2015 was a productive year for all things Windows from the release of Windows 10 PC and Mobile to new apps to new devices. While we have seen several new releases on the Windows 10 PC and Xbox One front, this week's roundup will take a look at some of the best releases in the Windows Phone Store for 2015.
While I have plucked a handful of titles to spotlight, there is no way to cover all the best Windows Phone offerings from 2015. If your favorite Windows Phone title wasn't mentioned, feel free to toss out your recommendation in the comments below.
Prune is a beautiful game that has you growing and cultivating a tree. Available from both the Windows Phone and Windows 10 Stores, the goal is to prune your tree to promote growth. Growth that needs to avoid a few dangers and eventually reach the sunlight.
Prune launches with a brief tutorial that shows you how to start your tree's growth and how to prune the branches. You have a patch of fertile soil that you swipe up on to start the growth. Your initial growth will follow the direction of your swipe. For example, swiping at a slight curve to the right will cause your tree's growth to head in that direction.
Swiping at a branch will trim it and allow the tree to grow a little quicker. You can manipulate the direction of growth by swiping branches to the right or left to have the tree's growth head in that direction. Prune is a level based game and to successfully advance through the levels, your tree will need to reach the sunlight and bloom.
Graphics and animations are well drawn up, game play challenging and overall, Prune is an enjoyable, somewhat relaxing game to pass the time with. It is easy to see how Prune was named Time Magazine's Best Video Game of 2015.
If you have a Microsoft Band, FanBand from Liquid Daffodil is a must have app. Fanband includes a collection of over a thousand Band themes to help you make your Microsoft Band better fit your personality and tastes.
Theme categories include Movies & TV, Sport, Gaming, Technology and more. You can add a Star Wars Jedi Order theme to your Band or pick your favorite U.K. Football team. There is even a Dan Rubino theme available. FanBand supports both the original Microsoft Band and the Band 2 with versions of the app available from both the Windows 10 and Windows Phone Store.
FanBand is a staff favorite and easily one of the best Band Apps available in the Stores. FanBand is currently priced at $1.99 with a few in-app purchase opportunities.
3. Gods of Rome
Gameloft is one of the leading developers in the Windows 10 and Windows Phone Stores with no shortage of releases in 2015. Choosing just one of these titles for this roundup was difficult and boiled down to Dragon Mania Legends and Gods of Rome. Both are great games to invest your time with, with great graphics and challenging gameplay.
I had to give the nod to Gods of Rome, but only by a hair. The game has you battling mythical and historical characters across three gaming modes. You build a team of warriors that includes the likes of Zeus, Achilles, Julius Caesar, Spartacus, Athena and more.
The game includes a Story Mode, Special Events and Player vs. Player modes. Your team members can be upgraded to improve their skills, abilities and health points and the graphics are simply stunning.
Controls are user friendly and gameplay is challenging. If you like fighting games, Gods of Rome will not disappoint. It is a free game that is available from both the Windows and Windows Phone Store with several in-app purchase opportunities. It does not support low-memory Windows Phones.
4. Perfect Clock
Perfect Clock is one of the many offerings from Perfect Thumb that approaches app design and functionality in a rather simplistic manner. Perfect Clock offers you over thirty clock styles that can be pinned to your Windows Phone Start Screen to not only keep you on time but also offer a little flair to your Windows Phone appearance.
Clock styles range from your traditional analog clock faces to unique digital layouts. Settings include options to choose between 12 and 24-hour formats, turning on/off sound effect, choosing a theme color and turning on/off the Live Tile transparent background.
Perfect Clock is a free app available for both Windows 10 Mobile and Windows Phone 8.1. The base app includes a handful of clock designs with the full catalog of clock faces available with a $1.99.
5. Twins Minigame
Much like Gameloft, Game Troopers is one of the more dominant gaming publishers in the Windows 10 and Windows Phone Stores. Choosing just one game was difficult and when the dust settled, I went with a fun and simple game to pass the time with - Twins Minigame.
Twins is an arcade game available for Windows Phone that challenges you to bounce a ball up the screen, avoiding a host of dangers along the way. The goal is simple - see how long you can survive.
While the game sounds easy, the twist in the game is that the gaming screen is split in half and your ball can switch sides or worlds as it bounces up the screen. This transition can help you avoid dangers and travel further.
Twins Minigame is a great way to test your skills at timing and patience with plenty of Xbox achievements to earn. The Windows Phone game is available for low-memory phones and is a fun, somewhat frustrating (in a good way) title to waste a little time with. It is a free game with in-app purchase opportunities.
This week's roundup would feel incomplete if it didn't include at least one photography app and I went with Gloomlogue. While Fhotoroom is still tops on my list of Windows Phone photo apps, Gloomlogue sits up there with the best new releases for 2015.
The Windows Phone app has you cropping your images to a 1:1 aspect ratio (Instagram Friendly) with editing options that include:
- 15 Gloom filters
- 45 special effects filters
- Add text to your photos
- Add borders
- Adjust brightness, contrast, exposure, saturation
- Rotate and flip your images
You can also apply a HDR filter to your images and convert one color tone to another. Images are saved at a resolution of 1200 x 1200 pixels. If you are looking for a Windows Phone photo editor to give your images a little pop, Gloomlogue is worth a look. It is currently running $.99 and available for both Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile.