Games

Windows Phone Central Gaming Roundup: The Next Big Thing

One of the helpful features of the Windows Phone Store is the Collections.  These are conglomerations of apps and games that fall in line with an underlying theme. Be it photography, shopping, sports or fitness these collections are a great place for one stop app/game shopping.  

One gaming collection always seems to catch our eye is The Next Big Thing. It's a collection of games that the Windows Phone Store gate keepers see as having potential to hit it big.  It is also the focus of this week's Windows Phone Central roundup.  

We spun the wheel and picked four of the games currently listed in this collection to highlight.  Three are very strong contenders for becoming the next big thing.  The fourth... well the fourth needs a little fine tuning but is on the right track as well.

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We first discovered unconventional platformer/puzzle game Eyez back in June, right around E3 time when we interviewed the developer. The game instantly caught my eyes with its beautiful hand-drawn Asian artwork and striking use of colors. It also packs some highly creative puzzle mechanics that you don’t see every day. Oh, and it runs on both Windows Phone 7 and 8.

Since Eyez’ release, developer Hua “Rex” Chen has steadily updated it with tweaks and compatibility improvements. The latest update even adds better touch controls. Head past the break for more update details, screenshots, and more!

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Zombie Derby is the latest undead game for our Windows Phone that has you battling the zombie apocalypse by running them down with your truck.

The goal is to see how far you can travel down the road and how many zombies you can turn into hood ornaments. You can accessorize your vehicles with machine guns, turbo boost, and spiked bumpers.

Zombie Derby is an interesting game for your Windows Phone 8 device. The game starts a little on the slow side but once you've earned enough to pimp your ride, it picks up speed nicely.  It's a fun game but poorly implemented in-app purchases can hold Zombie Derby back.

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Time was that Microsoft notified us of every Red Stripe Deal (then called the Xbox Live Deal of the Week) in advance. Sadly they stopped doing so many moons ago, but that hasn’t stopped our inquisitive nature. Today I was sniffing around all Wolverine-like and caught wind of tomorrow’s deals through unofficial channels – a day ahead of schedule.

The Xbox Red Stripe Deal is Rocket Riot from Codeglue, on sale for $1.99. Brain Seal’s indie RPG Dark Quest and the popular Tweet It! App from My Amazing Big Fork are both 99 cents. Head past the break for screenshots and Store links!

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Halo 3 for Xbox 360 now free to Xbox Live Gold subscribers

Today marks the availability of October’s second Games with Gold offering for Xbox 360 owners. From now through October 31, Xbox Live Gold members can download one of the console’s earliest hits: Halo 3 from Bungie and Microsoft Studios.

If you’ve never tried the series, this is a great chance to see what all the fuss is about. And even existing Halo fans might enjoy the wealth of new players that will be jumping online into this classic first-person shooter.

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Last year Ubisoft released its first Xbox game for Windows Phone, Babel Rising 3D. Mando Productions created the original game while Advanced Mobile Applications ported it to Windows platforms. Babel Rising arrived just a month before Windows Phone 8. Once the new mobile OS launched, the game turned out to be Windows Phone 8-incompatible.

Luckily for Windows Phone gamers, Ubisoft did the right thing and brought Babel Rising 3D back as a new, separate Windows Phone 8 version earlier this month. Not only that, they also published a Windows 8 version. All three versions are content identical, with the Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 versions naturally running smoother and in higher resolutions. It’s high time for our full review.

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CJ: Strike Back, saving your city from alien invasion

CJ: Strike Back is a arcade styled game for Windows Phone where you play the role of the hero. A hero set on saving he city from invading aliens.  Oddly, you do so by running up the screen jumping from side to side from building lining the sides of the screen, taking out the bad guys in mid jump. The further you progress up the buildings, the higher your score.

I'm not sure how much staying power CJ: Strike Back has but for short bits of time the game isn't a bad time waster.

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Six-Guns is one of the largest scale Xbox games for Windows Phone 8 thanks to its open world setting and vast assortment of missions to complete. Despite some overbearing In-App Purchases and an undercooked multiplayer mode, Gameloft’s western-themed game has legions of fans.

Shortly before Six-Guns’ arrival on Windows Phone 8, Gameloft also announced a version for Windows 8 and RT. We knew little about the tablet and PC version other than its status as an Xbox title, but the mostly great Windows 8 port of Asphalt 7 inspired hopes. Now Six-Guns has arrived on Windows 8 and we’ve put it through its paces.

Does the big-screen port match gamers’ expectations? Read on to find out and see hands on video!

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Rovio has today announced a new title in the Angry Birds series. The popular company has been releasing top-rated games for multiple platforms and just like the previous Angry Birds Star Wars instalment, Angry Birds Go! will launch across the board. 

Confirmed on Twitter, Windows Phone owners will be able to download and enjoy the new take on the Angry Birds game. So, what's it all about and should you be interested? Well, it's not a classic Angry Birds game, but instead a take on the racing genre. Think Mario Kart meets Angry Birds.

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Remember Tawkable Chinese, the game that helps players learn the Chinese mandarin language? Hey, it’s not like any platform is overflowing with games dedicated to language learning. Tawkable Chinese happens to be a timed exclusive for Windows Phone 8, not to mention a Nokia AppCampus winner. Oh, and it’s free.

Shanghai-based developer MNE Creations recently updated Tawkable Chinese, but the Store description doesn’t have room for release notes. Luckily Windows Phone Central has snagged the complete release notes to share with you now. Head past the break to learn more about the game and what this update has changed.

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Earlier this week, three Xbox Windows Phone 7 titles from Gameloft suddenly got delisted from the Store. It’s not totally unusual for games to be delisted; at the end of September a record-setting 11 games received the same treatment. But most of those games handled In-App Purchases (IAPs) via now-defunct Microsoft Points. None of the newly pulled Gameloft games had IAPs.

The main thing these latest delisted games had in common (besides their publisher and being Windows Phone 7 launch titles) is that all three went on sale on September 26, the same week as the mass IAP delisting. Head past the break for details and our speculation as to what happened.

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Cartoon Ball is an simple game for your Windows Phone 8 device that has you tossing (or should I say blasting) a ball into a basket. Sounds easy, right?

To make the gaming concept challenging you have obstacles to navigate around and little clusters of what appears to be confetti that you'll need to collect as you steer your ball towards the basket. Oh... and there's that pesky thing called gravity that will try to mess things up as well.

The doodle graphics give the game a casual feel, game play challenge but the mechanics of moving your ball can be a little frustrating.  While I think Cartoon Ball has potential the lack of a trial version may be the game's undoing.

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Angry Birds fans should be tickled pink today with updates coming across for three Angry Birds Windows Phone 8 Xbox titles.

Angry Birds Space, Angry Birds Star Wars and the original Angry Birds games all received updates that delivers new levels and a few performance tweaks.

Angry Birds was bumped to version 3.3 and adds an extra 15 levels of play. You also get a new manual targeting to fling Red through the sky with a little more accuracy.  Just tap the screen when Red's in flight to zero in the point of impact.

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Windows Phone Central Game Roundup: Games for all occasions

Windows Phone games are a great way to pass the time with. Whether it's waiting hours in the car tag line or just a few minutes before a class starts, there is a vast assortment of quality games available in the Windows Phone Store.  Some games are great for a quick gaming fix while others stand up to longer gaming sessiosn.

Then there's games that can cover all the bases, good for all occasions.  Entertaining for short bits and addictive enough to keep you entertained for more extended periods.

For this week's roundup, instead of picking three or four games, we focus on four developers/studios that have a respectable portfolio of Windows Phone games. Some of which that can hold their own for those short gaming sessions or the longer marathon sessions.  Along the way we'll spotlight a few of the titles offered by these developers and as always, if we've overlooked your favorite title feel free to sound off in the comments.

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With no new Xbox release for Windows Phone this week, gamers in search of a fix will have to look to the Xbox Red Stripe Deal for their entertainment. The latest deal game is Gameloft’s Dark Knight Rises for Windows Phone 8. It’s on sale for $2.99, as it also was back in June. If you’re looking for a long and meaty game, it should fit the bill.

Non-Xbox Red Stripe Deals include the phenomenal strategy game Armed from Sickhead Games for 99 cents, plus the popular app Weave News Reader for $3.99. We’ve got details and Store links after the break.

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Tower defense games can be a fun way to pass the time on our Windows Phone. DemonDefence is a relatively new gaming title and hopes to join the crowd as an entertaining tower defense game.

The story line has a damsel in distress, that would be Alice, lost in a demon infested land. You are armed with snowmen, robots, scarecrows and characters who must defend Alice from wave after wave of monsters.

Graphics aren't too shabby, game play on par for the genre, and there are enough themes, levels and difficulty settings to keep things interesting. DemonDefence is available for Windows Phone 7.x and 8 devices and is worth at least a peek.

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Last month, the Windows 8 version of Rayman Jungle Run received a sizable update. Ubisoft added 20 new levels to their beautiful 2D platformer, and for free. New levels are all very well and good, but what about the Windows Phone 8 version of the game? We assumed it would receive the same update at some point, but Ubisoft couldn’t confirm it for us.

Looks like we assumed correctly! The Windows Phone 8 version of Rayman Jungle Run just got updated with 20 new levels. The update pushes the game’s download size from 49 MB to 78 MB, but that’s still not a bad size for a AAA downloadable title. Head past the break for details and screenshots of the new stages.

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Russian computer engineer and game designer Alexy Pajitnov created Tetris for PCs way back in 1984. But Tetris first caught the public eye when Nintendo packed it in with the original GameBoy portable console in 1989. Since then, a number of companies have licensed the game and put their own unique spin on it, with the versions from Nintendo (especially Tetris DS) and Sega (Sega Tetris for Dreamcast) standing above the crowd.

Publishing giant Electronic Arts has also produced several Tetris games, including the 2011 Tetris which appeared on Playstation 3 and Windows Phone 7. This year’s Tetris Blitz is EA’s latest version, marrying the time honored Tetris gameplay with the frantic pace of Bejeweled Blitz. Tetris Blitz arrived on Windows Phone 8 a respectable four months after iOS.

Does this version deserve a spot on the list of best Tetris games? Read on to find out.

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Cronus is an interesting puzzle game for your Windows Phone that is available for both Windows Phone 7.x and 8 devices.  The game puts you in a time travel machine and shoots you back in time to prevent some of history's most notable disasters such as Chernobyl or the Exxon Valdez oil spill.  You are tasked with establishing a safe flow of hazardous materials to prevent the calamity from happening. And you have to do it all under the clock.

Add a multiplayer mode, upgradable skills, a knowledge data base on the disasters you are trying to prevent, challenging game play and Cronus isn't too shabby of a Windows Phone game.  It can get a little busy with the story panels but you do have the option to skip the dialog and jump right into game play but overall, if you like puzzle games Cronus is worth a try.

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More Xbox Windows Phone games drop Nokia exclusivity

Less than a week ago we reported that two former Nokia exclusive Xbox games: Dream Track Nation and Tiny Plane become available to all Windows Phone users. Several more former exclusives have just followed, right in time for the weekend: Vampire Rush from A-Steroids, Storm in a Teacup from Cobra, and The Sims Medieval from Electronic Arts. Okay, The Sims Medieval actually went non-exclusive a little earlier but we’re just getting to it now.

With three more Xbox games available to all Windows Phone users, the list of Nokia exclusive Xbox titles grows ever shorter. Head past the break for details, Store links, and an updated list of the remaining exclusives!

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Do you think you have quick reflexes? The Windows Phone game Naargh! may have something to say about that.

There's not much to the game but what's there is challenging and oddly addictive. Naargh! dares you to tap on all the red faces before times runs out.

It sounds simple but as the pace quickens, the game becomes painfully challenging. While Naargh! may make you yell "Aargh!" in frustration, the game has an addictive quality that pulls you back for more.

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Wordament is a game of many firsts. It was the first game with Xbox Live on iOS and on the web to offer achievements. It started as an internal project between two Microsoft employees, but was quickly bought by Microsoft once the potential was realized. It hasn’t seen an update on Windows Phone for quite some time, so let’s check out what’s new as of today.

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