must have games

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Must-have games for your Nokia Lumia 900

WPCentral's list of the best games for the Lumia 900

You've read our Must-have apps for the Nokia Lumia 900, now it's time for the games...

One of Windows Phone’s most attractive features to gamers is its Xbox Live integration. All Xbox Live games feature Achievements and online friends leaderboards, making it easy to compare and show off your progress with your pals. Every Wednesday Microsoft releases a new Xbox Live title, which come in the following price ranges: free, $2.99, $4.99, and $6.99.

With over 100 Xbox Live titles released so far and many more on the way, new users like those who’ve just picked up the Nokia Lumia 900 (review) might have a tough time deciding which games to grab first. Factor in the abundance of indie games and there’s even more to choose from. Fear not, friends – I’ve played nearly every single Xbox Live game on Windows Phone, and reviewed most of them for this very site. If anyone can help, it’s WPCentral.

Read past the break to learn what I think are the best...

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This week's Xbox Live "Must Have Game" is Chickens Can't Fly from developer house Amused Sloth. For those of you who remember, Amused Sloth made indie games Chickens Can't Fly and Chickens Can Dream with the former being "upgraded" to Xbox Live status by Microsoft. The theme of the game? As we wrote earlier, you're playing the role of a corporate scientist trying to determine if chickens are capable of answering critical questions such as: "Is there life after the butcher?" or "Does a frozen chicken get dizzy?". Good questions!

Now that game is finally ready to come out and we're taking it for spin. The game will be released this Wednesday and fetches for $2.99. We won't pull any punches: Chickens Can't Fly is an ingenious and often hilarious casual game that will appeal to a wide audience. It's currently one of our favorite titles on the platform as it has great graphics, interesting challenges that aren't too hard for regular gamers and some neat little surprises along the way (including avatar awards in an upcoming update).

Watch our video tour above and check out the official trailer after the break.

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It’s the third week of Microsoft’s Must Have Games promotion. This week’s Xbox Live release, geoDefense, comes from Critical Thought Games. It’s now available in the marketplace.

geoDefense is a traditional tower defense game in which waves of enemies travel along a path on their way to the player’s base. Building and upgrading towers along the way is your only defense. geoDefense’s claim to fame is its Geometry Wars-inspired vector graphics. Everything is made up of colorful neon outlines and explosions are accompanied by a cool background warping effect. geoDefense gets pretty hard eventually, but I found it much easier to learn to play than the existing Xbox Live tower defense games,  Battle for Hoth and Zombie Attack! 2.

geoDefense costs only $2.99 and there is a free trial. Tower defense fans will definitely want to grab it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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Doodle Jump has landed on the Marketplace

The 6 Weeks of Must Have Games is in full effect. Following on the heels of Hydro Thunder Go comes this week’s Xbox Live release, Doodle Jump. It’s out now on the Marketplace.

Doodle Jump is the progenitor of the jumping game subgenre. It distills the essence of platformers – jumping onto platforms, avoiding death by falling, and defeating enemies – into a simpler game. Here players control the Doodler by tilting the phone. He’s always jumping, so you only need to worry about where you’re going to land, collecting powerups, and tapping enemies to kill them.

The Windows Phone version of Doodle Jump (like Pocket God before it) contains the main game but loses a bit of content. Namely, a few themes are missing. Each theme changes the appearances of Doodle Jumper and his enemies as well as completely changing the background. Five themes are currently included on Windows Phone: Original, Halloween, Christmas, Jungle, and Space. For those keeping track, indie clone MonsterUp (similar if not better in quality) only has three themes right now, so Doodle Jump still has the leg up there.

Doodle Jump is a monster hit on other platforms. It’s extremely cute and easy to play. The Windows Phone version costs $2.99 and there is a free, short trial. Jump on it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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Back in February, WPCentral reported on the Xbox Live 6 weeks of Must Have Games promotion. Basically, every Wednesday for 6 weeks, a high-profile game will come to Xbox Live.

We expected the promotion to begin on April 6, but it turns out that won’t be the case. This week’s Xbox Live title is Super Monkey Ball, which will cost $4.99. Read our impressions here. Who Wants to be a Millionaire also comes out that day, but only in territories outside of North America.

April 13 will see the release of Harbor Master and Centipede. Thus the earliest the Must Have Games promotion could start is April 20, but it might be even later. Update: When contacted, Microsoft would only confirm Spring as the promotion's launch date. We'll surely hear from them again in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

For now, let’s look at the Must Have Games themselves:

  • Hydro Thunder Go – The only Windows Phone-exclusive of the bunch. Go is the mobile adaptation of Hydro Thunder Hurricane, the latest entry in the popular boat-racing series. Go’s 3D graphics and water effects are probably the best Windows Phone 7 has seen. Follow this link for a video trailer and our first impressions.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I – Sonic 4 marks the return to side-scrolling gameplay for everyone’s favorite blue hedgehog. The series has been marred by lackluster 3D titles in recent years. Sonic 4 doesn’t quite match the quality of the 16-bit Sonic games, but it’s still a worthwhile platformer. The mobile version of Sonic 4 was developed concurrently with the console title and features different stage layouts.  Follow this link for our first impressions.
  • Plants vs Zombies – From the makers of Bejeweled comes a unique tower defense game in which players place plants in strategic locations across lawns, swimming pools, and rooftops in order to fend off an army of cartoonish zombies. The PC version of Plants vs Zombies is one of my all-time favorite games.
  • geoDefense – A challenging tower defense game that features neon-colored vector graphics, much like the Geometry Wars series of shooters. geoDefense is a pretty game, but is it really that popular?
  • Doodle Jump – The original jumping game makes its way to Xbox Live. Tilt the phone to steer Doodle Jumper up a never-ending series of platforms, much like MonsterUp. Knock out enemies by furiously tapping on them. Windows Phone gamers may already know Doodle Jumper from his Parachute Panic cameo.
  • Angry Birds – One of the most popular mobile games of all-time rounds out the Must Have Games promotion. Launch birds out of a slingshot in order to collapse structures and eliminate the pigs who’ve stolen the birds’ eggs. The Windows Phone version of Angry Birds has a whopping 195 levels.
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