All Articles by Paul Acevedo | Windows Central

Order Today: Lumia 950 XL | Surface Book | Surface Pro 4 | Band 2

All Articles by Paul Acevedo

It's not an easy being an Xbox game for Windows platforms. First you have to go through a difficult pitching process just to make it into the portfolio. If by some miracle Microsoft actually approves you for Xbox status, you then enter the equally unpleasant certification process. And once you finally make it to market, you'll probably just get pulled from the Store by Microsoft at some point. You're an endangered species, son.

That's what happened to Zombies!!! for Windows Phone back in September of last year. The game was delisted for having in-app purchases, and then returned in November without Xbox features. The Windows 8 version managed to keep its Xbox features for a time… But now that time has ended. Microsoft recently chose to stop publishing the Xbox Windows 8 version of Zombies. And so developer Babaroga has republished the game as a universal app (but without Xbox features). Zombies!!! has come back to life, you might say.

More →

ID@Xbox is Microsoft's indie publishing program for Xbox One. Participating independent developers can publish their games directly to Xbox One with a greater degree of freedom than they would be afforded on Xbox 360, Windows Phone, and Windows 8. ID@Xbox is great for gamers too because it allows a steady stream of downloadable games to be released across a variety of genres.

Yesterday we published a full review of Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition, but that's only one of four ID@Xbox games released this week! Zombie Driver: Ultimate Edition from Exor Studios, R.B.I. Baseball 14 from MLB and Majesco, and Contrast from Compulsion Games have all been freshly released as well. The number of new games is overwhelming, but we've got detailed impressions and hands on videos to help you decide what to play.

More →

The Xbox One is overflowing with downloadable games lately thanks to the ID@Xbox program. Last week we got Outlast and Sixty Second Shooter Prime, and today Zombie Driver Ultimate Edition had a surprise launch. But when the new console launched last year, players only had a few downloadable games to choose from. The first such title to qualify as a hit was undoubtedly Peggle 2 from Electronic Arts and PopCap. The game later arrived on Xbox 360 as well.

More →

Last week the Xbox One picked up a fair helping of new games. At retail, we got the realistic martial arts simulation EA Sports UFC. And to download came the affordable twin-stick shooter Sixty Second Shooter Prime and the surprise release of cult-horror hit Outlast (both ID@Xbox releases). You'd think the new releases would slow down for a bit after that terrific threesome, but you'd be wrong!

This week at retail, Activision brings the movie tie-in/cross-over Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark. Rebellion will publish tactical sniping game Sniper Elite III on Friday in the UK, with a US release following on July 1st. And to download we've got the World War I-era adventure Valiant Hearts from Ubisoft. All three games are coming to both Xbox One and Xbox 360. Need help deciding what to pick up? Check out our new trailers and impressions after the break!

More →

Does anybody remember Order & Chaos Online? It was the first and only Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) for Windows Phone with Xbox support. Although beloved by RPG fans, publisher Gameloft basically abandoned the Windows Phone version of Order & Chaos Online. With no content updates or bug fixes, and compatibility issues making it unplayable on the Nokia Lumia 1520, the game never got the chance to thrive like it should have.

One year later, Order & Chaos is back! Sort of. Gameloft has just released Heroes of Order & Chaos for Windows Phones (with 1 GB of RAM) and Windows 8 and RT. Heroes is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) spin-off of the main game. Since the PC hit League of Legends is not available on mobile devices, Heroes of Order & Chaos is truly the next best thing. And it's free to play, with cloud save support. Head past the break for our hands on video and first impressions!

More →

You know a platform like Windows 8 is hitting the mainstream when the high-profile kids games starting showing up. The dinky little ones with crappy artwork and design come first, followed by professional games starring popular characters. Characters like Elmo and the cast of Sesame Street, for instance!

Elmo Loves ABCs definitely falls into the professional category, as it's an extremely robust learning game for the preschool and kindergarten crowd. The game is available now as a premium Windows 8 and RT app. Head past the break for our quick impressions!

More →

Last month, we reviewed a collectible card game called Magic Realms. The game impressed me with its lengthy single-player campaign, a massive arsenal of cards featuring beautiful fantasy artwork, asynchronous player-versus-player battles, and clan support. The actual in-game clan chat is awful (especially compared to Cloud Raiders), but our site's official clan (WPCentral) continues to thrive anyway.

Magic Realms just received a new update, which is normally good news for a game. But whereas the previous update made the game slightly worse by adding annoying loading times and graphical glitches, this new update literally kills the game. Current players will want to avoid it, and new players simply can't play the game. Find out more after the break.

More →

Next week, the Xbox One will be getting a beautiful and brutal new game at retail: EA Sports UFC, which we learned much about during EA's E3 press conference. The week after that, we'll be seeing a release that's even more exciting for this child of the eighties – Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, and Sony and Nintendo consoles.

A game that crosses over the cool Cybertronian Transformers from the Fall of Cybertron game series with the Transformers movie universe would be exciting enough on its own. But today publisher Activision and developer Edge of Reality (makers of the great Incredible Hulk game in 2008) have sweetened the deal by revealing new preorder bonuses from GameStop and Amazon. We're talking about free characters, posters, and a digital comic. Read on for full game and preorder bonus details.

More →

Some of the Xbox games announced at E3 this week are a fair ways off – whether they're due this fall like the Halo: Master Chief Collection, or coming in 2015 or beyond as with Crackdown 3. But other games we see on the show floor will be arriving much sooner; the awesomely retro platformer 1001 Spikes not only graced the show but actually launched this week. We also caught wind of an impressive game that's due out at the end of the month: Sniper Elite III from UK-based Rebellion and publisher 505 Games.

More →

E3 has been a hectic week of new console game announcements, both retail and downloadable. With so many ID@Xbox games just announced for the Xbox One, it's easy to miss that a new indie game actually came out this week! 1001 Spikes is a retro-style platformer from Japanese developer 8bits Fanatics and publisher Nicalis. I guarantee fans of Spelunky, platforming, and local multiplayer will absolutely eat it up.

More →

Electronic Arts announced a bevy of core games during its E3 press conference earlier today – check out our full write-up. But EA's sports franchises are just as popular as their core franchises. And EA Sports UFC will have a great deal of crossover appeal thanks to its impressive one-on-one fighting gameplay and amazingly lifelike graphics.

Although EA publishes games based on a variety of sports, the driving theme among all of their sports titles (especially the yearly entries to the core series) was emotion. New-gen consoles like the Xbox One will allow each game's characters to express greater emotion than ever before. These extra-emotive characters will populate FIFA 15, Madden NFL 15, NHL 15, and EA Sports PGA Tour. Full impressions after the break!

More →

Following Microsoft's great Media Briefing this morning, Electronic Arts put on a press conference of its own. EA did a fine job with their conference last year, the highlight of which for me was the announcement of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare for Xbox consoles. Could this year's announcements hope to compete with that?

The 2014 presentation was handled by Andrew Wilson, Electronic Arts CEO. Disappointingly we didn't get to hear from fan-favorite Peter Moore this year. But we did learn about a ton of incredible games, including Star Wars Battlefront, Dragon Age Inquisition, a new Mass Effect, The Sims 4, Mirror's Edge 2, Battlefield Hardline, and more. Full Impressions after the break!

More →

Every game can't be a comic book-inspired dash through the streets and rooftops of New York City. Sometimes you just want to relax with a nice puzzle game to relax with on your phone. Or maybe a really hard puzzle game – I'm not here to judge you guys.

That's what Slovenian indie developer Dawn of Play has given us with their first Windows Phone game, Dream of Pixels. You can describe Dream of Pixels as a "reverse Tetris" game, given that it involves pulling apart a pile of blocks into Tetris-shaped pieces. But the game play really is quite fresh and challenging. Plus it's one of the loveliest puzzle games you'll come across, with a sharp 3D engine and gorgeous use of colors. Check out our impressions and hands-on video after the break!

More →

Mobile gaming giant Gameloft has been quite successful with its mobile games based on Marvel film properties, including Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2, and Iron Man 3.  It also happens to have published Despicable Me: Minion Rush, one of the better 3D endless runners out there. So what happens when we combine both things?

Spider-Man Unlimited, it turns out. Gameloft has just announced that Spider-Man Unlimited will be coming to iOS, Android, and Windows Phone this September. Based on the Spider-Man comics universe instead of films (and named after an older cartoon series), the new game looks both action-packed and filled with costumes and villains from Spider-Man lore. Check out the announcement trailer, high resolution screenshots, and our analysis after the break!

More →

E3 time is here again, loyal readers. The Electronic Entertainment Expo is the single largest gaming event of the year. E3 2014 takes place from June 10-12 (plus press conferences on Monday) at the Los Angeles Convention Center and is open only to members of the gaming industry.

During E3, all of the major console gaming developers and publishers crowd into the Convention Center and exhibit a selection of their latest and upcoming games for attendees to watch and play. Many new games will be announced, while others that we already know about will be revealed in action for the first time. Check out last year’s E3 2013 stories to get an idea of what goes down.

The very largest publishers and platform holders also hold press conferences on Monday, just before the show opens. Microsoft’s annual Media Briefing runs from 9:30-11am PDT. This is when the big MS will reveal the new shape of its gaming plans for the Xbox One. Windows Phone Central will be there and live blogging from the briefing, so make sure you check back with us Monday morning!

What should you expect in the way of Microsoft and Xbox news from E3 2014? Read on for our predictions!

More →

Hey cool kids, are you ready for the latest installment of our new monthly feature, the best Windows Phone games of the month? Each month we look at a collection of newly released Windows Phone games that stand out from the crowd. The titles we choose range in genre and production value. Anything goes as long as it’s fun, original, and freshly launched.

This month we did get a couple of new Xbox-enabled games: Kinectimals Unleashed and Wordament Snap Attack. But for my money, it’s the non-Xbox games that took the cake during May. Competitive players received two excellent raiding games: Cloud Raiders and Royal Revolt 2. Racing and obstacle course enthusiasts got the Trials-like Old School Racer 2 to challenge them. And a one-man developer called Radiangames published a sleek twin-stick shooter called JoyJoy while giving away the amazing Bombcats SE completely free.

Quick impressions and Store links after the break!

More →

Gameloft’s Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour is probably the best first-person shooter on Windows Phone. Not that there’s any real competition; the only other FPS I can think of is the same company’s disappointing N.O.V.A. 3. Modern Combat 4’s strength was in its single-player campaign; the multiplayer mode was pretty much a bust (see our review). That might just change in the upcoming sequel…

We’ve just come across some new multiplayer details for Modern Combat 5: Blackout, plus the two screenshots above. Some of the new features for part 5 include new game types, squad support, chat, limited time events, and improved leaderboards. These improvements should make for a compelling online multiplayer experience on Windows Phone – if Gameloft gets the matchmaking right this time. Head past the break for more details.

More →

Windows Phone and Android have a lot in common. Both are competing for second place in app revenue against the juggernaut that is Apple, and both types of handsets/tablets are more affordable than iOS devices. Although Android has a leg up over Windows Phone worldwide, Microsoft’s mobile platform has a great opportunity to surpass Android in a number of emerging markets like China and Brazil.

There are many factors at play in the ongoing mobile battle between Microsoft and Google. To get a better idea of how each side stacks up, we spoke with Martin Koppel, COO at mobile payment specialist Fortumo. If Martin’s predictions are correct, Windows Phone’s continued growth in developing markets will soon put it on much more even footing with Google’s mobile OS.

More →

Last week was a dry week as far as retail Xbox game releases. But both Xbox One and 360 got the phenomenal downloadable puzzle/shooter Super Time Force, so nobody should have complained too much. All of you FPS guys need to step out of your comfort zone and give it a try – you won’t be disappointed. Oh, but First-Person Shooter fans do have reason to celebrate this week. ..

Wolfenstein: The New Order from Bethesda and Machine Head Games has finally arrived on the Xbox One and 360! The latest entry in the series that basically started the FPS genre (yes, it preceded Doom and even Call of Duty!) is a single-player tour-de-force. And Xbox 360 gamers have a more lighthearted downloadable game to play now - Max: the Curse of Brotherhood. Read on for details and exclusive Wolfenstein screenshots!

More →

Anybody remember a little Windows Phone 7 shoot-em-up called Corona? Even for an older game, Corona continues to impress with its beautiful anime-style artwork and intense bullet hell shooting action. I thought Finnish developer Kajak Games had stepped away from Windows Phone development after completing Corona, depriving us of their high quality indie games.

As it turns out, Kajak has quietly released quite a few games lately. Today I checked out the studio’s Hopping Penguin, a platformer/endless runner starring a vampire bat – I mean penguin. Mundane title aside, Hopping Penguin offers some very good artwork and lots of platforming goodness in a free to play package. Check out our impressions and video after the break.

More →

Pages