Games

Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp

The Must Have Games 2012 promotion comes to a close with the highly anticipated Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp from Krome and Microsoft Studios.

Boot Camp is the mobile companion to Toy Soldiers: Cold War, an excellent XBLA game featuring a war between rival toy factions. The mobile version simply consists of three minigames taken from its big brother: ‘Fly Swatter’ (by far the most fun), ‘Cardboard Theater,’ and ‘Thread the Needle.’ All of them sport 3D graphics that closely match those of the original. Control options include swiping, tilting, or a virtual d-pad. The game also has a built-in screenshot function and global Leaderboards – two features we’d love to see used more often. You can check out our developer interview to learn more about both Cold War and Boot Camp.

Having earned all of Boot Camp’s Achievements already, I am a bit concerned about the game’s controls. While the variety of options is nice, none of them felt right to me. I highly advise trying the demo and judging for yourself. That said, the Achievements are almost entirely easy; you can get them all in an hour if you’re good enough.

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Pah!

We have to admit, we hadn't thought of the idea to control a video game solely with your voice. Even with Kinect for Xbox 360 we still picture using other methods for interaction. But the developers Pah! see it differently and they believe you can have a lot of fun with just sound.

Pah! originated on the iPhone where it became an instant hit (in fact, you can watch tons of videos on it via YouTube). Later it moved to Android where it was also successful and now Windows Phone users get to try out the voice-game craze. Developing the app wasn't easy, we're told by the developers Labgoo, due to the more restricted environment but they managed to get it working anyways.

The game is a simple side scrolling shooter but you control your ships upward movement by saying "Ahhhhhhhhh..." which will raise you (you then naturally sink a little). To fire at incoming objects you shout "Pah!" and your laser will fire. By using both voice gestures consecutively you can successfully guide your ship all the while trying to not laugh.

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SEGA officially announced Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II way back in December, but the reveal didn’t include a true glimpse of the game. We can now get much more excited over Episode II thanks to a proper trailer that shows off the game’s beautiful new graphics engine.

Sonic 4: Episode II marks the return of Sonic’s sidekick Tails, who sat out the previous game. The console versions will include 2 player co-op play, while we can assume the mobile versions won’t. Either way, Sonic and Tails seem to have some new co-op moves, which should make Tails a more valuable partner than he was back in Sonic 2.

The physics engine has been given a complete overhaul in response to fan feedback, which should improve Episode II’s reception. Similarly, the new graphics will likely elicit smiles from Sonic fans. The backgrounds are simply lush with colors and detail. The characters match the backgrounds much better than before thanks to being rendered in full 3D (the gameplay remains 2D). Phone versions will likely fake the 3D characters with 2D sprites, but you never know.

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Windows Phone Game Review: Marble Slalom Free

Marble Slalom for Windows Phone

Here's a painfully difficult, yet challenging, game for your Windows Phone. Marble Slalom Free is a nicely animated game for your Windows Phone where you have to navigate a marble through a wickedly evil slalom course.

I say "wickedly evil" in that the slalom courses are not just a bunch of flag sticks that you navgigate around. You do have the flag sticks (or red dots in this game) but you also have pinball bumpers, holes, and other obstacles that will actively hinder your progress.

Don't get me wrong. Marble Slalom Free is a nice game for your Windows Phone but it's not for the faint of heart.

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Zombies!!! 3.5 Not Dead Yet

The first 'Not Dead yet!' image reveals the new Meat Cleaver item.

Babaroga’s been hard at work updating their mobile Xbox Live titles, as evidenced by the recent Minesweeper and Sudoku updates. Now Zombies!!! -  the developer’s only self-published Windows Phone game so far – has received a new update as well.

Zombies!!! version 1.2 release notes

  • Added a free ringtone (found under Options)

Free ringtones are always nice, but the really exciting news is what the next update will bring. The first Zombies!!! PDLC expansion pack should debut within the next month or so. ‘Zombies!!! 3.5: Not Dead Yet!’ adds 18 new cards, new animations, five new Achievements worth 50 GamerScore, and more. Yes, this officially makes Zombies!!! the first Windows Phone game to break the 200 GamerScore barrier.

All five new Achievements are worth 10 GamerScore each:

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Minesweeper and Sudoku

A short while back, Babaroga updated their free, ad-supported Minesweeper and Sudoku Xbox Live games. At last we’ve got the details for both updates to share with you.

Minesweeper version 1.2 and Sudoku version 1.3 release notes

  • Added Fast App Switching support
  • Increased the maximum number of tokens players can earn to 110
  • Switched ads around based on user feedback
  • Minesweeper: Fixed a bug that stopped players from earning more time when resuming Speed games
  • Various bug fixes

Nothing major there, but Fast App Switching is always appreciated (especially if you’re cheating at Sudoku). The new token limit allows players to use powerups more freely, highlighting the unique powerup feature these games have while making the game a bit easier to boot. Gamers now have even less excuse not to earn each title’s 50 GamerScore of Achievements.

You can pick up Minesweeper here and Sudoku here on the Marketplace.

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Blue Tomato

Just days after we reported that Blue Tomato, the brand renaming of Sonic's Jewels, was submitted to the Marketplace, we're excited to announce that it's back and ready for downloading.

Blue Tomato is the Sega Game Gear and Master System emulator that first appeared on the Marketplace a few weeks ago. Since then, Sega appropriately exercised their copyright claim on "Sonic" and any Sega images from the emulator, causing the app to be pulled from the Marketplace. Now it's back with a new name, new graphics and even a sound engine on board making this in our opinion well worth the $1.99 $1.29 should you so desire this type of app.

Folks who previously bought Sonic Jewel's should be able to just "update" to this version with no new incurred costs. Hit us up in comments and let us know what you think. Grab Blue Tomato here in the Marketplace for $1.99 $1.29 with a free trial.

QR: Blue Tomato

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The Windows Phone version of Gerbil Physics was officially unveiled on Wednesday as part of a big batch of upcoming Xbox Live titles. Now WPCentral is pleased to bring you this exclusive preview of Pencel Games’ Gerbil Physics.

Gerbil Physics is a physics puzzler. In each level, players are presented with one or more stacks of gerbils and an allotment of bombs. The goal is to use careful bomb placement in order to knock the gerbils below a yellow line. If a gerbil remains above the line when you run out of bombs, you’ll fail the level and have to try again. Some levels throw addition kinks into the mix, like structures that must not be knocked over.

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Xbox Companion

Good news for you Xbox 360 users out there (we hope that's most of you), the Companion app has received a nice little update to v1.1 this morning in the Marketplace.

Unfortunately, no word on what the changes are as there seems to be no obvious new features on board. But perhaps coincidentally, our Xbox 360 just received a system update to its OS and maybe the two are related. Or not.

(Edit: Today's Xbox 360 update is "... to quickly fix some voice recognition issues affecting our non-English speaking members" according to Microsoft's Major Nelson.)

Go download the app in the Marketplace here and in the meantime, we'll work on nailing down a changelog for ya. Thanks, Kyle S., for the heads up

QR: Xbox Comp

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Splinter Cell Conviction

Splinter Cell: Conviction was announced back around the Windows Phone launch over a year ago. At last, Gameloft’s mobile port of the popular Ubisoft franchise has made it to Xbox Live.

This version of Splinter Cell tells the story of series lead Sam Fisher’s investigation into the death of his daughter. Gorgeous console-quality cutscenes narrated by Sam’s pal Victor Coste bookend each level. Conviction is actually a port of the popular Xbox 360 game (minus the multiplayer) and feels very much like a console title.

Being a phone game, it uses a virtual stick for the controls. They’re a tad clunky (much like Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles, also from Gameloft) but the difficulty is forgiving enough that it doesn’t harm the experience. If you’ve been wanting a meatier Live title (complete with shooting and sneaking), look no further. Still not convinced? Check out our video preview.

Splinter Cell: Conviction costs $4.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here on the Marketplace.

Thanks Saket for the tip!

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Orbital

Splinter Cell: Conviction may not be showing up on the Marketplace just yet, but the Xbox Live Deal of the Week has at least gone live. Orbital from BiteForge and Microsoft Studios is now on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99.

Orbital is all about shooting orbs into other orbs, destroying them and causing chain reactions. It’s got 3 modes of play, each of which changes the rules and aiming around a bit. The neon graphics are pretty enough. As I stated in our review, I really wanted to like Orbital, but it just never clicked for me. The aiming needs work, the game is unforgiving, and there’s no metagame tying it together. But a lot of people enjoy the game anyway, so you may want to give it a shot too.

Orbital is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Shoot on over here to the Marketplace to get it.

QR: Orbital

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Blue Tomato

If you've been following the saga of Sonic's Jewels 7 (SJ7), you'll remember that the popular Sega Master System and Game Gear emulator was due for a nice sound update. That update actually did hit the Marketplace but only for a few hours before it was pulled due to a copyright claim by Sega.

Our own Rafael Rivera worked with the developer to sort through the claim, which revolved around the use of Sonic the Hedgehog and the dev was quoted as saying it will return. The condition of returning though would be to shed all of Sega's copyrights--images and names--in order for it to presumably pass the Marketplace certification. We spoke of this on the last podcast where the name "Blue Tomato" was tossed out as the new name.

Blue Tomato

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Bullet Asylum desktop theme

Windows 7 users (i.e. most people with a computer) who also play Windows Phone games can enjoy an abundance of desktop themes based on WP7 games. Last week we showed you the Chickens Can’t Fly theme, which is certainly good for a few laughs. Now a Bullet Asylum theme joins the fray.

Like Chickens Can’t Fly before it, the Bullet Asylum theme includes includes wallpapers, sounds, and colors based on UberGeekGames’ Must Have title. To be honest, the backgrounds don’t remind me of the game all that much. Do you see any trippy explosions in the pics above? I didn’t think so. But they do capture a nice sci-fi vibe, at any rate.

You can find the Bullet Asylum Windows 7 theme pack here at the Windows download page. As for Bullet Asylum the game, it costs $2.99 from the Marketplace.

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This week's "Must Have Game" is Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction. We wrote about this game way back in June 2011 and it was even announced before Windows Phone 7 launched, making this one of the longest "in gestation" games we have seen yet. We wrote back then:

"Another Gameloft title, Conviction was announced prior to the Windows Phone launch and then disappeared off the radar. This title provides a surprisingly faithful rendition of the Splinter Cell series, with great 3D graphics and stealth game play. The Mark and Kill allows players to select multiple targets and perform instant kills on them. This is definitely a game to look forward to, but don’t be surprised if it costs $6.99 at launch."

Now the game is just $4.99 and finally will hit our phones early tomorrow morning. So is it worth it?

Yeah, actually it's pretty darn good. It's great to have this type of game finally our our phones instead of the traditional casual arcade games that we've had as of late. This is a much slower paced, cinematic style game where you take your time...murdering people. We're all for that (don't judge us!) and what we've played so far we like. The controls are pretty intuitive, the graphics are pretty snappy and it's quite a bit of fun.

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Doodle Invasion

Windows Phone gamers should already be familiar with Russian developer MaxNick’s Xbox Live title, Spider Jack. What you might not know is that MaxNick has also published several indie games for the platform, the latest of which is Doodle Invasion.

In Doodle Invasion, alien invaders are attacking one of our beaches. Players must stop each wave of invaders by firing missiles at the alien mothership. You also have to keep aliens off the beach, which involves drawing lines to bounce the aliens into your boats. As the game goes on, new types of weapons and alien threats spring up, always accompanied by a friendly tutorial message.

Doodle Invasion has quite a unique play style – juggling the need to attack the mothership, keep the aliens off the beach, and optional tasks like protecting a windsurfer will keep you on your toes. The Parachute Panic-like art style is super cute, too.

Doodle Invasion

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Windows Phone Game Review: Escape from Heaven

Escape from Heaven for Windows Phone

Escape from Heaven is a nice looking game for your Windows Phone where you play the role of Hedgy, a hedge hog that doesn't like Heaven and yearns to make it back to Earth.  You navigate over obstacles, jump from platform to platform working your way through the various levels of the game to make it home.

Escape from Heaven has a minimalist feel to the graphics, simple game play but Escape from Heaven is a challenging, entertaining, well presented game for your Windows Phone game library.

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Z0MB1ES!!1 (on teh ph0ne): Xbox Windows Phone Review

Zombies on the Phone! Lead

Few professionally-made games attempt to embrace the punk rock culture. After all, most games strive to look and sound as professional as possible rather than adhere to a DIY philosophy. But that’s just what Ska Studios’ I Made a Game with Zombies in It!!! (aka I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MBIES 1N IT!!!1) did in 2009. Released as an Xbox Live Indie Game on the Xbox 360 and sold for a mere 80 Microsoft Points ($1), it quickly became a big hit among cost-conscious 360 gamers. With the move to Windows Phone, the game received official Xbox Live status. The mobile version couldn’t be sold for a dollar since Live titles start at $2.99. Thus the developers threw in a couple of new game modes, and Zombies on the Phone (Z0MB1ES!!1 (on teh ph0ne) was born.

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Windows Phone Game Review: Yaht 3D

Yaht 3D for Windows Phone

Yaht 3D is a simple yet entertaining game for your Windows Phone that is patterned after the legendary dice game Yahtzee. If you're familiar with Yahtzee, Yaht 3D will be an easy game to pick up and the game is a great way to pass the time with.

The graphics and animations are very nice and the game of Yahtzee always has its challenges. Yaht 3D supports single player, multiplayer or you vs the computer games. So you can pass the time to yourself or challenge your neighbor to a game.

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Chickens Can't Fly invades Windows 7

Chickens Can't Fly Windows 7 Theme

We mentioned it briefly but the new Windows Phone Xbox Live game Chickens Can't Fly now has its own Windows 7 theme. It joins other gaming title themes such as Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds and the Xbox Kinect game Gunstringer.

The Chickens Can't Fly theme includes wallpapers, sounds, and colors (no screen saver). The graphics look great and the sounds unique. But I have to admit it takes some time to get used to the chicken cluck as your alert sound.

You can find the Chickens Can't Fly Windows 7 theme pack here at the Windows download page.

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Gravity Guy flips out as the Xbox Live Deal of the Week

Gravity Guy

Windows Phone gamers may be busy with this week’s new Xbox Live release, Chickens Can’t Fly. But as I’ve told my friends, loved ones, and the people at the mental asylum, you can never have too many games. That’s why we should all give the Xbox Live Deal of the Week, Gravity Guy, a good looking over too. It’s on sale for $1.99.

Gravity Guy is a slick, fast-paced platformer in which the hero flips between floors and ceilings rather than jumping. See our review for more details. It packs a lot of content ever since the last update doubled the game’s length and added PDLC. The added bits feel like they were designed just to make you spend money on DLC though – they’re more frustrating than fun. Still, some people like a challenge!

Gravity Guy is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Get it here on the Marketplace.

QR: Gravity Guy

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Windows Phone Xbox Live Review: Bug Village

Bug Village Lead

For the longest time, microtransactions were prohibited in Windows Phone games. Microsoft’s Beards & Beaks dabbled in offering PDLC (premium downloadable content) last July. But no third party games offered PDLC until Gravity Guy’s January update. Before you can buy extra stuff for those games, you’ll first need to purchase the game itself. Bug Village, on the other hand, is the only freemium Xbox Live title so far. The game itself is completely free; developer Glu Mobile makes its profits from the title’s optional content purchases. While this style of game won’t be for everybody, you can color me excited for the potential of future freemium Live titles.

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Chickens Can't Fly

You've seen us tease it on Monday with a video review. Then we gave you even more info on it last night. Now the game can be yours.

Yes folks, Chickens Can't Fly from Amused Sloth is now available in the Marketplace. The hilarious and entertaining game is sure to bring a smile to your face and hours of fun as you answer some important questions like  Can Chickens Warm Up? Can Chicken escape witches? and more while collecting corn and earning trophies.

Chickens Can't Fly

The game features more than 50 levels, achievements, free ringtones, Global Weekly challenges and eventually avatar awards all for $2.99. We've said it's one of our favorite games on the platform and that the developer has done a bang up job--now you can see if we're lying or not.

Grab Chicken's Can't Fly here in the Marketplace with a free trial. Hit us up in comments and let us know if we're crazy or spot on. (QR Code after the break with our video review).

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Windows Phone Game Review: Solvr

Solvr for Windows Phone

Looking for a painfully challenging game for your Windows Phone? Give Solvr a try.

Solvr is a math game where you are given a group of numbers and a target value. You have to match the target value by adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing the provided numbers. It sounds easy until you get started solving the puzzle.

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Chickens Can't Fly rocket

As yesterday’s video preview proves, WPCentral’s Daniel Rubino is a big fan of Chickens Can’t Fly, this week’s Must Have Xbox Live game. The game is due out this Wednesday, and we’ve got some fresh details to tide you over till then.

Chickens Can’t Fly is the Xbox Live sequel to indie game Chickens Can Dream. Whereas a previous indie-to-Xbox Live sequel, IonBallEX, was basically just the original game with a new set of levels, Chickens Can’t Fly greatly expands on its predecessor. The entire Chickens Can Dream experience is still present in Can’t Fly, where it’s become Survival Mode. In Survival, players pilot a chicken through a randomly generated level until their lives run out, trying to pass as many checkpoints as possible along the way.

The bulk of Chickens Can’t Fly’s new content comes in the form of more than 50 individual levels, called Experiments. These short levels are ideal for playing on the go. Each one poses as an actual scientific experiment, with goals like seeing how many sausages the chicken can eat without dying, or whether it can survive eating bad corn. The variety of goals and challenges present in the Experiments is quite impressive. Depending on your score, you’ll earn a Bronze, Silver, or Gold rating for each level, too.

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