Electronica

After taking last week off to review Microsoft’s Xbox One console, I’m back with a look at a just-released indie game for Windows Phone 7 and 8. BigBot Audio Drop comes from Wisconsin-based indie developer BigBot Systems. Not only is it their first game, it’s also exclusive to Windows Phone.

BigBot Audio Drop blends traditional falling block gameplay with thumping electronic music and slick visuals. The gameplay and design are closely modeled after Lumines, an early PSP hit that later came to XBLA and other platforms. But Lumines never came to Windows Phone, so Audio Drop fills a nice gap in our favorite smartphone’s software lineup. It also comes in both paid and free versions, so it won’t break the bank.

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We announced a few weeks ago that the popular electronic music streaming site Digitally Imported (www.di.fm) was beta testing their official app for Windows Phone. Tonight, we figured we show you the current status of the beta and how it all works.

Digitally Imported is a free music streaming site, though users can opt for a paid “Premium” experience like on Pandora. That feature enables 256kbps streaming with no ads and that membership level is reflected in the app.

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Back in early April we reported on the new streaming music app Beem by Windows Phone Development MVP Den Delimarsky. The app taps into Digitally Imported (www.di.fm), the popular electronic dance music site which features everything from Techno to Trance to Chillout to Progressive making it quite the value. What's more, both the service and app are completely free and the app doesn't even have any ads. Did we mention it's pretty gorgeous too?

Version 1.1 just hit the Marketplace with a bunch of welcomed new features, some of which are extremely impressive:

  • A bug fix that now allows you to re-pin a tile even if it disappears (apparently an OS bug, but there is now a workaround).
  • UI tweaks.
  • Ability to search for played songs in the Zune Marketplace.
  • Ability to record the stream and store it locally for playback (consider this a DVR implementation for DI.FM).
  • Ability to set short recorded music as a ringtone.
  • There is now a "Now Playing” option that allows users to easily jump to the currently playing station.
  • Added the ability to clear the music player (in case you don’t want to see the last played content even though it is paused).

The ability to look the song up in Zune was something we asked for--after all, we want to make use of that Zune Pass--so it's great to see it here. The new feature works flawlessly allowing us to search for the song/artist that's currently playing and then download to our phone directly (something that's very awesome over AT&T's LTE).

But the ability to locally record whatever is playing is the most impressive. The music is saved within the app for later offline playback and is really quite useful. Not only does it record but it shows you how much space in KB it's taking up in real-time. Very cool stuff.

Finally, the rest of the changes are just icing on the cake. The new Tile layout of the stations is quite eye-catching and the app is a must-have for us as we're big fans of downtempo for our background tunes. If Beem sounds like something up your alley then you can grab it right here in the Windows Phone Marketplace (or check out Den's page on the update). The app is on our must-have list for a reason!

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