There isn’t exactly an abundance of Windows Phone 8-specific Xbox Live games out there. Since the launch of Microsoft’s latest mobile OS, we’ve only had two such games to choose from: Angry Birds Space and Angry Birds Star Wars. As we reported last week, more Windows Phone 8 games are coming, but at least a few are mired in certification woes.
We have both good and bad news to share about this week’s Xbox release. The good: it’s a Windows Phone 8 game! It's not even a Nokia exclusive. Depending on who you ask, the identity of the game is the bad news. It’s Angry Birds Seasons. Yes, after all this time, we get another Angry Birds game instead of something different. But hey, history has proven that people love throwing birds at things, so let’s just be glad another mainstream game has come to our growing platform.
For everything there is a season
If anyone can stay upset all year round, it’s the Angry Birds. Seasons is actually the second game in the series, though it’s the fourth to arrive on Windows Phone. Whereas Space and Star Wars introduce new mechanics into the standard bird-flinging formula, Seasons sticks closely to the original gameplay style. The first game on Windows Phone 7 never received much in the way of post-release support (it only has 250 levels), making Seasons a much more fully-featured and polished experience by comparison.
As the name indicates, this sequel focuses on the seasons of the year and holidays most of us know and love: Valentines, St. Patrick’s, Halloween, Christmas, the Hacker, I mean Chinese New Year, and more. All 15 level packs of the iOS version (the last of which just came out in December) are included for a total of 432 levels, by my count. It’s great to see the Windows Phone game packing the full content of the lead version, though future updates will likely trail behind as did the Angry Birds Star Wars Hoth update.
And as a Windows Phone 8 game, the graphics look buttery smooth on high-resolution screens like the trusty Lumia 920. Achievement hunters might worry about the severity of the Achievements, as the original Angry Birds and Space require copious grinding in order to finish. Thankfully Seasons hews closer to Star Wars. I’m no expert at these games, but I can’t spot a single Achievement for smashing a specific number of blocks. We don't even have to get all the stars in this one.
Angry Birds Seasons costs 99 cents. Windows Phone 8 users (even those living in Brazil) can get it here from the Store.
More to come?
This is what happens when I play Angry Birds games.
Rovio and Nokia aren’t too keen on announcing Windows Phone games in advance (much to our chagrin), and so Seasons completely snuck up on us. But given that we now have three freaking Angry Birds Windows Phone 8 games, it’s a safe assumption that the remaining series entries Angry Birds Rio and Bad Piggies will follow. Rovio likely has an engine in place for easy porting, hence these games have made it past certification while others like Fairway Solitaire and Temple Run continue to drag their feet.
We are left to wonder whether Seasons will pop up on Windows Phone 7 as well. Both Space and Star Wars made it to that OS as non-Xbox games, so Achievements would be extremely unlikely in a legacy version. Windows Phone Central will reach out to Rovio and Nokia about the possibility of future Windows Phone 7 releases. On the longshot chance that they provide a substantive reply, we’ll update accordingly.
Thanks to Guilherme S. Manso for the tip!