Reviews

Postcards is a simple photo sharing Windows Phone app that allows you to send a photo to random users worldwide. The interface is straightforward and the only information shared is your photo, the city where the photo was taken and any comments you add to the photo.

Postcards may not rank up there with the likes of Instagram or Fhotoroom with regards to photo sharing networks. However, if you like the randomness of seeing what is out there in the world, it might be worth a try.

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All retail Xbox One games enjoy simultaneous downloadable releases, allowing gamers to choose between physical or digital copies of their favorite games. On Xbox 360 though, "Games on Demand" downloadable releases are far from ubiquitous and often arrive several months after the same games launch at retail.

Even less common, sometimes an Xbox 360 game that originated at retail in one territory gets released solely as a Games on Demand title in others. Think Resident Evil 4 or Deathsmiles II, both exclusively downloadable titles in America. Now we can add another to that list, because Japanese developer G.Rev's Xbox 360 shoot-em-up (shmup) Under Defeat HD has finally made its way to America via Games on Demand for $19.99.

Find out whether Under Defeat HD was worth the wait in our review with exclusive game play video and screenshots!

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If you like table tennis or just a fan of fast paced games, Ping Pong Masters might be a Windows Phone game worth looking into. As you would guess, Ping Pong Masters is a table tennis game for our Windows Phones that offers two gaming modes, over thirty ping pong masters to face and over forty ping pong paddles to collect.

Available for low-memory devices Ping Pong Masters has nice graphics, speedy game play and while the disembodied paddles is a little creepy looking, the game is well done.

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Puzzle games are a great way to pass the time. There are several quality puzzle games available in the Windows Phone Store and Circuits hopes to join their ranks. The game has over three hundred puzzles that challenge you to complete an array of circuits connecting a power source to lights.

While the concept sounds easy, the puzzles will make you scratch your head. Some puzzles have move limits, some have timers and some take on a more casual pace simply requiring you to turn on all the lights.

Available for low-memory devices, Circuits is an attractive puzzle game that is definitely worth trying.

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Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that today would be the official release date of Minecraft: Xbox One Edition. The game actually ended up launching yesterday evening, perhaps to line up more closely with the debut of the Playstation 4 version on the same day.

Although Minecraft is already available on other platforms like Xbox 360 and PC (but sadly not Windows Phone), the release of the Xbox One version still warrants excitement. For one thing, owners of the 360 game can buy the Xbox One Edition for only $4.99. More importantly, this version brings a ton of improvements over the previous one, such as 1080p support, improved draw distance, and larger worlds.

Still don't get the fuss? Our detailed review with exclusive hands-on video and screenshots will set you straight.

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Feed OmNomster - The Hungry Monster is one of the more hyperactive games available in the Windows Phone Store. You are tasked with feeding the OmNomster trash that flies across the screen while avoiding bombs and other dangers that tempt the hungry critter.

Feed OmNomster is available for low memory devices and not a bad time waster of a game. You just need to make sure you have a firm grip on your Windows Phone.

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Paralaksa is a wonderful Windows Phone app that allows you to create lockscreen wallpapers that are based on themes. If you are sporting Windows Phone 8.1, there's no reason you can't use the wallpapers as Start Screen backgrounds as well.

We've tinkered with Paralaksa for the past day or so and while pronouncing the name has given me fits, the app itself comes across as a clean looking, creative way to compose some nifty Windows Phone wallpapers.

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Masks, a nifty Windows Phone image effects editor

Masks is a new photo editor for Windows Phone from the developers behind the popular Windows Phone photography app Fhotoroom. The app allows you to apply effects filters to specific areas of your photo by using preset masks.

The app includes 26 masks and 23 filters. You can pick up more masks through an in-app purchase.

Keep in mind that Masks is not a full featured photo editor but rather a specialty editor. It may not appeal to everyone but in using Masks over the past few days it comes across as a nice editing tool to have in your Windows Phone photography library.

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If you are in the mood for a simple, challenging puzzle game, you may want to check out the Windows Phone gaming title Block x 3. The game has a casual pace with over five hundred puzzles that are scattered about four puzzle packs.

Block x 3 is not the most difficult puzzle game to pick-up on but don't let the simplicity of the game fool you. You are presented with an assortment of blocks that you have to line up in a row or column. The challenge is that you have a limited number of moves to accomplish this in and plenty of obstacles to get in your way.

Available for low-memory devices and Windows 8 devices, Block x 3 is an appealing choice of games to help you pass the time and to test your puzzle solving skills.

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Scorched Toast is a unique Windows Phone arcade game that has you playing the role of a toaster who has to launch toast at various breakfast plates that serve as targets.

Scorched Toast isn't exactly an action packed Windows Phone game but it is a fun game to pass the time with. Available for low memory devices, the game includes online leaderboards, a gaming store to pick up a few power-ups and Cloud game saves to synchronize your progress between Windows Phone and Windows 8 devices.

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Amzer's Double Layer Hybrid case for the Nokia Lumia 1520 is a rugged full-body cover, much like Incipio's DualPro line of cases. It is made up of a soft silicon jacket that slides over the entire body of the phone, as well as a hard plastic shell that clips on over it

We have been running with one for the last few days, and here is our quick review, including some detailed photos! If you are looking for an affordable case that offers medium to heavy protection, check out the Amzer Double Layer Hybrid case.

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If you are in need of a new Windows Phone 8.1 Start Screen wallpaper or a Windows Phone lockscreen wallpaper, take a gander at Background Wallpapers HD.

While the developer does not offer an exact number of wallpapers available, there is an abundance of wallpapers to sift through. The images are categorized and include nature, abstract, cartoons, pets, gaming characters and more.

Just exploring the wallpaper offerings from Background Wallpapers HD, it comes across as an impressive collection but the navigation could use a little fine-tuning.

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Alkekopter is not your typical endless runner styled Windows Phone game. You play the role of a floating skull that is armed with a floating fireball that is dangling from a chain.

Your job is to guide the floating skull down an endless path that is filled with evil minions and other skulls that are intent on doing you harm. The game does have a few power-ups to help your skull survive all the attacks.

Available for low-memory devices, Alkekopter has simple controls, challenging game play and isn't a bad time waster of a game.

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Cannon Penguins is a odd little Windows Phone game that has you shooting penguins from a cannon in an effort to capture fish that are randomly swimming across the screen.

The arcade game has three gaming modes to offer a little variety and is available for low memory devices. I'm not sure if Cannon Penguins can stand up to marathon gaming sessions but for short spurts, it's worth a try.

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Candy Bird, an uncomplicated time waster of a game

There isn't much to the Windows Phone game Candy Bird. You are tasked with keeping your bird in flight for as long as possible, collecting candy that will randomly appear on the screen. Along the way you will also need to avoid spikes that are at the bottom and sides of the screen that will ground your bird and end the game.

Available for low-memory devices, Candy Bird has simple gaming controls and nice, minimalistic graphics. After spending a little time with the game, we can't say CandyBird will hold up to marathon gaming sessions but for shorter bits of time, Candy Bird isn't a bad time waster of a game.

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The Nokia Lumia 530 is the newest entry-level Windows Phone device to grace the markets in 2014. As the global rollout begins, we are diving deeper into seeing what the phone can do. Although technically speaking the Lumia 530 is a follow up to the Lumia 520, in some ways it is a step down in specs in an attempt to drive the price even lower. This difference is why many consider the Lumia 630 to be a better upgrade for current Lumia 520 owners.

How does the new Quad-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 200 chipset in the Lumia 530 compare to the older, Dual-core 1.0 GHz Snapdragon S4 found in the Lumia 520? Let's find out!

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Age of Wind 3 is an action/adventure game for your Windows Phone that reminds me of a scaled back version of Sid Meier's Pirates! The game has more cartoonish graphics, lacks some of the side games (sword play, dancing, land battles, etc.) than Pirates! but the gaming concept comes close.

With Age of Wind 3 you sail the Caribbean traveling to over 35 ports of call, take on hundreds of quests, buy and trade goods, recruit sailors, build up your fleet and, as you would guess, battle pirates. Age of Wind 3 also includes Facebook integration where you can battle your Facebook friends on the high seas.

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Box It is a Windows Phone arcade styled puzzle game that has addictive quality and not a shabby way to waste a little time with. The multi-level game has you drawing lines to capture portions of the playing field. It sounds easy but there are evil dots lurking about that will test not only your timing but also your patience.

Box It reminds me of an old arcade game that you'd find at the local Aladdin's Castle or convenience store in the early '80s. It's not a terribly complicated game with a simple gaming concept but just enough challenge about it to keep things interesting.

Available for low-memory devices, Box It has experienced decent success over on iOS and Android platforms and should see similar here on the Windows Phone platform.

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Appy Weather has joined the ranks of the numerous weather apps available in the Windows Phone Store. It hopes to stand out from the pack by offering a more personal approach to the weather forecast and a simple interface.

While Appy Weather lacks weather radar and weather alerts (catch the update at the end for this has changed), its minimal design does look good and the app does deliver a healthy amount of forecast information to your Windows Phone. Appy Weather makes a nice first impression and while there is room for improvement, the app comes across as a solid weather source for your Windows Phone.

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Match It, a Windows Phone game with promise

We are seeing a string of simple, yet challenging, Windows Phone games landing in the Windows Phone Store. Most of these games aren't very complicated but a fun way to pass the time. You will also find some of these titles to be fun to play for a short time but lack staying power.

Match It is a relatively new gaming title that hopes to fall into the 'fun way to pass the time' category. The game tests your reflexes and speed by requiring you to tap the screen as two balls that change color match.

Available for low-memory devices, Match It has potential and worth trying. However, you may find that the game needs a little more chutzpah to keep you pulled into the game.

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Last week, a downloadable Xbox One game called Fibbage popped up as part of the ID@Xbox program. Fibbage is a multiplayer trivia game from Jackbox Games, makers of the popular You Don't Know Jack series of trivia games. Besides being the only trivia title in town for the Xbox One, Fibbage stands out for its unique control method: everyone uses a phone or tablet as a controller!

That probably sounds crazy, and in fact it can be hard to understand Fibbage from a cursory description. But Fibbage manages to combine console gaming with mobile device controls in an extremely natural way. Gamers and non-gamers alike to can play and laugh together without the learning curve that a controller would bring. See exactly how it works in our exclusive gameplay video with both Xbox One and phone footage!

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Battle of Airway is an arcade styled space shooter for Windows Phone that has you piloting a rocket ship across worlds infested with deadly alien creatures.

Graphics are nicely drawn up in bright, colorful fashion that is somewhat reminiscent of the Beatle's Yellow Submarine styled animations (or at least to my eye). Game play has a swift pace and full of challenges. Not only do you face alien creatures and ships but you also have to dodge dangers such as giant snowballs, flamethrowers, buzz saws and more.

While Battle of Airway makes a nice first impression it has one, maybe two, strikes going against it. No trail version and no 512MB device support. Battle of Airway isn't a bad game but while 512MB support would be nice, the lack of a trial version may sink this game.

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Which is represented more in the Windows Phone Store, Match-three games or endless runners? My money is on the match-three styled games and you can add Fruit Heroes Saga to the genre of games available in the Windows Phone Store.

Fruit Heroes Saga is a colorful, multi-level styled match-three game where, as you might guess, work towards creating matches of the same type of fruit. Each level has a scoring goal that has to be met in a set number of moves or before time runs out. Fruit Heroes Saga also includes bonus items that can be purchased with your winnings to improve your chances of success.

Available for low-memory devices, Fruit Heroes Saga isn't a bad game to consider adding to your Windows Phone gaming library but it lacks that "zippity doo da" to let this game stand out in the crowded field of match-three games.

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The Lumia 520 is going to go down as the phone that drove Windows Phone in emerging markets and for those who want a budget phone. Therefore, it should be no surprise to see Microsoft pick up Nokia's reins with the Lumia 530, which is just now launching globally.

I managed to get my hands on a brand new bright green Lumia 530 and in the following video, I talk about the features, specs and my first impressions. As it turns out, it very much reminds me of the Lumia 620 in terms of design, and the OS is surprisingly zippy considering the price range for this phone.

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If you're looking for an action/arcade game for your Windows Phone that is a tough nut to crack, take a look at Couplinked.

The game has you controlling two nodes (or dots) that are connected by an electrical field. Your job is to collect colored rings that are flying across the screen with the corresponding node you control. You also have a red ball that flies through from time to time that will ruin your day.

Available for low-memory devices, Couplinked may not appeal to everyone but there's little doubt that this is a Windows Phone game that is frustratingly challenging.

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