Reviews

It has been quite a while since Crimson Dragon: Side Story debuted on Windows Phone back in September 2012. Believe it or not, Side Story was originally intended as the follow-up to an Xbox 360 Crimson Dragon title that would have launched earlier that year. Shortly before the (seemingly complete) 360 version’s release, Microsoft delayed it indefinitely. The unofficial but obvious reason? So that Crimson Dragon could be retooled as an Xbox One launch title.

With Crimson Dragon’s long delay and Windows Phone origins in mind, we’ve chosen it as our first Xbox One game to review. Many of the larger console sites reviewed a prerelease version of the game whose difficulty and rewards system differed from the final version of the game. I played through the actual release game, so you can look forward to one of the most accurate and comprehensive reviews around.

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Seasons is a relatively new infinite runner game for our Windows Phones.  You play the role of Ezra, a warrior who is in the middle of a heated battle with his brother Aton.  You have to help Ezra race across the land, navigating him past various obstacles along the way.

Game play is not unlike other running games and graphics are well done.  The storyline does get lost after the title scenes but is replaced by a fast paced, challenging game.  You jump, slide and punch your way through obstacles to see how far you can run. 

Add magic attacks, power-ups, multi-player support and the ability to fly and Seasons comes across as an attractive Windows Phone game, well worth a try.

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A game of hangman can be an entertaining way to pass the time and there are plenty of hangman styled games to choose from in the Windows Phone Store.  Mr. Potino is one of the more recent offerings and takes a rather unique approach to the game.

Your hangman is a puppet that moves and flows as you move your Windows Phone.  The game has over 50,000 word puzzles and as you guess wrong on a letter, the puppet loses one of its body parts.

Mr. Potino has a certain amount of appeal but needs just a little fine-tuning.

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Since Windows Phone did not receive a new Xbox game last week, my review this week will look at an indie game from Singapore-based developer Aureoline Tetrahedron.

Terrene is a vector graphics game for Windows Phone 8 that looks deceptively similar to arcade classic Asteroids. In fact, it turns out that “terrene” is kind of a synonym for “asteroid.” Who knew? Surface details aside, Terrene’s gameplay and atmosphere are more challenging and contemplative than Atari’s classic arcade game. Do smart ideas make for smart game design? Read on to find out.

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AE Roulette 3D is an entertaining game that brings a little casino action to our Windows Phone.  The 3D graphics are appealing, game play is realistic and the only thing missing is the noise from the slot machines in the background.

AE Roulette 3D makes for a fun casino game for your Windows Phone and a nice addition to the games of chance genre.

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Although the Lumia 1520 is a huge device, it’s still easy to drop or bang it on accident. The polycarbonate plastic is solid, but not indestructible, so sometimes tossing on thin case is a good idea. Plus, if the color is right, you can spice things up a bit.

Incipio is a well-known brand when it comes to phone cases and shells. The Feather, described as an ‘ultra-thin snap on case’, costs a jaw-dropping $30. I took a look at it this afternoon and although the price is outrageous, between the build quality and the cyan color, I can at least recommend it.

Check out some of the photos and video tour after the break.

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Another week here at Windows Phone Central and another Windows Phone weather app has caught our attention.  This week, it is the Windows Phone 8 weather app Weather Hound.

Weather Hound is a simple weather app that delivers the basics along with Live Tile and lockscreen support.  There is not a lot of flash to Weather Hound but it covers the core weather information rather nicely.

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Last Friday we showed you the bulky but well done E LV Leather Wallet case for the Lumia 1520, and previously we reviewed the Nokia CP-623 flip cover. Today, it’s Amzer’s turn with their Pudding Soft Gel Case/Cover.

Costing around $8 online in either white or black, Amzer is a relatively familiar name and their Soft Gel case is a good deal. It’s not the most protective case, but in exchange you get a light, form fitting cover that will protect your giant Lumia 1520 against small falls.

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Fruit Rocks is a Windows Phone game that calls upon you to use fruit trees and rocks to defend Earth against an alien invasion.  The game is a side scrolling action title where you hurl apples and oranges from trees to destroy a variety of aliens that have decided to invade Earth.

The game also includes bonus items that can be shot with your fruit to give you an edge in taking out the alien monsters.  Game play is challenging, cartoon graphics aren’t too shabby, and overall, Fruit Rocks is a fun game to pass the time with.

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Tap The Frog is a collection of six mini-games that are designed to test your reflexes and powers of observation.  The Windows Phone game is nicely animated and full of challenges that will not only test your reflexes but also your powers of observation.

Tap The Frog has likeable graphics, gaming achievements, and an online leaderboard.  The game has its appeal and has a slight addictive quality.  Tap The Frog is a fun game for short bits of time but it can be somewhat nerve racking as well.

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If you’re one of the lucky ones to pick up a Nokia Lumia 1520 on AT&T this morning, you may be looking for something to protect it. While ranges of styles for cases on these devices varies, today we’re taking a look at the biggest one you can get, the leather wallet style.

As a throwback to the PDA days of yore, the E LV Deluxe PU Leather Wallet, which runs for a modest $10, offers solid protection and a few surprises. While its ability to make the Lumia 1520 even larger will be off putting for some, once you go this big, does it really matter?

Head past the break for some more pics and our video review.

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Review: Lenovo's Miix 10 Keyboard Case

Last month we reviewed Lenovo’s Miix 10 and I found the overpriced Atom powered Windows 8 tablet to be less than impressive. One of the possible saving points for the unit might be its optional detachable keyboard; today, we are taking a look at that keyboard and deciding if it lives up to the typical Lenovo keyboard (aka: superb) or falls flat on its face.

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Ninja Jump is a simple, mildly challenging Windows Phone game that has you running up walls, dodging enemy ninjas and other dangers.  Consider it an infinity running game that has you running up the walls instead of across the landscape.  The higher you climb, the higher your score. 

Graphics are nice (although tiny), game pace quick and overall Ninja Jump is not a bad choice if you are looking for a casual game to help you pass the time with.

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Nokia Lumia 2520 Review

Nokia is bringing their first Windows RT 8.1 tablet to market, but is it the right choice?

In a few hours, Nokia’s first Windows RT 8.1 tablet goes on sale in the US on Verizon (AT&T gets it just 24 hours later). It’s a momentous step both for Nokia and Microsoft, who so far have had a tough sell with the RT. In fact, Microsoft and Nokia are the last two manufactures to offer the stripped down version of Windows, with other OEMs opting for the more powerful 32-bit version on an Intel Atom or i5 processor.

So does Nokia have what it takes to spark some life back into the Windows tablet market? And what about Microsoft’s own Surface 2? Read on for our full review of the Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet.

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City-building games with timers are increasingly common on mobile platforms. Xbox Windows Phone has seen a few, including Gameloft’s own Ice Age Village. These games lure players in with their initially rapid progression and lots of loot to collect. But the longer one plays, the less new things there are to see and the more the feeling of sameness pulls in. Do we keep playing them for fun or out of habit?

So the question becomes how to make a city builder with real lasting appeal – one that keeps providing players a reason to play and maybe even spend some money. Electronic Arts found a clever way to do so by adding timers to its Sims franchise and calling it Sims FreePlay. Now Gameloft returns to the genre with Kingdoms & Lords. The hook: they’ve thrown strategic battles into the mix.

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Grantophone is one of those Windows Phone apps that may not appeal to everyone but could prove interesting for those who are musically inclined. It is a feature rich musical instrument that is full of expression and creative potential.

Grantophone has been updated several times since we last looked at the music app and after receiving several tips to revisit the app, we are shining the spotlight on it once again.

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Strata is a wonderfully drawn up, challenging Windows Phone 8 puzzle game.  Strata takes a very simplistic approach to puzzles where you have to weave colored ribbons to match a specific color pattern.

The game has hundreds of levels that vary in size and difficulty as you progress through the game.  Strata is an entertaining game that has an addictive quality to it, making it an attractive puzzle game for our Windows Phone 8 devices. 

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One of the fantastic advancements with Windows Phone design development is wireless charging.  It eliminated the need to plug your Windows Phone up to a charging cord.  Plus you have the cool factor of simply laying your Windows Phone down on a charging pad to replenish the battery.

While Nokia offers a Qi-Enabled wireless charger (the DT-900), there are a few third party options out there.  RAVPower is one such alternative and the company offers their own Qi-Enabled wireless charger that may save you a few dollars at the checkout line without compromising quality or performance.

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The Viking's Revenge is an interesting Windows Phone battle game.  Instead of relying on combat sequences and action packed graphics, the game relies on your powers of concentration and speed.

The Viking's Revenge is a game of conquest where you are called upon to defeat your enemy strongholds and occupying all the islands on the gaming screen.  At the same time, your enemy is trying to do the same.

Battle is done solely by numbers in that you need more attacking forces than your enemy has defending forces.  Game play is rather simple but the pace of the game creates the challenge.  It may not be everyone's cup of tea but The Viking's Revenge makes a decent first impression and isn't a bad gaming option to consider.

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Following the full review of the forthcoming Lumia 1520, it seems appropriate to show the CP-623 cover in more detail.

The Protective Cover for the Lumia 1520 comes in Red or Yellow and it will cost around $40. Currently, the Microsoft Store has it listed as out of stock, but presumably the case should be available this Friday. It’s not clear if AT&T Stores will offer the cover, though AT&T sometimes passes on official Nokia accessories.

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Nokia Lumia 1520 Review

Nokia’s latest Lumia features a massive 1080P 6-inch display and a Quad-Core processor, making it the most powerful Windows Phone to date

Back in April, reports began circulating that the Windows Phone 8 operating system would receive support for large, high resolution displays later in the year. Android has had such support for a long time, and Samsung’s success with its Galaxy Note line suggests that consumers want big screens, no matter what the tradeoffs. This Friday, November 22nd, Nokia and AT&T are finally firing back with the first 1080P Windows Phone: the Lumia 1520.

Make no mistake, it’s a massive phone with a 6-inch display and support for a powerful new processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800. The question is, is it too unwieldy to use for the average consumer? How good is it and perhaps more importantly, who’s it designed for?

Windows Phone Central answers these questions in more in our comprehensive look at the colossal Nokia Lumia 1520.

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Yes, we know it's a crowded field with regards to Windows Phone weather apps with plenty of quality apps to choose from.  However, we ran across a marvelous looking Windows Phone 8 weather app the other day and felt compelled to share.

MoWeather HD is a relatively new weather app and presents things in a very eye appealing fashion. From the weather backgrounds to the animated weather information, MoWeather HD is an attractive app making it stand out in a sea of weather apps.

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Console First-Person Shooter fans could be forgiven for having missed out on the Painkiller series thus far. The series’ last console appearance was Painkiller: Hell Wars for the original Xbox back in 2006. Otherwise the series primarily appears on PC.

Though the delivery method is somewhat unconventional, Xbox fans can finally play the latest Painkiller game. Nordic Games published the Xbox 360 version of Painkiller: Hell and Damnation at retail in Europe earlier this summer. In North America, the game recently popped up as a downloadable Games on Demand title for Xbox 360. The digital release does allow for a relatively low price of $29.99, and a downloadable version is certainly better than none at all.

We’ve played through Painkiller: Hell and Damnation and its downloadable expansions in order to bring you this detailed review.

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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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