Reviews

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Beanstalk Tale - Review

In the spirit of Jack and the Beanstalk and the Three Little Pigs, DiNoGames is offering Beanstalk Tale over at the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.

The fairy tale oriented platform game where you play the role of a pig who is trying to bounce his way to the top of the beanstalk. You bounce from leaf to leaf by tilting your Windows Phone left or right.

You can speed things up by catching a ride on a balloon but be careful not to run into a hornet. If your balloon bursts you can land safely on a leaf and continue bouncing your way up the beanstalk or fall to your demise.

Ease on past the break to see what impression this Windows Phone game left with us.

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Jabra Cruiser 2 - Review

Jabra has been producing quality Bluetooth accessories for years ranging from wired to Bluetooth headphones and speakerphones.  The latest Windows Phone accessory from Jabra is the Cruiser 2.

The Cruiser 2 is a Bluetooth in-car speakerphone that is billed as having "superior sound for hands-free calls in the car". Jabra incorporates their Noise Blackout technology, along with dual microphones, to offer clear, understandable calls.

We liked the original Jabra Cruiser and to see if the Cruiser 2 lives up to the Jabra standard, follow the break.

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Handyscan - Review

JDB Pocketware is offering Handyscan for Windows Phone 7 over at the Marketplace. If you're looking for a nice, personal document scanner for your Windows Phone, Handyscan should make your short list.

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Places - Review

Eonmatrix is offering Places for Windows Phone 7 that is a location based search engine that will help you find restaurants, coffee houses, hotels and other landmarks that are in your area.

The layout of the app is simple and straight forward. The main page has nine main search categories as well as a keyword search field. Above the search field you'll find your current location that the searches will be based off of. Simply tap on a category and a listing of those business types will be generated that are in your area.

The results can be displayed in list form or by a map with pushpins representing the results. Once you've found your target, tapping on the individual listing will pull up a secondary hub that details that particular business.

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Glow Artisan - Review

Glow Artisan was first released in December of 2009 as DSiWare for the ubiquitous Nintendo DSi handheld gaming device. It was received with fantastic reviews from nearly every critic and gamer to give it a go.

If anything, Glow Artisan is a bit overwhelming and fantastic. Powerhead Games has constructed a puzzle game with such depth and scale that every other game within the same genre has been put to shame. I mean, there are puzzle games and then there's Glow Artisan. A puzzle game's puzzle game. Now that Glow Artisan has been ported to WP7 as part of the library of Xbox Live Arcade games we'll have to see how well this puzzler translates to a single screen. So far, things look fantastically overwhelming.

Read on to find out why.

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Chrome to WP7 - Review

Dave Amenta has brought the popular Google Chrome to Phone Android application to Windows Phone 7.

Chrome to WP7 (now called Send to WP7) allows you to push a web address to your Windows Phone from your desktop browser. The URL will appear in the Chrome to WP7 app where you can either email the link or launch the URL via your mobile browser.  To see how well the Chrome app transitioned to Windows Phone 7, hit the break.

Update: As of Dec 10th, the app is now called Send to WP7

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Ionball - Review

IronSun Studios is offering Ionball over at the Marketplace. Ionball is a Breakout styled game that is presented, as described by the developer, in a unique SteamPunk style.

The game play itself isn't anything new. The object is to destroy the tiles by bouncing a ball into them. You keep the ball bouncing by virtue of a paddle board at the bottom of the screen. Miss the ball with the paddle and you loose a life.

To see if Ionball is a breakout of a game, ease on past the break.

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Software Review: OMG (Our Manic Game) + Video

OMG brings back some of the best things that were left behind in the late 80's arcade halls. Dark atmospheres and neon lights, simple graphics set to totally rad sound, and best of all - addictive gaming urging you on to beat the highest score. Our Manic Game by Arkedo Studios is certainly no throwback either. It isn't nearly as aggressive at destroying your stock as those old cabinets were for some more quarters and the controls are nearly sublime. All that's really missing here is the pizza shop and someone pestering you for next game.

Read on for Rob's full review, including a sweet video that shows off gameplay and offers some gaming tips as well!

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Photo Magic - Review

Like to apply special effects to your photos? Want an easy way to go about doing so on your Windows Phone?

Appa Mundi Ltd is offering Photo Magic over at the Marketplace that will let you transform photos on your Windows Phone at the swipe of a finger.

The Windows Phone 7 app can apply six effects to images stored in your media gallery or freshly captured images. The seven effects are:

  • Pencil - pencil sketch of your photo
  • Sepia - the brown tonal effect
  • Twenties -antique feel to the picture
  • Cartoon - turns your photo into a cartoon drawing
  • Movie - high contrast
  • Paint - water color effect

To apply the effects, you simply choose a photo from your media galleries or create a new photo (launches your camera app). Once loaded into the application all five effects are applied and reviewable in the Photo Magic hub. Simply swipe through the pages to preview the altered image.

Once you find a style you like, you can save it to your media gallery as well as share it on Facebook or Twitter. Some of the effects took a little time to be applied and you can choose the image file size (small, medium, large) to either speed things up or create better detail.  I found that each effect has a varying degree of success depending on the photo.  Sometimes the Cartoon Effect really turns the photo into a cartoon but with some photos it's hard to tell teh Cartoon Effect from the Paint Effect.  While some of the effects can be hit or miss, overall I was pleased with Photo Magic.

If you use your Windows Phone to capture or share images, Photo Magic is a simple and easy way to apply special effects to your photos. The full version of Photo Magic will run $1.99 and there is a free trial version available at the Marketplace.

Ease on past the break to see an example of each style.

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I am a Tenor - Review

Software developer Gaia srl is offering an interesting, dare I say unusual, application for Windows Phone 7. "I am a Tenor" is being offered over at the Marketplace for $1.99 and it seems to be a blend of karaoke and voice manipulation.

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Translator - Review

Need a simple, straight forward translation application? It doesn't get any simpler than Translator from Microsoft.

The Windows Phone 7 application will translate words and phrases to and from English, Italian, Spanish, German and French. Translator will also provide you with a list of commonly used phrases that can be translated to the various languages.

The interface is straight forward and simple. The "from" and "to" languages are shown above two text entry fields. To change the languages, simply tap the language and choose the desired language from the list. If you want to reverse the translation order, tap the "swap button" at the bottom of the screen.

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Hexic Rush - Review

Hexic is one of those arcade-style pattern-matching puzzle games that could be considered a Tetris spin-off. This type of game is extremely well suited to a mobile platform like Windows Phone 7, because the game can be easily controlled by using the touch-screen. Hexic Rush is one of the inaugural Xbox Live games on Windows Phone 7 created by Microsoft Game Studios, and therefore it has something of a high standard to meet as one of the games that is intended to introduce Windows Phone as a gaming platform. The full review is after the break.

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Software Review: Tetris

There are a number of video games that could be described as a classic, but perhaps none more so than Tetris. The game that instantly brings to mind images of St. Basil’s Cathedral and Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy had appeared on nearly every computing platform and has spawned countless variations and spin-offs.

Tetris for Windows Phone 7 is an Xbox Live game developed by one of the biggest names in gaming, Electronic Arts. With a classic game like Tetris, there’s no question about the entertainment value of the game itself; the real question is how well the platform lends itself to the game-play. The full review is after the break.

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Game Chest: Solitaire Edition - Review

With Xbox Live on Windows Phone 7, Microsoft is hoping to capture a couple of different gaming markets; the heavy gamer, and the casual gamer. The heavy gamer would be someone who potentially already uses Xbox Live at home with their Xbox 360 console, and games like The Harvest, Need For Speed Undercover, and Assassin’s Creed are games that are targeted to them. The casual gamer is less likely to spend the big bucks on the higher end games, and more likely to buy puzzle or card games such as Game Chest: Solitaire Edition from Microsoft Game Studios.

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Software Review: Need For Speed Undercover

Need For Speed is one of the most recognizable game titles ever. As the quintessential racing game, Need For Speed games offer a number of different racing styles and game types. I personally cut my teeth on Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, Porsche Unleashed, and Underground; all of which offered very different game-play styles, car options, and race types. Additionally, as one of the most recognized names in the Xbox Live category in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace; Need For Speed Undercover is one of the games that Microsoft is using to showcase Windows Phone and Xbox Live as a mobile gaming platform (see Dan’s post on how Microsoft is chipping away at Apple’s exclusivity).

You’ve already seen the first look at Need For Speed, let’s get into the details of what makes this one of the more complete games in the Xbox Live arsenal.

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Take on the roll of the deadly assassin Altair to reclaim a holy relic lost in the midst of the Third Crusade. Journey across the Holy Land using stealth and strength to bypass Crusaders, Saracens, and Templars to obtain information from the secret order of assassin's and a network of spies. Leap across rooftops or navigate treacherous tunnels all laden with traps and pitfalls or run the open street to pickpocket, interrogate, and kill your way to your goal - the lost Sacred Chalice.

Assassin's Creed: Altair's Chronicles HD is a port from the 2008 Nintendo DS version of the game and prequel to 2007's Assassin's Creed on consoles and PC. But does it hold its own on Windows Phone 7?

Hit the jump to see if Altair operates as well on WP7 as he has on every other device out there.

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We reviewed Flight Control for Windows Mobile not too long ago and found it to be an entertaining, addictive gaming app. Namco's Flight Control has made the transition to Windows Phone 7 and is just as entertaining and as addictive. If anything, the capacitive touch screen has improved game play.

Flight Contol has been well received on other platforms such as the iPhone and to see how well the aplication transitioned to Windows Phone 7, just ease on past the break.

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Ecolife Elements Top Case for LG Quantum - Review

Aftermarket cases are slowing trickling in over at the WPCentral Store and the Ecolife Elements Top Case stands out for the LG Quantum.

We've looked at the Ecolife cases before and were impressed with the quality and durability. I've been carrying my AT&T Tilt2 in Ecolife's Elements Side Case for about six months and it's still going strong. The Top Case fits the LG Quantum nicely and I recently took the case for a test drive with the new Windows Phone.

Follow the break to see what impression the Elements Case made.

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Review: LG Quantum

LG has joined the party! The LG Quantum is available over at AT&T to complete the wireless provider's initial Windows Phone 7 lineup.

The Samsung Focus's main features would be the thin size and Super-AMOLED screen. The HTC Surround's key feature would be the slide out Yamaha speakers. The LG Quantum's key features, the slide-out keyboard and DLNA compatibility.

Can the physical keyboard and DLNA give the Quantum a leg up on the competition? Or will the smaller form factor dampen the impact of the LG Quantum?

Ease on past the break to find out.

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Software Review (Windows Phone 7): Draw!

Being offered over at the Zune Marketplace for Windows Phone 7, the $.99 app is a finger-friendly doodle pad that has tons of options for tapping into your creative juices. Draw! can be used in portrait or landscape orientations and has multi-touch support (you can draw with two fingers at once).

Controls are lined up at the bottom of the screen and include your brush, fill and stamp tools; color selector; eraser; a magic button for image effects (ripple effect, glow, twist, etc.); picture tool to insert pre-drawn cartoons or a Bing Image; undo/redo controls; and file options.

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Software Review (Windows Phone 7): myCraigsAds

Windows Phone 7 gives you the advantage of staying in touch with various aspects of your life. From email to appointments to Facebook status, your Windows Phone adds a mobile touch to your life. If you make use of Craig's List and need to stay in touch on the go, myCraigsAds might be of use.

The $1.99 application is available over at the Marketplace and gives you the ability to search, monitor and create posts to Craig's List. These abilities are spread out nicely over a four page hub...

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Wonder Reader - Review

Superslacker Studios has developed Wonder Reader, a Google Reader app, for Windows Phone 7. And it looks really good.

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Software Review (WP7): Popper 2

Miss Bubble Breaker from your old Windows Mobile Phone? Have no fear, Blue Rose Systems has just what you need. Popper 2 (link will open your Zune browser) is a bubble-breaker styled game that has three game modes to give it a unique feel and sets it apart from the traditional game we've grown accustomed to.

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