Games

Microsoft is really starting to make true on the promises of connectivity between Xbox 360 and Windows Phone titles. This week’s Xbox Live release, Kinectimals allows gamers to transfer their personalized kitties to the console version and vice-versa. Next week we’re getting another ‘connected’ title in the form of Fusion: Sentient from developer Wahoo Studios (aka NinjaBee) and Microsoft Studios.

Fusion: Sentient is the portable companion to Xbox 360 title Fusion: Genesis (developed by Starfire Studios). Both titles release on the same day, but unlike Full House Poker, the Fusion games are much more distinct from each other. Sentient is a third-person strategy game. Visually, it closely resembles The Harvest but the gameplay is closer to BioWare RPGs like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic thanks to the turn-based nature of the combat.

Head past the break for more details on connectivity between Fusion: Sentient and Fusion: Genesis, screenshots, a trailer, and a free MP3 soundtrack.

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Crazy Casino - Review

The developers of Mars Runner has released Crazy Casino over at the Windows Phone Marketplace. Crazy Casino is a collection of slot and video poker games that become unlocked as you progress through the game an win more coins and tickets.

Tickets are earned as you play to unlock additional slot machines and the more coins you win, the further you progress in reputation or gambler status. There are two video poker games and three slot games.

To read more on Crazy Casino, slip on past the break.

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Nasty Nutz - Mango App Spotlight

Nasty Nutz is a jumper styled game for your Windows Phone that has you battling mutated hazelnuts from outer space. The mutated nuts are infecting squirrels and you play the role of the only squirrel immune to the nasty nut infection.

There are twenty levels to the game and your job is to devour the invading hazelnuts. You don't wait for the nuts to come to you, you jump up the screen taking the fight to them. You start by tapping the screen for that initial jump and as you take out a nut, you jump higher. You jump from nut to nut, climbing the screen until you take out your quota of nuts (listed on the side of the screen.

You guide your jumps by tilting the phone left or right. If you miss a nut and start to fall, you can tap the screen for a power jump to give you a fighting chance to reach a nut and continue your journey.  You advance to the next level by taking out a set number of nuts which is indicated to the right of the game screen.  Just below this number is your power jump energy bar.  The more power, the higher your power jump.

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Mafia Pizza Car - Review

Elbert Perez is at it again. He's developed another entertaining Windows Phone game, Mafia Pizza Car. You play the role of a Mafioso pizza delivery dude. You're not only responsible for timely delivery of the pies and taking care of a few side jobs along the way.

Unfortunately these side jobs tend to attract the attention of the police and you'll need to learn to avoid them or run the risk of getting busted.  To see how Mafia Pizza Car shakes out, zip on past the break.

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Chromatic - Review

Looking for a fast paced shooter game for your Windows Phone? Take a look at Chromatic.

Chromatic is a 2D shooter where you take control of a defense turret and defend your position against wave after wave of attacking enemies. As you progress through the game you gain access to six unique guns with their own power/strengths. As you work your way through the game, these weapons will advance in levels as well to increase their effectiveness.

To read more on Chromatic, follow the break

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A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that indie twin-stick shooter Square Off (see review) would soon receive a Mango update. It turns out I wasn’t lying; Square Off’s first Mango update is here.

Square Off version 1.4 Mango update release notes:

  • Fast App Switching
  • Improved frame rate

Developer Gnomic Studios has made good on the two most clear-cut advantages that Mango brings to the table. Both the paid and free versions of the game have been updated, so now everyone can enjoy square-shaped Mango-ey goodness. Oh, and more updates are on the way in the future…

Square Off costs $1.29 and you can grab it here from the Marketplace. Square Off Free costs even less – pick it up here

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It’s been a while since we’ve published an Xbox Live Developer Interview. We haven’t been resting on our laurels though, and today we present another exciting look behind the creation of an upcoming game. The title in question is Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp, a Windows Phone-exclusive companion to the Toy Soldiers Xbox Live Arcade games. Both Signal Studios and Krome Studios contributed to Boot Camp’s development, and we had the pleasure of speaking with a member of each studio.

Head past the break for the full interview and exclusive screenshots of Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp’s gameplay.

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Game House recently updated two of their Xbox Live titles, and we’ve got the scoop on what’s changed.

First up, Doodle Jump’s version 1.3 update does not bring the new themes (levels) we were promised a while back. But it does take advantage of the Windows Phone Mango update’s removal of the 30 FPS cap, bumping Doodle Jump’s frame rate up to 60FPS. That should make split-second steering a bit easier.

Looking forward, three new themes will definitely come in the next update, which should hit before the end of the year. For more information on Doodle Jump, see our review.

As for Sally’s Salon Luxury Edition, the version 1.1 Mango update brings the following changes:

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Kinectimals catnapped, Microsoft to rescue on November 2

We’ve received a lot of questions and comments about the Xbox Live title Kinectimals disappearing from the Marketplace. Many of you have been worried about the missing kitties, so it’s time to set the record straight.

First off, the Windows Phone version of Kinectimals appeared on the Marketplace Wednesday morning alongside the regularly-scheduled Xbox Live release, Orbital. It was a pleasant surprise, as we only expected a single Live release. Later that day, Kinectimals dropped off the Marketplace.

As it turns out, Kinectimals’ release was a ‘soft launch’ according to a Microsoft representative we spoke with. They released it as a tease to build hype for the game’s official release, which comes next week on November 2. Anyone who already purchased the game can enjoy it as normal, but those who didn’t will need to wait till Wednesday. In the meantime, enjoy the above picture of my kitty, MouseCat, getting into trouble at the CiCi's Pizza buffet. We also have this demonstration video from Nokia World.

We actually updated out original story yesterday, but many readers may have missed it with everything going on. For the record, you can always find gaming-related news by jumping to the Games section of our site.

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Nokia World: Kinectimals demonstration video

One of the nice things about attending industry events is that we get to meet Microsoft representatives and have them demo Xbox Live games for us. Case in point: at Nokia World today, this nice lady was kind enough to show us the mobile version of Kinectimals. Watch the video to see her selecting a kitten, exporting the little fellow to the Xbox 360 game, and playing a jump rope minigame with it.

Speaking of which, the advanced jump rope Challenges get annoyingly tough, don’t they? The rope speeds up and slows down erratically, which often leads to my cat tripping over the rope when my concentration lapses. He sort of deserves it because he is a bad kitty, but that’s beside the point. Thankfully, you don’t have to beat every challenge to advance in Kinectimals – even the Achievements only require 25 gold medals, which isn’t that many.

Kinectimals will cost $2.99 when it officially launches on November 2. At that time you'll be able to pick up the kitty simulator here on the Marketplace. 

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Yesterday we mentioned that Orbital would be this week’s Xbox Live release, and that has proven to be true. But it turns out that wasn’t the whole story. Microsoft has gone and sneaked Kinectimals onto the Marketplace as well!

Kinectimals is the portable version of Frontier Software and Microsoft’s feline-themed Kinect game. Players can choose one of five kitties or import an existing cat from the 360 version (which we haven’t tried just yet). Then it’s time to teach your kitty tricks by performing swiping motions, play catch, complete challenges, and buy lots of accessories. So far Kinectimals is a surprisingly faithful port of the retail Xbox 360 version, and it doesn’t even have the original’s obnoxious announcer, always a plus. The Achievements are also super easy. And last but not least, it’s Nodo compatible!

As for Orbital, it’s a Mango-only game. The simple concept, multiple gameplay modes, sci-fi graphics, and techno music all make for an addictive experience.

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Bump Out - Review

Like puzzle games? Bump Out is a neat little puzzle game for your Windows Phone that any puzzle aficionado will appreciate.

The goal is to bump or bounce soccer balls off the screen until you have only one remaining. The balls are placed on a grid and you slide one into another to bump them off the screen. Sounds easy, right? Bump on past the break to see just how easy Bump Out can be.

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Orbital circles around to Xbox Live this week

The Xbox Live releases keep a-coming, thank goodness. Following on the heels of completely realistic Australian racing simulator Jet Car Stunts is this week’s release, Orbital. Already a hit on other mobile platforms, Orbital comes from Swiss developer BitForge and publisher Microsoft Studios.

Orbital is a space-themed puzzle game in which players fire orbs out of a cannon that bounce around the screen. Each orb turns into a number when it stops moving. The object is to clear the orbs by reflecting subsequent shots off of them. Sounds complicated, but it’s simple to grasp when you play it. The Windows Phone version includes three different single-player modes in addition to a local multiplayer mode.

Orbital comes out Wednesday, October 26 and will cost $2.99. Can’t wait? Grab the two-song MP3 soundtrack for free right now.

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Beards & Beaks is one of WPCentral’s favorite games to talk about – it’s got a couple of affordable paid DLC levels, it’s been updated for Mango, and our own Rich Edmonds has long-wished to grow a gnome-like beard. It’s also the Xbox Live Deal of the Week this week, on sale for the low price of $1.99.

Beards & Beaks is a casual real-time strategy game in which players control an army of gnomes by flicking the guys around the screen. With lots of different types of levels, gnomes, and enemy crows, the gameplay is surprisingly diverse. Plus it has easy Achievements, which some folks like even better than ice cream. Since I’ve already earned them all, I think I’ll go get some ice cream now. Oh, but if you want to know more about the game, check out our full review and our interview with the game’s producer.

The Beards & Beaks sale starts this Wednesday and lasts for one week only. Get the game here on the Marketplace.

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Xbox Live: Shoot1UP Exclusive Preview

We briefly touched on Shoot1UP back in August when it appeared in the Gamescom WP7 sizzle reel. Today it’s time to let the cat out of the bag and reveal lots of details about this upcoming Xbox Live title.

Shoot1UP comes from Mommy’s Best Games, who are best known for their recent Serious Sam: Double D Xbox Live Arcade game. Before graduating to Xbox Live titles, they developed several Xbox 360 indie games, including Shoot1UP. The game is a vertically-scrolling shoot-em-up that stands out for several reasons.

Head past the break for our full preview and exclusive reveal of the WP7 version screenshots.

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Zombies Attack Free - Review

Zombies have become a very popular character these days and Windows Phone games have their fair share of zombie games. Zombies Attack! Free is the latest incarnation of the zombie themed games.

The game premise is simple, destroy the zombies by dropping an assortment of bombs on them as they parade across your Windows Phone screen. Any zombies that make it across, will eat away at your health. To see how you prevent the undead from devouring your brains, skip on past the break.

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Windows Phone UK blog touts new Xbox Live features

Microsoft’s official Windows Phone UK blog recently posted about Xbox Live features that gamers may have missed. I can tell you why most gamers wouldn’t have noticed these features – all but one of them aren’t active yet!

Here’s a quick rundown:

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New Sonic CD Trailer remembers its roots

Sega's first Sonic CD trailer showed just enough gameplay footage to get Sonic fans salivating. This new trailer is even better. First it plays up the game's roots as a Sega CD/Mega CD title; Sonic CD stands out as one of the best games on that quirky, beleaguered platform, in fact. The rest of the trailer focuses on the game's unique time-traveling aspects, complete with plenty of footage of Sonic in action.

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It’s been a while since we mentioned Square Off, the lovable twin-stick indie shooter from Gnomic Studios. I’m pleased to report that the developers have been hard at work updating their game with a much-requested feature or two. Most exciting for players who haven’t tried the game yet, though, Gnomic released a free version today!

Square Off Free contains the same seven levels of alien-blasting fun that we praised in our review. Players take control of the Square Avenger, who uses a jetpack and guns to defend the earth from obnoxious one-eyed invaders. The free version, as you might expect, displays ads at the bottom of the screen. I’d prefer the ad banner to be shorter height-wise and spread all the way across the bottom of the screen, but the current implementation is probably a limitation of the advertising software. At any rate, the free version is a great way to experience the game at no cost, and you can always pony up for the paid version if you tire of the ads.

Speaking of which, Square Off’s version 1.3 update also debuted today. It brings the following changes:

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We love Arcane's Tower Defense. It's easily one of the most elaborate and polished indie games we have on Windows Phone. So we're pretty psyched to see it get a Mango update, enabling fast-app resume. On top of that, we hear another update is coming in a few days with some bug fixes, new campaigns and new features.

In addition, if you didn't want to pay the entirely reasonable $1.99 for the game, you can now get a free, ad-supported version that is also Mango-ready. It's the exact same game except we hear the paid version will get some new campaign maps.

All in all, if you enjoy tower defense games with a hint of World of Warcraft, we implore you to give this game a spin. You won't be disappointed. Pick up the paid version (w/trial) here or go for the new free ad-supported version here.

Peep the video of it in action after the break...

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We mentioned it yesterday that Jet Cart Stunts was coming to Xbox LIVE for Windows Phone and sure enough, the game has landed.

"Jet Cart Stunts is an award winning, over the top, addictive, 3D driving game, with massive jumps, mid-air hoops, floating platforms, spiral roadways and outlandish maneuvers in impossible environments.

Jet Car Stunts is not your typical driving game, the challenge isn't to race your opponents, the challenge is the insane stunt courses themselves. It's not just about driving, it's also about flying. To reach the finish line, you will need t one your skills."

The game features 70 levels and three different game modes (Platforming, Time Trial and Freestyle) and runs for the low price of $2.99 which seems quite fair for that many levels. Of course, it has a free trial, so just grab it here in the Marketplace and hit us up in the comments on your thoughts.

PS Did we mention this game is already Mango 7.5 ready? Because it is...sweet, sweet fast-app resume it is!

Also make sure to read our interview with the developer!

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Xbox Live: Sudoku makes it outside of the US at last

Babaroga’s Minesweeper and Sudoku both launched on August 10. Both are free, ad-supported Xbox Live titles that sport a sleek Metro look. The only problem with the August launch is that it applied to the US only. Minesweeper came to other territories a short while later on August 23, but Sudoku has been MIA in those places – until now. Sudoku is finally available outside of the US! (Note: it may take a few hours before it shows up on your Marketplace.)

Sudoku is a logic puzzle game in which players must fill in each square of a 9 x 9 grid with the appropriate numbers. While sudoku is traditionally a pen and pencil game, Babaroga’s version adds a nice leveling system and powerups to the mix. It also includes a unique and challenging Lightning Mode with a timer and combo system, should regular sudoku not be exciting enough for you. For more details, check out our full review.

Remember, Sudoku is free and has 50 GamerScore worth of Achievements, so you have no excuse not to download it. Pick it up here from the Marketplace.

Thanks, DarkSynopsis, for the heads up!

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When Namco Bandai’s Puzzle Quest 2 went on sale a few weeks ago, it wasn’t actually the Xbox Live Deal of the Week. Fast forward a bit and this time it really is the Deal of the Week. Starting Wednesday it will be on sale for $4.99, down from $6.99.

Puzzle Quest 2 is a puzzle role-playing game. Players explore large dungeons, take on quests, and collect plenty of loot. Whenever a battle occurs, the fighting is done via Bejeweled-like match-3 gameplay. It’s an extremely long game with beautiful art, multiple playable characters, and a few nigh-impossible Achievements. Ignoring the Achievements, the gameplay is just super addicting. If you like Bejeweled and RPGs, you really can’t do any better. We’ll have a full review soon.

Puzzle Quest 2 will be on sale for $4.99 for one week only. This gaming treasure can be found here on the Marketplace.

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Jet Car Stunts Mini-Interview

With the announcement that Jet Car Stunts is at last coming to Xbox Live tomorrow, we thought it would be a good time to speak with the game’s developer, True Axis. Several years before starting to make games, Luke Ryan, one of the company’s founders, first developed the True Axis Physics SDK. In 2008, True Axis took advantage of their physics engine to make Jet Car Stunts on iPhone. Today we grill Luke about the Windows Phone version of his company’s debut game.

Head past the jump for the full interview and exclusive first screenshots of the Windows Phone version of Jet Car Stunts!

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The last two weeks haven’t been great for Xbox Live gamers since no new games were released during that time. Things will take a turn for the better this Wednesday with the release of Jet Car Stunts from Australian developer True Axis.

First announced before Windows Phone 7 actually launched, Jet Car Stunts has been a long time in coming. It’s a stunt-oriented racing game whose best along might be XBLA/PS3/PSP title GripShift. Players hop in a race car take on jump-filled floating tracks in Platforming Mode, take part in more traditional races in Time Trial Mode, or just go stunt-crazy in the brand-new Freestyle Mode. Jet Car Stunts uses simple touch-screen controls which can be configured in 6 different ways.

Check back later today when we’ll present a mini-interview with the developer and the exclusive premiere of more Jet Car Stunts screenshots. Jet Car Stunts launches on Wednesday October 19 for $2.99.

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