Games

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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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Plex Lite - App Spotlight

Plex Lite has recently been unleashed on the Windows Phone Marketplace and is the free version of the popular game Plex. Plex Lite has access to all twenty-four levels of the Adventure Mode but lacks the Survival Mode which is found on the paid version.

Plex Lite has you clearing tiles off a 3D sphere by placing matching tiles on top of existing tiles of the same design. There are bonus tiles that appear along the way to help you with the adventure. Each level must be cleared within a certain time limit and the faster you clear the sphere, the higher your score.

The game screen has your placement tile displayed in the upper right corner, rotation arrows to turn your sphere in the bottom right and your timer (the blue bar) along the left side. You'll have to rotate the sphere until the spot where you want to place the new tile is highlighted in the center of the screen. Once that is accomplished, tap the screen and the new tile drops.

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Minesweeper - Review

Minesweeper as we know it was created in 1990 and has been bundled with every new version of Windows since 1992. The mobile Xbox Live version, developed by Babaroga and published by Microsoft, is one of the first two free ad-supported games for Xbox Live and the first to be available in regions outside of North America. This game shares much in common with its fellow free game Sudoku, though the actual gameplay is completely different, with a much higher learning curve. Get past that and you’ll find an enjoyable logic puzzle game.

Step carefully over the mines and past the break for our full review.

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Implode: Xbox Windows Phone Review

Implode for Windows Phone

I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing three mobile Xbox Live physics puzzlers so far: iBlast Moki, Tiki Towers, and Enigmo. Now that IUGO’s popular Implode! has come to the Windows Phone, could the genre be getting too crowded for its own good? That depends on how much you like a cerebral challenge. After braving Implode!’s vast quantity of levels, I’m pleased to report that my brain has yet to be tapped out. More importantly, Implode! is good enough and different enough to justify its place on the platform.

Put on your hard hat and head past the break for our full review.

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Gravity Guy - Review

There are many different approaches to adapting traditional genres to mobile platforms. Take platformers, for example. Sonic the Hedgehog 4 brings an Xbox 360 title to Windows Phone with touch-screen controls. I love the game, but some people either can’t or don’t want to adapt to touch-screen controls. Doodle Jump, designed purely for mobile phones, simply relies on tilt-control to steer its ever-jumping hero from platform to platform. Gravity Guy from Miniclip falls somewhere between the two extremes.

Flip past the break for our full review.

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Collapse! - Xbox Windows Phone Review

How much do Xbox Live Achievements affect your enjoyment of a game? The best Achievements enhance the gameplay experience, simultaneously rewarding progress and encouraging players to experience the game in new ways. Sometimes we see games whose Achievement difficulty doesn’t match their casual nature – Doodle Jump and Harbor Master to name only two. There are also poor games whose only redeeming value is the easiness of their Achievements (hello, Butterfly!). And then comes Collapse! from GameHouse. A good game with easy Achievements, but there is such a thing as too easy.

Head past the jump for our full review.

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Tower Bloxx: New York - Xbox Windows Phone Review

After the huge disappointment of 3D Brick Breaker Revolution from Digital Chocolate, I wasn’t exactly eager to play any more of their games. That title sported an awful 3D graphics engine, poor controls, and overly difficult gameplay and Achievements. Surprisingly, Digital Chocolate’s other Xbox Live title, Tower Bloxx: New York is far less offensive. It’s still nothing special, but fans of casual games may enjoy it.

Climb the stairs past the break for our full review.

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Comics Trivia - App Spotlight

If you think you know your comics, check out Comics Trivia. The Windows Phone game is full of over 2,000 questions from your favorite comics.

When you first launch the app you will need establish a user name for the online leaderboard and after that, get ready to be humble. The questions cover a lot of ground from the classic titles to the new age comics. Thankfully, the questions are multiple choice so you can always get lucky if you have no clue on the answer.  Each game is ten questions and the leaderboard scores are cumulative.

Graphically, Comics Trivia is nicely done with various comic book heroes filling up the background as you are quizzed.  The developer should consider adding a gallery page to the game to showcase some of these graphics.  Settings are simple, covering music on/off and vibration on/off.

All in all, Comics Trivia is a fun game to pass the time. Comics Trivia is a free, ad-supported game and you can find it here at the Windows Phone Web Marketplace.

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Game spotlight: Rainbow Rapture [Video]

We love silly games. Especially when they're good. And free. Rainbow Rapture by Kindling meets all of these criterion. The premise? "Rainbow is unhappy with the way things turned out down below. He wants a clean slate. Help him wipe humanity off the face of the Earth."

Awesome.

The game has strong, bold graphics, smooth gameplay, a catchy jingle and high re-playability, making it our new addiction. It's like those jumper games, but instead you need to try to go a certain distance, all while catching mad air and eating people.

We would like to see some type of leaderboard system thrown in for extra value and perhaps some achievements--even if those are for a paid version of the app, it'd add extra value to an already strong title. Still, being free, we really like this little game. At first, the controls are a bit strange, but after a few tries, mastery is possible.

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Silverlight built MMORPG on Windows Phone?

Right, so this is just friggin' awesome (in the words of our oversea brothers). An MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) called Wowo World has sprung up that is developed with Microsoft Silverlight. In the video above we can see a working client for Windows Phone, something that would surely excite a number of Xbox Live players who are migrating to the mobile platform.

While this title might not be of interest for those who don't speak and understand fluent Chinese, hopefully they will release an international English version or other MMORPG developers who are in the same boat would spark interest in developing a client for Windows Phone. We've previously covered Microsoft further researching into technologies that combat ping and latency with mobile connectivity, so this would certainly be something of interest to real-time multiplayer fans.

Source: WP7 Connect & Wowo World, thanks Se1fcr3ation for the tip!

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We first showed you a video of the upcoming fall Xbox 360 dashboard update back in August. A new video leaked recently that better reflects what the final update will look like. The only catch: the dashboard depicted is set to French instead of English. Brave the language barrier and you’ll see how various sections of the dashboard like the Games Marketplace actually look, as well as Kinect controls.

The fall 2011 dashboard update is rumored to debut on November 15. The update’s design philosophy should be immediately apparent to Windows Phone users: it’s Metro. I’m excited about the clean, streamlined appearance. What about you guys? Do you think Metro will work well as a console interface?

Source: NeoGAF forums via Kotaku

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