone game Steel Avenger was recently updated and ported to the XBox 360 system (Xbox screen shots above). Those not familiar with Steel Avenger it is a Spy Hunter styled game where you race down the highways and bi-ways taking out your enemies while avoiding crashing into (or shooting up) innocent travelers.

The Windows Phone update for Steel Avenger has the customary tweaks under the hood to improve performance as well as adding music to the game. Game play has also been adjusted to make things a little more challenging.

Two versions are now available for Steel Avenger. You have a free, ad-supported version that you can find here and a paid version ($.99) that can be found here. Steel Avenger (the Xbox version) can be downloaded from the Xbox Live Marketplace and it runs 80 Microsoft Points.

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2 years ago

Minesweeper finally arriving in Europe, still too many mines though

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When Minesweeper and Sudoku, two free Xbox Live games developed by Babaroga and published by Microsoft, were released only in the US a few weeks ago, our foreign readers were understandably displeased. We speculated that it might have been because of the games’ reliance on in-game advertisements, which may not have been cleared for other markets yet.

Good news then, as Minesweeper is coming to foreign markets on Wednesday. Well, sort of good news. Minesweeper is actually pretty busted on the highest two difficulties, filling levels with so many mines that they’re impossible to clear without repeated use of the EMP powerup. Babaroga tells us this may be fixed in the future, but for now it seriously hampers the fun.

Minesweeper can be downloaded here (Zune link). No news yet about when Sudoku will be released outside of the US, but we’ll keep you posted. We’ll have reviews of both games very soon.

Thanks to Professeur Thibault for the tip!

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2 years ago

Acer M310 reportedly sports HDMI output

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News out of Auckland New Zealand is that the Acer M310 Mango phone made an appearance at Tech Ed 2011.  The shiny black, beveled-edge M310, which is said to look similar to the Acer W4, has a meager 8GB of storage (unfortunately no images were available but we're still digging).

However, word has it that one thing that sets it apart from its other WP7 brethren is the addition of an HDMI output jack.  This is an exciting feature in what otherwise sounds like a pretty basic phone.  Another nice feature is that it will support DLNA over Wifi, which will allow it to communicate with other DLNA-equipped devices such as TVs, Xbox, etc.

Asus also had a unnamed handset on display at Tech Ed, which seemed to be an engineering sample, complete with "non-final code."  The matte black Asus is worth a quick mention because it looked to have a front-facing camera, though that was not confirmed. 

It's nice to see some new features popping up on new WP7 Mango phones.  There has been a lot of news of where Windows Phone is headed with Skype integration and Xbox Live and features like HDMI and front-facing cameras will be key to bringing those thing to fruition.

Source: Windows Phone NZ; Via: Engadget

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2 years ago

Zune Desktop getting ready for Mango

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Zune Desktop getting ready for Mango

If you blink, you might have missed it but Zune's desktop software has been updated to version 4.8. The update will allow Zune to communicate correctly with Windows Phone 7.5 (more affectionately known as Mango). So if you're planning to update your Windows Phone, you'll need to update Zune.

According to the update's release, the update has the following features to make the update process go smoother and faster.

  • Progressive updates: In Zune 4.8, you only have to click the update button once for multiple updates. Once an update is finished, the software automatically checks for more and repeats the installation process until your phone is completely up to date.
  • Streamlined backup: By synching media separately from other phone content, we’ve lowered the overall time it takes to back up your phone. The backup file is also more compact, so it should take up less space on your computer.
  • Skip phone backup: If you don’t have enough room on your computer to store a phone backup file, you’ll now have the option to skip this step so you’re not blocked from updating your phone.

The process is painless and takes about five minutes. Just go into your Zune Settings, choose Software and General Category (column on the left). Towards the bottom of the screen you'll see a button to "check for updates". Follow the update steps, accept the terms, then sit back and relax. If you are new to Windows Phones and haven't installed Zune, you can find the updated version here.

Now for the speculation. With Microsoft releasing the update to Zune, could Mango be right around the corner?

source: windowsteamblog

Thanks goes out to Shipwreck, David and everyone else who tipped us on this!

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2 years ago

Torchbear, a social networking game, needs your help

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Torchbear is a unique application for your Windows Phone that has hit the beta stages of development. Torchbear is described as a mobile geolocation based social network game.

It appears to be part social networking app and part chain letter app (and that's not necessarily a bad thing). Torchbear is a way to share your thoughts, ideas or images with others around the world.  Each torch has a mission and accomplishing that mission is likely the gaming aspect of this new app.

Based on the promo video, Torchbear looks interesting but the developer needs your help. Entering the beta stages, the Torchbear developers are looking for beta testers. If your interested in helping knock the bugs out of this Windows Phone app, shoot an email over to contact@torchbear.com with your Windows Live ID.  Use "Torchbear Beta Tester Request" as the subject line.  The developers will then get back in touch with you with the Marketplace beta link.

The concept definitely looks interesting and we'll be curious to see how the developers transfer that into a Windows Phone app.

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