platformers

After enduring a small release drought over the last couple of months, the floodgates of new Xbox One games have finally opened back up. Last week we got Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition at retail and two indie games: The Golf Club and surprise hit Fibbage to download. This week, Metro Redux Bundle hits retail while another ID@Xbox game makes its downloadable debut: Stick it to the Man from Swedish developer Zoink! Games and Ripstone Publishing (Pure Pool).

Stick it to the Man is a 2.5D platformer with clever visuals that often appear to be made out of paper. A surprisingly witty and story heavy game, players take on the role of a hapless guy who gets infested with an alien parasite. The parasite causes a giant stretchy arm to grow from his head, which can be used to swing from objects and read other characters' minds. Can your Xbox One handle such a weird and creative little game? Let our impressions and hands-on video help you decide!

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Ubisoft and Pastagames’ Rayman Jungle Run was that perfect one-two punch: an excellent platformer, and a high quality mobile Xbox game. The sequel Rayman Fiesta Run had a lot to live up to, and it almost felt like Ubisoft didn’t want to share it with us. The game soft launched in limited territories, appeared to fully launch worldwide a few weeks later, and then quickly disappeared that same day.

At last, Rayman Fiesta Run is properly available with fully working Xbox Live Achievements on Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, and Windows RT. Though we had to wait a painfully long time for Fiesta Run, the wait was worth it. Even if you found Jungle Run too challenging, this one is forgiving (and beautiful) enough that it might just win you over. Read on for our full review.

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Windows Phone has been slow to pick up some of mobile gaming’s heavy hitters – though the promise of Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas coming next week is certainly a big step in the right direction. Still, many of the most unique and interesting mobile games come from smaller developers instead of the big guys. Windows Phone is making great progress with indie game makers, as evidenced by the developers we interviewed at Casual Connect who are preparing to dip their toes into Microsoft’s mobile waters.

Yesterday we reviewed BigBot Audio Drop, and today we bring news of another just-released indie game for Windows Phone 8: Aztec Antics from Bouncing Ball Limited. Not only does Aztec Antics sport some terrific retro-style pixel art, it also features MOGA controller support! That makes six MOGA-enhanced games on Windows Phone 8 and counting.

Head past the break for our Aztec Antics hands-on video and the developer’s video guide for setting up a MOGA controller with Windows Phone 8!

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Windows Phone sadly did not get an Xbox release this week, but that doesn’t mean a new mobile Xbox game didn’t come out. It’s just tablet-mobile instead of smartphone-mobile.

Ty the Tasmanian Tiger from Australia-based Krome Studios (developers of the Game Room series and Full House Poker for Windows Phone) is now available on Windows 8 and RT. Ty had previously soft launched in the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, but now all Windows 8 users can buy it without the hassle of region-switching trickery.

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Outside of playing the phone version of Halo: Spartan Assault and grabbing an exclusive first look at N.O.V.A. 3, we had a tough time finding Windows Phone games and news at E3 this year. Blame Microsoft’s focus on the Xbox One and the console folks’ general disinterest in promoting Windows Phone or Windows 8 for that. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t turn over every stone in our search for more phone goodness…

As it happens, just after the Microsoft Media Briefing, Sam and I met up with an indie Windows Phone developer from China named Hua “Rex” Chen. Rex showed off his new puzzle platformer for Windows Phone 7 and 8 called Eyez. We snagged some hands-on footage and an interview over lunch, and then headed off to the EA Press Conference minutes later. Eyez has just launched - more details and our exclusive video after the break!

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Despite his games’ typically high quality, limbless hero Rayman is generally lesser known than his contemporaries like Sonic and Mario. Starting out on the Atari Jaguar, Playstation One, and similar platforms in 1995, the original Rayman stood out thanks to its beautiful 2D graphics, unique atmosphere, and excellent soundtrack. Two strong 3D sequels followed – you can even get 2003’s Rayman 3 on XBLA, in fact.

Rayman kept a low profile after that, only showing up in the spin-off Rayman: Raving Rabbids minigame collections. Soon the Rabbids games left Rayman behind to become their own series, most recently with Rabbids Go Phone for Windows Phone 7. It seemed like Rayman had forced into retirement, doomed to live on only in the minds of nostalgic gamers.

Luckily for platform gaming fans, Rayman came back from obscurity with 2011’s sleeper console hit Rayman Origins. The fourth mainline Rayman game returned to 2D graphics, and how! Origins boasts one of the most striking visual styles in all of gaming, not to mention pretty much everything you could want in a platformer. And now Rayman Jungle Run from Pastagames and Ubisoft brings that same 2D goodness to Windows Phone 8 in a truly killer mobile adaptation.

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It’s long been rumored that Nokia exclusive games and apps are just timed exclusives and will eventually become available to all Windows Phone users. We’ve been working behind the scenes to get the exact details behind the exclusivity window, but today a happy occurrence has answered one question for us. Former Nokia-exclusive Xbox game Mirror’s Edge is now available to all Windows Phone 7 and 8 users, just over six months after its original release!

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Just when it seems like Xbox games for Windows Phone’s darkest hour, when all hope of a new release before January 30th has long been abandoned… Nokia once again comes to our rescue with a new exclusive Xbox for Lumia owners: Blobster from Chillingo (who we’ve barely written about today) and Divine Robot. With this surprise late-day release, there are now eleven Nokia exclusives in the Xbox lineup.

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Sonic CD: Xbox Windows Phone Review

A few years ago, an Australian Sonic fan named Christian Whitehead created a proof of concept of a reprogrammed version of Sonic CD for iOS. The demo video quickly vanished, but not due to a copyright claim from SEGA. Instead, the house that Sonic built actually displayed unprecedented coolness by hiring Christian to fully develop Sonic CD for multiple devices, including the Xbox 360 and Windows Phone. After interviewing SEGA about the game, we came away excited.

The WP7 version appeared 11 months later than the XBLA one, prompting many to wonder whether it had been discreetly canceled. Luckily, the Aussie dev continued plugging away on the XNA port of his Retro Engine, and now Windows Phone gamers can enjoy a virtually perfect port of Sonic CD.

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At last, Sonic CD arrives for Xbox on Windows Phone

It’s been a long time coming. SEGA first announced Sonic CD for Windows Phone way back in August 2011. We then interviewed Ken Balough, Sonic’s brand manager, shortly before the Xbox 360 version launched on December 14 of that year. At the time, there was no indication that the WP7 port would arrive dramatically later than the XBLA one… But here we are in November 2012, and the game is finally available. Good news: it was worth the wait!

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Little Acorns: Xbox Windows Phone Review

As I’ve said on a few occasions, getting a platformer to work just right on mobile phones can be very challenging for developers. Whether they opt for touch screen controls, tilt, or even a combination of the two, the game will never feel exactly the same as it would with a physical controller. Leave it to the folks at Chillingo (and their “Team Pesky”) to create a platformer that not only feels great, but works perfectly in short doses on the go.

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Mush: Xbox Windows Phone Review

People play games for many different reasons: to be challenged, to be stimulated artistically or intellectually, for the narrative, and even for the Achievement points. Not every game needs to be a high-pressure experience or a bombastic assault on the senses though; sometimes you just want to relax and play. In fact, I would argue that calming games are especially suited for mobile play since we often play them on the go during our otherwise hectic days. Mush - from student developers Angry Mango - is just the game for such an occasion.

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Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I, the long-awaited return to 2D gameplay for the Sonic series, met with a mixed reception when it debuted on consoles in 2010. The Windows Phone version debuted several months later. In WPCentral’s Sonic 4 review, I praised its faithfulness to the console game (outside of a crummy pinball level exclusive to the mobile game) and touch screen controls. While the retro remake of Sonic CD is still due to arrive sometime (having already hit consoles and iOS), many fans have been left wondering about the fate of Sonic 4: Episode II.

Good news today then, as Sega has finally released a teaser trailer for Episode II. The trailer is devoid of gameplay footage, but it does at least promise the return of two popular characters: Tails the fox, Sonic’s young sidekick, and Metal Sonic, one of the main enemies in Sonic CD.

Head past the break for another video and more gameplay details!

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Classic platformer games are always a blast--they're fun, sot of easy and bring back memories (well, if you're old enough, that is).

Two great games on Windows Phone are 'Platformance: Castle Pain' by Magiko Gaming and 'Pixel Man' by Nick Gravelyn. The former is a visually rich, humorous take on an old style of knight rescuing a princess. Filled with tons of traps and difficult jumps, the game is well worth the modest $0.99 (plus a free trial). 'Pixel Man' is a minimalist platformer with simple pixel graphics, but a still challenging adventure. The game looks like something off of an Atari and that's a good thing. That game is also $0.99 but there is a free alternative called 'Pixel Man Zero' which is ad supported--a great option for the casual gamer. And when 5,000 people download 'Pixel Man Zero', Nick's going to release 'Pixel Man 2'--sounds like a challenge.

Grab 'Platformance' here and 'Pixel Man' (or 'Pixel Man Zero') here and here.

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