Reviews

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Quick review of the Surface Pro 3 Docking Station

Starting on Friday, Microsoft began to sell the new Surface Pro 3 Docking Station at various retail locations. So besides being a laptop and tablet replacement, your Surface Pro 3 can do triple duty as a full desktop replacement too.

The $199 accessory is by no means 'cheap' – in terms of either price or quality – but it is awesome. I managed to grab one from my local Microsoft Store in Natick, MA. Here are my initial thoughts, including a hands on video.

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Plight of the Zombie is one of the latest zombie genre games to land in the Windows Phone Store. It has seen a fair amount of success over on iOS and Android with the developer hoping for similar results here on the Windows Phone platform.

Plight of the Zombie isn't a tower defense game or a game where you get to hunt down and wipe out the zombie hordes. Instead, the game offers over 50 puzzles that you have to help your zombie solve. Of course, in the process there is plenty of brains to indulge upon.

Available for low-memory devices, Plight of the Zombie comes across as a fun, casual paced game for Windows Phone. The biggest downside to the game is the lack of a trial version (but we've got a trick to work around that).

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Last month we reported on a new Xbox One controller design from Controller Modz, a UK-based controller modding specialist. The company basically allows users to buy authentic first-party controllers for a variety of consoles and choose to have them decorated with a variety of custom paint jobs and designs. The service doesn't come cheap, but Controller Modz promises professional-quality results.

Reading about the Controller Modz service via press release is one thing, but as a controller enthusiast I was eager to get my hands on a custom controller for review. Controller Modz offers 19 unique Xbox One designs to choose from, as well as a "Build Your Own" feature for greater customization. For this review, I went with the "Sticker Bomb" design that features a colorful combination of racing-style livery across the front of the controller.

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Qais Quest is a nicely animated Windows Phone platform game where you play the role of Qais, a lost knight trying to find his way home.

The graphics remind me a little of the Rayman series of games and the game play is your traditional platformer style with plenty of obstacles to jump, enemies to slay and gems to collect.

Qais Quest is a fun game to pass the time with and is available for low-memory devices. If you are a fan of platformers or just looking for a nice title to add to your gaming library, Qais Quest is worth a try.

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We've got endless runner games, endless jumper games and now an endless surfer game. Soaper Coaster takes you to the world's longest bathtub for a challenging game where you must provide a steady supply of waves to guide a rubber duck over, under and past various bathtub hazards. You've got your common hazards such as hair dryers, frayed wires, soap dishes and then you have the not so common hazards such as enemy rubber ducks armed with laser canons.

Available for low-memory devices, the game includes upgrades for your duck to increase its awesomeness and an online leaderboard. It may take you a few tries to get used to the controls but overall Soaper Coaster isn't a bad time waster of a game.

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EmojiHunt is a match-three styled game for Windows Phone that, as you would guess, calls on you to find matches of three or more of the same styled emoji.

The game has forty-eight levels of play, each requiring you to hunt down particular sets of emoji before time runs out. While the game premise sounds easy, you might be surprised how hard it is to identify matching emoji.

Available for 512MB devices, EmojiHunt is a colorful, challenging match-three styled game that isn't a bad time waster.

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Iaculator is an arcade space-shooter Windows Phone game that takes elements from classic games such as Asteroids and Galaga to create a mildly entertaining time waster of a game where you are tasked with destroying everything in sight.

The game has potential but the pace of the game drags at times to the point of being too easy. Iaculator isn't a total wash with nice graphics, the ability to use points earned to upgrade your ship and a decent range of weapons to deploy.

Available for low-memory devices, Iaculator Free Space Shooter isn't a bad gaming option to have in your Windows Phone library. It just could use a little fine-tuning.

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We mentioned the release of the new Windows Phone game World of Rabbit - The Crossing over the weekend and it made a nice first impression. The game is the sequel to the popular World of Rabbit - The Dig that landed in the Windows Phone Store a couple of years ago and shares the same entertaining game play, colorful graphics and animations as the original.

Where The Dig was more of a time management game, The Crossing takes on more of an arcade style of game play. The rabbits will take to the high seas to visit the ancient rabbit islands to collect forgotten artifacts. Sounds easy enough but the seas are infested with annoying robots that are dead set on destroying the rabbits and their ship.

Available for low memory devices, World of Rabbit - The Crossing is a nice follow-up game to the original. Plus you have the bonus features of unlockable 3D printable toys (for those with a 3D printer lying around) and World of Rabbit wallpapers.

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Shiny The Firefly is a wonderfully drawn up arcade styled game that is available for Windows 8 and Windows Phone devices (low-memory included). The game's backstory has you playing the role of Shiny, a firefly who has lost all his babies.

To gather all the children, Shiny must navigate a colorful garden maze and avoid mosquitos, toads, wasps, centipedes and other dangers. The arcade has simple mechanics and at times a puzzle game approach.

Shiny The Firefly has a casual pace, plenty of challenges and is a nice gaming option for your Windows Phone library. The biggest hurdle this game will have to overcome is the lack of a trial version.

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Last Friday, AT&T and Microsoft finally set the green Lumia 1520 loose as inventory went out to AT&T stores across the country. The green Lumia 1520 is no different from the currently available ones except for the bold, green color, and it is bold. I do not hesitate to label this green as nearly fluorescent because it is very audacious.

Although static promo shots tell one story, hands on video and some high-quality real photos tell another. Therefore, with that introduction, here is a quick look at the 'Hulk' Lumia 1520, one of the boldest Windows Phones to date.

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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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