local Wi-Fi multiplayer

This week we take an in-depth look at Monopoly Millionaire from Nokia and Electronic Arts. Millionaire enjoys the distinction of being the first Nokia-published Xbox game to require Windows Phone 8 (Mass Effect: Inflitrator is the second). It also requires 1 GB of RAM for some reason, which stinks for a less than hardware intensive game. But people with the hardware that can run Millionaire will find a pretty impressive take on the ancient game of Monopoly.

Playing it honors our ancestors or something!

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NBA Jam Review: Catching Windows Phone on fire!

Way back in the eighties and nineties, Midway, the developer most remembered for creating the Mortal Kombat series also introduced a couple of sports series into arcades. First came Arch Rivals (basketball) in 1989 and then High Impact (American football) in 1990. Both games enjoyed some popularity, but it was their league-licensed sequels that really caught on fire: NBA Jam in 1993 and NFL Blitz in 1997.

NBA Jam became a staple of the 16-bit era (right alongside Mortal Kombat), thanks in part to a bevy of home console ports. The series had largely died out by the mid-2000s, shortly before Midway itself went bankrupt. Jam could have ended there, but Electronic Arts (in what some would call a rare act of benevolence) rescued the license in 2010 and published a new version for home consoles, followed by an even better XBLA sequel, NBA Jam: On Fire Edition.

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The era of Gameloft Windows Phone 8 support is in full swing. Already the prolific publisher has graced us with an amazing racer (Asphalt 7), two less amazing but still decent open world games (Amazing Spider-Man and Dark Knight Rises), and a surprisingly enjoyable physics puzzler (Shark Dash). It’s almost like they’re single-handedly keeping the Xbox brand alive on Windows Phone.

Now Gameloft follows up with Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour, the second Windows Phone title with real-time online multiplayer and the platform’s only first-person shooter so far (until N.O.V.A. 3 comes along). FPS games on the phone are new for many of us - including me. Read on to find out how well Modern Combat 4 works as both a single-player and multiplayer game!

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As the first non-Angry Birds Xbox game running exclusively on Windows Phone 8, Asphalt 7: Heat understandably had a lot of interest from gamers and some rather lofty expectations to live up to. Now that the downloading issues that plagued last week’s launch have been resolved, we’ve been able to step into the driver’s seat and take it for a spin. Is Asphalt 7 the best arcade-style racing game since Outrun or another trip down a one-way road in the wrong direction like its Windows Phone 7 predecessor, Asphalt 5?

I’m pleased to tell you that Asphalt 7 is not only the best racing game in the Windows Phone library, it’s one of the best games period. Head past the break to find out just how it impressed its way into my icy heart.

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We’re hard at work on our Skulls of the Shogun review, but it’s a long game and also features an extensive multiplayer component. As such, we’ll hold our judgment of that title until next week. In the meantime, let’s look at one of those formerly Nokia exclusive Xbox games that half of us loved to love while the other half loved to grumble about:  Risk.

The Nokia-Electronic Arts partnership has produced games in a variety of genres so far. The mostly highly represented game type is actually board games, with The Game of Life, Connect 4, Trivial Pursuit, and Risk among its numbers. Risk recently gained Windows Phone 8 compatibility, making it a prime target for review. It’s also one of the stronger board game adaptations to appear on Microsoft’s mobile platform.

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The selection of Xbox Live racers on Windows Phone varies widely in quality. Hydro Thunder GO and Need for Speed Undercover occupy the top end of the quality spectrum, while Cro-Mag Rally sits in a pool of ick at the bottom. Sadly, Cro-Mag Rally was also the only mobile Live kart racer for almost a year. Fast-forward to May 2012 and Namco Bandai surprised us all with Pac-Man Kart Rally. While it never matches the lofty quality bar set by the Mario Kart series, Namco’s racer still manages to be pretty fun, easily surpassing its only other Windows Phone competitor.

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When you play every single Xbox Live game that comes to Windows Phone, it’s easy to become jaded. I mean, how many physics puzzlers and Angry Birds clones do we really need? Still, today I write about a genuinely exciting game that I can’t wait to play: Pac-Man Kart Rally from Namco Bandai. It comes out this Wednesday; and WPCentral has some exclusive details to whet your appetite.

First, a little history. Pac-Man Kart Rally originally debuted on older mobile phone platforms in 2010, including Windows Mobile and Blackberry. The title drew inspiration from Pac-Man World Rally on Playstation 2-era consoles, but was not a direct adaptation. In late 2011, Pac-Man Kart Rally received a serious graphical upgrade when it made the trip to the Android platform, exclusively for Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play handset.

Head past the break for the full scoop on Pac-Man Kart Rally's characters, tracks, and multiplayer!

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