Reviews

11

Skwirmy Free, a Windows Phone game of survival

Skwirmy Free is a Windows Phone game that is reminiscent of the old Snake games but with a survival twist. You play the role of a worm that goes around eating up the neighborhood, seeing how large you can grow and avoid being eaten by the other bugs.

The more Skwirmy eats, the longer he becomes. This makes maneuvering skwirmy around the game screen a little more challenging and makes skwirmy a larger target for the other bugs to attack. The game has nice graphics, a decent challenge but lacks that intangible that keeps you drawn into the game.

Available for 512MB devices, Skwirmy is a decent game but I don't think it's strong enough to be your go-to Windows Phone gaming title.

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Earlier this summer, we travelled to QuakeCon in order to catch a first look at Bethesda's new Doom game that is coming to Xbox One and PC sometime in the future. Xbox 360 owners can already play the first three Doom games thanks to the awesome Doom 3 BFG Edition, but mobile gamers aren't so lucky. iOS has Doom Resurrection and the Doom RPGs, but neither Windows Phone nor Android has an official Doom game to their names. Windows Phone does have an unlicensed port called Doom GLES though.

Speaking of unlicensed Doom, we also have an app called Doom Shooter from M4Multimedia that will put a smile on Doom fans' faces. Doom Shooter is a free camera app/lens for both Windows Phone 7 and 8 (including 512 MB devices) that lets you pretend to shoot everything on your camera feed with the trusty Doom pistol. You can even add blood splashes to your photos for maximum authenticity. Doom Shooter has some obvious room for improvement, but the simple joy of seeing Doom graphics overlaid on your selfies can't be denied.

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Back in June we reviewed a twin-stick shooter called JoyJoy, from the maker of Bombcats Special Edition. I found JoyJoy to be the absolute best game of its kind on Windows Phone, owing largely to its perfect controls and vibrant, peppy theme.

Now developer Radiangames is back with a shooter of a much different color: Super Crossfighter. Like JoyJoy, this game started life on the Xbox 360 where it was called Super Crossfire. The Windows Phone version (which launched simultaneously with Android and iOS, and supports 512 MB phones) has tons of balance tweaks and improvements that make it feel like a whole new game. Super Crossfighter is absolutely massive for a shoot-em-up, so genre fanatics won't want to miss it.

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The Walking Cat is a puzzle game for your Windows Phone that is one of long lost love and a zombie trying to toss a wet blanket on romance.

The story line behind The Walking Cat has you playing the role of Captain Puffy who has been separated from his love, Miss Purr-Purr. To re-unite these two lovebirds you will need to guide Captain Puffy through a maze while avoiding various booby-traps and the ZombieCat who wants to eat his brains.

Available for low-memory devices, The Walking Cat is a casual puzzle game that does grow on you. It will test your strategy skills to stay one step ahead of the zombie and a nice time waster of a game.

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If you're in search of a fun time waster game for your Windows Phone, give 250K Games - Timberman a try. The game is incredibly simple to pick up but, as is often said, a challenge to master.

The mechanics are simple and the gaming concept easy. The challenge comes with the game's pace, which can easily overwhelm you and send your lumberjack to his grave. Timberman is available for low-memory devices and while there is one navigational bug, the game is a great addition to the Windows Phone gaming library.

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The Line Football is an incredibly simple yet frustratingly challenging time waster of a game for Windows Phone 8. The game is an endless runner styled game where you are challenged to guide a soccer ball down a path, dodging annoying football players and seeing how far you can go.

The Line Football game is available for 512MB devices and while I may the last person to recommend a soccer/football game, it is a game worth adding to your Windows Phone library.

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Masked Shooters is a multi-player, online first person shooter for Windows Phones where you can compete in teams or in a free for all format.

The game has a wide range of graphic quality settings to help optimize game play speeds and a modest selection of weapons to use as you try to blast your opponent into the netherworld.

Available for low-memory devices, Masked Shooters has potential but hard to see graphics and cumbersome gaming mechanics hold this Windows Phone game back.

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MemoLocation is a handy Windows Phone app that lets you pin a location on a map and receive toast notifications when you return to that point.

The interface is simple and straightforward with MemoLocation and I can see the app coming in handy to remember where you parked your car, where you left your beach gear, where your favorite fishing hole is or your campsite. Available for low-memory devices, MemoLocation has a wide range of uses.

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The best way to describe the Windows Phone game Throw Quest may be to say it is an intense game of dodge ball with a fantasy flair.

The game is an arcade action game where you face off against a wide range of enemies who you must dispatch. You take out the enemy by throwing a tiny red ball (and just about anything else you can get your hands on) at them. To the game honest, your opponent is throwing things at you as well.

While not available for low-memory devices, Throw Quest is a nicely animated arcade game that's not a bad time waster of a game. It just needs a little something, something to keep you pulled into the game.

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iOttie Easy Flex Qi Car Charger Review

One of the more convenient features of many of the Lumia Windows Phones is the Qi wireless charging. Whether you are fortunate enough to have Qi built into your Lumia Windows Phone or rely on the wireless charging covers, the technology offers a simple means to re-charging your phone.

Nokia has added the technology to their CR-200/201 car cradle and iOttie has followed suit with their Easy Flex Qi Car Charger. The iOttie Qi charger is designed similar to the company's Easy Flex 2 and One Touch car cradles with an easy one touch mounting system.

While the iOttie Easy Flex Qi is priced less than the Nokia, one small feature may negate any savings the wireless charging cradle may offer.

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Fail Hard is an arcade styled game for your Windows Phone that has you assuming the role of a backyard stuntman who must conquer a wide range of obstacle courses.

The game has nine stages or environments that are filled with multiple levels of action. As you play the game, you will earn coins that can be used to upgrade existing gear or used to buy new equipment. Just be warned, you will crash and burn often with Fail Hard - much in the spirit of Fail Army, a favorite channel with the staff that highlights epic fails.

A universal game, available for Windows 8 and all Windows Phone 8, Fail Hard is a fun, nicely animated, challenging Windows Phone game that is a great option to consider when you need to kill some time.

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CEF Photos is a Windows Phone reference app that delivers over 1,100 photos of the Canadian Expeditionary Force during World War I. While Great Britain and the United States often took center stage, 620,000 men and women of the CEF served during the First World War. The mostly volunteer force participated in several major battles across the European theatre and carried a strong reputation as being an effective military formation.

CEF Photos may not appeal to everyone but with the First World War passing its 100-year anniversary, the app may present a different perspective on things to history buffs.

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Anagramble is a Windows Phone word game that gives you two minutes, thirty words and the task of finding anagrams within those words. Anagrams are words created by re-arranging the letters of a word.

For example an anagram for Mary would be Army.

Available for 512MB devices, Anagramble is a simple word game that comes across as a fun time waster of a game for your Windows Phone. There is a bit of challenge to the game and a faint educational value in finding those hidden words.

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A few weeks back we reviewed TouchFox, an app that allows Windows 8 gamers to play PC games using touch screen virtual controls. Control issues aside, being able to play computer games on a tablet is pretty impressive. But you know what's even more likely to knock someone's socks off? Playing PC games on a phone.

That's just what KinoConsole makes possible. Kinoni, makers of the Kinoni Remote app (no longer published), have just released a gaming-specific version of that app called KinoConsole. By installing both the Windows Phone and PC apps, players can stream and play big-screen games to their phones. KinoConsole provides (iffy) virtual controls and even supports MOGA controllers! The app is free and works with 512 MB phones.

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The Windows Phone Store has a nice selection of navigational apps that can help you get around town or get across the country. NAVIGON and HERE Drive+ are two of the more popular options available on Store shelves. Along with a full host of features, these two mapping apps take advantage of downloadable maps to help minimize your dependency on data while traveling.

I recently took a short jump out of town and decided to re-visit both these apps to see if one stood heads and shoulders above the other. I used both apps periodically on the round trip journey, as well as around town while at my destination. While we've looked at these two navigation apps before, having logged 1,300 miles on my trip I figured it was worth taking another look at things.

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Hues is a relatively new puzzle game for Windows Phone that is inspired by the puzzle game 2048. It shares the same addictive quality of the popular numbers game but replaces pairing numbered tiles with tiles (or cards) of the same color.

Hues has three gaming modes to keep you on your toes, a few power-ups to help you survive game play and an online leaderboard system.

Available for low-memory devices, Hues comes across as a challenging and entertaining way to pass the time with. Hues is a Windows Phone puzzle game that will appeal to users of all ages.

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Aliens and Farm is a relatively new game for the Windows Phone platform where you have to save the local farm from invading aliens. To do so, you will have to whack them back into the ground, pond, pigsty and other areas of the farm. Much like you would do in a game of whac-a-mole.

The game pace has a bit of zip and there are a few bonuses you can collect during game play to help you survive the alien onslaught.

Available for 512MB devices, Aliens and Farm may not hold up to marathon gaming sessions but if you're in the mood for something different to pass the time with, Aliens and Farm may not be a bad option.

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Review - Nokia MD-12 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

In April, Nokia announced a new accessory called the MD-12 speaker. It features Bluetooth 3.0 HS (High Speed), which is ideal for power consumption, and it weighs only 180 grams. The big selling point though for this $50 accessory is the "guaranteed" 15-hours of battery life for playback, which is impressive.

On Sunday, I reported that Microsoft Stores have begun to sell the MD-12, which is a good thing since it can be hard to find, especially in the US. For $50 (plus free ground shipping), you are not risking much, but is the sound any good?

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IQ Mission is a challenging, nicely drawn-up collection of puzzle games for your Windows Phone. The game includes eight puzzle styles that are represented by eight global cities. Available for low-memory devices, IQ Mission has experienced decent success on iOS and should do well on the Windows Phone platform.

The game does have an international spy story line where you visit each city to solve the puzzles in search of a secret energy source. Each city contains multiple levels of puzzles that progressively get more challenging. All totaled, IQ Mission has 128 levels and 20 achievements to earn. As you complete the levels of play you reveal a map that reveals where the secret source of energy is.

While the secret agent mission story line is a nice touch, the puzzles are the key attraction. If you like logic based puzzles, IQ Mission is full of challenging, sometimes frustrating, puzzles and is a good option to consider. IQ Mission is a universal app, available for both Windows Phone 8 (low-memory devices too) and Windows 8.

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Tank Invaders Review- a blast of a Windows Phone game

Tank Invaders hit the Windows Phone Store last week and made a nice first impression. We took the arcade styled game out for a test drive the past few days and that impression held.

The game has you controlling a battery of missiles that will come in handy to fend off alien invaders from space. Tank Invaders has plenty of action, challenges and power-ups to blast the enemy into orbit.

Available for low-memory devices, Tank Invaders is a blast of a time waster and a fun addition to the Windows Phone line-up.

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Last year Windows Phone Central's "Gorgeous" George Ponder reviewed an indie game about hot air ballooning called Reach for the Sky. It came from Copenhagen-based indie developer Aemto and utilized a charging pixel art style. Sadly, that game is no longer available on the Windows Phone Store (per the developer's decision). From the ashes of the first Reach for the Sky comes a new Reach for the Sky sharing the same title.

Although the name has not changed, the new game is essentially a sequel. Reach for the Sky (2014) is still all about climbing the screen in a hot air balloon, but the visuals and gameplay have changed quite a bit. It still features a lyrical theme song from these guys that sounds catchy at first but becomes maddening before too long. It's completely free (with unobtrusive ads), compatible with phones with 512 MB of RAM, and only takes up 4 MB of storage. Just be sure you switch the controls to "Tap" before playing…

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OSO Push Mount Review, a car cradle with NFC support

While many will simply keep their Windows Phone in their pocket or case while in the car, a good many will opt to secure their Windows Phone in a car cradle. These cradles come in a wide range of styles and allows your phone to be easily accessible while driving whether you use the phone as a GPS navigational tool or just to see who is calling before you trigger your hands-free device.

OSO is offering a NFC enabled car cradle the company hopes will catch your eye. The OSO Push Mount is offered in three different mount options and with the NFC support, you can have your NFC enabled Windows Phone launch your favorite traveling app when mounted in the cradle.

In using the OSO dash mounted cradle for the past few days, it comes across as a solidly built option worth considering. However, there is one feature that seems to hold this cradle back.

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Fitbit for Windows Phone 8.1 is here (Updated)

Starting today, Fitbit is announcing the availability of their official app for Windows Phone 8.1. Fitbit is the standard for wearable fitness tracking devices with their One, Flex and Force trackers, in addition to their Aria fitness scale. The new Fitbit app for Windows Phone 8.1 finally lets those who leverage Fitbit technology to sync their data on the go just using their Windows Phone. Fitbit keeps track of the progress of friends, steps taken, distance traveled, floor climbed, weight, calorie intake, and full user history.

Windows Phone Central first reported movement on the Fitbit app for Windows Phone back in December when the company sought to hire a developer for the project. Fast forward six months later and the app is here. From a gorgeous design that embraces the Modern UI to the Live Tile to the speed, the Fitbit app for Windows Phone 8.1 is well worth the wait.

Let's check it out in our video review!

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Duck Destroy is a fun, somewhat challenging arcade game for your Windows Phone that calls upon you to blast ducks out of the sky as they fly across the gaming screen.

You play the role of a fox who has been tasked with fetching dinner. Armed with everything from a slingshot to dynamite to an assault rifle, you help guide the fox through fifty levels of play that span a wide range of environments.

Available for low-memory devices, Duck Destroy is an entertaining addition to your Windows Phone gaming library.

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The original Royal Revolt (developed by Flare Games in Germany) was one of the first truly high quality games for Windows 8 and RT (it also appeared on Windows Phone). The game play combined smooth touch-screen combat with mild strategy elements, making for an addictive reverse tower defense game. Other than a steep and unfair difficulty curve and some iffy English translation, the first Royal Revolt was just about perfect.

Royal Revolt 2 for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 and RT drastically changes gears to a completely player-versus-player raiding focus, much like Cloud Raiders and Clash of Clans. Luckily, the addictive core game play survives almost completely intact. With an endless array of opponents to attack and defenses to upgrade, this sequel has become a mainstay on my daily playlist. But as good as it is, Royal Revolt 2 still has some room for improvement…

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