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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UbiShow is a slideshow maker for Windows Phone 8 where you can take your pictures, add background music and create a video slideshow that can be shared through OneDrive or uploaded to YouTube.

The interface does take a little time to get used to but in tinkering with UbiShow for a short while, it makes a nice first impression. UbiShow is an easy way to turn your Windows Phone 8 still images into a video slideshow.

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Race Illegal: High Speed 3D is one of the more recent racing games available for Windows Phone 8. The game offers nice 3D graphics, several gaming modes and hopes to fill your need for speed.

Along with the multiple gaming modes, Race Illegal: High Speed 3D offers twenty racetracks to conquer and nine cars to choose from and customize. The game has had its fair share of success over on iOS and Android platforms and in taking Race Illegal: High Speed 3D out for a test drive, the game comes across as having similar potential on the Windows Phone 8 platform.

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Another Case Solved is a new puzzle game for Windows Phone 8 that has you playing detective to solve the mystery of a curious candy conspiracy. The story line has your city clamping down on candy cravings by outlawing the source. You will need to figure out what is behind the candy craze by gathering clues, interviewing witnesses and solve a series of mind-bending clues.

Another Case Solved has seen a decent amount of success over on iOS and based on tinkering with the game for a short period, it should be well received on the Windows Phone and Windows 8 platforms as well.

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There isn’t much to the Windows Phone 8 game Rope Jump but it is enough to drive you crazy trying to master this game.

Rope Jump is simply a game of jump rope where timing and speed being the key to success. It may be surprising how difficult it is to get those two aspects in tune so you can any success at Rope Jump.

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Cat Story is an odd little Windows Phone 8 game that sends you to an imaginary world filled with a wide range of interesting characters you must help build a new life. Game play is a mixture of time management, puzzle and scavenger hunt styles.

The cast of characters in Cat Story have been shipwrecked on an uncharted island and a collection of quests to find all the survivors along with building a new community awaits. Cat Story is a well animated Windows Phone 8 with plenty of puzzling missions to tackle. The only concern is that game flow structure is a little loose and you often find yourself going with the flow.

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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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