Nokia exclusives: Picnic Wars now available, Spy Mouse debuts on Windows Phone 8

Picnic Wars Windows Phone photograph

You might have noticed that yesterday’s editorial/news piece about the extended Xbox release drought Windows Phone is currently experiencing made no mention of Nokia exclusives. After all, those exclusives don’t do people who own non-Nokia devices any good. Not one Nokia Xbox game has become available for all Windows Phone devices so far, even six months after the debut of Mirror’s Edge.

Still, in times of release famine, Nokia really does seem to come through for its customers. First they published iBomber Defense back in December, and now they’ve surprised us with another new Xbox game. Picnic Wars from Chillingo is now available for all Lumia devices running Windows Phone 7 or 8. As if that news wasn’t good enough, Nokia exclusive Spy Mouse is now available on Windows Phone 8 devices.

Food fight

Picnic Wars tutorial

Picnic Wars tells the silly tale of two armies of anthropomorphic food waging battle against each other. The game consists of two campaigns with 32 levels a piece, though the second campaign takes place on the same levels with different units, so we might not consider that 64 levels.

Nokia’s latest exclusive plays just a little bit like Angry Birds and Wreckateer in that the player’s objective is to destroy an army of stationary enemies by launching objects at them. Still, the actual gameplay more closely resembles the action and strategy genres than a physics puzzler. You’ll command between 1-5 catapults simultaneously, adjusting their positions and firing shots at a rapid pace.

QR: Picnic WarsThe enemies actually fight back and can destroy your catapults, so dodging comes into play as well. There is some resource management as players choose between more costly types of ammo and strive to collect new ammo and upgrade points by hitting specific targets.

Picnic Wars gameplay

One thing Picnic Wars has going for it is a vibrant and cute art style. The food fighters display a lot of personality in both the cinematics and their sprite forms. The actual sound effects and voices grate my nerves like cheese, but don’t really spoil the fun.

Picnic Wars costs $2.99, just like all Nokia Xbox exclusives. You can view its Store page here, but it must be purchased from a Lumia phone.

Secret agent… Mouse

Spy Mouse for Windows Phone

Spy Mouse originally debuted on November 20th, at which time it could not be purchased for Windows Phone 8 devices. Less than two months later, the version 2 update provides full compatibility with Microsoft’s latest mobile OS. This means that only three Nokia exclusives remain incompatible with Windows Phone 8: Trivial Pursuit, Parking Mania, and iBomber Defense (the latter two got pulled within the last week).

QR: Spy MouseThe game's developer Firemint is best known for popularizing the line-drawing genre with Flight Control. In Spy Mouse, they’ve utilized that line drawing tech to make a stealth game. Players control the titular mouse by drawing a path around each level. He’ll need to grab cheese and reach the level exit without being nabbed by patrolling cats.

Spy Mouse map

Each level has three optional goals such as not being spotted, drawing only one continuous path, and finishing within a certain time limit. Completing every level with those goals completed will net some tasty Achievements.

Spy Mouse costs $2.99. You can view its Store page here, but it must be purchased from a Lumia phone.

Bright future for Nokia customers

Picnic Wars eggplant

Clearly, Nokia’s commitment to funding the development of games for its Windows Phones continues to pay off. In fact, Nokia is doing exactly what Microsoft seems to have dropped the ball on – investing in games and apps in order to attract new customers and keep existing customers contented. We’re still waiting on several exclusive heavy hitters like Dead Space, FIFA, and Madden. With so many EA exclusives released so far, it’s only a matter of time until those more technically intensive games show up as well.

Thanks to Mark Tepper for the tips!


Reader comments

Nokia exclusives: Picnic Wars now available, Spy Mouse debuts on Windows Phone 8


Two questions Paul. Any word from Microsoft on Xbox games yet? And is there any hint as to when the exclusive EA titles from Nokia will become available to the rest of us? I assume they can't keep them forever.

Making some headway with Microsoft but we're still running into difficulty finding exactly the right person to talk to - something that's held us up off and on for years. My latest contact seems like a nice guy and he might come through with the right person to interview soon.

We're also trying to get an answer from Nokia about how long the game exclusivity lasts. Will definitely post about it whenever we find out.

Thanks Paul. I had just assumed we would see 3 months on each title. I'm just surprised that EA is ok with the exclusivity. They own the games, so they are the ones missing out on the revenue.

EA's partnership with Nokia goes beyond Windows Phone, they provide dozens of free games for the Asha series of Nokia as well.

I think whatever deal they made with Nokia, is worth more than what they could make in revenue from other WP users.

Hmm. I hadn't realized the EA partnership ran so deep. I wonder if we will ever see those titles at all then. There may not be any incentive for them to release the games to everyone.

Wow. I wonder if this is Nokia's way of getting revenge because they ended up not being Microsoft's flag bearing phone. Of course that would be childish and detrimental but companies have been acting that way recently. Look at google and their maps issue; look at apple and their constant litigation.

I doubt it. These Lumia-exclusive games were announced early last year, well before this whole signature/flagship device debacle.

a sale is just 2.99, compare to an exclusivity which brings a handful of million right after the contract sealed is nothing

Does anyone know a contact email from Firemint and EA Games??

I want to ask them to make their games here in Brazil.

It is sad to see that most of these games support the Brazilian Portuguese, but that none of them were published here.

This is the same case of GameHouse. I sent an email to them asking if they could publish the games here and they told me that they had no game for Windows Phone!! I do not understand anything!

Ah... We had an EA PR person's email address once, but she was beyond useless. Never got one straight answer out of her. Will let you know if I ever discover a better one.

You're welcome Paul. ;) Gotta say that Spy Mouse crashed once for me so far within 15 minutes of testing it. I hope it won't get pulled again.
Seems the XBL draught on MS's site will come to an end too. As far as I have seen Skulls of the Shogun is supposed to be released on January 30th for WP 7 and 8. This could of course mean another 2 weeks without a new XBL game though.

If you have a windows phone 8 you can change your region on your phone and download any game from any region. You just need a PayPal account to pay for it, credit card will not work.

Downloading now! It looks fun, but so did Spy Mouse (which I uninstalled). If the trial is good, I may purchase it; but I really need to work on getting off of the 2nd level of GeoDefense Swarm:)

Last achievement I need.  Hopefully I'm just overlooking something.  Still has yet to be obtained by someone on TA.