Windows Phone 8 Apps + Games

What's different about apps and games coded for Windows Phone 8?

While Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7.x may look mostly the same, at their core the two operating systems are very different. As such, both OSs have a certain amount of overlap in terms of what software they can run but there are differences.

In theory, all Windows Phone 7 apps can run on Windows Phone 8. In reality, this is mostly true although there are some exceptions due to the need to upgrade an app’s graphics for the new 720P and 763 resolutions.  Likewise for games although at the time of the Windows Phone 8 launch, there are at least 20 Xbox titles that cannot run on the new OS due to needed updates.

Apps that are updated to Windows Phone 8 status don’t preclude Windows Phone 7.x consumers from using the app but they won’t be able to take advantage of some of the new Windows Phone 8 features, such as:

  • Lenses – Mini photo apps that tie into the camera module
  • Fast resume – The ability to resume an app even after re-launching it via its Live Tile
  • Lock screen Banner – WP8 apps can display information directly on the Lock screen
  • Lock screen notifications – WP8 Apps can display up to five custom notification areas
  • Background GPS – WP8 apps can have navigation programs constantly run in the background
  • App to app handoff – WP8 Apps can share information with other apps
  • Wallet – WP8 apps can integrate with the Windows Phone Wallet, allowing in app and in game purchases
  • NFC sharing – WP8 apps can optionally share images or information via near-field communication (NFC) aka “Tap to share”
  • Doublewide Live TilesWindows Phone 7.8 and 8 devices can show doublewide tiles for third-party apps
  • Voice commands – WP8 apps can use the TellMe voice service for speech-to-text or for custom voice commands, such as launching to a specific area within the app

There is no cost to the user to upgrade to a Windows Phone 8 app as it is the same one that Windows Phone 7.x users will buy.

Finally, games for Windows Phone 8 are a bit different. Due to the addition of native coding, developers can release Windows Phone 8-only games either for Xbox or even third-party titles. That means some games will never be available for Windows Phone 7.x users unless the developer releases two separate versions—a prospect that is unlikely due to the difficulty in maintaining two code bases. Because of this, in the long run Windows Phone users will see the greatest fragmentation in the games area as opposed to the more ubiquitous apps.

Listed below are apps and games that have either been updated for Windows Phone 8 or released specifically for the new OS.

Related Windows Phone Central ForumsMarketplace Apps and Marketplace Games

 

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CookAid, a DIY recipe app for Windows Phone 8

CookAid isn’t your run of the mill cooking app for Windows Phone 8. It falls in line with a “do-it-yourself” app in that you create your own recipes. Once created, you can generate shopping lists based on the ingredients needed for any of the culinary delights you’ve documented.

Another feature that helps set CookAid apart from just creating a Word document for your recipes is the voice and audio support. If you are looking for a Windows Phone 8 app to generate tasty recipes, CookAid might not be for you. If you are looking for an app to preserve your Grandmother’s recipes, you may want to give CookAid a try.

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Auto Witness is an interesting Windows Phone 8 app that could come in handy should you find yourself in a traffic accident. Auto Witness is a video recording app that sets up on a loop and saves your video automatically if a rapid acceleration or deceleration is detected. The app can also automatically save the videos to your OneDrive account.

The Windows Phone 8 app was chosen as runner-up in the 2014 Nokia Create Competition (Freestyle Master Category) and while it does a nice job of recording your travels, there are a few downsides.

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WMW? XYY is the latest installment with Disney’s Where’s My Water? series of Windows Phone games. WMW? XYY features Chinese TV cartoon character XYY on an epic adventure through China to save his friends trapped in an underground city and defeat the Big Bad Wolf.

The physics game plays much like the previous versions of Where’s My Water? with new fire and oil mechanics. WMW? XYY may have an odd gaming title but it makes a nice first impression.

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Tink Magician is a relatively new Windows Phone 8 game that has you defending a magical kingdom from a demon lord. You use your magical spells to summon elemental powers to destroy the invading armies of the demon lord. Tink Magician is a fantasy battle game that plays much like a tower defense game but also has RPG aspects.

As you battle your way through the map of your kingdom, you will earn experience points that can be used to upgrade your character and gold coins that can be used to buy power boosts. While Tink Magician is a fast-paced Windows Phone 8 game, it can also be rather exhausting with the volume of monsters and bosses you have to defeat.

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Color Weather is a no-nonsense weather app for Windows Phone 8. The minimalistic design changes the background color dynamically depending on the current temperature.

Along with the current conditions, Color Weather offers a five-day forecast so you can better plan your week. The weather app does have Live Tile support and while Color Weather’s simple design has a certain level of appeal, it may be too minimalistic for some.

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The next time I’ll meet evangelism folks from Nokia or Microsoft, I’ll give them a tight hug. Forget the market share discussions and fanboy arguments, the Windows Phone ecosystem is thriving in India. It’s a great time to follow the ecosystem, and makes my job easier (I hope Daniel is not reading this!).

Yet another key example of how Windows Phone continues to do well in India is the release of Airtel Money for Windows Phone 8.

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Bollywood Hungama (www.bollywoodhungama.com) is the most read Bollywood portal worldwide. Published by Hungama Digital Media Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., the largest aggregator, developer, publisher, and distributor of Bollywood and South-Asian entertainment content in the world, the official Bollywood Hungama app has just arrived on the Windows Phone Store.

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Real Steel World Robot Boxing is an entertaining Windows Phone 8 game modeled in the spirit of the movie ‘Real Steel’. Think of it as a game of Rock’em Sock’em Robots but with more intensity.

Real Steel World Robot Boxing has 24 robots to fight or buy and 4 gaming modes to test your mechanical pugilistic skills with. The game has been out for a little while now and while there is room for improvement; Real Steel World Robot Boxing comes across as a fun game for our Windows Phone 8 gaming library.

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Amanita Design’s classic point-and-click adventure game Machinarium arrived on Windows Phone last month. I was so impressed by its beautiful hand-drawn artwork and fascinating world of living robots that I named it one of the best games of March.

Shortly after the phone game popped up, we broke the news that Machinarium would be coming to Windows 8 and RT as well. We didn’t have to wait very long, because the game is now available on Windows tablets and PCs. Read on for Windows 8 impressions, plus news of another update for the Windows Phone game.

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India is in the midst of General Elections 2014 as a billion people are voting for the next Government of the country. A new game on the Windows Phone Store arrived last week that attempts to serve as a funny ode to the diversity of the nation and the world’s largest democracy.

Lok Sabha is a funny spin-off about the political parties in India. In the game, two people play with their political ideologies placed head to head and compete each other for seats in the Parliament. Lok Sabha comes across as a fun, entertaining game for those who enjoy a little political satire.

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