xbox wp8

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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Just last Tuesday I lamented the lack of Xbox games for Windows Phone, and the hurdles that led to their scarcity. Maybe somebody up in the clouds at Microsoft heard gamers’ prayers, because today we have a new mobile Xbox game to play! Coincidence? I think not.

Throne Together from Rogue Rocket Games (who love answering emails) and Microsoft has fully launched on Windows Phone 8 with Xbox Live features at the ready. The game soft launched in certain territories in January, but without Xbox Live support. The Windows 8 version picked up Achievements about two weeks ago, and now both versions are all caught up. They’re also free to play, so they won’t break the bank. Impressions and Store links after the break!

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Indie and mobile games go through various genres of the moment over time, sort of like how console and big-budget PC games have been stuck on First-Person Shooters for the last ten years or so. For the longest time, it seemed like every new small-scale release that came along was a tower defense game. Hardly anybody complained, due to the inherent joy of defending towers.

The new genre of the moment on mobile is definitely the endless running game. A slew of endless runners have recently flooded Windows Phone 8, including such high profile releases as Subway Surfers and Despicable Me: Minion Rush. Only one endless runner with 3D graphics sports Xbox Live features, though: Temple Run 2 from Imangi Studios (makers of Harbor Master). Does the only non-spin-off sequel to Temple Run stand tall above its competitors? Read on to find out.

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Xbox Windows Phone gamers might have noticed that a Store link for Gameloft’s Kingdoms & Lords has been making the rounds today. Unfortunately, most users are finding they can’t actually download or play the game on their phones. Is it a case of the dreaded 1 GB RAM requirement? Nope, even folks with 1 or 2 GB of RAM can’t get their Kingdoms on.

Windows Phone Central checked in with our friends at Gameloft and discovered just what is happening with Kingdoms & Lords. It turns out the game has soft launched in a few territories but remains mostly inaccessible to users in other regions like the United States. Luckily it will be releasing worldwide next week, so the wait shouldn’t be too hard.

Head past the break for our hands on video, Achievement details, and more!

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The Sims FreePlay was a very big game when it arrived on Windows Phone 8 in September. So big that we published a two installment Achievement guide and an In-App Purchase guide on top of our usual review. But even then, our version lacked some content from the iOS version, including all social features. The iOS and Android games received a new update on October 11, pushing even farther ahead of our version.

Only one month after its initial release, The Sims FreePlay has just received a massive update. Windows Phone players now have access to the Mysterious Island area, teenage Sims, a whole new quest system, tons of new items, and much more. However, the update also makes a few Achievements much more difficult and time consuming. Head past the break for detailed descriptions and screenshots of the many changes!

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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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With no new Xbox release for Windows Phone this week, gamers in search of a fix will have to look to the Xbox Red Stripe Deal for their entertainment. The latest deal game is Gameloft’s Dark Knight Rises for Windows Phone 8. It’s on sale for $2.99, as it also was back in June. If you’re looking for a long and meaty game, it should fit the bill.

Non-Xbox Red Stripe Deals include the phenomenal strategy game Armed from Sickhead Games for 99 cents, plus the popular app Weave News Reader for $3.99. We’ve got details and Store links after the break.

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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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Russian computer engineer and game designer Alexy Pajitnov created Tetris for PCs way back in 1984. But Tetris first caught the public eye when Nintendo packed it in with the original GameBoy portable console in 1989. Since then, a number of companies have licensed the game and put their own unique spin on it, with the versions from Nintendo (especially Tetris DS) and Sega (Sega Tetris for Dreamcast) standing above the crowd.

Publishing giant Electronic Arts has also produced several Tetris games, including the 2011 Tetris which appeared on Playstation 3 and Windows Phone 7. This year’s Tetris Blitz is EA’s latest version, marrying the time honored Tetris gameplay with the frantic pace of Bejeweled Blitz. Tetris Blitz arrived on Windows Phone 8 a respectable four months after iOS.

Does this version deserve a spot on the list of best Tetris games? Read on to find out.

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We’ve poured on The Sims FreePlay coverage lately, and why not? Xbox Windows Phone games have become relatively scarce this year (though September saw plenty of new releases). It’s also a massively sized mobile entry in one of gaming’s most popular franchises… Not to mention, it’s free to play so any Windows Phone 8 user with 1 GB of RAM can get it (internet connection required).

Then again, the ‘free’ feather in a title’s cap can also be a thorn in its side from a gameplay perspective. The Sims FreePlay embodies many of the free to play trappings typically perceived as negative by users, from time-based mechanics to dual currencies. Can the joyful simulation aspects of The Sims survive all those grabs for players’ wallets? Read on for our evaluation.

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This week, the massive open world Grand Theft Auto 5 launched on consoles. Sadly, Rockstar has yet to port any of its excellent mobile Grand Theft Auto titles to Windows Phone. But thanks to Gameloft, we do have one open world game on Windows Phone 8: Six-Guns. Of course, Six-Guns takes its inspiration from the Wild West-themed Read Dead Redemption, but it’s still the closest thing to GTA in the mobile Xbox lineup.

Six-Guns is a free to play game – a payment model that can be a blessing or a curse. Is this one of Gameloft’s free to play successes like UNO & Friends or a greedy failure like Real Soccer 2013? Read on for our verdict…

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When Electronic Arts announced Tetris Blitz would be coming to Windows Phone in late September, we fully expected that to be the publisher’s only Windows Phone release this month. As it turns out, EA did have another release in store for us, though it popped up a little late in the day: The Sims FreePlay!

The Sims FreePlay is the third Sims game for Windows Phone, following The Sims 3 and The Sims Medieval. But those games are essentially simple RPGs dressed in Sims clothing. The Sims FreePlay is much closer to the true Sims games for PC and Xbox 360. As the name suggests, it’s also free to play. You’ll need a Windows Phone 8 device with 1 GB of RAM to install it. More details after the break!

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The days of Xbox Windows Phone games being announced in advance are pretty much behind us. Most weeks we get no game at all, and the games that do pop up were either announced long ago (such as this week’s Six-Guns) or just pop up out of the blue. Blame changes within Microsoft for the dwindling quantity of titles and lack of PR for mobile Xbox games.

But but but! Nokia has actually put a fair amount of time and money into bringing new Xbox games to Windows Phone in the last year or two. Two recently announced games: Angry Birds Star Wars II and Tetris Blitz both come from Nokia’s strong relationship with Rovio and Electronic Arts. But Nokia’s Facebook page announced Tetris Blitz for the end of August and it never showed up. Could the game have been announced in error?

Windows Phone Central has finally received official confirmation from EA: Tetris Blitz is definitely coming to Windows Phone 8 soon. Head past the break for exclusive details!

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It’s been a rough few weeks for Xbox Windows Phone games. We haven’t seen a new Xbox-branded game since UNO & Friends released at the end of July, for crying out loud. Sure, the new version of Fruit Ninja and Chaos Rings’ recent Windows Phone 8 compatibility have helped, but mobile Xbox fans still thirst for brand new games and Achievements.

Today that thirst gets quenched for a while! Like a much-needed whisky on the rocks after an afternoon showdown, Six-Guns has finally arrived on Windows Phone 8. First announced back in March, Six-Guns is one of the 15 games that Gameloft recently promised in August. It also happens to be free! See our first impressions video and more details after the break!

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The first Xbox-enabled version of Fruit Ninja launched shortly after Windows Phone 7 itself way back in December 2010. As the months rolled by, the iOS and Android versions received a number of updates while the Windows Phone game did not. Developer Halfbrick released a Kinect-enabled Xbox 360 version in 2011, and an Xbox Windows 8 version in 2012 – but still no update to the original Windows Phone game.

Things finally took a turn for the better this month when a Windows Phone 8-specific version of Fruit Ninja finally showed up to the party. The decrepit Windows Phone 7 version simultaneously got partially delisted from the Store, though Windows Phone 7 users can apparently still download it. The new Windows Phone 8 Fruit Ninja is identical in features to the Windows 8 version, so we’ll review them both and point out the improvements to the original game.

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Having reviewed Gameloft’s Order & Chaos Online last week, today we look at the publisher’s latest release UNO & Friends for Windows Phone 8. That’s the title, not “UNOFriends” as it’s inexplicably listed in the Windows Phone Store. It’s free and runs on all Windows Phone 8 devices (even low end ones), so it’s definitely worth a look.

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When Windows Phone launched with Xbox-branded games, many Xbox 360 fans picked up the platform in hopes of Xbox 360/XBLA-style experiences. Well, there are several Xbox Windows Phone games worthy of being released on consoles, but for the most part, they tend to be pick-up-and-play casual games.

It wasn’t until the advent of Windows Phone 8 and Gameloft’s increased support for it that we started getting more serious and complex games in the mobile Xbox lineup. The largest and most fully featured of those games is undoubtedly Order & Chaos Online. Can a massively multiplayer online RPG (MMORPG) like this work on less than massive smartphones? Read on to find out.

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Ever since Windows Phone 7 launched with Xbox features and games, fans have been clamoring for a mobile Halo game. The Halo series of first-person shooters is Microsoft’s most popular gaming franchise, so a Windows Phone version would seem like a foregone conclusion. But two years passed without the slightest hint at a mobile Halo title, prompting us to question whether Microsoft has the will to bring its gaming franchises to Windows Phone.

Thankfully, a little PC and tablet OS called Windows 8 finally inspired Microsoft and franchise stewards 343 Industries to make the leap towards bringing Halo to mobile devices. Developing the game for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 simultaneously allowed the creators to keep costs down; reach the phone, tablet, and PC markets in one go; and give Microsoft’s fledgling phone and tablet operating systems a shot in the arm.

Halo: Spartan Assault is finally available on Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. Read on for our comprehensive review of both versions!

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Halo: Spartan Assault will be a landmark game when it launches on Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 later this month. It marks the first mobile entry in Microsoft’s Halo franchise, something fans have been clamoring for ever since Windows Phone 7 debuted back in 2010. While it took a long time for the game to actually be revealed to the world, the wait between the June announcement and Spartan Assault’s undisclosed July release date will be relatively short.

It turns out that some Windows Phone 8 users will need to wait a bit longer for the new Halo game than others, however. Today Microsoft and Verizon revealed that the Windows Phone 8 version of Spartan Assault will launch first on Verizon phones in the US before eventually becoming available to all domestic customers. This timed exclusivity does not affect countries outside of the US, nor does it affect the Windows 8 version of the game.

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After a three week Xbox Windows Phone release drought, we certainly didn’t expect a new game this week. My bet had been on Halo: Spartan Assault being the one to break the drought, possibly next week. But it turns out that Microsoft and Gameloft had different, happier plans for us this week.

Yes, Order & Chaos Online, one of the 12 Gameloft games announced for Windows Phone 8 last year, is finally available! Finally, we have an Xbox-branded Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) to play on the go. So few of those exist even on Xbox 360!

Of course, the usual caveats with a big budget 3D game apply to Order & Chaos Online. It requires 1 GB of RAM and clocks in at 1012 MB file size, meaning you’ll need more than four gigabytes of space to actually download it.

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