Ubisoft

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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Last year Ubisoft released its first Xbox game for Windows Phone, Babel Rising 3D. Mando Productions created the original game while Advanced Mobile Applications ported it to Windows platforms. Babel Rising arrived just a month before Windows Phone 8. Once the new mobile OS launched, the game turned out to be Windows Phone 8-incompatible.

Luckily for Windows Phone gamers, Ubisoft did the right thing and brought Babel Rising 3D back as a new, separate Windows Phone 8 version earlier this month. Not only that, they also published a Windows 8 version. All three versions are content identical, with the Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 versions naturally running smoother and in higher resolutions. It’s high time for our full review.

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Last month, the Windows 8 version of Rayman Jungle Run received a sizable update. Ubisoft added 20 new levels to their beautiful 2D platformer, and for free. New levels are all very well and good, but what about the Windows Phone 8 version of the game? We assumed it would receive the same update at some point, but Ubisoft couldn’t confirm it for us.

Looks like we assumed correctly! The Windows Phone 8 version of Rayman Jungle Run just got updated with 20 new levels. The update pushes the game’s download size from 49 MB to 78 MB, but that’s still not a bad size for a AAA downloadable title. Head past the break for details and screenshots of the new stages.

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We first caught wind that Ubisoft was planning on releasing a Windows Phone 8 specific version of Babel Rising 3D back during Casual Connect 2013. But the word on the street was that it wouldn't be Xbox enabled due to the lengthy certification process.

While we aren't sure what happened between then and now, Babel Rising 3D was released today and as an Xbox Windows Phone gaming title.

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We’re nearly done with our Casual Connect gaming coverage. At the San Francisco-based gaming industry event, I interviewed a number of Windows Phone and Windows 8 developers. One of the largest of those developers is Advanced Mobile Applications (AMA). Founded in 2004 and based in London, AMA is a sister company to Ubisoft, who publishes some of their games.

During the event, AMA’s VP of Sales Jean-François Denis took the time to show us several of AMA’s Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 titles. Today we look at two of those: the recently-released Hills of Glory 3D (also available for Windows 8) and the upcoming Babel Rising 3D. Yep, a new Windows Phone 8 version of Babel Rising 3D is coming. Learn more and see both games in action after the break!

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Last month at E3, Microsoft and Wargaming.net announced World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition as the next free to play in development for Xbox Live Arcade. Both World of Tanks and Ascend: Hand of Kul (which also has a Windows Phone companion game in the works) are due out later this year. What we didn’t know is that another free to play game would actually be arriving much sooner.

Quietly announced a while back, Ubisoft and Kung Fu Factory's Spartacus Legends became available to download on the 360 last week. Free for all Xbox Gold members, Legends is basically a brutal one-on-one fighting game loosely based on the Starz TV series Spartacus. Usually when a publisher releases a game with so little fanfare, it indicates a lack of faith in the product. But Spartacus is actually fairly entertaining and visceral. Just be prepared for a bit of a grind.

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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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Today’s Xbox Windows Phone 8 release, Rayman Jungle Run might have left gamers who are stuck with Windows Phone 7 feeling left out in the cold. Hey, things aren’t as grim as they seem, old phone users! As it turns out, a second Xbox game came out today: Rabbids Go Phone. That’s right, two Ubisoft games in one day!

Rabbids Go Phone might make Windows Phone 7 users smile, but not the rest of us. For reasons unknown to science, Rabbids won’t run on Windows Phone 8. Considering that Microsoft’s new mobile OS has been available since November last year, it’s pretty silly to release an incompatible game at this point in time. Especially a really simplistic game like Rabbids.

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This morning we reported that Ubisoft’s Rayman Jungle Run would soon launch on Windows Phone 8. Ubisoft first announced it back in February and released a nice Windows 8 version in March. Thus the Windows Phone 8 port was only a matter of time…

And here we are! Rayman Jungle Run is now available on Windows Phone 8. What’s more, it runs on devices with 512 MB of RAM, unlike last week’s Nokia-exclusive EA releases. With a highly manageable 49 MB download size, anyone who rocks a Windows Phone 8 handset should be able to enjoy this excellent entry in the Rayman series.

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Windows Phone 8 gamers who held out hope that N.O.V.A. 3 would be released in May will be disappointed to know that Gameloft’s sci-fi FPS definitely won’t make it out of the gate this month. We understand it's still undergoing Xbox Live certification and will release as soon as it passes. But it’s not all bad news. We do get a high-profile Xbox release for Windows Phone 8 today – this one from Ubisoft rather than Gameloft. Yep, the awesome platformer/runner Rayman Jungle Run launches later today!

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Last week, most of us were thrilled when Monster Burner launched as a free Xbox Windows Phone game. Surprisingly, a few days later Monster Burner is no longer free; it now sells for a dollar. The only other time an Xbox Windows Phone game has gone up in price (Angry Birds and ilomilo promotions excluded)  was Miniclip’s Fling jumping from 99 cents to a too-high $2.99 last year.

Monster Burner was free on iOS before it got pulled and relies heavily on In-App Purchases. Now that it costs a buck, should you still get it? Read on to find out...

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The Xbox Windows Phone version of Monster Burner started out as a free game before jumping up to 99 cents a few days later. Like most freemium games, it features In App Purchases that speed up player’s progress in the game. Using the in-game currency, you can buy upgrades to increase your firepower and life or single-use items to slow down the enemies and make tough levels a bit more manageable.

The game doesn’t force players to buy coins; you’ll earn some every time you complete a level. But while the first upgrade of any type sells for a reasonable price, subsequent upgrades cost astronomical prices. Even if you repeat an easy and high-coin level like Plains 3, it would still take hours of grinding to afford the best upgrades on your own.

Fear not! We’ve caught wind of a trick that reduces grinding times tenfold. Using this method, you could easily earn an average of 10,000 coins every two minutes! Read on for our full guide and video.

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Since last week we’ve been undergoing a small communications hitch with Microsoft’s gaming division that will hopefully be cleared up soon. Earlier this week though, French site MonWindowsPhone passed along the news that N.O.V.A. 3 would be today’s Xbox release, so we reported it as such. Of course we asked Gameloft to verify the release date, but they could only say for certain that it will come out in May – not specifically today.

A short while ago, a different Xbox Windows Phone game popped up in the Store: Monster Burner from Ubisoft! That’s not a bad thing, because it’s FREE, seems like a fantastic game, and runs on both Windows Phone 7 and 8. But given that Gameloft couldn’t say for sure whether N.O.V.A. 3 will come out today, we are left slightly unsure about its release status. Will we get one Xbox game this week or two?

That question aside, most of you guys will dig Monster Burner in a big way. Read on for our first impressions.

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Last month we were excited to learn that Ubisoft’s Rayman Jungle Run would be coming to Windows Phone at some point in the future. The combination of endless runner with actual levels and the lovable Rayman is just what our favorite smartphone platform needs. What we didn’t know is that Jungle Run would also be coming to PC and tablet via Windows 8 and RT. Happy surprise - it’s out now and Xbox Live-enabled!  Plus it gives us a great idea of what to expect when the phone game comes along.

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Ubisoft is a major force in the console and PC world, owning such powerful franchises as Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and the Tom Clancy games. They’ve had a mild presence on Windows Phone so far, with two Gameloft published Xbox games: Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles and Splinter Cell: Conviction, the self-published Babel Rising 3D (a bad game on any platform but particularly abhorrent on Windows Phone), and a couple of companion apps for console titles.

Still, one terrible game is far from the best that Ubisoft can do for Windows Phone. They publish a fair share of quality mobile titles on other platforms that we have yet to see on our own. Blessedly, that appears to be changing quite soon. Ubisoft’s 2012-2013 Sales Report has quickly leaked three upcoming Windows Phone titles, which I think is cause for a little noise! Read on for our descriptions and predictions.

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Last week’s Xbox release, Extraction: Project Outbreak (review coming tomorrow!) was a surprising strategy title mixed with elements of action. This week, we get another strategy title, but otherwise it couldn’t be more different. Babel Rising 3D will soon be on the Windows Phone Store, courtesy of developer Mando Productions with Ubisoft publishing. Yes, this is Ubisoft’s first Windows Phone title (Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell came from Gameloft under license from Ubisoft).

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It took a bit longer than usual, but we have a new Xbox Live Deal of the Week at last. And I do mean new – Splinter Cell: Conviction is on sale for the first time. It’s just $2.99 this week, down from $4.99.

This version of Splinter Cell tells the story of series lead Sam Fisher’s investigation into the death of his daughter. To do that, he'll need to sneak around in the shadows, killing hundreds of guards when they’re not looking. That's what they get! A number of voiced cinematic sequences drive home the console-like feeling.

That makes sense because Conviction is actually a port of the excellent Xbox 360 game, though the level designs are different. Despite the rudimentary 3D graphics (darn XNA) and a few difficulty spikes, Splinter Cell is a fun and easy 200 GamerScore overall. Check out our review for more details.

Splinter Cell: Conviction is on sale for $2.99 for one week only. Get it here on the Marketplace. QR code after the break...

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Fans of game developers Ubisoft, who are known for Assassin’s Creed, Fitness Evolved, Just Dance and many other popular titles on Xbox 360, will be pleased to check out their new companion app simply called Uplay.

If you use Ubisoft’s games, you probably already know what Uplay is for but for those who don’t, it's is their system to provide a “wide range of exclusive services and free content" to their customers.  Basically you create an account and they give you “points” for purchasing things, keeping track of new games, getting extra weapons or features for your games, etc.

We were already registered since we use Fitness Evolved for Xbox Kinect and use their other companion app, Your Shape. Heck, we just had a birthday recently and Ubisoft sent us a $10 coupon for any of their games, so yeah there are some benefits.  Here’s the feature list:

  • UPLAY WIN - Uplay Win helps you… win! It lets you expand your enjoyment of the games you play by redeeming great free content like extra weapons, new characters or additional maps.
  • UPLAY GAMES - When the going gets tough, the tough get Uplay! The Games section gives you guidance and tips to enjoy Ubisoft games at their best.
  • UPLAY PROFILE - Manage your Uplay Profile. View your Games, Actions, Rewards, Unit Balance and more!
  • UPLAY SHOP - Enjoy Ubisoft’s best games on your device! Uplay Shop brings together all Ubisoft mobile content into one view, readily available for you to download.
  • Uplay Friends (coming soon…) - The ultimate realm to connect with your Uplay Friends. Share your own content, keep track of your friends’ activity and taunt them with your most impressive deeds!

The app itself is well laid out and gives you access to some cool features. You can already do all of it at a PC through the web (http://uplay.ubi.com) but it’s kind of neat having a dedicated app for your Windows Phone. And heck, it is free, so why not.

Pick up Uplay for Windows Phone here in the Marketplace. Thanks, Avid A., for the heads up

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