shuffle party

Windows Phone Central Game Roundup: Bowling Games

Sports games for our Windows Phones can have great entertainment value.  These games can help you pass short bits of time or handle the longer gaming sessions when you plenty of time to kill.  Bowling games fit that bill and are are the subject of this week’s Windows Phone Central Roundup

Bowling may not appeal to everyone but they are simple games to pick up but challenging to master.  You often have customizations to make the game reflect more of your personal tastes and just when you think you have game play down pat, you roll a gutter ball.  

These Windows Phone games may not turn you into the Big Lebowski but they are entertaining, all are free and well worth the try.  We will focus on four of the more popular bowling titles in the Windows Phone Store and if we've missed your favorite bowling game, let us know in the comments. 

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Windows Phone Central Roundup: Windows 8 Games

Last week we checked out the Top Windows 8 games for the “hardcore” gamer; this week, we are heading in the opposite direction and taking a look at the top Windows 8 games for those of you who just want to kick back. Cue the relaxing playlist on Spotify, grab a glass of California Merlot, and turn on that foot massager – we are counting off some of the Top Windows 8 games to sit back and relax.

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A couple of days ago, Microsoft announced a slew of Windows 8 games that would be launching over the weekend. Today several of those games are readily available to download: Shuffle Party, Samurai vs. Zombies Defense, Bejeweled Live, and Delicious – Emily’s True Love. The only one that hasn’t shown up yet is Temple Run Brave (based on that movie I dislike), but I’m sure it will be along sometime soon.

Head past the break to check out our hands-on demonstration of Shuffle Party from GDC, plus quick impressions and download links for the games that appeared alongside it.

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iOS screenshots

Bejeweled Live isn’t the only Xbox game coming to Windows 8 and RT this week. As another GDC celebration, Microsoft has just announced a horde of Windows 8 tablet and PC games that should start becoming available this weekend, plus six more that are planned for the future. Most of these will be Xbox-enabled, but we’re not sure about a few of them. The biggest news is that Windows 8 will have its own Temple Run game to brag about!

Head past the break for the full list!

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I regret to report that the Xbox Windows Phone game release drought continues unabated this week, making the fifth week in a row without a new release (not counting Nokia exclusives). But it’s not all bad news. For one, we have the awesome cross-platform Skulls of the Shogun coming out next week on January 30th. And this week, Microsoft will be throwing Windows Phone 8 users a bone…

Following on the heels of yesterday’s Let’s Golf 2, another game gains Windows Phone 8 compatibility tomorrow: Shuffle Party from Babaroga and Microsoft Studios. Shuffle Party will be free as always, and is probably the third best free mobile Xbox game after Wordament and AlphaJax.

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Speaking of Xbox Live game updates correcting issues with previous updates, last month’s Shuffle Party version 1.1 update actually introduced a nasty texture bug into the game. Microsoft quickly pulled the game itself while they investigated the issue. Developer Babaroga found the culprit, and now both a new update and the game itself are back on the Marketplace.

Shuffle Party version 1.2 release notes:

  • Improved stability when connected to Network
  • Avatar no longer turns backward

If users happened to have completed the 1.1 update a few weeks back, then this update also corrects the following:

  • Incorrect textures on table

That’s it; the developers just wanted to make sure the game experience consistently stable and polished. Thanks guys! Now we can all get back to knocking down bowling pins and collecting coins with our shuffleboard pucks. And when we're done with that, we'll play Shuffle Party! To learn more about Shuffle Party’s many game modes and unlockables, read our review.

Shuffle Party is free and offers 50 GamerScore worth of Achievements. Get it here on the Marketplace.

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Title updates are usually intended to solve problems and squash bugs, but sometimes they introduce new issues of their own. Case in point, the recent Shuffle Party update somehow ended up slightly bugged when published to the Marketplace.

Before we delve into what happened, here are the Shuffle Party version 1.1 release notes:

  • Game stability issues fixed. We had noticed more crash reports when connected to a Network than we could stand for.
  • Avatars no longer appear standing backwards.

Unfortunately, after installing the update, dark and garbled textures appear on the tables, frame, puck, and bowling pins. As a temporary workaround, just head to the Pro Shop and select new skins to make everything look right again.

Developer Babaroga was surprised to encounter the texture bug, because both they tested the build beforehand. Likewise, Microsoft tested and certified it as well with no problems. Thus the texture bug most likely popped up during the process of publishing the build on the Marketplace. Both parties are investigating right now and hope to release a new, bug-free update soon. In the meantime, the versions 1.1 update has been pulled, so just sit tight if you hadn’t already downloaded it.

That little update hitch aside, Shuffle Party is one of the better free Xbox Live games, second only to Wordament. With multiple modes: traditional table shuffleboard gameplay, bowling, and puzzle-like challenges, it’ll keep players busy for a good while. See our review for more details, or grab the game here from the Marketplace.

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Ever wonder how well the free Xbox Live games for Windows Phone do in the wild? Babaroga has provided us with some analytics for Shuffle Party, their shuffleboard/bowling game. Shuffle Party has been played over a million times so far, with an average of 20 minutes per play. Not too shabby!

Babaroga is actually responsible for three of the four free, ad-supported Xbox Live titles so far: Minesweeper, Sudoku, and Shuffle Party. The fourth such game, Breeze, came from Null City Software. All four games were produced by Kirby Leung at Microsoft. In similar territory, the most recent free Xbox Live title, Bug Village was ported by Babaroga for Glu Mobile. Rather than advertisements, it relies on PDLC for revenue.

Did you somehow miss out on Shuffle Party? Check out our review, and then grab the game here from the Marketplace.

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Windows Phone Xbox Live Review: Shuffle Party

Shuffle Party is the latest free Xbox Live game developed by Babaroga and published by Microsoft Studios. Unlike its predecessors Minesweeper and Sudoku, Shuffle Party even had the good manners to release simultaneously worldwide. Whereas the other two games are cerebral logic puzzlers with sizable learning curves, Babaroga’s latest offering is a far more accessible sports game. The sport? Why, shuffleboard and bowling, of course.

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Not long ago, WPCentral broke the news that Shuffle Party, a new game from Babaroga and Microsoft Studios, would be released as a free download in the US this week. As promised, Shuffle Party is now available on Xbox Live. Even better? It appears to be available outside of the US too!

Shuffle Party is a shuffleboard/bowling game. Players aim the puck with the touch screen and then send it flying down the lane. The game has several modes of play, with the overall goal of earning money to purchase items from the Pro Shop.

What we didn’t mention last week was Shuffle Party’s sweet Xbox Live Avatar support. Between shots, the camera cuts to your Avatar, showing how he or she reacts to the game. It gives the game a great personal touch – nobody will accuse this one of being too sterile.

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Shuffle Party is a free download and includes Achievements worth 50 GamerScore. We can confirm that the game is available in France as well as the US. Foreign readers, let us know if you’re able to grab it too. Here’s the download link.

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Remember Minesweeper and Sudoku, the free Xbox Live titles from Babaroga and Microsoft Studios? Soon they will be joined by Shuffle Party, another free game from the same developer and publisher team.

Shuffle Party is a shuffleboard game that players can enjoy even if they’re never been on a cruise ship. Microsoft’s Windows Phone team proposed the initial concept, with the folks at Babaroga developing and adding to the design.

MS and Babaroga’s latest collaboration boasts stylish 3D graphics set against a Chicago skyline (home of Babaroga’s main office) and realistic physics. The simple touch-screen controls allow players to shift the puck horizontally and set its angle before launching. Swipe forward and off it goes!

Shuffle Party has several ways to play:

  • Bowling: Slide a puck (called a biscuit in shuffleboard lingo) down the lane, picking up spares and strikes as the pins come tumbling down.
  • Challenge: Slide the pick around obstacles, collecting coins, and landing in the Goal Zone. Think Fable Coin Golf, but more realistic.
  • Shuffleboard: The traditional vacationers’ game. Send the biscuit down the lane into a triangular scoring zone, with some spots offering more points than others. Sort of like a combination of darts and air hockey.
  • Pass n Play: Local multiplayer built around the main shuffleboard game (not bowling). Not only do you try to land in goals, you get the satisfaction of knocking your friends’ pucks off the table – and vice versa.

Money earned in the various game modes can be spent in the Pro Shop, tying the whole experience together. The shop sells unique pucks, pins, and frames. Naturally, buying every single item nets you an Achievement.

Speaking of which, Shuffle Party includes 50 GamerScore worth of Achievements, just like its two free predecessors. And like those games, banner advertisements run across the top of the screen during gameplay. There won't be any waiting through ads between menus or anything obtrusive like that, thankfully.

Shuffle Party comes to Xbox Live in the US on Wednesday, November 30 – the same day Ghostscape is scheduled to emerge. It will require the Windows Phone Mango update. No word on release dates outside of the US, but it will come to other regions eventually.

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