Reviews

Star Wars: Tiny Death Star hit both the Windows Phone and Windows Store last week and is the result of a partnership between LucasArts and Nimblebit games.

The game, available for Windows Phone 8, plays much like Nimblebit's Tiny Tower just with a Star Wars twist. You're tasked with building a Death Star level by level, while maintaining economic stability, keeping your population happy and thwart the Rebel Alliance.

The retro styled graphics does have a certain level of appeal but the pace of the game may put some to sleep. However, if you like business simulation styled games Star Wars: Tiny Death Star is an attractive choice to consider.

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LockMix is a feature rich Windows Phone 8 app that allows you to customize your Windows Phone lockscreen to display everything from the weather to stock information to Chuck Norris quotes.

On top of delivering the information to your lockscreen, LockMix also gives you the ability to customize the layout.  You can have widgets of all sizes scattered about your lockscreen providing you with as much or as little information at a glance.

LockMix is an impressive lockscreen app for Windows Phone 8 in a growing faction of the Windows Phone Store.

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Not long ago, we covered a Sega Genesis emulator for Windows Phone 8 called EmiGens Plus. The Sega Genesis/Mega Drive was a terrific console, but many gamers would still love to play newer console games on their phones. Thanks to EmiGens’ developer Andre Botelho, now they can!

After months in beta, Andre’s Playstation One emulator EmiPSX is now live on the Windows Phone Store. The emulator has fairly limited compatibility and can’t run games at full speed on current Windows Phone 8 hardware, but it’s still a very promising release for Playstation emulation fans. Head past the break for full review with video!

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Huawei's second Windows Phone is a budget device with a ton of perks

When it comes to budget Windows Phones for emerging markets (or those with limited financial abilities), Nokia comes to mind. However, China-based Huawei knows a thing or two about low-cost smartphones and with the recently announced Ascend W2, they’re carving a nice niche for themselves in the East.

While many in the West will dismiss Huawei as “cheap” or not worth their time, our exposure with the Ascend W2 may change your mind. Sure, the device falls on the low-end for features but it’s a solid budget offering that Window Phone fans should be proud of. It represents the brand well and we think it’s an excellent choice for new and aspiring shoppers.

Head past the break for our video tour, high quality photos and thoughts of this phone.

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Crumble Zone is a new arcade game for Windows Phone 8 that calls upon you to save a tiny planet from impending doom.  You play the role of a tiny green alien who must protect a planet from wave upon wave of asteroids.  You also have a variety of comets and meteoroids that presents a serious concern as well.

As you destroy the various dangers hurtling from space the explosions generate gems and diamonds that can be collected to unlock special weapons that will give you a slight edge in protecting the planet.

Crumble Zone is the first game from the developer, Rebel Twins, to land in the Windows Phone Store.  It makes a very good first impression and hopefully this won’t be the last we see from Rebel Twins.

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We've covered Bear Motion cases for the Microsoft Surface before and now we turn our sights on the company's offerings for the smaller screen. Bear Motion offers a slim, shell case and a flip case with cover for the Nokia Lumia 1020.

Both cases are economically minded and comes in a wide selection of colors. The Bear Motion cases don't rise to the level of protection the Otterbox line of cases offer but will help defend your Lumia 1020 from minor scratches and scuffs.

While some may not see the need for a case with the Lumia 1020, those who do may want to consider the Bear Motion cases.

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Army Academy is a new Windows Phone 8 adventure from Moxy Games and the developer's first foray with the Windows Phone platform.  Army Academy is a multi-level, running-styled game that has you jumping, swimming and swinging through various boot camp styled courses.

Those courses have a wide range of obstacles and dangers to avoid that include lava pits and electric eels.  Along the way you can collect coins that can be used to purchase power-ups and as you progress through the levels, you can advance in rank.

Moxy Games has a nice portfolio of titles over on the Android and iOS platforms. First impressions are impressive with Army Academy and hopefully more games will be coming our way from Moxy Games.

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Lenovo's new Miix2 ($299) tablet is now available and here's what its' like

Last week we showed you the Venue 8 Pro, Dell’s first foray into the 8-inch tablet world running Windows 8.1. This week, we have Lenovo’s answer: the Miix2. Available at Amazon and costing $299 with 32GB of internal storage (64 GB optional available), these two devices have more in common than differences. Still, there are a few variances worth noting.

Head past the break for our unboxing and quick video tour of Lenovo’s 8-inch competitor. Want to see it against the Dell? Stay tuned as we’re testing them out now.

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During our coverage of Casual Connect a few months back, we interviewed Polish developer Artifex Mundi about some of their adventure titles. I also promised to start reviewing those titles, and now it’s time to do just that.

First up is our review of Nightmares from the Deep: the Cursed Heart for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. Cursed Heart is the first game in the Nightmares from the Deep series of hidden object puzzle adventure games (HOPA). With a mix of gameplay styles and plenty of ghostly pirate adventure, Cursed Heart is a great introduction to Artifex Mundi’s games. Read on for our full review!

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If you have the need to track yours or a family member's medical information, take a look at myHealth for Windows Phone 8. It is a simple, nicely laid out Windows Phone 8 app that will help you manage everything from medical contacts to medications to doctor's appointments.

The app can be password protected and individual accounts can be set up for yourself and other family members or even friends.

myHealth is cleanly laid out, easy to navigate around and is fairly comprehensive on the information it manages.  It is an option worth considering if you need to keep medical information on you, friends or family handy.

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FlowDoku is a Sudoku styled Windows Phone 8 puzzle game. Instead of lining up numbers in a particular sequence, FlowDoku presents you with a series of colored squares, triangles, diamonds and circles that you'll need to sort out.

The game has over two hundred puzzles to solve that span five difficulty levels and four puzzle sizes.

FlowDoku has a simple design, easy user interface, and challenging puzzles. Even the easy puzzles can be on the challenging side. FlowDoku makes a nice first impression and is an appealing Windows Phone puzzle game.

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We go hands on with AT&T's latest Windows Phone, the ATIV S Neo

This past weekend, AT&T released the Samsung ATIV S Neo, their first Windows Phone 8 Samsung device. Released earlier this year on Sprint, the ATIV S Neo is a version 1.1 of the original ATIV S—more slight refinements than an overhaul.

Samsung was once again not interested in promoting their device so we had to go out and buy the phone ourselves, instead of a standard review unit. The phone runs for $99 on contract or $420 off and while many Lumia fans won’t find much to gawk over, the phone is a solid entry into the Windows Phone category.

We’ll be following up with a full review in a bit, but here are our quick impressions of the latest Windows Phone 8 device for AT&T. Check out our video tour and high resolution photos after the break!

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Windows Phone Central has brought you several accessory reviews for the Microsoft Surface over the past few months. We’ve covered cases from Bear Motion, MiniSuit, and more. One case manufacturer has been noticeably absent though: MoKo Cases. These cases came highly recommended by a few of our readers, which of course caused us to take notice…

At last, we’ve picked up both styles of MoKo Surface cases to review. Today’s review covers the MoKo Detachable Rotary Case for the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2. This particular case doesn’t come in a Surface RT-style, but Surface Pro owners should be impressed by its unique features and dignified appearance. Head past the break for our full review.

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The Xbox game Grand Theft Auto V has been on the shelves for a few months now and if you've hit a few snags building your criminal empire, check out GTA V: Maps for Windows Phone.

GTA V: Maps delivers all the Los Santos maps and locations to your Windows Phone to help guide you through the game.  Layout is simple with GTA V: Maps and includes optional integration with GTA V: Cheats. It may not be an official companion app for Grand Theft Auto but it may help you avoid making that wrong turn that could end your career.

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Toy Pirates is a naval combat game for our Windows Phones that has you controlling a small pirate ship that must navigate the high seas and battle an assortment of enemy ships.  Sounds simple, right?

Well the twist comes in the form of a floating maze that you have to sail through to get to your enemy.  Canon shots can ricochet off the walls, which can be rather hazardous, and charges can be set to blast the walls into tiny little pieces.  There is a bit of strategy involved with game play and overall Toy Pirates is a decent game for our Windows Phones.  However, while entertaining, I couldn't help but think something was missing.

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You can get pretty stellar battery life on Windows Phone. Variables like your specific phone, usage, and which apps you have installed (and whether they’re running in the background) all impact battery life. You might want to carry a portable charger for those times you find yourself away from an outlet or power source. There are plenty of third party options when it comes to selecting a portable charger for your smartphone, but if you’re rocking a Lumia why not get one to match it?

The Nokia DC-18 is a universal portable USB charger that you might want to check out. Here’s our quick hands-on with it.

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Flip Blox is a matching game for our Windows Phone that surprised us a little. The game's concept isn't new and calls for you to create combos of the same colored boxes for points.

You have a handful of gaming modes to keep things from getting stale and the animated faces on the boxes keeps things interesting.  Flip Blox comes across as an entertaining, casual game for our Windows Phones. Well suited for passing the time with.

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10Tons Ltd is a fantastic Windows Phone game developer and their latest offering doesn't disappoint. Trouserheart is a Windows Phone 8 game where you play the role of a King who has had his pants stolen.

Clad in heart print boxers, the King must travel the kingdom battling a wide variety of goons and bosses. All in an effort to find his stolen pants and restore order to the world.

Graphics are on par with all of 10Tons offerings (great), game play challenging and overall Trouserheart makes a very nice first impression.

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While the weather app collection for our Windows Phone is rather crowded, Just Weather is one of the latest offerings for Windows Phone 8. The simplistic, minimalistic weather app has potential but also has some room for improvement.

The intent is to deliver the basic weather information for two locations. Which is what you get but in using Just Weather, it felt like it was more of a work in progress than a finished product.

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When it comes to cases, everyone has their favorite. My new daily driver for the Nokia Lumia 1020 would be the Poetic Atmosphere Case, which fetches for a modest $9 on various websites (it’s also available for the Lumia 928).

Head past the break to see our hands on video and some high quality photos of this accessory in action.

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60 Seconds is a relatively new Windows Phone 8 game that caught our eye this morning. It's a fast paced game that has you caught up in the middle of a wild west shoot out.

You are tasked with protecting valuable cargo from wave after wave of bandits trying to rob your wagon. You have sixty seconds to take out as many of the bad guys as possible. The more bandits shot, the higher the score.

The game is drawn up nicely and is well suited for short game spurts or longer gaming sessions and is well worth a shot.

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Editor's Choice for best Reddit client

We’re big fans of Reddit (reddit.com). It provides hours of entertainment, knowledge and general distractions for life. So far, our favorite client for Windows Phone has been the powerful Baconit, a superb demonstration of Windows Phone coding that also makes using Reddit a breeze. We also really enjoy Baconography, another fantastic offering.

However, today, we have what is arguably the most striking Reddit client yet: Readit, from Message Across Studios. We’re not going to pull any punches here: Readit’s design is one of the top we’ve seen for any Windows Phone app, let alone one dedicated for Reddit. You can toss it up there with 627.am, Simple Calendar, Vieather and anything by Rudy Huyn. (Actually, we know why we like it, as it reminds us very much of Amazon’s Kindle app.). 

Watch our video review below and see why it’s so great.

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Happy Truck is a nicely animated Windows Phone 8 game that calls on you to safely deliver produce from the farm to market.  In your way is a bumpy road that would make the largest Monster Truck cringe. You have to navigate across the rigid terrain, keeping your load safe from spilling out of your truck.

Happy Truck has had a bit of success over on iOS and Android but may have a rough road to travel here on the Windows Phone platform.  The game has potential but is held back by a few bugs that makes the game more frustrating than enjoyable.

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While we have access to the high resolution images captured on the Nokia Lumia 1020, you've got to connect your Windows Phone up to a computer and weed out the high-res files. 1Shot Beta hopes to change all that.

The Windows Phone 8 photography app captures images at the highest resolution and saves them as a viewable file in your camera roll. The end result, direct access to the high resolution images.

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Halloween may have already passed but if you ever have the need to add a little spookiness to your photos, GhostCam for Windows Phone 8 might come in handy.

The photography app overlays a ghostly spirit to your photos to give them that supernatural feel.  The end result isn't too bad but the app could use a little fine tuning.

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