Xbox Live

Xbox LIVE has been pushing online multiplayer gaming forward since its launch in November 2002. Microsoft’s online service recently hit 46 million members and isn’t stopping any time soon. With the launch of Xbox One later this year, a collection of new features will be added to the service including smarter matching, a new reputation system, and a new style of Xbox achievements.

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The popular shooter game for Windows Phone, DoDonPachi Maximum is now on sale. The title is currently exclusive for Windows Phone 7.x hardware, leaving those who have upgraded to new hardware to find other titles to quench the thirst for bullets, bullets and more bullets. If you've not played DoDonPachi Maximum before, now is a perfect opportunity to get stuck in and see just how far you can progress.

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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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Since summer of last year, Electronic Arts and Chillingo have been pumping out Nokia-exclusive Xbox Windows Phone games. Players not fortunate enough to own Nokia phones sometimes feel left out and/or upset because they can’t access those games from their phones. But we are talking about timed exclusivity here.

Six months after release, Mirror’s Edge became available to all Windows Phone users, followed by Risk and Connect 4. So while owners of HTC, Samsung, and other non-Nokia devices have to wait a while, Nokia’s deal with EA does pay off for them as well.

This week, two more former exclusives became available to all Windows Phone users: The Game of Life and Parking Mania. As if that wasn’t enough, Shoot 1UP, an Xbox game that was found to be incompatible with Windows Phone 8 has just gained compatibility. Gotta love being able to play more stuff!

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When Cut the Rope: Experiments arrived on Windows Phone last month, fans of the Cut the Rope series were of course pleased to see another installment on our platform. But the sequel’s arrival also reminded us that the first Cut the Rope had yet to receive an update since launch. The original game on Windows Phone had only 275 levels - 75 less than other versions.

As mobile Xbox gamers surely know, Rovio has been busy updating several of its Angry Birds games lately. Now it looks like Russian developer ZeptoLab has decided to join in the fun, because they’ve updated Cut the Rope at last! The update brings our version up to par with the iOS and Android games and gives players a great reason to rejoin Om Nom on his quest for candy.

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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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It’s time for another new Xbox Windows Phone game this week. Sadly, Gameloft’s N.O.V.A. 3 didn’t make it out yet, but we still expect it at the end of May or early June. Instead, this week’s release is the not too surprising but still appreciated Angry Birds Rio from Rovio.

I say not surprising because two weeks ago Microsoft and Nokia both announced that Rio would be coming very soon. They weren’t lying! Meanwhile, Angry Birds Rio has also flown in on Windows Phone 7 without Xbox Live features, just as we predicted. Now then, what makes this Rio game different from the 1500 other official Angry Birds titles already available on Windows Phone? Read on to find out.

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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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The first Gravity Guy starred a hero wrongfully imprisoned by his evil government for manipulating gravity. He broke out of prison, only to be endlessly pursued by a heartless Gravity Trooper. At the end of the game, Gravity Guy escapes to his freedom.

Gravity Guy 2 disappoints ever so slightly by comparison because all pretense of story is gone. Players control a now-helmetless Gravity Guy, but the cut scene bookends and evil pursuer have vanished. The store description says Guy has been captured and cloned (Miniclip also published this webpage to expand on the premise), but that doesn’t spill over into the game itself.

In fact, the first game’s story mode and local multiplayer are MIA as well. An endless runner doesn’t need these things to keep players entertained, but the lack of context and modes still represents a small step back in an otherwise much improved game. Still! Forget the missing bits, this one really is much better.

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Update: Gameloft could not confirm the May 8th release date and the game hasn't shown up, so our source looks to have been incorrect. Sorry for getting everybody's hopes up. Ubisoft's Monster Burner is this week's actual Xbox release.

Gameloft announced 12 killer Xbox games for Windows Phone 8 back in October of last year (and later amended the list). Those titles starting rolling out with Asphalt 7 in February. With Ice Age Village appearing at the end of April, we’re up to seven out of 12 games so far. Not a bad two months of releases, but the most anticipated game (among our readers, anyway), N.O.V.A. 3 had yet to appear.

That changes this Wednesday when Gameloft’s N.O.V.A. 3 finally debuts. A first-person shooter based on the Halo series. N.O.V.A. 3 is the closest thing Windows Phone will have to a proper Halo title unless Microsoft ever has a change of heart. Like Modern Combat 4, this one will require 1 GB of RAM and lots of storage space, so some devices like the Lumia 520 and 620 won’t be able to run it.

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When we didn’t hear from Microsoft about an Xbox Windows Phone release this week, we feared that there wouldn’t a new game today. It turns out that we should have had faith, because a new release did quietly slip out, and it’s an interesting one!

Following on the heels of their early April release, Amazing Alex, Rovio now breaks in the month of May with the game that started their rise to fame: Angry Birds. We’re not talking about a new Angry Birds sequel or the oft-requested spin-off Bad Piggies. No, a Windows Phone 8-exclusive version of the original Angry Birds (now called Angry Birds Classic) has just arrived with all the content missing from its unloved Windows Phone 7 predecessor. Windows Phone 7 gets a new, updated version as well but without the Xbox features. And best of all, both versions are free until May 15!

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Windows Phone 8 got its first proper taste of Xbox-enabled freemium games when Gameloft’s Real Soccer 2013 debuted earlier this year. But that game reached for players’ wallets so deeply and so often that we could barely enjoy it. Now Gameloft gives us another freemium game, the social city builder Ice Age Village. Don’t let Real Soccer 2013 or Glu Mobile’s Bug Village sour your feelings toward this one; it is less buggy than its genre predecessor and even players who choose not to spend any real currency can have a good time.

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Ice Age Village from Gameloft is a free Xbox city building game for Windows Phone 8. As far as we know, any Windows Phone 8 device can run it and the game only takes up 79 MB of storage, so it should have a sizable player base already.

The city building genre is a time consuming one since many tasks involve returning to the game at a later time or date to reap their rewards.  Wouldn’t it be nice to speed up the process a bit and get your village making money faster right off the bat? Darn right it would.

Windows Phone Central has a bunch of codes for free Coins, animals, and items, plus a handy Achievement guide. Don’t spend a single Acorn until you’ve read it!

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Gameloft’s Ice Age Village just launched for Xbox Windows Phone 8 yesterday. If you enjoy the town-building genre or the Ice Age movies, it’s a fun and addictive game. It’s also worlds better than Bug Village, so don’t let that early Windows Phone 7 misfire put you off from trying the game.

All that said, we have some good news and bad news to share with you now. This article covers the bad news. One of Ice Age Village’s advancements over Bug Village, its social integration is just about completely broken at launch. Read on to learn about the kinks in the works and whether we can expect Gameloft to take care of the situation

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We’ve just settled in with two strong Nokia exclusive Windows Phone releases this week, but avid gamers and non-Nokia owners are already hungry for more. Hey! Why don’t you go order a pizza from your Xbox 360 if you’re so hungry?

Well, assuming we’ve all had a nice lunch/dinner/second breakfast, it’s time for a new Xbox game from our good friends at Gameloft. This week’s release is Ice Age Village, one of the more casual-friendly titles that Gameloft announced for Windows Phone 8 last year. Whether or not the theme appeals to you, Ice Age Village happens to be free-to-play, so we all might as well put down our vegetable peelers and give it a try.

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Last week’s Red Stripe Xbox Deal gave us a fine sale on Sonic CD, a game that had never been discounted before. This week’s game has never been a Deal of the Week before, but many of us picked it up during the Black Friday sale last year. That’s right, Mush from Angry Mango will be the new Red Stripe Xbox game starting on Thursday. It’s going on sale for 99 cents, down from $2.99.

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The original Cut the Rope is one of the most popular Xbox Windows Phone games, and for good reason. The gameplay is simple and easy to learn, while perfecting levels provides a fair challenge. It packs a ton of levels and it only costs a buck – the perfect price point for mass market acceptance. And of course, it stars the lovable Om Nom, an endearing creature who has his own series of animated shorts on YouTube and physical merchandise like toys and games.

Now Cut the Rope is back, but not as the update with more levels promised within the game. Instead, ZeptoLabs has just released a sequel, Cut the Rope: Experiments. This one packs 150 more levels of gameplay in exactly the same style as the first, plus a few minor improvements. Now that its price has dropped to a buck, is Experiments a necessary buy for fans of the original? Read on to find out!

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