Games

Microsoft has historically been less than enthusiastic towards free-to-play Xbox 360 games.  They did allow Japanese developer Toylogic to release Happy Wars (a 15-vs-15 multiplayer action game) last year. But here we are one year later and  hardly any free-to-play games have followed it. And yet things are starting to change...

During Microsoft’s E3 Media Briefing, the publisher revealed that popular PC Massively Multiplayer Online game (MMO) World of Tanks would receive an exclusive console version called World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition. Console gamers could be forgiven for not knowing this, but Wargaming.net’s World of Tanks is actually one of the largest and most popular MMOs in the world. The 360 port just might prove to be a big deal.

This week we sat down with Microsoft and Wargaming to learn the ins and outs of World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition and then shot a video with Associate Producer Olga Zinoveva as she played a multiplayer match on the E3 2013 show floor. Watch it after the break!

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Windows Phone Central Game Roundup: The Next Big Thing

Microsoft started adding collections to the Windows Phone Store that groups like minded apps and games. You have a photography collection, the Red Stripe Deals collection and few more.

With this week's Windows Phone Central roundup, we take a peak at the Next Big Thing collection. It's a group of games that have the potential of being big hits. They have strong ratings and it's a nice way to showcase the independent developers.

We picked four from the current collection that we think are quality additions to the Windows Phone gaming library.

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Last year, Windows Phone Central brought you an exclusive interview about a Windows Phone 8 title called Fairway Solitaire from Big Fish Games (and ported by Babaroga). Fairway is actually one of the games that Microsoft used during their Windows Phone 8 reveal event to exemplify how quick and easy porting from iOS to Windows Phone 8 can be. Funny thing is: Fairway Solitaire was slated to be a launch window game for the new mobile OS, but it has actually taken far longer than to port.

As a matter of fact, Big Fish Games has just published Fairway Solitaire for both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 in celebration of E3 2013. The bad news is they published it as an indie title instead of an Xbox game as originally planned. But on the happy side, Fairway plays great and we’ve got an exclusive video in which Big Fish’s Patrick Wylie walks us through the game’s features. Check it out after the break!

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Yesterday at E3 2013 we managed to squeeze in an interview with Peter Orullian, Group Product Manager at Microsoft. Peter is a ridiculously accomplished individual. He writes books, sings opera, and somehow finds time to work with Windows Phone, SmartGlass, and Xbox Music. Leave some lifetime Achievements for the rest of us, big guy!

Anyway, I sat down on camera with him to discuss his contributions to Windows Phone and SmartGlass, plus the Xbox One and his favorite games of the show. Windows Phone Central’s Daniel Rubino and “Serious” Sam Sabri also pitched in on the interview questions. Head past the break for the video interview and a brief summary!

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If you're new to Windows Phone, every week the Windows Phone Store slashes the pricing on one Xbox game, one app, and one independent gaming titles. Collectively these are your Red Stripe Deals.

This week we have an Xbox title where you try to dominate the world through battle and diplomacy, a weather app that is a one of our personal favorites, and a farming simulator that tests your skills are cultivating and managing crops.

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Doors is a challenging puzzle game for your Windows Phone were you are presented with a wide range of puzzles. You have to solve the puzzle to open the door and advance to the next level.

Doors has sixty-five levels of play, all that can be re-played. The puzzles range from mathematical puzzles, matching games, and hidden keys type mysteries.  The game doesn't have a lot of flair but the puzzles can be challenging. All totaled, Doors isn't a bad option if you're looking for a game to pass short bits of time with.

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The 2013 E3 is in full swing in downtown Los Angeles. The annual trade show for computer and video games is the largest in the world where major companies like Microsoft and Sony reveal their major games for the coming year. The event is only open to industry insiders and media, but you can live the experience vicariously through us. Check out some photos and video from the Microsoft/Xbox booth at E3. We promise you’ll be green with envy.

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Your friendly neighborhood Games Editor is a huge Pac-Man fan; I once called Pac-Man Championship Edition DX one of the five best Xbox Windows Phone games. So naturally I jumped at the chance to meet with Namco Bandai during E3 2013 to discuss this year’s upcoming Pac-Man titles.

The meeting started out with a look at the upcoming CG animated series Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures that begins airing on Disney XD on Monday, June 17th. The 26-episode series revolves around a young Pac-Man and his friends Cylindria and Spiral as they fight to protect Pactopia from an onslaught of evil ghosts. It actually looks like a great show for kids and adults who dig Pac-Man. Bandai will be selling a snazzy line of toys to coincide with the show.

We already knew that a Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures game would be coming to Xbox 360 this year, but Namco’s announcement of two more Pac-Man titles – one for Windows 8 came as a happy surprise. Read on to learn just how Xbox 360 and Windows 8 users will be getting their Pac on in 2013!

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Yesterday Windows Phone Central posted exclusive first footage of Gameloft’s N.O.V.A. 3 for Windows Phone 8 in action. We showed you just how the game plays, but we couldn’t talk about the release date. Well, thanks to a little marketplace slip up on Microsoft’s end, it quickly became apparent that N.O.V.A. 3 would be coming out very soon indeed. In fact, it released in India ahead of the rest of the world!

Now we know beyond the shadow of a doubt that N.O.V.A. 3 is this week’s Xbox Windows Phone release. All Windows Phone 8 users with 1 GB RAM devices (cue complaints from 512 MB phone owners and insensitive complaints about the original complaints) can now purchase the game for $6.99 or the regional equivalent thereof.

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The Windows Phone Central crew is down here at E3 to bring you the latest in gaming. While E3 isn’t heavily focused on mobile gaming, there are some treats to be found on the showroom floor if you’re wanting to get your game on with Windows Phone. One game that is highly anticipated in the community is Halo: Spartan Assault. It’s a twin-stick, top-down shooter for both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. Videos after the break.

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Yesterday’s E3 2013 press conferences gave us lots of juicy console news and game announcements, but our gaming readers who don’t play consoles didn’t get much to chew on from the conferences. Hey, we haven’t forgotten you guys (or me since I love gaming on my phone). We squeezed in a few meetings yesterday and came away with…

Exclusive first footage of N.O.V.A. 3 in action! That’s right, we played Gameloft’s sci-fi First-Person Shooter for Windows Phone 8 and lived to tell the tale. I actually had a little more time to play than usual, and so we can show you lots of highlights of the first level. Head past the break for the video and more details!

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We can argue about DRM, privacy issues, hardware differences, specs sheets and more till we go blue in the face. But there’s one thing that triumphs all when it comes to launching a new console – games. Below are games you’ll be enjoying on the Xbox One (and a few for 360!). Videos, pictures, and more after the break.

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After attending Microsoft’s knock-out Media briefing this morning, Sam Sabri and I enjoyed a quick lunch at Freebird’s with a Windows Phone developer. Then we were off to EA’s E3 2013 Press Conference at the Shrine Auditorium. Now that the conference has wrapped, we follow up with a summary of the conference and the games EA announced – all of them for Xbox One!

The EA press conference was bookended by Peter Moore, the company’s chief operating officer. Moore previously worked for Microsoft on the Xbox and Xbox 360 consoles from 2003-2007. Many consider him one of several talented people who were instrumental for the 360’s success. He left in 2007 to head EA Sports but eventually ascended to his current position overseeing multiple EA gaming divisions.

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Finger Party is a Windows Phone game that sounds a little too easy but turns out to be a rather challenging game. Finger Party will test your concentration and dexterity as very few games can.

The game concept reminds me a lot of a solo version of Twister just the targets are moving and you only have to twist your fingers. Finger Party can get a little frustrating but it is definitely one Windows Phone game worth trying.

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Deal alert: Fable III is currently free for Xbox 360

The gaming and tech world-at-large has made a stink about how the Xbox One is moving to a more PC like approach. Specifically Steam has been cited as a model that the new Xbox One is moving towards. Of course Steam has been cut some slack because of how often they have deals on games. Well, it looks like Microsoft is even getting ready to follow that practice because right now you can download Fable III for free onto your Xbox 360.

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E3 time is upon us once again, loyal readers. The Electronic Entertainment Expo is the single largest gaming event of the year. E3 2013 takes place from June 11-13 (plus press conferences on Monday the 10th) at the Los Angeles Convention Center and is open only to members of the gaming industry.

During E3, all of the major console gaming developers and publishers crowd into the Convention Center and exhibit a selection of their latest and upcoming games for attendees to watch and play. Many new games will be announced, while others that we already know about will be revealed in action for the first time. Check out last year’s E3 2012 stories to get an idea of what goes down.

The very largest publishers and platform holders also hold press conferences on Monday, just before the show opens. Microsoft’s annual Media Briefing runs from 9:30-11am PDT. This is when the big MS will reveal the scope of its gaming plans for the Xbox One, including an assortment of previously unannounced launch titles for the new console. Windows Phone Central will be there and live blogging from the briefing, so make sure you check back with us Monday morning!

What should you expect in the way of Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Xbox news from E3 2013? Read on for our predictions!

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If you're in the mood for utter destruction the Windows Phone 8 game Death Worm might be your cup of tea.

You control a man-eating, camel-eating, "devour everything that moves"-eating worm who has to work it's way through sixty levels that spans four worlds. And it's not all destruction. You have dangers to avoid and power-ups to collect. The death worm can take on damage and too much damage results in...well...death.

Death Worm is an entertaining and addictive game for your Windows Phone 8 device.  There's room for improvement but overall, Death Worm is worth a try.

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Inflexiball is a new Windows Phone 8 game reminiscent of the old Arcanoid or Breakout video games but with heavy Steampunk influence.  Inflexiball also has a RPG feel to things with upgrades and enhancements that can be purchased with coins you collect during game play or purchased in-app. 

In just playing Inflexiball for a short bit, it makes a good first impression.  Graphics are steaming, game play challenging and if your a fan of the Arcanoid styled games, Inflexiball is worth a look.

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If you’re a fan of Temple Run, then you’ll want to grab the all new Temple Run: Brave game for Windows Phone 8. The game follows on the heels of the Windows 8 version released a few weeks ago and much like its predecessor, goes for $0.99 without a free trial.

We’re not sure why the devs at Disney and behind Temple Run are so against trials, but we bought the game and tossed together a quick video presented below. Off the cuff, we have no complaints about the game (well, it could use a double wide tile, we suppose). Graphics have been updated, it runs smooth and the touch response seems good to us at these early stages.

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Near the end of 2011, Nokia and Electronic Arts announced a partnership. Nokia would publish new EA Xbox Windows Phone games exclusively for Lumia devices. The deal included EA’s subsidiaries Chillingo and PopCap as well. It took a while for the first exclusive to show up: Mirror’s Edge in July 2012. After that, the floodgates opened as more and more EA games arrived on our platform.

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With all the big news about Halo: Spartan Assault and Jetpack Joyride popping up this week, we’ve gotten slightly behind on our coverage of Xbox Windows Phone game updates. Now that things have slowed down a smidge, it’s time to discuss those patches.

Both of Zeptolab’s Windows Phone games Cut the Rope and Cut the Rope: Experiments received minor updates only a few days ago. It might be tough to tell what changed on your own, but we’ve got the details! And Gameloft’s Ice Age Village got its second and most welcome update. Head past the break for the full story on all three games!

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Windows Phone 8 gamers are currently enjoying this week’s new Xbox title, the delightfully free and also just plain delightful Jetpack Joyride. But you can never have too many games, especially when you’re addicted to Xbox Achievements. Your mouth gets dry, the shakes start to set in, and only a new game will keep you from eating a family sized bag of Whoppers (wrapper and all) in your delirium.

Enter the Xbox Red Stripe Deal of the Week, only too eager to ease the pain! The latest weekly sale title is BulletAsylum from UberGeekGames. Normally priced at $2.99, it’s now discounted to 99 cents. BulletAsylum previously went on sale for $1.99 once in May 2012, so this is a better deal… Probably what the game should always have cost, in fact.

The new non-Xbox Red Stripe Deals are indie game Chicken Invaders 3 from Betacom and popular instant messaging app IM+ Pro. Both cost only a dollar this week, which is an especially good deal for the normally $5 IM+ Pro. Read on for more details, screenshots, and download links!

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Royal Revolt is a wonderfully animated game for your Windows Phone 8 device that has you on a quest to become King.

You play the role of a young Prince sent away to boarding school. Upon your return you learn that your Aunts and Uncles have taken over the kingdom. Your job, conquer the various castles and retake the kingdom as King.  A Medieval family feud of sorts.

Game play is challenging, animations great and all totaled, Royal Revolt is a nice addition to the Windows Phone 8 gaming library.

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The last two weeks have been full of great news for Xbox Windows Phone gamers. Last week we got the stunning Rayman Jungle Run, yesterday Microsoft announced Halo: Spartan Assault, and today doesn’t disappoint either. No, Gameloft didn’t suddenly release N.O.V.A. 3. But an equally requested title has just popped up…

Halfbrick Studio’s Jetpack Joyride is finally – FINALLY available on Windows Phone 8. It runs on devices with 512 MB of RAM. And it’s free! Are you ready for an endless runner that involves a lot more flying than running? Of course you are.

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Despite his games’ typically high quality, limbless hero Rayman is generally lesser known than his contemporaries like Sonic and Mario. Starting out on the Atari Jaguar, Playstation One, and similar platforms in 1995, the original Rayman stood out thanks to its beautiful 2D graphics, unique atmosphere, and excellent soundtrack. Two strong 3D sequels followed – you can even get 2003’s Rayman 3 on XBLA, in fact.

Rayman kept a low profile after that, only showing up in the spin-off Rayman: Raving Rabbids minigame collections. Soon the Rabbids games left Rayman behind to become their own series, most recently with Rabbids Go Phone for Windows Phone 7. It seemed like Rayman had forced into retirement, doomed to live on only in the minds of nostalgic gamers.

Luckily for platform gaming fans, Rayman came back from obscurity with 2011’s sleeper console hit Rayman Origins. The fourth mainline Rayman game returned to 2D graphics, and how! Origins boasts one of the most striking visual styles in all of gaming, not to mention pretty much everything you could want in a platformer. And now Rayman Jungle Run from Pastagames and Ubisoft brings that same 2D goodness to Windows Phone 8 in a truly killer mobile adaptation.

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