The Harvest, an Xbox Live action-RPG from Luma Arcade, received an update recently. Hey, when it rains, it pours. How has Luma's Windows Phone 7-exclusive title improved?
The Harvest v126.96.36.199 change log:
Fixed a bug that could cause a random crash to hub when loading save games due to non-thread safe access of Leaderboards
Fixed a bug in the French language version that would cause specific breakable objects to not be visible
Fixed a bug introduced in version 1.1 where players would start at the level entrance when loading a save game, if it was a game saved during game dialog
Fixes to the Teleporters in The Ancient City and The Catacombs to allow them to not cause players to be blocked if they had been affected by the level start save load bug from v1.1
Fixed a bug with game music not always starting properly after the Intro movie
As you can see, this update consists of numerous bug fixes. Luma Arcade actually submitted the update a month ago, but Microsoft’s slow approval process kept it from releasing until now. Shame on the big MS for the heel dragging, but kudos to Luma Arcade for further perfecting an already very impressive game.
The Harvest is an action-RPG set in a distant future in which aliens have conquered humanity. Thanks to the development of armored mech suits, the remaining pockets of humans finally have a chance to fight back. Our review praises the game’s beautiful 3D graphics, easy controls, multiple playable characters, and diversity of upgrade options.
The Harvest carries the lofty $6.99 price tag, but it’s definitely a top-tier Windows Phone 7 game. Buy it or try the demo here (Zune link) at the Marketplace.
One game that was listed but not seen though was 'Hydro Thunder GO', a pretty sweet looking boat racing game that finally brings some arcade action our way. We're actually excited over this title. Just watch the video, pick your jaw up and let us know what you think.
Yesterday we took a look at the new game 'Breakout' which fetches for a $1.29 and offers a ton of unique functionality (see the video here). Today we're taking a peek at another similar brick-breaker app called 'Blockbuster'.
'Blockbuster' has really great wire-frame, retro graphics that remind of us of old arcade games--we love those things. It's similar to your typical breakout game but offers a unique twist: the ability to knock the blocks into side areas for extra points. It's a neat offering instead of the often harder to use "power ups" we see in these games. In addition, the game has local, national and global leaderboards, making competition quite fun and easy to track.
Overall we really like the game and we really like the price: free (ad supported). While not as feature-rich as 'Breakout', it is compelling and fun enough to keep us entertained. Grab it here in the Marketplace.
There have been some rumblings around internet of users experiencing some issues regarding Contacts on their WP7 phones. While we haven't experienced them ourselves (Edit: our pal Paul Acevedo has), there seem to be two things happening.
Firstly, people are reporting that Contact tiles are pinned to the Start screen will randomly disappear. The contacts themselves remain on the phone, but the tiles get removed from the Start screen. While some of this could be attributed to an unlocked screen being put into a pocket, there are cases where several disappear at once.
The second bug involves linked contacts. When you have the same contact in two places, like email and Facebook, WP7 will automatically linked the two. Allegedly, users have seen these links broken in some cases, be it links made automatically by the OS or ones that have been manually created.
So far, this is all anecdotal, but there are enough cases being talked about that it could point to an actual bug in WP7.
What say you? Have you come across any of these issues on your WP7 devices?
For developers who think their app is the best, you may want to get your entries into Red Gate's software competition (supported by Microsoft, evidently).
The contest is simple:
Write an app. Get it onto the Marketplace. Create a screencast tagged #WP7COMP. Then create your competition entry here. You could win $10,000. And your app's still yours. Three judging panels will each be asked which app will developers love most? The one they choose, wins.
Three panels = Three prizes = $30,000 total prize money.
Just a small heads up for you folks, two of our favorite apps have received some nice price drops in the last few days--no word if they're permanent or temporary.
First up is 'Broiled Earth', this projectile game is a throwback to the classic PC game 'Scorched Earth' and brings simple, yet fun turn-by-turn destruction to your phone. Plus, with the online multiplayer function, you can play up to three other people for hours of taunting explosions. The game was going for $2.99 but is now $1.99. Grab it here.
The latest ad for the Samsung Focus from AT&T is a cleaner, more straight forward ad (no orange fuzzy creatures) that highlights the functionality of the Windows Phone.
The new ad focuses on the thousands of Marketplace applications for Windows Phone 7 as well as key features such as Microsoft Office and Xbox Live integration. The ad gives apps such as Netflix, Open Table, Fandango, Yelp, Amazon Kindle Reader and others a brief cameo.
While Windows Phones 7 has taken it on the chin this week with the update headaches, the ad does remind us that these phones aren't too shabby as is.
One big area that developers had a gripe about in the Marketplace was the seemingly arbitrary limit of only five free apps could be submitted to the Marketplace at no cost. Microsoft had set the number, meaning you could submit five free apps to the Marketplace without paying the $20 app submission charge.
After hearing developer feedback on this topic, Microsoft has finally altered this requirement, bumping the number of free app submissions from five to a nice cozy one-hundred. That number will surely give devs ample room to work on releasing apps, without that cost fear over their heads.
The goal was originally meant to prevent developers from pumping out a ton of free, but low quality apps to the Marketplace i.e. clone apps with slightly varying titles, etc. So the intention was good, but the problem was this: free, ad supported apps ended up bringing in more revenue for developers than some paid versions. Take someone like game-developer Elbert Perez (Impossible Shoota, others) who made all six (and counting) of his games for free/ad supported--he'd have to pay $20 for each submission, including if it failed the resubmission.
So once again, good on you Microsoft.
Source: Windows Phone Marketplace Developer Newsletter; Thanks, Justin Angel, for pointing this out
iBlast Moki , the Xbox Live puzzle game from Godzilabs, received an update today. We thought you might like to know about what’s been changed.
iBlast Moki v188.8.131.52 changelog:
The controls are much better in the world and level list on HTC HD7.
Gold medal for Mountainland/Balance can be obtained with a time less than 3 secs instead of 1.4 secs
You can get the Achievement "Finished all levels ... " with the bronze medals
Fixed the purple screen of confusion that you could get on some phones.
Fixed the slowdown when unlocking the "Speed of …" Achievements
Also added a few instructions tutorial to guide the player in the levels Pond, Bounce and Wait Hills
Added a failed screen if the Moki falls below a certain limit
Previously, one level’s gold medal time was unattainable in the Windows Phone 7 version of the game, making an Achievement impossible to acquire. Thankfully that’s been fixed, along with the “Finish All Levels” Achievement’s requirements. The extra help text should be appreciated as the game’s puzzles eventually get quite devious. And of course, HTC HD7 owners will finally be able to run the game properly, so Samsung Focus users like me will have one less thing to gloat about.
iBlast Moki is a physics-based puzzle game for Windows Phone 7. Players are challenged with knocking one or more round ‘Mokis’ into goals using nothing but well-timed bombs to guide them. With over 70 levels and a bright, endearing art style, fans of puzzle games and Angry Birds should definitely give it a look. We’ll have a full review soon.
You can get iBlast Moki for $2.99 or try the free trial here (Zune Link) on the Marketplace.
While we have heard countless rumors about Angry Birds coming to Windows Phone 7, Microsoft has announced today that the popular game will be heading to Windows Phones. It joins five other titles that are expected to hit the Marketplace on April 6th as Xbox Live games.
The other gaming titles include:
Doodle Jump - Jump your way up an unending series of platforms
Plants vs. Zombies - Defend yourself from a Zombie attack with garden plants
HydroThunder Go - Long standing boat racing game
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 - Classic Sega platform game
GeoDefense - Tower defense game
No pricing information was available but it's nice to see several of these titles coming to the Windows Phone 7 platform.
We haven't counted, but we've tried quite a few "breakout/brick breaker" games over the last few months, including that one for Xbox which...well, moving on.
Seeing as we haven't covered any of them should tell you what we think of them (though Ionball was pretty good), so it's finally nice to go "Aha! Here's the one you want!". This version of 'Breakout' is by by Clayton Industries, which as far as we can tell is just two brothers and goes for $1.29 in the Marketplace (with a free trial). The description is as follows:
Breakout is a modern approach to the classic brick breaking game, featuring 30 levels, an integrated level editor, two weapons, an array of power-ups, a high scores table, in-game achievements, and much more.
What caught our eye though was just how darn smooth the game is...it's like buttah. The UI is the best we've seen, we love the save/load feature, sounds and level editor. But hey, watch the video and try it yourself. Tell us if we're crazy for liking it so much in comments. Marketplace link.
After a couple of days worth of teasing, the HTC Arrive -- aka the HTC 7 Pro -- has, erm, arrived on Sprint! It'll officially go on sale March 20 for $199.99 (after two-year contract and $100 rebate). And that's not a bad price for the tilting, sliding phone. And best of all, it'll have the cut-and-paste update on board when you pull it out of the box. Can't beat that.
Other features of note:
3.6-inch touchscreen at 480x800
1GHz Snapdragon processor
16GB of internal memory
5MP camera with flash and 720p recording
Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR
And all the usual Sprint customizations and WP7 features.
Personal opinion here: most Xbox LIVE titles on Windows Phone have been underwhelming, to say the least. But there are a few gems out there and 'ilomilo' is definitely one of them (see our review). (Plus for early adopters on AT&T, you got the game for free).
So it's nice to see Southend Interactive rolling out a substantial update to the game that delivers more content, bonuses and story. Check it out in the above video. In fact, you get all of this:
The story of ilo and milo continue through two new gorgeous worlds.
23 new levels of cubistic puzzles!
New eggs to find in order to unlock two new challenging bonus levels!
New brain teasing cubes!
We like every one of those bullets, so much so we're gonna go play the game right now. Grab it here in the Marketplace.
Sure, we'll probably know way more in another few hours, but lets tease a bit more, shall we?
Evidently, if you search on Sprint.com for "Arrive" you get this little result above, confirming what everyone already suspected: the HTC 7 Pro is going to be the Sprint HTC Arrive. We also like the emphasis on the wording here: "the first Windows Phone from Sprint", strongly hinting that the carrier is just getting started.
We also know that we'll have to pre-order the phone, meaning tomorrow is not the release but the announcement (also pretty normal for Sprint). Anyone want to take a guess on shipping? And lets hope we don't actually have to go to a Sprint store to pre-order....
Microsoft, in an effort to "keep us in the loop", has posted more information on the first Windows Phone 7 update. The latest info echoes the earlier reports that 90% of the update installations have been successful. Understandably, Microsoft recognizes that if your in the 10% who didn't have such good luck or are still waiting for the update notification, things can be a little aggravating.
Microsoft is recommending for those still receiving the update notification to take a few precautions before starting the update process.
"Given what we’ve learned so far, the best way to prepare for your update is to make sure your computer has an Internet connection and plenty of disk space before you begin. Why? Because before updating your phone, the Zune software and Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac attempt to back up your phone data as a precaution."
In diplomatic fashion, Microsoft does places some of the responsibility for update delays with the individual carriers. In explaining why the update process is taking so long to get to everyone Microsoft comments,
"Another reason is that Microsoft and the carriers we’ve partnered with around the world need time to test phone updates to make sure they meet our joint quality, performance, and reliability standards. Testing schedules can vary, and that affects when you’ll be able to download an update."
A rather diplomatic way of putting it and Microsoft is looking into ways of improving the process. If you have problems with the update, Microsoft has a Troubleshooter guide that addresses several of the known update related problems.
Lastly, if you choose to skip this update you shouldn't worry. The patches will be bundled with the next update (presumably the Nodo Update) so you will get it then. Hopefully Microsoft can iron out the issues with Samsung before then.