Games

Now that the 6 Weeks of Must Have Games has ended, we’re back to learning about the weekly Xbox Live releases a bit less far in advance. The first Xbox Live title to follow Angry Birds will be… Twin Blades from developer Press Start Studio and publisher Microsoft Game Studios.

That’s right, after disappearing from the Marketplace for several months over concerns about it gory content, Twin Blades is coming back. Users who already own the game have received an update that changes the game’s blood to green, and soon the game will be officially available for sale.

Twin Blades is a side-scrolling hack-and-slash game starring a nun who is tasked with saving the world from an army of the undead. She’s armed with a sickle and an assortment of guns, all of which can be upgraded by collecting zombie hearts. It’s a challenging and lengthy game with both a story mode and an all-action survival mode. We’ll have a full review soon.

Twin Blades will be available on Wednesday, July 6 for $2.99.

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Slowly but surely the entire collection of Xbox Live launch titles for Windows Phone games are going on sale. Having scratched Bejeweled Live off the list, it’s now time for Women’s Murder Club from I-Play to see the weekly discount. It’s on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99.

Women’s Murder Club is a hidden object game with mild adventure elements. Players take on the role of various crime solving ladies as they scour crime scenes for clues and try to solve a murder mystery of some sort. As our review mentions, the plot is incredibly forgettable. But it’s still a competent hidden object game (the only one on Xbox Live right now) and its Achievements are fun and easy.  Provided you like the genre, it’s easily worth getting for the low sale price.

Women’s Murder Club is on sale for $1.99 for one week only and there is a free trial. Point your magnifying glass here (Zune link) to find it on the Marketplace.

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Angry Birds for Windows Phone is now Live!

Yes, people. Let the taunting end tonight. Between the promise of custom ringtones and now the fulfillment of 'Angry Birds', Windows Phone 7 has had its day.

Angry Birds is easy on of the most anticipated games to hit the new OS and it should gives us a wee bit more parity with competing systems (using some odd metric for success, of course). From the app description, it's what you expect:

"Angry Birds is coming to Windows Phone! The survival of the angry birds is at stake. Dish out revenge on the green pigs who stole the birds’ eggs. Use the unique destructive powers of the angry birds to lay waste to the pigs’ fortified castles. Each of the 165 levels requires logic, skill and brute force to crush the enemy."

The game fetches for $2.99 with a free trial, as usual, though we're skipping right to 'buy' since we're kind of predictable like that. You can get it right now by following this link to the Marketplace. Hit us up in comments and let us know what you think. (Thanks, Dalton C., for the heads up!)

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Chicks 'n Vixens: No Donuts in the works

Chicks 'n Vixens is one of the more popular "angry birds like" games over at the Windows Phone Marketplace. We've watched the game grow from a beta to a decent arcade game for your Windows Phone. According to the developer a free, ad-supported version of the game, "Chicks 'n Vixens: No Donuts", has been submitted to the Marketplace for certification.

The game is to follow the same story line as the original. Your mission is to hurl chickens at foxes that are hiding behind various fortifications. The game will continue to be a multi-level game with assorted chicken styles to shoot from the canon.  There is one modification to the chickens though.  The red chicken (tap the screen and it will accelerate in flight) will now speed up in the direction of your tap.

For those who don't care for banner ads, there is plans to have a paid version minus the ads. The developer is unsure as to how this new version will effect the existing version of Chicks 'n Vixens but it sounds similar to the various chapters of Angry Birds that are available on other platforms.

If you're not familiar with the Chicks 'n Vixens saga, you can download the original here(opens Zune) at the Marketplace.  We've got another preview video of Chicks 'n Vixen: No Donut after the break.

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Catch Phrase Party - App Spotlight

Kinsoft has a rather simple gaming app over at the Windows Phone Marketplace. Catch Phrase Party is a party game app that is a guessing game with a hint of the game "hot potato" mixed in.

You compete with two teams with a team member describing to fellow team mates the phrase or word that appears on the Windows Phone. Once the phrase or word is guessed, the phone is passed to the other team, a new phrase is generated, and the guessing begins again. All the while, a timer is running behind the scenes and the team not holding the Windows Phone when the buzzer sounds, gets a point. First team to reach seven points wins.

It's a simple gaming app for your Windows Phone and might break the ice at your next house party. The only downside to Catch Phrase Party is that it does not have a free trial version. The full version runs $2.99. It get's good reviews at the Marketplace but a trial version might help win some over.

You can find Catch Phrase Party here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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I Dig It update stuck in certification limbo

I Dig It (review) from InMotion Software is a fun little Xbox Live game. Unfortunately, since its release it has been plagued by severely glitched Achievements. In our Broken Achievements article, I stated:

“As of April 11, InMotion had submitted an update that corrected all of I Dig It’s known issues. Two months later, Microsoft has not chosen to publish the update. I feel for your plight, I Dig It players.”

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A while ago we reported that indie puzzle game Pirate’s Mind would be free for a limited time. Good news for gamers: developer M80 Games has decided to continue offering their game free definitely.

Pirates love free things, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like updates too. M80 has updated Pirate’s Mind a whopping three times in the month of June. Let’s look at what's changed.

Pirate’s Mind version 1.4 changelog:

  • Repositioned the Multiplier starburst to be more visible during play.
  • Adjusted particle effects for better presentation
  • Optimized graphics to consume less memory and increase performance.
  • Fixed bug where if all coins on the playfield were the same, the game couldn't continue.

Pirate’s Mind version 1.3 changelog:

  • Game now saves audio settings between play sessions
  • Fixed high score name entry to remember last used name
  • More bugfixes.
  • LG Phone users, we are still working on the issues some of you are experiencing. Please email us if you would like to help: contact@m80games.com

Pirate’s Mind version 1.2 changelog:

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Developer Interview: Babaroga, makers of Zombies!!!

Zombies!!! (review) was one of the first Xbox Live games I bought after jumping on the Windows Phone bandwagon. A survival horror-themed board game, it’s like nothing else on the platform. The game’s developer, Babaroga has made it no secret that they are working on a major update for the game. That’s good because I hate secrets almost as much as black licorice. Putting the devil candy aside for the moment, WPCentral is excited to bring you something much tastier: our interview with Andreja Djokovic, CEO and Founder of Babaroga, about their future plans for the Zombies!!! franchise and Windows Phone.

Grab a snack if you like and head past the jump for the full interview.

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Windows Phone Word Game Round-up

To many, word games on your Windows Phone are a great way to pass the time with. These games can be challenging and mentally stimulating. Heck, you might even learn a few new words from some of these games.

You can compete against yourself, time, the phone or other gamers that are a bazillion miles away. You can find words, create words, and complete words.

Personally, I like the word games that developers have brought to the Windows Phone table and thought it was time to round up a collection. We'll break them down into three categories; Scrabble types, Word Search types, and Hangman types.

To see a list of our favorites from each, ease on past the break.

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Microsoft details Mango changes to Games Hub [Video]

Though you can watch our video tour above of the new Games Hub in Windows Phone "Mango" (see review), you'll want to read all the changes cataloged by Microsoft themselves. From the Windows Phone Blog, you can tell, once again, that Microsoft is listening to consumers by incorporating a lot of changes. Indeed, the Games Hub feel more unified with the whole Xbox ecosystem and the changes are most welcomed.

Here's what's new:

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Green blood!

The saga of the Xbox LIVE game 'Twin Blades' is interesting. What was a great, albeit a bit boring, side scrolling, zombie slaughter-fest had been pulled months ago from the Marketplace. Reason? Due to not having a rating system in the Marketplace and the game was deemed too gory (it does have blood splatter the screen on occasion--but they're zombies, for cryin' out loud).

Two things we were expecting: in "Mango" a gaming rating system should be in place, allowing for this content and/or 'Twin Blades' gets fixed i.e. the violence is toned down. As of now, it looks like the latter is the case as we're getting numerous reports that the zombies now have green blood, which obviously tricks your brain into know that these are now aliens, not human zombies, right?

Surprisingly, it's still not available in the Marketplace to buy/re-download, though we're expecting that to happen at some point (we lost our copy months ago after a hard-reset). Only those who still have the game can update to the new v1.0.0.9. Sigh.

Update: Image and link pulled per request.

Thanks, AtomicAgeZombie and Siegerstyle, for the heads up

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Major Nelson has kindly started tallying the top Xbox LIVE games for Windows Phone on his site (before it was only the console).

While nothing groundbreaking, it's kind of nice to get insight into what sells and what doesn't e.g. SIM3 is at #13, despite being, you know, terrible (see review). The top five games though were:

  1. Sonic the Hedgehog 4
  2. Doodle Jump
  3. geoDefense
  4. Hydro Thunder GO!
  5. Rise of Glory ('Deal of the Week')

Sure enough, the top four are part of the 'must-have-games' campaign and we have to agree that they're all pretty much worth it.

Source: Major Nelson; Thanks, Karl C, for the heads up

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Dodger is today's free WP7 game

Is it raining where you are now, leaving you stuck in doors with nothing to do? Why not download the newly released game titled Dodger that's available for free just for today? It's a cute little indie game where the objective is to (surprisingly) dodge projectiles fired by enemies and ensure they target themselves. This involves a lot of finger swiping action to move around the screen but is good fun all the same.

High scores are supported so you can compete against your friends and two themes are available, a simplistic goo/cell look of both yourself and the enemies or a more detailed cartoon theme. Automatic saving is present in the feature list to prevent losing progress due to interruption (WP7 handsets are mobile phones after all - damn SMS and calls interrupting our games!).

Future updates will include more enemies and a better choice of themes. It's well worth checking out especially since it's costing you absolutely nothing at all. You can download Dodger from the Marketplace (Zune link).

Source: @Baracat_WP7

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As the 6 Weeks of Must-Have Games draws near its end, Popcap’s Plants vs Zombies is finally available on the Marketplace.

Plants vs. Zombies is a tower defense game like no other. Zombies are invading the player’s home, and only a host of attack plants will fend them off. The variety of towers, err, plants at your disposal (49 in all!) is amazing and allows for all kinds of strategies. Adventure Mode’s 50 levels will take a fair while to plow through, but that’s only half the game. 19 unlockable minigames really do flesh out the package and keep the fun going. Even when you’re not playing, don’t be surprised if the catchy soundtrack (including a brilliant music video during the end credits) gets stuck in your head.

Plants vs. Zombies costs $4.99 on Windows Phone and there is a free trial. Harvest it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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It’s a very Popcap week on Xbox Live. Not only are all of Popcap’s Xbox 360 games on sale, but the Bejeweled Live is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week on Windows Phone. It’s on sale for $2.99 (the price it always should have been, many would say), down from $4.99.

Bejeweled is the classic match-3 puzzle game that has enchanted casual gamers across a variety of platforms. If you’re hungry for a simple puzzle game to play whenever a spare moment pops up, Bejeweled is a good place to look. As our review indicates, the Windows Phone version has three ways to play: Classic, Race the Clock, and Endless. It’s also got some tough Achievements despite being a casual title, but that’s Popcap for you. Don’t ask me about XBLA Zuma’s Achievements or we’ll be here all night.

Bejeweled Live is on sale for $2.99 for one week only. Grab it here on the Marketplace.

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Bunker Buster - Review

Bunker Buster is a aerial bombing game for your Windows Phone that not only tests your bomb dropping skills but also your concentration. The multi-level game has you playing the role of not only the bomber's pilot but also the bombardier.

The game offers a wide variety of targets, terrain and aircraft. Throw in leaderboards, a handful of rewards, and comic styled graphics and Bunker Buster has the potential to be a welcomed addition to the Windows Phone gaming library.

To read more on Bunker Buster, fly on past the break.

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It’s been a while since we heard from Karios Games, makers of the indie hit MonsterUp. While that game continues to receive regular updates, Karios has recently released a new title to the Marketplace: Galaxium.

Galaxium is a vertically-scrolling 2D shooter, not unlike OMG and Impossible Shoota. Players can select from three different ships, each with its own speed and shield stats. Speed is crucial to dodging enemy fire, but shields are also important since you only have a single life per game. The ship fires automatically, so gamers can concentrate on lining up with enemies, dodging their fire, and collecting powerups.

Speaking of powerups, Galaxium’s powerup system is modeled after the Gradius series. A meter at the bottom of the screen displays a variety of potential ship upgrades, from speed to diagonal fire to firing rate. There is only one kind of powerup in the game – each time one is collected, the meter fills up a unit. When the upgrade you want to use is highlighted, tap the screen with two fingers to spend your powerups and activate it. The choice between various upgrades and spending or saving powerup units helps Galaxium stand out from other Windows Phone shooters.

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The video from Windows Phone FR is in French and is a whopping 10 mins long, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it shows the upcoming Xbox LIVE game 'Hasta La Muerte' in all its glory.

The game was recently announced at E3 as part of the new 'bit titles' for Xbox LIVE on Windows Phone. To refresh, the game is described from our previous post as:

"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."

We think it looks pretty amazing, as we don't have a game like this in the Marketplace. According to Windows Phone FR, it should be in the Marketplace in the next few weeks.

Source: Windows Phone FR

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For those interesting in gaming and you didn't get enough nitty-gritty at the recent E3, you'll want to check out Microsoft's developer conference that focusing just on that topic, across the PC, Xbox and Windows Phone.

Specifically for WP7 devs, the conference will focus on "Avatars, QA, CPU performance, development best practice and DLC.". That last part is real interesting as it looks like Microsoft is rolling out Downloadable Content and microtransaction to Xbox LIVE on Windows Phone in Mango--this is all detailed in the talk "Keep Them Coming Back: Downloadable Content on Windows Phone". That should bring an interesting and exciting expansion of our mobile gaming universe.

The conference is held in London (July 14-15th), Seattle (August 22-23rd) and Tokyo (July 29th) and looks to be a blast.

Hit the jump to see the full Windows Phone session list!

Source: Microsoft Gamefest 2011; via: Next-Gen Biz

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Windows Phone isn’t swimming in platformers, but thanks to Sega we have a new one today. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I is now available on the Marketplace.

Sonic 4 is the first numbered, 2D Sonic game in several years. It features four zones with three acts each, seven special stages (bonus rounds), and five bosses to fight. Fans of the Sega Genesis games will instantly feel at home with the gameplay. Sonic runs at blazing speeds, twisting through loops, jumping from spring pads, and spin-dashing to gain momentum. While the gameplay adheres very closely to the 16-bit Sonic games, Sonic does now have a homing attack to make attacking enemies easier.

Having played a few areas in the Windows Phone version of Sonic 4, I’m extremely pleased with this version. It looks and plays almost exactly like the Xbox 360 version. The touch screen controls (a virtual d-pad and a single button for jumping and spin dashing) are some of the best I’ve encountered in a mobile platforming game. Sonic 4 has all the same Achievements as the Xbox 360 version, plus a few new ones for completing the individual zones. One of the returning Achievements, awarded for beating the final boss without taking any damage, was super tough on the Xbox 360 game. Be prepared for a challenge if you want the full 200 points here.

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Rise of Glory is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week

We recently mentioned Rise of Glory in our article about broken Achievements in Windows Phone games. The long-delayed update to fix the game’s Achievements hasn’t been released yet, but on the positive side, the game is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week. It’s on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99.

Rise of Glory is the Windows Phone version of iPhone flight simulation Skies of Glory. It puts players in the cockpit of a World War I-era fighting plane. Our review praises the game’s tilt controls and 3D graphics. The controls are challenging, in a realistic way. I pretty much just crashed repeatedly when I tried it, but hopefully you’re more coordinated than me.

Rise of Glory is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. If you’re itching to take to the skies, pick it up here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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AstroSwag and InterSceptre hits the Marketplace

Leda Entertainment has released to interesting Windows Phone gaming apps over at the Marketplace, AstroSwag and InterSceptre.

AstroSwag is described as a space salvage action game for your Windows Phone. The game features twenty levels of game play, two game modes (Survival and Challenge), un-lockable content and a companion website where you can post your progress and compare it with other players. The premise is that you control (controls line the bottom of the screen) a salvage ship that collect space items that are launched against enemy drones. The Survival Mode has you trying to survive the various rounds to rack up the highest, cumulative score. The Challenge Mode allows you to replay the individual rounds to improve your score within that particular round/level.

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