Games

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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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Age of Empires Online app for Windows Phone

Microsoft has recently announced the first purchasable civilization pack for Age of Empires Online, a multiplayer version of the popular RTS series by Ensemble. What's more interesting is the team has also announced that a Windows Phone app will be made available later this month.

The Age of Empires Online app will allow players of the PC game to view statistics and recipes for items, access to a materials calculator that displays which items can be crafted with available resources on the account, and will enable users to view most popular items crafted in the community. Unfortunately no client as of yet, but here's hoping.

Update: The app is available to download for free.

Source: AOEO Blog, via: Kotaku, thanks hommus01for the heads up!

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The Halo Waypoint app is a useful way for gamers to check on their accomplishments in the Halo Xbox 360 games while on the go. But the mobile version of Waypoint lacks a few of the Xbox 360 version’s features, such as viewing campaign progress. That will change this fall, when 343 Studios overhauls all three versions of the Waypoint (Xbox 360, WP7, and PC) to more closely match each other in looks and features. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

Halo Waypoint will soon gain the ability to create custom challenges in Halo Reach. The game already features daily and weekly challenges, but now players will be able to make their own (such as scoring a certain number of head shots or grenade kills in specific maps) and share them with friends. Sure, that feature could have just been patched directly into Reach, but including it in Waypoint will encourage more players to check out the Halo-themed portal.

Head past the jump to learn about the Halo ATLAS app and Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition.

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You, Me and Words - Review

You, Me and Words joins the healthy list of Boggle type games on the Windows Phone Marketplace. But there's something different about You, Me and Words that sets it apart from the other games such as Wordrix and Word Arena.

For starters, instead of a 4x4 grid of letters, You, Me and Words has a 3x3 grid. If my math is correct, that means you have seven fewer letters to build words off of. You also don't have to link the letters together, you simply tap the letters in sequence to build the word.

To read more on You, Me and Words just follow the break.

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PAC MAN CE DX and Twin Blades get updates

A dirty open secret about Twin Blades (see our review), even after it returned to the Marketplace, was that it didn't work on phones with Windows Phone 7.5--it literally would crash upon launch. That made it the first (and to our knowledge only) game/app that would completely die in Mango.

Now with version 1.3, all of that seems to be behind us as the game now works in Mango. We say works in Mango but it is not, we repeat not Mango-ready. Yeah, super lame. No fast app resume here folks. Although a somewhat repetitive game, it's well worth a trial run and you can grab that here.

[Correction: Hey, look at that. For some reason our fast-app resume was not working but now it is. So yes, looks like Twin Blades is Mango ready--so that's something.]

Likewise PAC MAN CE DX version 1.1 got updated but there's no clear indication of what was fixed, so we'll have to try to find out for you. You can pick up that game here--and as far as Pac Man games go, that one is pretty great (see our review). But at $6.99 and no fast-app switching, ouch, we think waiting for a deal-of-the-week may be apropos here.

We're reaching out to both companies to try and pry a full change log from their hands and will post if there's anything significant regarding achievements or bug fixes.

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Pumpkin Smash arrives in time for Halloween

A spooky pumpkin-catapult-undead-smashing indie title has flung its way onto the Marketplace and is available for free (ad supported). GlowPuff, the developers behind the likes of Gridrunner Girl and Impossible Mountain, are the brains behind this thriller, which will have you firing pumpkins to keep the enemy at bay. The gameplay is simple, but addictive.

Some highlighted features:

  • Engaging hand drawn graphics and animation
  • 30 levels of increasingly challenging battles
  • Normal and Easy mode for each level
  • Attack with Fire pumpkins, Ice pumpkins, and more!
  • 12 different monster types, each with unique weaknesses
  • 5 epic boss battles against famous movie monsters!
  • Score Combos and Multi-Kills for bonus points and extra candy rewards
  • Full musical soundtrack

You can download Pumpkin Smash from the Marketplace for absolutely nothing at all.

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Microsoft responds to Xbox Live release drought

As gamers have surely noticed by now, there was no new Xbox Live release for Windows Phone this week. The same applies to last week, which means we haven’t had a new Live game for two weeks in a row. It’s a frustrating situation for avid gamers and Achievement hunters, and has lead to much speculation about the cause of the release drought.

Who better to ask about the situation than Microsoft themselves? So we asked and this is what Michael Yaeger, Senior PR Manager for Xbox Live, had to say about it:

We are actively working with our partners as they finish development of new mobile titles, and look forward to sharing them with you as they become available.”

In other words, while many games are in development, none of them has been ready to publish in the last couple of weeks. Yes, it’s disappointing to people who want more games to play. But Michael stressed the importance of properly testing games and maintaining Xbox Live’s high quality standards. I can see his point there – I would rather have no game than a buggy game that takes months to get fixed (like I Dig It, whose patch finally went live recently).

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Tap Shot moves to v1.2

Tap Shot is an entertaining target game for you Windows Phone that has you taking out targets as fast as you can tap them. We liked the game when we first looked at Tap Shot but the one thing missing was an online leaderboard.

Tap Shot was recently update to version 1.2 and adds an online leaderboard to see how your speed shooting compares to others. You can also tag friends who also play Tap Shot and follow their progress. There is also a few design changes that gives the game a little bit of a facelift to the menus.  All in all, the update improves the look, feel and performance of Tap Shot.

Tap Shot still has three shooting galleries to choose from (each with unique target challenges) and a fourth gallery marked as "coming soon". The goal of Tap Shot is simple. Shoot as many targets before the count down timer hits zero with as few misses as possible. Targets range from stationary targets to bats.

If you haven't tried Tap Shot, it's a fun game to pass the time with. There is a free trial available and the full game will run you $.99. You can find Tap Shot here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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Smile! iBlast Moki is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week

It’s Xbox Live Deal of the Week time! This week, Godzilabs’ physics puzzler iBlast Moki gets the sale treatment. It’s on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99.

As our review indicates, the goal in each of iBlast Moki’s many levels is to knock the round Mokis into the level exit using bombs and other physics tools. It’s challenging but enjoyable, and the cute Mokis certainly don’t hurt. If I had to compare iBlast Moki to the other Xbox Live physics puzzle games, I’d put it just above Enigmo, tied with Implode!, and below the seminal Tiki Towers. Yes, I like comparing these games.

iBlast Moki will be on sale for one week only before returning to regular price. Scoop it up here on the Marketplace.

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Infinite Flight onboard with Mango

Infinite Flight is a very comprehensive flight simulator for your Windows Phone. Previous updates have added new features and aircraft into the mix (including the Space Shuttle) and the latest update takes the app to Mango.

Along with fast app switching version 2.0 adds,

  • Two new airplanes (C-17 Globemaster III and Supermarine Spitfire)
  • Airport taxiways
  • HUD Decluttering levels
  • Automatic throttle settings for the Autopilot and zoom for fly by and tower cameras
  • The option to disable touch vibration
  • Anti-Aliasing can be turned off
  • Assorted bug fixes

If you haven't tried Infinite Flight and flight simulators are your cup of tea, you really need to check this app out. There is a trial version available for Infinite Flight and the full version will run you $4.99. You can find both here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Thanks goes out to Brian for tipping us on this!

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Torchbear goes live in the Marketplace

We first mentioned the Windows Phone app Torchbear a couple of months ago when the developer needed beta testers. Well, the kinks have been ironed out and Torchbear has left the Beta stages and is now available over at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

What is Torchbear you ask? Torchbear is described as a mobile geolocation based social network game. You create a torch that can be a thought, idea or image. You then create a mission for your torch and share it with other Torchbear users around the world.

For example, you can create a torch calling for the posting of photos that make you think of the fall season (that's the mission) and add your own photo to the torch. You then monitor how many exchanges, comments, and followers keep the torch burning. You can also monitor how far the torch has traveled. You can even map out where your torch has been and monitor your torches progress from Torchbear's website.  The goal is to generate the most activity from your torch.

You do have to register with Torchbear (free) and it's interesting to see how far your torches can travel around the globe. Torchbear is a free app and you can find it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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AlterEgo - App Spotlight

AlterEgo is a retro styled game for your Windows Phone that reminds us of Ilomilo. AlterEgo is a multi-level, platform game where you navigate around platforms, obstacles and monsters to collect jumping pixels.

You have an alter ego or phantom twin that mirrors your moves from across the screen. When you hit a dead end, tap the switch box at the bottom of the screen to trade places on the screen with your alter ego. To move around the screen, you tap/hold the screen and a virtual joystick appears. This can be a little tempermental and stopping on a dime can be tough.

You have a limited number of switches per level and once you've collected all your jumping pixels, you advance to the next level. Levels get a more challenging and complicated as you progress through the game. For some, the retro graphics with AlterEgo may be an acquired taste but they fit the game well.

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Memory Cube - App Spotlight

Memory games can be challenging, especially when the playing field is three dimensional. Memory Cube is a Windows Phone game that does just that.

The game follows the traditional memory/match game style. You have a series of symbols, letters or numbers concealed beneath tiles that form a three-dimensional cube. Your job is to identify the matching tiles as quickly as possible. It's hard enough to find matching tiles on a two-dimensional board but with Memory Cube, you not only have to remember what is hidden beneath which tile but also which side of the cube the tile is located.

Memory Cube has thirty levels of play and includes ten different types of images. With each level the cube gets large and more challenging. All in all, if you like memory games Memory Cube is worth checking out.

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Full House Poker updated to Mango

Good news for players and especially those who managed to grab this title when it was the Xbox Live Deal of the Week not so long ago. Full House Poker has been updated to Mango, which brings the usual goodness with fast-app switching and more. But the interesting feature that's now included is unlockable ringtone achievements, which is something we haven't seen yet in a game on Windows Phone.

You can download Full House Poker from the Marketplace for $2.99, be sure to check out our full review!

Thanks Will for the heads up!

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Sonic 4 is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week

Last week was a fantastic week for Xbox Live game deals, as four different games went on sale. This week we’re back to a single sale game, but it’s a good one: Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I from Sega. Sonic’s first Windows Phone title will be on sale for $4.99, down from $6.99.

2010’s Sonic 4 was the first proper 2D Sonic game to hit consoles since Sonic & Knuckles all the way back in 1994. The Windows Phone port is extremely faithful to its Xbox 360 older brother, with 90% of the same content. The mobile versions of the game replace two console levels with new ones (one of which is rather weak, but oh well). Most importantly, Sonic 4’s touch screen controls work really well, making for a fine platforming experience. Check out our review for more details.

Picking up Sonic 4 on the cheap is a great way to prepare for the mobile version of Sonic CD. One of the finest games in the series, Sonic CD is dashing its way to Windows Phone and consoles later this year.

The Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I sale lasts for one week only. Grab it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

UPDATE: The game mistakenly showed up at the super-low price of $2.99 for part of Wednesday. It has since returned to the $4.99 price. Thanks to Dark Jedi I Am and the other readers who tipped us.

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