Games

Windows Phone isn’t exactly crawling with RPGs. They take a lot of time to make and the platform is still young. Enter Pansoft’s Dungeon Stalker, filling the niche of old-school dungeon crawler. Rather than focusing on a story, this game’s all about exploring a multi-leveled dungeon. A compass and an automap greatly assist with navigation. Players will find equipment, learn spells, and battle plenty of enemies along the way.

Dungeon Stalker features a unique magic system in which players select sequences of three runes in order to cast spells. You have to memorize the sequences though, which seems like way more trouble than it’s worth. Luckily melee combat is always an option.

Having played Dungeon Stalker for a short while, I think the game has lots of promise. It’s a little rough looking and crashes kind of frequently, but hopefully the developer will continue to refine it. We need all the RPGs we can get!

Dungeon Stalker costs only 99 cents and there is a free trial. Adventurers will find it here (Zune link) in the Marketplace.

Follow the jump for a trailer and Pansoft’s full press release.

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Pac-Man Championship Edition DX - Review

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX papercraft

A long time ago, Pac-Man was king of the arcades. If you were a gamer, you were either playing Pac-Man or wishing you were playing it, and you never failed to ask asked your mom to make Pac-Man pancakes in the morning. Over the years, the yellow guy’s popularity has waned despite the occasional (and generally mediocre) sequel.

Fortune turned back in Pac-Man’s favor with 2007’s downloadable console title, Pac-Man Championship Edition. Critics and gamers alike praised CE’s return to classic-style game play and looks. Three years later, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX improved on CE’s foundations, creating the perfect Pac-Man game for the modern era. Now DX comes to Windows Phone with a few less features than the console version but just as much retro modern charm.

Turn a corner, watch out for ghosts, and head past the break for our full review.

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Pirate's Mind free for a limited time

Pirate’s Mind is a unique puzzle game that combines Bejeweled-like gameplay with memory card games. Instead of jewels and cards, players try to match different kinds of coins and create huge combos. It's fun and easy to play. Plus, as our review points out, the game has great graphics and sound effects. Pirate’s Mind will also be one of the first games to utilize Scoreloop’s online leaderboard system later this year.

The good news, pirate and puzzle game fans, is that Pirate’s Mind is now free! Next week the game goes back to full price, so you’ll want to make like a pirate and rush to loot its spoils. Grab it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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Following on the heels of OMG: Our Manic Game comes Game Chest: Logic Games, the new Xbox Live Deal of the Week. It’s down to $1.99 from the regular price of $2.99.

Logic Games contains three distinct games: chess, minesweeper, and Sudoku. Each game comes in easy, normal, and hard varieties. Chess is the star of the bunch in that it offers a weird invite-a-friend-on-PC to play option. It’s an interesting workaround to the prohibition against online play, but the invitation method is so slow and clunky, I doubt many people will use it except to earn the associated Achievement. This version of chess has no customizable settings and no local multi-player option - a glaring oversight.

Minesweeper is a love-or-hate it game. I’m sure many people out there have tried it on one platform or another, died in the first move or two, and called it quits. But I’ve always found the act of deducing which spots are safe and which have bombs to be quite enjoyable. This version’s controls could be better – I sometimes set off a bomb when I was trying to zoom in and out on the higher difficulties. Easy and Normal are good ways to kill time though.

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Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? - Review

What’s the first thought that comes to mind when thinking about Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Chris Tarrent perhaps, or possibly the background music?

Either way, the game is on the Marketplace and it’s a great resemblance of the TV quiz show when it was a relatively successful hit a good decade ago, originating in 1998. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? on Windows Phone 7 is an Xbox Live (achievements enabled) general quiz game which sports an easy-on-the-eye interface and features the classic music present in the shows on TV.

Continued after the break.

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In all the hub-bub yesterday, we forgot to mention that Hydro Thunder GO is now available for $4.99 in the Marketplace. This is the beginning of six-weeks of must have games...

From the app description:

Blast through 12 ferocious courses with the powerboat of your choice and compete against 15 devious opponents with strategic use of your Hydro Boost power, Mighty Hull and Hydro Jump abilities. In addition to visually stunning environments and insane track layouts, the ever-changing water conditions keep the races varied and interesting.

First thoughts? Yeah, it rocks. It's a bit tricky and there's lots to master, but it's blast when you hit that ramp and fly through the air. We had no problems forking our $5 over for the game after playing it for a few minutes, that and the replay value looks high on this one, making it a decent investment.  Let us know in comments your thoughts: good, underwhelming, worth the money, etc.

And here's your complimentary lnk to the Marketplace for Hydro Thunder GO! And full trailer after the break

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Xbox Live integration has been a selling point of Windows Phone since day one. Gamers can earn Achievements; view their avatars, friends lists, and more from the convenience of their phones. But to do many of those things, you have to download the separate free Xbox Live Extras app and then launch it from the Games hub. It’s a needlessly complicate process.

Thankfully Mango will greatly streamline Xbox Live integration. Xbox Live Extras will join the dinosaurs and Milli Vanilli in extinction as its contents will now be built into the main Games hub. The Xbox Live page within the hub will display a user’s polygonal avatar and several other items: Xbox Live Gold membership status (lending credence to the rumor that online play will finally debut alongside Mango) and links to the user’s Profile, Achievements, and Avatar (for customization). This should make the profile and avatar editing options much easier to find than their previous location: stashed away in a pop-up menu at the bottom of the screen.

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Pirates Assault - Review

Pirates Assault is available over at the Windows Phone Marketplace and put's a swash buckling twist on the tower defense games. The goal with Pirates' Assault is to protect your treasure chest from raiding pirates.

You do so by strategically placing canons along the coastline in hopes of blasting the pirates out of the water before they can sail off with the loot. Pirates' Assault is a little more than your typical tower defense game and to find out how it keeps you on your toes, sail on past the break.

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Last week, the tilt-controlled Xbox Live game Super Monkey Ball received a nice price drop. Today a game with similar (but better) controls just dropped its price too: I Love Katamari from Namco. It’s down from $6.99 to the far fairer $4.99.

I Love Katamari is the mobile version of the Katamari Damacy series. Players control the tiny Prince of the Cosmos and his sticky Katamari ball. The goal is to roll up various objects into the ball, from small things like gum packets and books to giant objects like cars and planes. It’s a quirky good time. Players will need to play four different game modes on each of I Love Katamari’s 6 varied levels in order to earn all the Achievements, including a crazy 110 point Achievement for rolling up every single item in the game.

Sega’s Super Monkey Ball is frustratingly hard due to utterly abysmal tilt controls. I Love Katamari’s tilt controls aren’t perfect, but they are far more manageable. As I say in our review though, it is still a fairly challenging game due to strict time limits on some levels. With practice, most players should be able to roll their way to end of the game.

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Windows Phone gamers have been anxiously awaiting the start of the 6 Weeks of Must Have Games promotion. It was initially thought to begin in April, but then we learned it had been pushed back to an unspecified date. Shortly thereafter at MIX 2011, Joe Belfiore announced that Angry Birds would come out on May 25, so everyone assumed that the Must-haves would roll out then.

As it turns out, May 25 does indeed mark the start of the 6 Weeks of Must Have Games. But Angry Birds won’t be next week’s Xbox Live release after all. Instead, that honor goes to Hydro Thunder Go, the only Windows Phone-exclusive title in the Must-Have lineup. Leading with the strongest title is a smart idea, as Hydro Thunder Go has some great buzz surrounding it. Hydro Thunder Go will launch on May 25 at the very fair price of $4.99.

But that’s not all! We’ve got the full Xbox Live release schedule for the next 6 weeks, including prices and screenshots. Head past the jump for the exciting details.

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The Xbox Live Deal of the Week program appears to be slowly making its way through all of the Windows Phone launch titles, temporarily knocking one or two dollars off of each game. The latest game to get the discount is OMG: Our Manic Game from Arkedo Studios. It’s on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99. Oh my gosh!

OMG is a vertically-scrolling shooter featuring neon-colored vector graphics. The player’s ship constantly fires, while tapping enemies makes them become manic and unleash a hail of extra fire. The game has got both Infinite and 5 Minute modes to blast through.  Our OMG review notes that it’s a bit light on content (as with many launch titles) but still plenty of fun. The gameplay is a little too plain for me, but if you’re into shooters, it’s currently the only Xbox Live game in town.

OMG is on sale for $1.99 for like, one week only. You can totally get it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace!

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I was understandably excited when we learned that Pac-Man Championship Edition DX was coming to Xbox Live this week. After a week of anxious anticipation, it’s finally available on the Marketplace!

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX is the mobile port of the 2010 console sequel to Pac-Man. It’s a huge upgrade over the original, with multiple selectable visual and audio styles, three distinct mazes (down from the console version’s 9 mazes, but still a fun assortment), and copious game modes. These include 3- and 5-minute Score Attacks, Ghost Combo, and more than 10 different time trials.

The goal isn’t just to eat dots any more – players bait ghosts into following them, creating huge chains of enemies that can be cleared with a trusty power pellet. Whenever a fruit is eaten, a new arrangement of dots and ghosts appear in the maze. It’s all about earning as many points as you can within each mode’s time limit, and the game’s online Leaderboards look very good so far.

The mobile version of Pac-Man Championship Edition DX is currently exclusive to Windows Phone, so don’t confuse it with the regular Championship Edition that’s available on iOS. Even though I’ve only played it for a short time tonight, I can easily say that it eclipses the original Pac-Man and is actually one of the best Xbox Live games so far. It even has easy Achievements to boot!

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Occupied - App Spotlight

Here's an odd little game for your Windows Phone. Occupied has you assuming the role of the Head of Restroom Optimization. You need to direct patrons to the appropriate airport restroom before their flights depart.

Just drag the male/female symbol to the respective restroom for that particular gender. Sounds easy enough, right?

To help add to the games difficulty, there will be times when the restroom signs switch around, children symbols will begin to wander on their own into the wrong restroom, as well as that pesky timer that you are up against. Occupied has five difficulty levels; Impossible, Hard, Normal, Easy and Girly. As you progress with the levels of each difficulty the game, naturally, becomes more challenging.

Occupied is ad-supported with a small banner ad running along the bottom of the screen. In tinkering with Occupied for just a short time, I found it to be an entertaining, frustratingly addictive game. A game that really requires your undivided attention.

Occupied is a free game for your Windows Phone and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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Manhattan 2020 - Review

Manhattan 2020 is an unique sort of game for your Windows Phone. It has a retro look to it with plenty of pixels and a very simple objective.

You play the role of a jetpack hero who is flying through a futuristic Manhattan. To help make your travels interesting, angry birds (that really look like bat - probably because of the pixels), helicopters and evil jetpackers try to mess you up.

While the game's objective sounds easy, Manhattan 2020 is a surprisingly challenging game. Jump on past the break to read more.

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With the recent theatrical release of Fast 5, we thought it would be a good time to look at Fast & Furious: Adrenaline from I-play. I’ve only seen the first Fast & Furious movie, but I gather the series revolve around street races, import and muscle cars, and incredibly wooden performances by Paul Walker. Everything that makes the films special is also in Adrenaline, with the exception of Walker’s acting (though he is sort of in the game).

Fast & Furious takes place within the same universe as the films. Dom (Vin “Iron Giant” Diesel’s character) has left Los Angeles, leaving a void of power in the illegal street racing world. It’s up to the player to join one of four rival racing crews and take over the city by racing, racing, and more racing. Yes, basically the same setup as Speed Racer, except there’s no monkey - unless you count Paul Walker!

Race past the break for our full of-actor-references review.

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Lunar Lander - review

The Game Room series is a great way to enjoy nostalgic gaming experiences as well as try classic video games for the first time. I happily did both things while preparing for my Centipede and Pitfall! reviews. Unfortunately though, not every game stands the test of time. Some games are pretty tough to get into if you didn’t play them when they were first released. Lunar Lander is like that. Sure, it’s historically important, but I doubt many Windows Phone gamers will actually care to play it.

Lunar Lander blasted off into arcades in 1979, the year of my birth. Its arcade competition that year consisted primarily of Space Invaders (1978) and Galaxian. While those two games feature science fiction themes and aliens to blast, Lunar Lander is grounded in reality. The player pilots a lunar landing module as it descends to Earth’s moon. Death comes not from unfriendly visitors but from crashing into the landscape or even just landing too quickly – again, a more realistic setup than the competition. This is still a video game though, so players do get more chances to play until they run out of fuel.

Rocket past the break for our fuel review.

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In a surprising approval by Microsoft, TapSplosion 2.0 just became available in the Marketplace. Why surprising? The developer wanted to add a bunch of Achievements to the game but was worried Microsoft may consider that term 'exclusive' for Xbox Live titles--which is not too far fetched--and deny approval.

Luckily, it made it through and is available in the paid version of the app (he may add it to the free version eventually, but the dev believes such things should be reserved for full editions of the game). Sure, none of the achievements count towards your Xbox Gamerscore, but it still adds a nice extra bonus to the mix for 3rd party games and something else to strive for.

You can grab TapSplosion 2.0 in the Marketplace here. There's a free trial and it goes for $1.29 full.

Source: 1HouraDay

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Many of us have been waiting for The Harvest to drop to its $4.99 Deal of the Week sale price. The good news, it has! You can find it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace. If you’re not seeing the sale price yet, just try back a little later.

We weren’t expecting another Xbox Live game to get a price drop today. Surprisingly, Sega’s Super Monkey Ball is now $2.99, down from $4.99. This is likely a permanent price drop since The Harvest is the actual Deal of the Week.

As I’ve said before, Super Monkey Ball places players in control of one of several monkeys-inside-a-ball. Actually, you don’t control the monkey ball directly. By tilting the course itself, you can try to collect bananas and navigate the ball towards each level’s goal, all without falling off the course’s edge. This version of the game uses tilt controls exclusively for steering while the touch screen rotates the camera. The courses feature some pretty basic 3D graphics but the monkey balls themselves are 2D sprites. Mini-games, for which the Super Monkey Ball series is famous, are not present in the first mobile Super Monkey Ball. Still, the game has over 100 stages, so it should keep players busy for a good while.

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Lushington Springs - Review

Windows Phone games that have descriptions that read, "Please Note: This game is intentionally difficult" tends to attract attention. Such is the case with Lushington Springs.

Lushington Springs is a tower defense game that will eventually throw everything at you (maybe even the kitchen sink). The story goes that Lushington Springs needs help in defending the territory from hostile attacks (as if there was friendly attacks). Terrain ranges from forests to snowy passes to deserts to urban areas.

Follow the break to find out more about this fast paced tower defense game.

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Xbox Live game 'Lunar Lander' now available

Hooray! After a nice 18-20 hour delay, Game Room: Lunar Lander is now finally available in the Marketplace. While not many are expecting great things from this game, there's no reason not to try it, just in case.

The game fetches for $2.99 and as always, here's your link to the Marketplace. As our resident gaming expert Paul Acevedo notes:

Lunar Lander is a classic 1979 arcade game from Atari. Gamers pilot the titular spacecraft as they attempt to set down safely on the moon. Land on a crag or come down too fast and it’s curtains for the little lander, kind of like the opening of Superman II. Poor astronauts!

As a Game Room title, Lunar Lander comes equipped with friends and global leaderboards that are shared with the Xbox 360 and PC versions. Integration between the various platforms is one of the Windows Phone Game Room games’ strengths: medals and playtime earned in this version carry over to the others and vice-versa. It also has a 3D arcade cabinet replica.

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Pandas vs Ninjas - Review

I never knew that Pandas and Ninjas didn't get along. Apparently they don't or the Windows Phone game, Pandas vs. Ninjas, wouldn't have been developed.

In the spirit of Angry Birds, XIMAD Inc. has created a puzzle game of destruction where you (the panda) attempts to take out ninja strongholds.  You do so by hurling an assortment of critters, with various abilities, at the ninjas. The ninjas are protected by an assortment of bamboo, stone, and metal structures.

I've gotta admit Panda vs. Ninjas is a fun, somewhat addictive game and to read more, slide on past the break.

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In the last few weeks, Microsoft has released so many Game Room titles to Xbox Live that even huge Game Room fans like me became weary. Next week’s Xbox Live release still has a retro flavor, but it’s actually a much newer and more exciting game: PAC-MAN: Championship Edition DX.

In our review of the original Pac-Man, I complained “This title offers so much less content than sequels like Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Man Championship Edition.” Namco has actually done me one better this time, because they skipped Championship Edition and went straight to its superior sequel, DX.

The console version of PAC-MAN: Championship Edition DX is an absolutely fantastic game. It features 9 different mazes, numerous selectable looks for Pac-Man and the ghosts, and three main gameplay modes: Score Attack, Time Attack, and Ghost Combo. DX throws dozens of ghosts on-screen at once, which might sound too hectic but is actually quite exciting and manageable in practice. Pac-Man even gains a bomb ability that knocks ghosts back to the center of the maze but resets the player's score multiplier.

Pac-Man CE DX is much easier than the first Pac-Man game, so it should be a better fit for mobile phones. Unlike the original Pac-Man game, this one is played in landscape mode, which should reduce the number of accidental presses of the nefarious Home and Search buttons.

The only bad news is its price: $6.99. Namco’s mobile games don’t come cheap. But thousands of gamers happily paid $10 for the Xbox 360 version; if the phone version matches the console game's greatness, 7 bucks won’t sting a bit.

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Armor Valley flies to the Marketplace

Thanks to the magic of XNA, another Xbox 360 Indie game has come to Windows Phone! Joining Square Off and Murphid is Armor Valley from Protégé Productions.

Armor Valley is a unique blend of aerial combat simulator and real-time strategy. The player and the enemy each have a base where units are produced. The twist is that players directly control a plane (called the Silverhawk) and participate in the action first hand. The enemy has a plane too, so you have both aerial and ground units to deal with. A virtual analog stick controls the craft’s movement while tilting the phone moves the camera.

Having played the Windows Phone version for a while, I came away impressed with Armor Valley’s 3D graphics. The controls take some getting used to though. Hitting enemies is particularly difficult thanks to their tiny hitboxes. Hopefully Protégé tweaks those a bit and adds some aim assist in a future update. Difficulty aside, Armor Valley is unlike anything else on Windows Phone and a nice addition to the indie gaming lineup.

Armor Valley costs $3.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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Pandemic Evolved - Review

The viruses from Pandemic have mutated into the Windows Phone 7 game, Pandemic Evolved. Z-Games is offering the free game over at the Marketplace that puts the viruses into a tetris-like environment.

The game has groups of three viruses dropping from the top of the screen and you have to stack them up to create a match of four or more of the same viruses to contain the outbreak.

Continued after the break.

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Hypership Out of Control Lite - Review

Fun Infused Games has released a fast paced, space shooter, arcade game for the Windows Phone that definitely lives up to its title. Hypership Out of Control Lite has you in control of a space ship that is, well, out of control. No brakes and the accelerator is stuck. Luckily your weapons system is stuck in the "on" position.

Your goal is to navigate your out of control ship through through various obstacles, collecting coins, bonus items and destroying various items as you fly towards the finish line. Once you cross the finish line, you move to the next wave that will progressively get harder.

Continued after the break.

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