Games

WP Central

While our recent review of Press Play’s Xbox Live title Tentacles may have sparked some debate (despite being written by an all-around terrific guy), many gamers don’t have strong feelings one way or the other because they haven’t played it yet. A certain subset of those gamers will likely leave their dangerous neutrality behind when Tentacles becomes the Xbox Live Deal of the Week this Wednesday. It will cost $2.99, down from $4.99.

Tentacles is the tale of Lemmy, a small tentacled creature who ends up inside the body of his mad scientist creator. Unique touch controls allow Lemmy to move one tentacle at a time, navigating dangerous levels and eating eyeballs for health. With 40 levels, beautiful 3D graphics and 2D story sequences, and an atmospheric soundtrack, Tentacles could be a game you’ll fall in love with. Just keep in mind that its difficulty is so high in later levels that it can be quite frustrating. Depending on your patience and constitution, your experience may be different.

Starting Wednesday, Tentacles will be on sale for one week only. You’ll find it here on the Marketplace.

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Xbox 360 version trailer

Last week we said that two Xbox Live games would hit the Marketplace this Wednesday the 14th. It turns out that wasn’t quite accurate… But don’t worry, it’s good news! Joining Battlewagon and Doodle God will be Breeze, for a total of three Xbox Live releases in one week!

What’s Breeze, you ask? We’ve got exclusive early details. The goal of Breeze is to navigate a flower through 60 maze-like outdoor levels. Each level has a goal that must be unlocked by collecting Sunshine orbs, plus dangerous obstacles like tree branches that can snag the fragile flower.

Instead of directly moving the flower around those hazards, you’ll control the wind that blows the flower – hence the name.  The game offers two control types: Touch and Tilt. Touch mode uses multi-touch controls; whatever points you touch acting as the source of the breeze. Tilt controls work as you’d expect, allowing players to control the breeze by moving their phones to and fro.

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Windows Phone Xbox Live Review: Tentacles

WP Central

Games are usually fairly consistent in quality from start to finish, with the latter third or half perhaps showcasing more bugs and less interesting level designs. It’s a typical effect of the rushed production schedule that developers go through as they’re forced to hit a release date on time. While I’m used to a slight drop-off in quality as I get farther into a game, nothing prepared me for Tentacles’ downward spiral. The platformer-esque Windows Phone exclusive from Press Play, makers of the whimsical Max & the Magic Marker could have been one of the best games on the platform. Instead, it comes across like a malicious bait-and-switch.

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Sonic 4 Mango update turns the music back on

Sonic!

The arrival of the Mango update has been a great thing for Windows Phone Xbox Live gamers, with a few exceptions. Specifically, Twin Blades couldn’t run on Mango until it got patched, and Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I began to experience a nasty sound bug. Thankfully Sonic 4 received a Mango update today that fixes things right up.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I version 1.1 release notes

  • Added Fast App Switching support
  • Fixed sound bug that occurred when players earned an extra life, causing the music to stop

Sonic 4 is a great touch-screen platformer that captures nearly all of the magic of its console counterpart. Now that its tunes are working properly again, fans of the blue hedgehog can step into his shoes and thwart Dr. Eggman’s plans as intended. If you haven’t played the game yet, give our review a look.

Sonic 4 costs $6.99 and there is a free trial. Pick it up here on the Marketplace. To learn about Sonic CD, the follow up/prequel to Sonic 4, check out our developer interview.

Thanks to Mark Tepper for the tip!

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WP Central

We’ve already mentioned that our friends at IronSun Studios (that’s SUN, not SON) will be releasing Battlewagon on Xbox Live next week. But that is only half of next week’s story. WPCentral is proud to announce that there will be two Xbox Live releases on December 14!  Joining Battlewagon will be Doodle God, from the fine folks at JoyBits.

Doodle God surprisingly doesn’t have much to do with doodles, but it’s got the god part pretty well covered. Players take on the role of a creator by combining numerous elements to create even more elements. Discovering every element will take lots of time and creativity. It’s like chemistry, but fun!

Interestingly, Doodle God was previously available as an indie title but has now been removed from the Marketplace - just like IonBall disappearing when IonBallEX came out. Doodle God is also the second Xbox Live title from a Russian developer, following last month’s strange and addictive Farm Frenzy 2.

Doodle God and Battlewagon will both be available on Wednesday, December 14. Each game will cost $2.99. You can try the free Flash version of Doodle God right now.

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WP Central

Microsoft first announced the addition of an ATLAS to Halo Waypoint back in October. But the ATLAS didn’t show up with the Halo WayPoint Mango update that coincided with Halo Anniversary’s release. Thankfully we’ve learned today that the ATLAS is not very far off – it’s coming this Saturday, December 10.

Halo ATLAS uses maps (sponsored by Brady Games) to provide valuable multiplayer data to Halo Reach and Anniversary players. When we say Halo Anniversary players, we really mean Reach players because the non-campaign Anniversary multiplayer simply piggybacks off of Reach.

The connectivity with Reach is possible because during multiplayer games, Reach constantly sends out packets of data called heartbeats that contain gameplay status. Halo ATLAS provides a bunch of that information in near-real-time to smartphone users.

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Windows Phone Xbox Live Review: Fusion: Sentient

WP Central

When Microsoft announced that downloadable Xbox 360 title Fusion: Genesis would receive a Windows Phone companion game, Fusion: Sentient, my eyes lit up. Sentient comes from Wahoo Studios, makers of some charming and creative XBLA titles. And what gamer doesn’t enjoy the promise of cross-platform connectivity? Imagine my surprise then when I finally played Sentient and discovered it to be a dull, arduous cash-in of a game.

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WP Central

Emily Dickinson would be happy to know that Death has finally stopped for Xbox Live gamers. And by that I mean, Hasta la Muerte (Until Death or To the Death) is now available on Xbox Live.

A Windows Phone exclusive from French developer Pohlm Studio, Hasta la Muerte places gamers in control of one of death’s emissaries. The emissary must free the souls of the dead in order to prevent them from becoming cursed lost souls. He won’t go it alone as friendly souls called Soulpets offers assistance. Hasta la Muerte features over 30 levels, boss battles, and a stark European art style that’s unlike anything else on the platform.

Is anyone else curious why a French developer chose a Spanish title for their game? The French translation of Until Death is Jusqu'à la Mort. Or maybe Pour la Mort, that works too. Either way, it doesn’t roll of the tongue as easily, does it?

Hasta la Muerte costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Pick it up here on the Marketplace. To view the game’s trailer, check out our previous post.

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Windows Phone Xbox Live Review: Shuffle Party

WP Central

Shuffle Party is the latest free Xbox Live game developed by Babaroga and published by Microsoft Studios. Unlike its predecessors Minesweeper and Sudoku, Shuffle Party even had the good manners to release simultaneously worldwide. Whereas the other two games are cerebral logic puzzlers with sizable learning curves, Babaroga’s latest offering is a far more accessible sports game. The sport? Why, shuffleboard and bowling, of course.

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Battlewagon storms to Xbox Live next week

A few weeks ago, we mentioned that IronSun Studios’ Battlewagon would be coming to Xbox Live soon. At last, Battlewagon has a release date: December 14, next week!

Battlewagon is a lot like Robin Hood, but with a rolling death machine instead of a bow and arrows. Four evil Barons have taken the player’s kingdom, and it’s time to get it back! Equip your wagon with instruments of destruction and then storm the bad guys’ fortifications in 68 levels of medieval mayhem. Not only is Battlewagon a totally fresh premise, it also has that lovable Amiga-like British artwork that has all but disappeared these days.

WP Central

Battlewagon debuts on Wednesday, December 14. It will cost $2.99.

Head past the jump for the full Battlewagon announcement press release.

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WP Central

You know what hasn’t gone on sale in a while? Earthworm Jim. The last time it was the Xbox Live Deal of the Week was way back in April. Now it’s the Deal of the Week again, its price cut from $4.99 to $2.99.

The mobile version of Earthworm Jim comes from Gameloft, but it’s a far cry from the awesomeness of Let’s Golf 2. Earthworm Jim has some of the worst touch screen controls around, making it way less fun than it should be. Its Achievements are also quite tough and time consuming, but at least none of them are glitched (Ahem, Let’s Golf 2!). Despite those issues, I still had a decent time with Earthworm Jim because the original is such an off-kilter classic. See our full review for more details.

Earthworm Jim will be on sale for one week only. Pick it up here in the Marketplace – when the sale goes live Wednesday morning.

Earthworm Jim

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Xbox Live - Hasta la Muerte comes to life this week

Didn’t get enough ghosts in last week’s Xbox Live title, Ghostscape? This week’s release deals with the afterlife as well, though it’s a completely different sort of game. Hasta La Muerte, from French developer Pohlm Studio, comes to Xbox Live on Wednesday, December 7.

In Hasta la Muerte, players control one of death’s emissaries. The emissary travels through a sort of purgatory, freeing the souls of the dead. Take too long to save them and they become cursed souls, attacking you. The game uses tilt for movement, which seems to work pretty well.

Hasta la Muerte contains over 30 levels, with unique boss encounters every 5 levels. Once you have unlocked friendly SoulPets, you can go back to previous levels and use the Pets’ abilities to try for better ratings.

WP Central

Of course, the main reason we’re excited about Hasta la Muerte is its beautiful European art style. The emissary and souls alike are represented by simple abstract figures. Combined with the stark, almost colorless levels, the game feels very different and otherworldly. Let's hope it plays as good as it looks!

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Windows Phone Game Review: Air Soccer Tour

Air Soccer Tour

Air Soccer Tour is a cross between an air hockey game and a soccer match for your Windows Phone. Available in a free and paid version, this mango app combines the two for an interesting, challenging and entertaining game for your Windows Phone.

Air Soccer Tour has three game speeds, four game levels, and you can play with up to three strikers. There are one player, two player (pass and play) and a single player tournament to compete in. All in all, plenty of air soccer gaming.

More after the break.

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Dance Central 2 coming to Windows Phone

Dance Central 2 for WP7

We've been talking about Microsoft needs to capitalize on their Xbox 360 success with Windows Phone--tie them together so that Windows Phone becomes synonymous with the popular gaming console. The companion app that's coming tomorrow is a big step in that direction.

Another step would be to ride on the coattails of some of the platform's most popular games--in this case Xbox Kinect's Dance Central 2. Dance Central 2 is the wildly popular sequel to one of last year's biggest Kinect titles. It's that game that allows you to hilariously embarrass yourself in front of friends and family as you attempt to mimic dancing while the Kinect tries to, ahem, correct your moves.

Now we just received this picture of what appears to be a mini-Dance Central 2 game coming to Windows Phone. In the game description, it reads:

"Record a video of yourself or your friends dancing to one of seven Dance Central 2 tracks and turn your video into a polished music video with the look and feel of Dance Central.

Share your video on Facebook or challenge your friends to "battle". Coming Soon!"

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Windows Phone Game Review: aPuzzleIntrusion Free

aPuzzleIntrusion is a free game for your Windows Phone that strangely combines picture puzzles with cockroaches.

The game has three levels of difficulty and twenty different picture puzzles. The higher the level of difficulty, the more pieces to the puzzle.  

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WP Central

As our review indicates, I’m a big fan of Sonic 4, the first Sonic game released on Windows Phone. SEGA is now gearing up to release Sonic CD, a new and improved version of the classic Sega CD game, for Windows Phone and other platforms. In the latest installment of our Xbox Live Developer Interview series, we grill Ken Balough, Brand Manager at SEGA, about the upcoming Sonic CD remake.

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Windows Phone Game Review: LineBirds

Linebirds for Windows Phone

LineBirds has had success over on the iPhone and Djinnworks is hoping to see similar success by bringing the popular game to the Windows Phone platform. LineBirds is an obstacle course type game where you try to navigate your bird through a maze of lines and obstacles.

The goal of the game is to navigate your bird the furthest through the maze. Brush one of the lines and all you'll loose is a few feathers. If it's more than just a glancing touch, game over. You also have moving dangers to avoid (airplanes) that will ruin your day as well.

Continued after the break.

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Mini Squadron for WP7

Remember Mini Squadron? It’s one of those Xbox Live games that was announced back in 2010 that still hasn't come out yet. We ran an exclusive preview of the Windows Phone version all the way back in April and yet the title never materialized. We’re proud to announce that changes this month, as Mini Squadron will finally launch on December 21!

A quick Mini Squadron refresher: the original game came from Supermono Studios. Fat Pebble handled the Windows Phone port, with Microsoft Studios acting as the publisher. Mini Squadron is a 2-dimensional aerial combat game. With over 60 unlockable aircraft (7 exclusive to Windows Phone) and 9 different maps (one exclusive), Mini Squadron will provide tons of plane-shooting fun.

Since we’ve already gone into detail about the gameplay and features, let’s check out the game’s soundtrack. Mini Squadron features ten midi remakes of classical tunes:

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Wheel of Wealth soon to be bumped to 1.3

Wheel of Wealth

Wheel of Wealth, a popular Windows Phone turned-based interpretation of the TV show Wheel of Fortune, is soon to hit version 1.3 and will bring a number of improvements as well as squashing a horde of bugs. The release is currently being internally tested, and we should look to see it being submitted to the Marketplace soon. Here are the highlighted changes of the upcoming update:

  • New pass and play mode (Solo play mode).
  • Ability to enable notifications but disable toast.
  • General UI improvements.
  • Addition of sound effects.
  • Improved chat system.
  • New tile design.
  • Redesigned main menu.

You can download Wheel of Wealth from the Marketplace for free (ad supported).

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Arachnattack - Mango App Spotlight

Arachnattack is a simple, yet challenging game for your Windows Phone. Arachnattack has you fighting off an attack of spiders and it's your job to scare them away.

To scare them away, simply tap them before they climb back up to the top of the screen. Each spider that you scare off gains you points and if one reaches the bottom of the screen you loose one of your five lives.

Arachnattack

When you first play Arachnattack it will come across a little on the slow side. Spiders fall at a leisurely pace giving the game a "too easy" feel to it. If you make it to the 800ish point mark, things begin to pick up and once you reach the 1100ish point mark the pace becomes a little feverish. While the speed of the spiders falling adds to the challenge, the background brick pattern conceals the spider web ever so slightly. As the pace picks up, sometimes it's hard to pick up on a falling spider and one that you've scared off.

All in all, Arachnattack is a simple but fun game for your Windows Phone. I doubt you'll spend hours on end playing Arachnattack but if you need to pass a few minutes, it's not a bad choice. Arachnattack is a free game that you can download here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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Free version of Tank Battle now available

Tank Battle Free

Birchwood Games released Tank Battle some time ago (here's our review) and we found it to be an entertaining game for your Windows Phone. Controls took a little to get used to but overall, a decent battle game on the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Tank Battle is now being offered in a free, ad-supported version.  Tank Battle Free has the same battlefield action, same tanks, same game... it's just now has a banner ad running across the top of the screen.

If tanks are your thing, you can find Tank Battle Free here at the Windows Phone Marketplace. If your not a fan of banner ads, the ad-free version is running $1.29 and you can find that version of Tank Battle here at the Marketplace.

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Jewel Tower goes ad-free but is still free

XIMAD's Jewel Tower

Jewel Tower is a "tetris-like" game for your Windows Phone (here's our spotlight on the game) that was first released about a month ago as a free, ad-support game. Well that's changed.

XIMAD is still offering Jewel Tower for free but has dropped the ads. The ads-free version is fully functional and just as entertaining as the original, ad-supported version. You now just have a little more screen space to view the game with.

If you're looking for a simple, yet challenging, game for your Windows Phone you can find Jewel Tower here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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Ghostscape

Shuffle Party isn’t the only Xbox Live release today. Psionic Games’ Ghostscape has also emerged from the crypts and onto the Marketplace.

Ghostscape is an old-school, first-person adventure game. Players enter a creepy haunted house, solve puzzles, and take photographs of ghosts to eliminate them. Along the way you’ll collect diary pages and piece together the house’s sordid history.

Ghostscape

The Windows Phone version adds new puzzles, areas, and items to the original design. The Achievements mostly revolve around photographing everything in the game, but there’s also one for beating it in less than 20 minutes. Hope you like speed runs!

Ghostscape costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Pick it up here on the Marketplace… if you dare.

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