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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It was November 2012 when we wrote about twenty Xbox games that worked on Windows Phone 7.x, but no longer worked with Windows Phone 8. The list included some favorites like: The Harvest, Hasta La Muerte, Fable Coin Gold and many others. Over time a few of those returned to be playable on Windows Phone 8, but a handful of them were left out. Looks like a few might have returned to Windows Phone and Windows Phone 8.1 customers.

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For those with small children, your Windows Phone can be a convenient way to sneak in a few learning lessons while traveling in the car, waiting on a meal at a restaurant or any other occasion you have a few minutes to burn.

ABC for kids all alphabet free is a user friendly educational app that helps your child learn the alphabet by using audio and visual aids. The app isn't going to appeal to everyone but if you are looking for an educational app to help your children pass the time, ABC for kids all alphabet free is worth a try.

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Lost Echo is a new adventure game in the Windows Phone Store where you are desperately searching for your girlfriend. The story driven game is full of puzzles to solve, mini-games to tackle and an impressive 3D environment.

The game has been a hit over on iOS with plenty of accolades from user reviews. In just tinkering with Lost Echo for a short time, it should be well received by the Windows Phone platform and another quality addition to the Windows Phone Store.

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BlueFly is an online fashion retailer based in the heart of the fashion district in New York City. The retailer released its official Windows Phone app earlier this month allowing you to browse all the designer fashions and buy on the go. A boutique of sorts accessible from your Windows Phone.

The Windows Phone 8 app has a clean appearance and straightforward navigation. It comes across with a slight high-end feel to match the high-end clothing offered by the retailer.

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Guess That is a collection of three trivia games that calls upon you to identify flags from various countries, corporate logos and celebrities. The Windows Phone 8 game has 21 level packets that total 420 trivia levels of play.

The game has a nice, clean layout with plenty of challenging trivia levels. A slight spacing issue is present with the game screen but nothing ruins the gaming experience. After playing Guess That for a few days, it comes across as a nice collection of trivia images that will test your knowledge and is a fun way to pass the time.

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Ballance Resurrection is a fun, challenging, wonderfully drawn-up puzzle game for Windows Phone 8. The game is a Marble Madness styled game where you have to navigate a ball through a series of platforms, rails, and other obstacles.

The gaming platform is set high in the clouds and one wrong move will send your ball plummeting to its demise. Ballance Resurrection is a multi-level puzzle game with a bit of an arcade feel about it. The game requires a gentle touch, steady hand and a good bit of patience. In playing Ballance Resurrection for a short time, it comes across as an entertaining option for your Windows Phone.

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Last month we named a little twin-stick shooter called JoyJoy as one of May's best new Windows Phone games. Now it's time to follow up with a full review!

JoyJoy comes from Radiangames, maker of the similarly fantastic Bombcats Special Edition. Radian originally published this one as an Xbox Live Indie Game on the Xbox 360 way back in 2010. Now a whole new audience can experience JoyJoy's simple shoot 'em up bliss along with an array of improvements and tweaks for mobile play. Fans of the genre won't want to miss it.

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Unroll Me - unblock the slots is a puzzle game for Windows Phone 8 that has you solving a puzzle, which in turn creates a path for a white ball to travel safely to the finish point in the gaming levels. The game can be rather challenging in that you need to stay one step ahead of the rolling ball as you solve the puzzle or you'll see the white ball crash and burn, ending your hopes of completing the puzzle level.

The game has had a decent amount of success of on iOS and Android platforms and in playing Unroll me for the past few days, it should do well on the Windows Phone platform.

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For those not familiar, Weather Hound is a Windows Phone weather app that approaches things in a simple manner. The app offers, in minimalistic fashion, a weather summary with the core forecast information along with hourly forecasts and a seven-day forecast. You can set Weather Hound up to provide the forecast information based on your Windows Phone location or turn off your Location Services and set the location manually.

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Last week, Disney released yet another game for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 devices - Words of Wonder. The game is word search game that has a match three game ( Maleficent Free Fall, Frozen Free Fall, etc.) feel about it.

The game has you following the Disney character Watson the Owl as he fights the grey curse that is erasing the color from his storybook. You use the power of words to unlock bonus items and restore the color to the book.

Words of Wonder is a simple, yet challenging for players of all ages and a nice addition to the Disney Windows 8/Windows Phone gaming collection.

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