games

Beards & Beaks, Microsoft Game Studios’ lighthearted real-time strategy game, just got updated to version 1.1 a few weeks ago. That update was for Nodo devices, but it didn’t add Mango features. Now that Mango is available to the masses, MGS has wasted no time in pushing another update with proper Mango support.

Beards & Beaks version 1.2 release notes

  • Fully Mango Supported!
  • Fast App Switching
  • Live Tile: Switches back and forth from Gnomes to Crows when pinned to the Start Menu.
  • All the updates from version 1.1

Fast app switching is the most important feature, but enhanced Live Tiles are always welcome. To learn more about Beards & Beaks, check out our developer interview, review, and downloadable content impressions. That’s a lot of info! Many more Xbox Live titles will receive Mango updates in the weeks to come. Stay tuned to WPCentral for all the details.

Beards & Beaks costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Pick it up here (Zune link) from the Marketplace and help the Gnomes stop the Crows!

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Yesterday we reported that Full House Poker is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week. It still is, but we’ve learned something unusual. Something magical… There are four Xbox Live games on sale this week instead of one. Madness! Joining Full House Poker (on sale for $1.99) are Puzzle Quest 2, Brain Challenge, and Gamechest: Logic Games. These are weekly sales, not price drops.

Puzzle Quest 2 from Namco Bandai is on sale for $4.99, down from $6.99. Like Castlevania Puzzle, PQ2 is a puzzle role-playing game. It’s got beautiful art, multiple playable characters, and a lengthy quest, plus a few tough (due to their luck-based nature) Achievements. If you like Bejeweled and RPGs, you really can’t do any better. We’ll have a full review soon (long game!).

Brain Challenge from Gameloft is on sale for $2.99, down from a ludicrous $4.99. BC is a collection of brain-teasing minigames that you should be wary of. It sports an amazing five Broken Achievements, and has yet to receive an update. Seriously, Brain Challenge is buggier than an entomologist's laboratory.

Gamechest: Logic Games is on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99. It includes three different games: chess, sudoku, and Minesweeper. Sure, free versions of Minesweeper and Sudoku are already available on Xbox Live, but what about chess? Our review praises the chess game’s multiplayer feature, which allows a Windows Phone player to compete against a PC player asynchronously. Certainly a good idea, though the implementation is so rudimentary as to not be worth the effort.

Gamechest: Logic Games also boasts a leveling system in which players earn experience and level up by winning games. But to reach the max levels in each game and earn all of the Achievements requires a horrendous amount of grinding. Never have I been more bored with a game than when toiling after Gamechest: Logic Game’s Achievements, and that’s not hyperbole.

At any rate, it’s great to see more than one Xbox Live game on sale this week. Let’s hope Microsoft makes a habit of this! You can find Full House Poker here (Zune link), Puzzle Quest 2 here, Brain Challenge here, and Gamechest: Logic Games here on the Marketplace.

Thanks for the tip, DarkSynopsis!

UPDATE: Brain Challenge is part of the sale too.

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Remember when Microsoft announced 14 (really 13) Xbox Live games back in August? Of those titles, Collapse! and Gravity Guy have landed so far.  Soon we’ll be able to add another one to list, as Burn the Rope! comes out on Wednesday the 28th (tomorrow).

The game’s official description:

Burn the Rope is a challenging game where you try to burn as much rope as you can in each level. There’s a catch! The fire only burns upwards, leaving you to rotate the level to keep your flame alive! Bugs along the ropes have different reactions to the flame. The ant changes the color of the flame so you can burn different colored ropes, and the spider shoots out a web bridge so you can access parts of the level that you could not before. Burn the Rope is incredibly fun and addictive. You will actually feel like you’re burning a rope, yet there’s no need for a fire extinguisher! 

Game Features

•        The Bug Squishing minigame, only available on Windows Phone, mixes it up between levels.

•        Take on over 100 exciting and puzzling levels!

•        Unique accelerometer controls and gameplay

•        Beautiful graphics and cool fire effects!

•        Easy to learn, hard to master!

Already a hit on iPhone and Wii, the Xbox Live version of Burn the Rope! comes from developer Big Blue Bubble Inc. and publisher Microsoft Game Studios. It will cost $2.99.  We'll update things once the Marketplace links become available.

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Now that we’ve had a huntin’ sale, it’s time to relax with some poker. And by that, I mean that Full House Poker is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week. On Wednesday it will be on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99.

Full House Poker is a single-player Texas Hold ‘Em simulator. Even though it sadly lacks multiplayer, it does boast a few cool features. It was the first mobile Xbox Live game to feature avatar support, for one. Even more impressively, it sports full connectivity with the Xbox 360 version of the game. Money and experience earned in one version transfers to the other seamlessly. Let’s hope more games connect to each other so well in the future.

If you like Texas Hold ‘Em (the most enjoyable variation of poker in my opinion), the only thing you should really ask yourself is whether or not you’d enjoy it in a single-player setting. As our review states, Full House Poker does have a good leveling and unlockable system, but not the best opponent AI. I would hope for a Mango update to add some asynchronous multiplayer, but considering that the developer, Krome, has been out of business for a while, I doubt we’ll see any updates besides perhaps the addition of fast-app-switching.

Full House Poker will be on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Cash in your chips here (Zune link) to make the purchase.

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Hyper Defence XT - Review

We first mentioned Hyper Defence XT when it first hit the beta stages. The Windows Phone game has now hit the open Marketplace and our first impressions hold true.

Not much has changed with Hyper Defence XT since we last visited the pre-release version.  The tower defense game is set in the fictional Outpost 26 where you have to defend the outpost from invading aliens. There are a wide assortment of weapons to buy and upgrade to wipe out the invading hords.

Continued after the break.

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Bobble Biker - Review

The developers of Juice Factory have a new Windows Phone game over at the Marketplace. Bobble Biker is a motorcycle race game that has you navigate through a series of jumps, bumps and hazards without crashing or losing your head.

Bobble Biker has the multi-level race game, a race track creator and access to other user-created race tracks. Along the way you can earn cash to unlock addition bikes, upgrades and get new racers.

To read more on Bobble Biker, make the jump past the break.

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Super Monkey Ball has been updated by Sega, which fixes the broken achievements we reported on a while back. We've received word that the achievements are now obtainable and all gamerscore can be successfully earned. The achievements in question are:

  • Crowned Champion - Get a crown on every stage of a world
  • Conquer Space Case World - Complete all of the stages of the Space Case World

If we get an official change log from Sega, we'll pass it on.  You can download Super Monkey Ball from the Marketplace. It's currently running $2.99 and there is a free trial to let you try before you buy.

Thanks Aaron and mydefposse for the heads up!

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Last month, WPCentral broke the news that Cro-Mag Rally, the prehistoric-themed Xbox Live kart racer from Citizen 12, would be receiving a title update. At last that update has hit the Marketplace.

Cro-Mag Rally version 1.1 release notes:

  • Lower camera for better overall car control
  • Implement auto-accelerate.  You no longer need to hold down F to keep going. (F is still displayed on screen though.)
  • Tweak physics for cars on medium difficulty to make them a little less grippy (easier to drift through turns)
  • Tweak control response curve to make it more "linear" (and thus more responsive at smaller angles off-center)
  • Tweak dynamic range of the sensitivity setting. The least sensitive setting should require nearly 90 degree rotation of phone to achieve maximum turn. Most sensitive setting requires only about 30 degrees to achieve maximum turn. 
  • Lower maximum speed for all cars in certain tracks (the more curvy ones) in order to slow down the overall pace (and make them a little easier). Does not apply to Expert mode.
  • Tweak the wall collision code to prevent certain instances of being able to go off map

In short, karts now auto-accelerate and the camera angle offers better visibility. After putting in a quick race in the updated version, I definitely prefer auto-acceleration to holding a ‘Forward’ button. The game’s handling still feels a little wonky, but there’s only so much a developer can do post-release. Props to Citizen 12 for taking gamer feedback into account. Check out our previous article for the developer’s full explanation behind the patch.

Cro-Mag Rally costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Gather it here (Zune link) in the Marketplace.

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PES 2011 - Review

For those who aren't aware of Pro Evolution Soccer (PES), it's a series of football (soccer to some parts of the world) games by Konami that began back in 2001. It sports similar gameplay to the likes of Fifa by EA Games, but is put down by lack of licensing. PES2011 for Windows Phone is no exception with a handful of teams sporting unlicensed names – Man Red (Manchester United) and Man Blue (Manchester City) to name but a few.

Don't allow the above to put you off from trying PES2011 out, it really is a superb football sim for Windows Phone. There are a number of game types available including quick match, exhibition, UEFA club competition and leagues & cups with fairly challenging gameplay and intelligent AI. Head on past the break for the quick run through and video goodness.

Pros: 
Good football simSolid controlsLeagues and cups available
Cons: 
LicensingLimited gameplayAchievements too time consuming
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Joining the many Xbox Live games that have been updated lately is Plants vs. Zombies, the enchanting tower defense game from PopCap. The version 1.2 update fixes a longstanding issue with Zen Garden plants.

As our review explains, the Zen Garden is a meta game mode that ties Plants vs. Zombies’ Adventure Mode and many minigames together. Players randomly find seed packets during normal game play, which can then be planted in the Zen Garden, tended, and eventually harvested for money. Previously, fertilizing certain sprouts caused the game to crash. A couple of months and a little patch action later, those sprouts can finally be fertilized like any other. Just what kind of plants do the problem sprouts grow into? Why, Kernel-pults, the game’s combat corn on the cobs.

Now that Zen Garden is fixed up, the Windows Phone version of Plants. Vs. Zombies really is just about perfect. It's the only game I've reviewed to receive a 10 so far. Nice as it runs now, we can still expect a Mango update to come along and enable fast-app switching sometime in the near future. Already beaten the game inside and out? Check out our interview with PopCap Games that looks into the history of PvZ's development.

Plants vs. Zombies costs $4.99 and there is a free trial. Hurry up and grab it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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Trine's Hangman quietly gets updated

The popular Windows Phone word game Trine's Hangman was recently updated to version 1.12.0. The update fixes a few bugs, improves performance and merges the high score page and sharing page to give the game more of a metro feel.

An invalid word was removed and the game versions recieved a name change. The free, lite version is now "Trine's Hangman" and the full, paid version is now "Trine's Hangman Pro". The developer felt that since the lite version, while ad supported, is no longer limited in functionality the name change was in order.

A Mango update is also in the works that will bring the fast resume feature into play, live tiles with information about your current position in the game's leader board, one-on-one multiplayer mode, and a deep-link tile that will go straight to the game screen.

If you haven't tried Trine's Hangman yet and are looking for a very good word game for your Windows Phone, it is definitely worth a try. You can find Trine's Hangman here (opens Zune) and Trine's Hangman Pro (running $1.99) here at the Marketplace.

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Xbox Live: Zombies!!! Mango update unleashed

Babaroga’s Zombies!!! (review) is a very cool survival horror-themed board game for Xbox Live.  The only thing I didn’t like about it was a nasty Broken Achievement that almost nobody could get. I’ve got good news and bad news then for my fellow Zombies!!! owners. The good news: an update that fixes the ‘Was it Worth it?’ Achievement is finally available. The bad news? It’s a Mango-only update.

Here are the full release notes for the first Zombies!!! Mango update:

  • Added Fast-App-Switching support
  • Fixed bugs that have been reported since the initial release
  • Reduced difficulty of “some” achievements :-)

While some Xbox Live titles have seen increasd frame rates with their Mango updates, the graphics in Zombies!!! remain the same. It looked great to begin with. More importantly, Babaroga listened to their fans and reduced the frustration of that infamous Achievement.

When WPCentral interviewed Babaroga over the summer, they promised asynchronous (turn-based, over the internet) multiplayer and paid downloadable content in a Mango update. Those features are still coming to Zombies!!!, but they’re not ready just yet. We’ll keep you posted on the next update’s progress.

For now, Zombies!!! players who are running Mango can commence to unlocking ‘Was it Worth it?’, while the rest of us have another reason to hope that Mango rolls out as soon as possible. Don’t have the game? It costs $4.99 and you can find it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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Tiki Towers receives Mango update

Following suit with other apps and games getting Mango updated, Tiki Towers has joined the fruit train. The update will bring fast-app switching and 60fps to the table, not like the game was slow to begin with. We'll be sure to attempt to obtain the change log to see if anything else was added in.

Check out our review of Tiki towers and download the game from the Marketplace.

Thanks @BinaerJongleur for the tip!

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It’s been a long time coming, but Windows Phone gamers can finally get their Implode! on. IUGO’s physics-based puzzle game has just hit the Marketplace.

Take one part iBlast Moki (placing bombs) and another part Angry Birds (knocking stuff down) and you’ve got Implode! Each of the game’s whopping 150 levels is presented as a drawing on a chalkboard, creating a unique and nostalgic look. As if all of those puzzles weren’t enough, players can even design their own levels – there are even Achievements for it.

Speaking of which, the Achievement for earning an A+ in every single level should take quite a while. I doubt anyone will be getting all 200 GamerScore from this one in 20 minutes (*cough* Collapse! *cough*).

Implode! costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. You’ll find it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

Also, don't forget that Deer Hunter 3D is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week. It's on sale for $2.99, down from $4.99.

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No cut-rate tower defense games on sale this week! The new Xbox Live Deal of the Week is Deer Hunter 3D from Glu Mobile. It’s going on sale for $2.99, the price it should have been all along (it’s 99 cents on iPhone after all).

Deer Hunter 3D is all about killing defenseless animals, presumably to later utilize their carcasses in Pagan rituals. Err, I mean to make deer jerky! But you know, hunting games are actually pretty fun if you give them a chance (here's our review). It’s got great graphics for a phone game and a wide variety of missions and weapons to choose from.

Glu Mobile's hunting game is kind of buggy though, with one glitched Achievement – “All Year Round” – which requires players to play for 365 days (missions). Perhaps a Mango update will roll around and fix it, who knows. In the meantime, there are far too many virtual deer for the environment to sustain them all. Gamers need to kill them, or else they’ll die.

Deer Hunter 3D will be on sale for $2.99 for one week only. You can find it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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Looks like some Xbox LIVE titles are still getting updated for the NoDo and Mango crowd.

The first up is the big hit Tentatcles which was bumped to v1.1 and is now Mangoized with fast-app resume and presumably 60 FPS (hard to tell since the game is not so fast to begin with).  We're also going to bet this includes some of those fixes we reported on earlier. The update can be found here with this Zune link.

The other Xbox LIVE game would be Doodle Jump, which also is bumped to v1.1 but surprsingly it's a NoDo version with some bug fixes (we're working on a exact changlog).  Too bad about the lack of Mango, but we bet the majority of you NoDo users are happy with the update. Doodle Jump can be found here in the Marketplace.

We'll try to get more info on what exactly these updates brought to the table. Stay tuned. Thanks, Cyrus1989, for the tip

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The rash of Xbox Live game updates continues, with Windows Phone-exclusive strategy title Beards & Beaks (review) receiving a nice little update today. It’s good to see the game being supported on top of its post-release DLC.

Beards & Beaks version 1.1 release notes:

  • We’re listening to our users- the biggest issue reported is people not understanding how to swipe the map. The fix: we added a finger icon, indicating [where to] swipe [in order to scroll the map]
  • Added support to always show tutorials when restarting
  • Minor bug fixes associated with edge cases
  • Preparation for Mango title update

If you enjoy the game’s look inside the battle between gnomes and crows, be sure to read our interview with Adam Isgreen of Microsoft Game Studios.

Speaking of Mango updates, Parachute Panic (review) from FDG Entertainment has now been properly Mango-fied. The recent update (which is only visible to Mango users) adds fast resuming support and increases the frame rate to 60 FPS. That should ease the doomed parachutists’ lives a bit.

Beards & Beaks and Parachute Panic both cost $2.99. Pick up the former here (Zune link) and the later here on the Marketplace.

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Microsoft’s BUILD Conference is currently underway in Anaheim, California. The event primarily centers on Windows 8, which we’ve already reported features the beloved Metro UI. Windows 8 also shows an increased gaming focus over previous versions of Windows, with strong Xbox Live (formerly known as Games for Windows Live on PCs) integration. Clearly Microsoft wants the Xbox Live experience to be seamless across Xbox 360, Windows 8, and Windows Phone 8.

Here’s where things get interesting for mobile gamers. During the second day of BUILD, Microsoft announced that there will be cross-platform gaming between Windows 8 and Windows Phone. They demonstrated this with Tanks (unclear if that’s the final name), a Broiled Earth-style competitive game. According to Techin5, there was no visible lag as players took turns blasting away at each other (note that it is a turn-based game). Tanks has a clean, cartoonish art style that should appeal to casual gamers on PC and Windows Phone alike, assuming it comes to market.

We’ll let you know if any more Windows Phone-related announcements escape from the conference.

source: Techin5 Thanks Jubbing for the information!

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