toy soldiers boot camp

Yesterday we went over Windows Phone Central’s picks for the best Xbox Windows Phone games of 2012. It may not have been a stellar year, but we can certainly count 2012 as the best year for Windows Phone gaming so far. Narrowing down the finest games from nearly 50 weekly releases was no mean feat for someone who enjoys nearly every genre and approaches all games with love.

Still, no amount of optimism can overlook the turkeys that sometimes squeeze their way into the Xbox lineup. How do we spot these wretches? Well, broken Achievements, poor controls, and dysfunctional online components are all telltale signs of a game better left unreleased. That makes selecting the bottom of the barrel titles so much easier than choosing the top shelf games.

Head past the break for to learn how a bad game happens and Windows Phone Central’s Worst Xbox Windows Phone games of 2012!

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Ascend studio visit and interview

Windows Phone Central visits with Signal Studios

One of the more enjoyable Xbox 360 games we played at E3 this year was Ascend: New Gods from Signal Studios. We played through an early part of the XBLA game and discussed the Windows Phone version with one of the developers. Yet many questions about the mobile version remained unanswered. Not for long though…

Signal is located in Kirkland, WA – not too far from where Casual Connect Seattle took place. After the conference wrapped up, we headed over to the studio for a tour. D.R. Albright III, the company president and creative director, also gave us a fantastic interview. View it after the break to learn just what Ascend: New Gods has in store for Windows Phone!

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Remember that huge Easter sale on Xbox Live titles we were so enthusiastic about a short time ago? It took a little while to receive confirmation on this, but we’ve learned that the seven featured games have permanently dropped in price to 99 cents. That’s good news to Windows Phone gamers as it means we have a new (and more competitive) price point for games!

The seven games that dropped in price from $2.99 to 99 cents:

Wondering what prompted the change in prices? The obvious answer is that Microsoft timed the drops in accordance with the release of the Nokia Lumia 900 (review). With the much-vaunted handset producing a flood of new Windows Phone owners and potential gamers, the big MS probably thought it important for these new customers to be able to pick up a few Xbox Live games on the cheap. Angry Birds in particular really needed to come down in price due to it being offered for free on a few other platforms already. In case the hubbub over Rovio passing on bringing Angry Birds in Space to Windows Phone (and their subsequent one-eighty) didn’t cue you in, it’s very important that the masses have their Angry Birds.

In Angry Birds’ case, platform equity is most likely reason for a price drop. And certainly most of the seven games cost 99 cents on iPhone as well – but not all. De Blob Revolution actually sells for $2.99 on iTunes at present. Something tells me it simply wasn’t a hot seller on Windows Phone, perhaps due to the weakness of the De Blob brand or the game’s lack of post-release updates. As for Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp, why that’s a Windows Phone exclusive! But the game is a bit content-light, a factor that may have led to its price shedding a few dollars.

Wondering whether the game makers had any say in their titles’ new prices? “We had the opportunity to drop our existing games to the new price point, so we decided to do so and test the water, so to speak,” one Xbox Live developer told WPCentral. The same game maker expects to drop the price of another title in the future.

The new price offers advantages to everyone involved. Developers now have a little more control in the pricing of their games, and gamers can pick up titles more affordably. Of course, for a game to be more profitable in the 99 cent range than $2.99, it needs to sell over three times as many copies. Initially, the Windows Phone user base simply wasn’t large enough to sustain such low prices. Microsoft could have still launched with the sub-dollar price, but games would have been loss leaders until more people picked up handsets. Now that Nokia is fully onboard and actively advertising the Lumia 900, the user base has either grown enough or is expected to grow enough in short order to make lower game prices viable.

How many of these seven games have you picked up since they got cheaper, dear readers?

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Signal Studios’ XBLA Toy Soldiers games provide an inspired twist on the tower defense formula. The setting involves a conflict between two factions of army men, making for fun use of scale and nostalgia. The gameplay is unique because players not only purchase turrets to thwart incoming waves of attackers; they actually get to take control of said turrets and other vehicles, infusing the strategy with some much-appreciated action. The most recent entry, Toy Soldiers: Cold War also introduced a variety of minigames to keep players entertained between campaign missions. Now Krome Studios has shrunk some of those pint-sized minigames down into an even more compact package in Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp for Windows Phone.

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The Must Have Games 2012 promotion comes to a close with the highly anticipated Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp from Krome and Microsoft Studios.

Boot Camp is the mobile companion to Toy Soldiers: Cold War, an excellent XBLA game featuring a war between rival toy factions. The mobile version simply consists of three minigames taken from its big brother: ‘Fly Swatter’ (by far the most fun), ‘Cardboard Theater,’ and ‘Thread the Needle.’ All of them sport 3D graphics that closely match those of the original. Control options include swiping, tilting, or a virtual d-pad. The game also has a built-in screenshot function and global Leaderboards – two features we’d love to see used more often. You can check out our developer interview to learn more about both Cold War and Boot Camp.

Having earned all of Boot Camp’s Achievements already, I am a bit concerned about the game’s controls. While the variety of options is nice, none of them felt right to me. I highly advise trying the demo and judging for yourself. That said, the Achievements are almost entirely easy; you can get them all in an hour if you’re good enough.

Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here on the Marketplace.

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Last year’s Must Have Games promotion kicked off in May, but this year it’s coming in February. Since Microsoft announced the February lineup at CES, we’ve been left wondering over the specific release date and price of each game. Wonder no more, Windows Phone gamers, as Larry Hryb (aka Major Nelson) spilled the remaining beans on his blog today.

  • Need For Speed Hot Pursuit – 02/01 - $4.99
  • Bullet Asylum – 02/8 - $2.99
  • Chickens Can't Fly – 02/15 - $2.99
  • Splinter Cell Conviction – 02/22 - $4.99
  • Toy Soldiers Boot Camp – 02/29 - $2.99

No real surprises there. The two more technically impressive games will cost $4.99, not unlike last year’s Hydro Thunder Go. I’m slightly saddened that my most-wanted game, Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp is coming last, but they all look like fine games. If you need a refresher on the portable Toy Soldiers entry, check out our interview with the game’s developers.

Which game(s) are you most looking forward to, dear readers?

Source: Major Nelson; Thanks for the tip, everybody!

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Xbox Live titles to land in February

Microsoft is giving a preview of five new Xbox Live games today at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show. No specifics on pricing or in which order these games will be released and some of these titles we've heard mention of before.  They all look really nice and as we learn more about these titles we'll definitely pass it along.

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It’s been a while since we’ve published an Xbox Live Developer Interview. We haven’t been resting on our laurels though, and today we present another exciting look behind the creation of an upcoming game. The title in question is Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp, a Windows Phone-exclusive companion to the Toy Soldiers Xbox Live Arcade games. Both Signal Studios and Krome Studios contributed to Boot Camp’s development, and we had the pleasure of speaking with a member of each studio.

Head past the break for the full interview and exclusive screenshots of Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp’s gameplay.

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Microsoft didn’t provide many screenshots or details about Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp at Gamescom last week. We do know that it will contain at least four minigames taken from the recent Xbox 360 release, Toy Soldiers: Cold War.

The enterprising lads at WP7Connect have done a little digging and found YouTube videos of the Xbox 360 version’s minigames that will also be included in the Windows Phone game. Of course the WP7 versions will look much simpler and control differently, but the videos should at least give gamers an idea of what to expect from Boot Camp.

Follow the break for two additional video trailers for Toy Soldiers.

source: via: wp7connect

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Today at Gamescom, Microsoft announced a ton of upcoming Xbox Live games. They have since provided a video that shows many of these games in action.

In the video:

  • Chickens Can’t Fly from Amused Sloth
  • Mush from Angry Mango
  • Fight Game Rivals from Khaeon Studios
  • Kinectimals from Frontier Studios
  • Toy Soldiers Boot Camp from Signal Studios
  • Orbital from BitForge
  • Shoot1UP from Mommy’s Best Games
  • Cro-Mag Rally from Pangea Software
  • Burn the Rope from Big Blue Bubble
  • Farm Frenzy 2 from Alawar Entertainment

You’ll notice that Shoot1UP wasn’t actually included in today’s announcement. But we do know it’s a 2D shooter and a port of an Xbox 360 indie game. We’ll have more details about the game soon.

Thanks Colin for the tip!

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