Games

Piano Tiles is an addictive, yet sometimes frustrating game now available on Windows Phone. Previously, only cloned copies were available, but the title was recently published on the Windows Phone Store under the developer's name. In fact, it's so official, the developer has even linked to this version on its website. So, what exactly does Piano Tiles provide players? As the name suggests, it's a game requiring players to tap piano tiles, but there's a twist – you're not to tap the white keys. It may sound simple enough, but it's not.

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Spell-O-Mania is a Windows Phone game that will test your spelling bee skills in simple fashion. The game offers a wide range of words with helpful hints such as word length, meaning and origin.

A Cortana-like voice guides you through game play, delivering not only the word to be spelled but also your hints. Spell-O-Mania doesn't have many bells and whistles but does a nice job of challenging your spelling skills. The game could use a little polishing up but, all-in-all, Spell-O-Mania isn't a bad Windows Phone educational game.

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There are people hanging by their necks and it's up to your archery skills to free them before they die. The idea behind Gibbets 2 is a little disturbing, but playing the game is surprisingly fun. It has been available on iOS and Android for a while, but now Windows Phone users can start playing it too.

Want to see how it looks like? Head past the break to watch our gameplay video with the Nokia Lumia Icon.

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It may be the 4th of July, the special public holiday for the US, but that hasn't halted publishers from releasing new versions of apps on the Windows Phone Store. The large story today is how Microsoft has updated its Feedback to Nokia system app to rename it to simply "rate us", which has been joined by Atmosphere Weather grabbing some new Live Tile styles, as well as some other apps. Pop past the break for the full read through and to see what's new in your favorite apps.

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Gun Club 3: Virtual Weapon Sim is a feature rich shooting range game for your Windows Phone. It not only has a weapon simulator for dozens of weapons but you also have a firearms range experience that has you battling Zombies, tossed in the middle of a World War II battle and trying your hand at long distance shooting with sniper rifles.

Gun Club 3 has rather nice graphics, the weapons handle with a good amount of realism and the range courses are challenging. Navigation can be a little overwhelming with the many options available but if you like shooting galleries, Gun Club 3 is a Windows Phone app worth trying.

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Blitz Brigade was covered only yesterday for Windows Phone and today we're back with the Windows 8 version. If you own a Windows tablet (or have a gaming rig built) it's possible to download the Gameloft title from the Windows Store. Just like the Windows Phone version, Blitz Brigade is an online first-person shooter that shares similarities with the likes of Team Fortress and Unreal Tournament.

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Disney's Hidden Worlds hit the Windows Phone Store late last month and challenges you to find objects hidden in plain sight. A game of I Spy of sorts that takes you to three different worlds based on three Disney stories.

The story behind the game has you protecting the worlds of Beauty and the Beast, Tangled and Aladdin from a mysterious villain who is threatened these worlds' existence. You team up with Chrona and the Inklings to keep these worlds safe and restore their story lines.

While the game is fun with Hidden Worlds, I couldn't help but feel navigation could have been a little less busy. Nonetheless, Disney's Hidden Worlds has plenty of picture puzzles to solve and, overall, is a fun title to add to your Windows Phone gaming library.

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Last week the Xbox One received a barrage of no less than four downloadable ID@Xbox releases: Another World, Contrast, R.B.I. Baseball 14, and Zombie Driver. The ID@Xbox program allows indie game developers to publish their games directly to the Xbox One marketplace without most of the interference they would face on the Xbox 360. This week seems to have only one indie title in store for Xbox One gamers, but it's a good one: Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition from Drinkbox Studios.

The availability of Guacamelee, a Metroidvania-style action platformer with 2-player local co-op would be good enough news on its own, but getting the Xbox One version for free is even better. Guacamelee! is this July's Games with Gold title, so all Xbox Live Gold members can get it for free this month. Read on for impressions, hands on video, and details about how the Games with Gold program works for Xbox One users.

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Blitz Brigade is a first-person shooter (FPS) from Gameloft, which has just been released for Windows Phone. It's not entirely new since Android and iOS already have the game, but it's an official title nonetheless. Essentially, players are tasked with selecting from a range of five classes to team up with other players from around the world and break some bones. Fan of Unreal Tournament, Team Fortress and other classic shooters? You'll want to check out Blitz Brigade on your Windows Phone.

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Pool Live Tour is a popular multi-player game over on Facebook and is now available on our Windows Phone. As you would guess, the game is an online multi-player billiards game that has you competing against your Facebook friends (or random Facebook members) to see who the best pool shark is.

Along with the online games, Pool Live Tour also has a daily challenge to tackle and practice games. Graphics are nice, gaming mechanics simple and overall, Pool Live Tour is an attractive billiards game for Windows Phone.

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Rival Knights has just launched on Windows 8, bringing with it medieval jousting. The game was recently released for Windows Phone and is well-presented with immersive 3D graphics and dynamic camera angles to create a breathtaking environment where players battle ruthless foes and rival clans across 5 leagues to seize their castle and thrones. It's as good as it sounds.

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Gameloft is on a tear lately with Windows Phone, publishing many new titles in the last few months. Unfortunately, they have also seemingly ditched any ideas of Xbox LIVE certification, opting instead for direct releases to the Store.

Today, they have a new game on the market dubbed Order & Chaos Duels. The game is a massive 449 MB in size, but it runs on a 512 MB devices like the Lumia 520. The reason it has low memory requirements is because it is not an action game per se, but rather a turn taking card game based off of the ongoing Order & Chaos series, including O&C Online and the new Heroes of Order and Chaos.

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The Witcher is a popular series of PC and console games based on the novels of Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. In the medieval fantasy world of The Witcher, powerful humans with mutant traits called Witchers seek out and destroy the monsters that threaten humanity's survival. Polish gaming studio CD Projekt RED is currently hard at work developing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4.

As the Witcher console games become more well-known and poised to take on the Elder Scrolls series in a fight for role-playing gamers' hearts, the series will also be venturing onto smartphones for the first time. CD Projekt RED has just announced that The Witcher Battle Arena will be coming to iOS, Android, and even Windows Phone and Windows 8 in the fourth quarter of this year. Battle Arena will be a free-to-play MOBA with emphasis on RPG-style progression and fairness to players.

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Back in May we reviewed Cloud Raiders as a viable alternative to not having Clash of Clans on Windows Phone. Developed by Game Insight, Cloud Raiders is a "competitive raiding game set within a Skylanders-like world of floating islands" with "casual strategic battles, base building, clan support, and unrivaled cross-platform support." The game has nearly 22,000 reviews and a 4.6 average (out of 5) rating on the Store, making it one of the most popular titles available today.

Today, version 0.3.0.401 has gone live on the Store, bringing with a small army of changes and improvements.

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Last week, Microsoft announced that Xbox One users would finally be able to manage their profiles, friends, and more at Xbox.com. As I lamented in our Xbox One console review last year, many basic Xbox Live features such as the ability to view Achievements and view Xbox One-specific profiles have been unavailable through Xbox.com. The omission has always seemed strange because the website has never had trouble supporting the Xbox 360 side of things.

As of this week, Xbox.com now almost fully supports the Xbox One's profile and social features! Users can view their Xbox One profiles, Xbox One friends and favorites, and even their personal game clips through the website. Xbox One Achievements have also been fully viewable since last week. As welcome as the website improvements are, a few basic features remain unsupported. Read on to find out what has improved at Xbox.com and what still needs to be tweaked.

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Windows Phone is a unique operating system, both in terms of function and the community. One undervalued aspect not found on other competing platforms it 'trial mode' for apps and games. Microsoft has even made the process relatively easy for developers in apps (although games can be trickier). Intrinsically, trial modes are commonplace on Windows Phone, and it befits developers to implement the feature if they want good ratings.

Recently at Windows Phone Central when we covered the new game Lost Echo from KickBack studio (www.kickback-studios.com), our audience rebuked the $2.99 game due to the lack of a trial. The highly regarded game had come from iOS before it made the jump from to Windows Phone.

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Rival Knights is a new jousting game released for Windows Phone that brings jousting and immersive graphics to the small screen. The game is well done with 3D graphics and dynamic camera angles in a breathtaking environment where players "battle ruthless foes and rival clans across 5 leagues to seize their castle and thrones."

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Toca Boca is gaming studio that makes digital toys for kids that are designed to let the kids play, have fun and learn a little along the way. Toys in the sense that you can play the game without worrying about scores or time limits. The only restriction is with your child's imagination.

Toca Boca has released two of their toys in the Windows Phone and Windows Stores that allow your children to tap into their creativity and imagination in the kitchen and beauty salon. Both games or toys have plenty of features, child friendly interfaces and nice graphics.

Toca Boca has seen plenty of success over on iOS and Android platforms and Toca Kitchen was a Parents Choice Awards Gold Winner in 2012. These two titles may not land on everyone's Windows Phone or Windows 8 device but they are two good titles to add to your Windows Phone Kid's Corner.

Plus being Hidden Gems, if you leave a comment below you will automatically qualify to win a new Windows Phone or tablet.

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One of our favorite games right now on Windows Phone is Pako. We've shown you the initial version just a few days ago, and now an update has just been released. The latest version 1.0.1.5 adds a new level and a new car, while fixing the annoying bug that covers up your name when typing it for recording high scores. Check out the short video after the break showing the new level, Suburbia.

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Microsoft and Nokia do a lot to inspire indie game development for Windows Phone and Windows 8. Most notably, Nokia's AppCampus program helps train indie developers and fund game development in exchange for timed exclusivity for Windows platforms. As for Microsoft, the big tech giant recently held a Unity Porting Lab in Switzerland that aimed to help Unity developers bring their games from iOS and Android over to brighter shores.

Both programs helped contribute to the lineup of indie games that arrived on Windows Phone and Windows 8 in June. For part two of our indie games roundup, we played Mind: Brain Training, Pigs Can't Fly (newly available on Windows 8!), Pop! Food Factory, and The Quest: Anniversary Edition. Some indie games are better than others, as you'll find out from our impressions and hands-on video!

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