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3 years ago

Wimzoo Educational Games Roundup: Slurpy the Frog, Smarty Sharky, and Smartsters

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Educational games for children have a limited shelf life. As a kid gets older, the lessons from one game will become too simple and they’ll need more complicated activities to stay interested. Indie developer Wimzoo has the age spread covered with their three Windows Phone edutainment titles: Slurpy the Frog, Smarty Sharky, and Smartsters. Starting at the preschool age, each game targets a slightly older set. They’re all extremely similar, so we’ll cover them in a single review.

Head past the break for the full three-game review.

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3 years ago

Kinectimals - Review

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Kinectimals - Review

Is there much crossover between Kinect-toting Xbox 360 owners and Windows Phone gamers? Sure, lots of people buy into more than one of Microsoft’s gaming platforms. And even smartphone users without a console could still have a heart, and thus love kitties. Surely developer Frontier Software and publisher Microsoft Studios banked on both of those points when deciding to bring Kinectimals to Windows Phone. It squeezes much of the console game’s fun into much smaller mobile devices.

Dash past the break for our full review.

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3 years ago

Cro-Mag Rally - Review

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Cro-Mag Rally - Review

One result of Windows Phone arriving late to the smartphone party is that the mobile Xbox Live lineup consists mainly of iPhone ports, with a few exclusives here and there. Many of the iPhone games are outright classics like Doodle Jump and Angry Birds, and we’re all better for having them available to us. But not every iPhone game is worth playing; for every big hit, many, many terrible games make it through as well. One such flop made the jump to Xbox Live for some reason: Pangaea Software’s Cro-Mag Rally. The Windows Phone port comes courtesy of Citizen 12 Studio.

Cruise past the break for our full review.

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3 years ago

Orbital - Review

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Orbital - Review

Have you ever wanted to love a game but the gameplay just didn’t click with you? That’s the case with Orbital and me. Developed by BitForge and published by Microsoft Studios, Orbital is a stylish and competently-produced Xbox Live title that has met with great success on other mobile platforms. I’m sure many Windows Phone gamers will like it too, but I simply couldn’t get into it. Shoot past the jump for our full review.  Out of this world If one thing draws me into Orbital, it’s the presentation. The menus consist of large neon buttons suspended over a scrolling space backdrop. Transitions between menus are animated quite professionally, though the frame rate on the animations is a bit slow. The actual gameplay layers a geoDefense-like grid on top of the same space background, presumably to assist with aiming. Players fire orbs from a simple neon-outlined turret, which travel and explode with impressively colorful visual effects. Complementing the visuals is an ethereal electronic two-song soundtrack. So far so good… Space pool It’s when we get to the actual gameplay that Orbital loses me. The basic gameplay involves firing orbs from a cannon situated at the bottom of the screen. These then reflect off of the wall and come to a stop. Once a fired orb stops moving, it expands until it touches something – either the wall or another orb. Thus orbs vary wildly in size, from tiny to nearly screen-filling, depending on the player’s shot. Each orb also starts with a number inside: 3 or 5, depending on the mode. Every time an orb is struck by their brethren, it cries a little inside and learns to distrust others. No wait, that’s my childhood. Actually, hitting an orb makes its number count down by one; when the number reaches zero, it disappears from the playfield, increasing your score. The game boils down to trying to strike as many orbs as possible with each shot while simultaneously keeping them from landing too far down the screen. If an orb touches the ‘deathline’ at the bottom of the screen, the game ends. If you have too many low-situated orbs or a giant orb near the bottom, it gets quite tough to keep your shots from bouncing into that cruel killing barrier. Many ways to play While Orbital lacks a proper metagame or story mode, it does at least offer multiple twists on the core gameplay: Supernova: Unlike the other modes, orbs here take five hits to kill instead of three. To compensate for that, Supernova features a unique combo system. When an orb gets destroyed, it emits an explosion proportionate to its size. Orbs hit by this explosion reduce their countdown number by one, so chain reactions often ensue. Supernova is also the only mode that allows gamers to directly aim the cannon. The cannon’s laser sight helps to judge where your shot will first strike, but it doesn’t show where it’ll end up after bouncing. Gravity: Stationary orbs in this mode emit their own fields of gravity, causing moving orbs to veer towards them. This often results in orbs clumping together, which can be helpful sometimes and harmful others. Pure: This game type works like Gravity but without the gravity. It’s the simplest form of gameplay, but the lack of aids like a combo system make achieving high scores difficult. Multiplayer: I’m not a huge fan of same-screen multiplayer on phones, but Orbital’s is at least fairly robust. Select one of the three main game types, set the number of rounds, and then the competition begins. Each player controls a turret at opposite ends of the playing field, taking turns with their shots. The object is to cause your opponent to cross his own death line. Multiplayer has sort of an air hockey or pool vibe and I enjoy it a bit more than solo play. Criticisms Why didn’t I have more fun with Orbital? Since there is no overarching goal or progression system, the game basically consists of brief high score runs in the mode of your choosing. That brevity is the problem; specifically, it’s so easy to die in this game. I never discovered a strategy that put me a secure enough ground to last very long or achieve decent scores. However hard I tried, I always ended up with a giant orb blocking my shots or a seemingly innocuous shot raveling too far and resulting in my demise. The game’s Tutorial and Help sections can teach you how to play, but they don’t teach how to play well. Further complicating matters is the aiming system. In Gravity and Pure modes, the cannon moves back and forth on its own and you just tap the screen to fire when ready. That mechanic really doesn’t work in a game that’s all about carefully considered distances and reflections. But Supernova’s manual aiming drops the orb as well. It’s way too difficult to move the laser sight precisely; the tiniest finger movement changes the trajectory by multiple millimeters. Worse, aiming and firing are tied together instead of separate. Lift your finger and you shoot. Had there been a separate fire button it would be much easier to fire two shots with the exact same trajectory, but instead players have to manually aim each shot. Achievements The difficulty I faced with Orbital’s general gameplay extends to its Achievements too. You’re bound to get several of them over time, including the ones for destroying two orbs with one shoot or playing 100 games. The two multiplayer Achievements are also gimmes since one person can simply play both roles.  Get the easy Achievements out of the way and several onerous ones remain. Supernova and Gravity both have score-based Achievements that are way beyond my abilities (though not some of my friends, we should note). The Achievements for getting three close calls in one game and 10 triple shots in a game are also tough and no fun to shoot for. Yip Yoo’s Achievement Guide offers some advice, but you’ll still need plenty of persistence and skill to earn the full 200. Overall Impression I wish I could say that I had a great time with Orbital. But I just couldn’t come to terms with the core gameplay, and there’s nothing else beyond that to keep players busy. With better aiming and some visual aids for lining up shots (such as being able to see where an orb will actually stop), Orbital would have much greater appeal. Instead, only gamers who really dig the reflection-based gameplay and hunting for high scores will get much playtime out of this game. Orbital costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Pick it up here on the Marketplace.

Have you ever wanted to love a game but the gameplay just didn’t click with you? That’s the case with Orbital and me. Developed by BitForge and published by Microsoft Studios, Orbital is a stylish and competently-produced Xbox Live title that has met with great success on other mobile platforms. I’m sure many Windows Phone gamers will like it too, but I simply couldn’t get into it.

Shoot past the jump for our full review.

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3 years ago

Armenia to get Nokia's Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 this year

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People of Armenia, lend me your ears. Nokia's Official Representative in Armenia, Vazgen Bakhshetsyan, has made the news pretty official - you will be getting the new line of Nokia Lumia WP 7.5 devices by the end of this year. That's right, before the US and most of the rest of the world has any dates for their release of the brand new Lumia 800 and Lumia 710, you now have a good excuse to start preparing for the coming Mango-powered phones. There are only two months left until the end of this year, so it won't be long before many of you anxious gadget-geeks of the small EurAsian country will have your thirst quenched and your hunger satisfied.

Source: PanArmenian.net

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3 years ago

Comscore September '11 Report: Windows Phone still hovering

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comScore has released latest data, which shows us how platforms are doing in the US with regards to marketshare percentage. Microsoft has been losing market according to previous charts but this is not to be taken lightly. The total number of users is increasing quicker than Windows Phones are being sold (the platform fell by 0.2%), and this September data is still before the month Mango devices began rolling out. 2012 will be when the platform begins to gain ground and keep up with the growth of the iPhone.

Let's wait and see what the next chart will show once Nokia's massive promotion campaign is included.

Source: comScore

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3 years ago

Nokia Lumia Windows Phones feature Corning Gorilla Glass

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The Nokia Lumia 800 follows suit of the N9 in more ways than one and the glass is no different. The first two Windows Phones from Nokia feature Corning Gorilla Glass, both the 710 and 800. The manufacturer has a long track record in using this glass technology to improve the toughness of the screen. So to recap for the Lumia 800, we have AMOLED, curved glass and Gorilla toughened glass being implemented. The 800 should be fairly resilient when it comes to being flung across a room in rage, or accidentally dropped while out and about. Check out our product review for a walk through.

Though this is interesting news, it's nothing new for Windows Phone. HTC have a number of devices using Gorilla Glass, as well as the Dell Venue Pro and even some LG handsets.

Source: Corning, via: MonWindowsPhone

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3 years ago

HTC Titan - 1st Impressions [Video]

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We mentioned last night on Twitter we have a lot of new phones here at WPCentral. First up was the Radar 4G, next is the Lumia 800 and today we have the HTC Titan (look for some new Samsung stuff too).

The HTC Titan is expected to launch here in the US on AT&T in the coming weeks, so we figured we give the unlocked version a go. The device is quite massive with a 4.7" Super LCD screen, 1.5GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM, 12.6GB of available storage, an 8MP rear camera with a 1.3MP front facing one and a solid, smooth case.

Here's the phone's strengths: beautifully designed, excellent cameras, gorgeous screen and it's fast. But is it too big? You'll see it compared to the HD7 in the video and yes, while it is large, it's not too noticeable. Then again, if you're on a subway or in a metro region, you will get some head turns and stares when you pull it out to check your email.

More coming up in the next few days. Throw our your questions and we'll try to answer 'em either in comments or in the review.

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3 years ago

Microsoft readies developer phones for distribution

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One thing Microsoft definitely excels in is developer relations. And getting phones into the hands of would-be devs is a key component for getting more interest and apps on our platform.

From the pic above, we can see Microsoft getting ready to send some more out to those who need 'em. You have to love that kind of support. Plus with Nokia's pledge of 25,000 dev phones, we think we may have this area cornered.

Source: Ben Lower

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3 years ago

Guy Fawkes uses a Samsung Focus

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3 years ago

Samsung Focus S hands on [Video]

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Samsung Focus S hands on [Video]

AT&T has already announced that the Samsung Focus S will be hitting the U.S on November 6th, and we already know that this handset will be a worthy upgrade from the first generation Focus. But in case we've forgotten what's coming, PhoneDog has taken a quick look at Samsung's latest Windows Phone running Mango and we must say that it looks more slick with every video we watch.

The Focus S sports a 4.3" Super AMOLED Plus screen, a thin and light body, 16GB storage, 1.5GHz CPU, and an 8MP rear camera (with a FF 1.3MP). The device is set be available on AT&T on November 6th, for $199.99.

Source: PhoneDog, via: WMPU

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3 years ago

More details on Zune Pass for Australia

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We touched on Microsoft announcing the news that Australia will be getting the Zune Pass on November 16th, but new details have come to light about what will (and wont be) present and included in the subscription. With the announcement being made by Microsoft, WPDownUnder contacted the software giant for clarification on features tied to the Zune Pass:

  • Artist biographies won't be present. Background are will be available but only for international artists, not local ones.
  • Individual tracks and album purchases will be made possible by MS points or an attached credit card.
  • Australia will not be getting Zune podcast support.
  • Zune Pass will work with Australians who own an Australia-only Live ID.
  • Australian Zune HD owners will not be able to view (or download) free apps and games on the app Marketplace.

With the Zune Pass Australian launch just around the corner, more information is likely to come to light in the coming days. WPDownUnder is set to interview a local Microsoft representative to hopefully extract more information surrounding the release of the Zune Pass.

Source: WPDownUnder

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3 years ago

Google Mobile gives their search page a makeover for Windows Phone

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We may occasionally riff on Google around here due to their Android OS, but there's no doubt many use their search services. And while they have not been the most friendly to our OS, it's still news when they do make something a bit more Windows Phone friendly.

So at least according to their Facebook page, the new Google search page has been reformatted for Windows Phone 7.5, which we take to mean has HTML5 elements on board. While not earth shattering, it does seem a lot nicer (see our screen shot to the right).

Notice anything else? Let us know in comments. Thanks, David W., for the tip!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone unlocker ChevronWP7 Labs is now live

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We last reported on ChevronWP7 last month where the team announced the release of the service was to be within a few weeks. Fast forward three weeks and the Chevron Labs page has been updated with a login via Live ID button. The site is going live as we speak, so if you have any errors logging in, just give it some time as they finish updating the site to full-release mode.

The ChevronWP7 Labs will enable users to unlock their handset(s) for a fraction of the cost for the official developer membership. It will allow Windows Phone owners to have fun with homebrew apps without breaking warranty on the device and being hunted down by Microsoft. The process is fairly straightforward:

  • You'll need a Windows Live ID (it can be different from your Windows Phone Live ID)
  • Purchase an "unlock token". Cost is $9.00 via PayPal and is good for infinite unlocks per single phone.
  • Download and install an unlocking too, which is similar to the official AppHub registration one
  • Your phone will be placed in a queue to be unlocked and that's it!

So by show of comments, how many of you are going to be unlocking? If you do, don't forget to take a look at some of our past Homebrew coverage to get started.

Update: The tools have been temporarily pulled till two issues can be resolved.

Source: Chevron Labs, thanks H3ALY for the tip!

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3 years ago

Nokia and Microsoft at Gamex with Lumia Windows Phones

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Gamex, a video game event being held in Sweden, is running from November 3rd to the 6th this week where Microsoft and Nokia will be present with Windows Phones. This should come as no surprise with Microsoft's three screen dream, which they are so determined to achieve. The two companies will be showing off the Lumia 710 and 800 handsets with presumably a number of Xbox Live titles being demoed. We need more Angry Birds!

You can check our hands on videos of the Lumia 710 and 800, as well as our coverage from Nokia World '11, where these handsets were announced. According to the report at WinMobile.se, the Lumia handsets will be launched in Sweden in 2012 with price tags of the 800 at 4500kr (£425/$680) and the 710 at 3000kr (£285/$450).

Source: WinMobile.se  Thanks to Hussein for the tip!

 

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