Reviews

On November 22, 2013 the Xbox One launched in the US and several other territories. The first new console from Microsoft in 8 years, the One was long overdue. But at launch, the Xbox One faced an uphill battle due to a series of PR blunders, poor pre-leadership from former Xbox chief Don Mattrick (who tellingly departed for Zynga in July that year), and a $100 price disadvantage against its competitor the Playstation 4.

In our comprehensive launch review, I praised the Xbox One as a games and entertainment machine, but criticized its underdeveloped user interface, social features, and other major and minor failings. Luckily, Microsoft has worked hard under new Xbox head Phil Spencer's leadership to improve the Xbox One in the first post-launch year. Now we're back with another massive review that looks at the console's many strides and areas that continue to need improvement.

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Zombies have invaded the Windows Phone Store once again. This time they are running amuck in the Windows Phone title Dead Hunt.

Dead Hunt has Zombies overwhelming the world, seeking out fresh human brains to dine upon. Your job, as you might guess, is to battle waves of Zombies and survive the apocalypse.

Available for low-memory devices and Windows 8 devices, Dead Hunt is full of character development, weapons and gear upgrades and fast action game play. Graphics are nice but weapons performance could be a bit better. Still, if you like action games Dead Hunt is worth a try.

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Pompei Apocalypse is a fast paced arcade styled game for Windows Phone where you race to save the ancient city of Pompeii from balls of fire that is spewing from the volcano Vesuvius.

Available for low-memory devices, Pompei Apocalypse has Facebook integration for sharing your scores and formidable game play. The only hold back to the game is that sometimes the screen isn't responsive that results in a building getting smashed. Otherwise, it has the potential of being a fun time waster of a Windows Phone game.

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Hero Forge, a puzzling RPG game for Windows Phone

Hero Forge is a RPG game for your Windows Phone that combines puzzle solving with combat rounds. The game is also a Massively Multi-Player Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) mode where you not only can skip battling computer opponents and seek out other players globally to rough up.

Your gaming character will advance in experience, improving their skills with each battle and you'll have opportunities to customize your character with weapons, armor and more. Hero Forge is available for low-memory devices and after playing the game over the past couple of days, we can see why the game is pulling down a 4.5 Star rating in the Windows Phone Store.

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Last month, a unique little puzzle platformer called Chronology made its way to Windows Phone. Chronology wowed us with its time-traveling mechanics that allow players to travel back and forth between time and even stop it, all in the name of solving puzzles and saving the world. It also features beautiful art and music.

Denmark-based developer Osao Games recently released a Windows 8 version of Chronology, and has even been thoughtful enough to make it an in-app purchase. I took advantage of that and played the Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Steam versions of the game (the latter is a separate purchase), in order to bring you this in-depth review.

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Amazing Brick is a simple Windows Phone game that calls upon you to bounce a brick up through a maze of portals while avoiding obstacles that are placed along the way.

The game is another simple title in the Windows Phone Store that has plenty of challenge. Amazing Brick also requires a little patience and timing, otherwise the game could drive you crazy. Available for low-memory devices, Amazing Brick is a fun game to have in your library for those occasions you need a little help passing the time.

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The HTC One for Windows is on the loose across Verizon, AT&T and soon to T-Mobile. If there is one thing that we can almost guarantee besides the fact that you'll love it, it is the near-certainty that you will drop it.

That's because the sleek metal unibody of the HTC One is also a slick metal unibody. Therefore, when considering a case, you may want to think about one that not only stands up to its share of drops, but also matches the elegant design of the device it's protecting.

Enter Spigen's Slim Armor case for the HTC One.

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There are plenty of Windows Phone apps available to create custom wallpapers for your Start Screen or Lockscreen. Start Design is a relatively new offering in this genre of apps and hopes to catch everyone's creative eye.

Start Design not only allows you to create colorful background wallpapers but also has tools to create multi-column background images, blur photos for use and the ability to create advanced wallpapers to match custom backgrounds to specific transparent tiles. As our tipster notes, this app opens up a lot of possibilities for your Windows Phone wallpapers.

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Berry Hill, a smashing puzzle game for Windows Phone

Berry Hill is a Windows Phone puzzle game where you have to remove all the berries from the gaming screen by smashing them together. The concept may sound simple but the challenge comes into play with a limited number of moves and movement restrictions.

Available for low-memory devices, Berry Hill has over 100 levels of play and five game modes to keep you busy. It is a deceptively addictive game for your Windows Phone and not a bad time waster of a game.

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Some of the best things in life are the simplest. The same can be said of Windows Phone games and Brain Rush!!! may be the simplest game on Store shelves.

You are tasked with matching incoming shapes with the shape at the bottom of the screen. The longer you survive, the quicker the shapes move down the screen. Brain Rush!!! is available for low-memory devices and while the game presents itself in a simple manner, the game is a challenging title to have in your Windows Phone gaming library.

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Review – Toast wood cover for Surface Pro 3

When you spend $800 or more on a Surface Pro 3, you want take measures to protect it from harm. But often, a cover makes it heavier, reduces certain functionality or just takes away from the aesthetics of the beautifully-crafted device.

The Toast wood cover for the Surface Pro 3 does nothing of such. Not only does it protect the body while keeping it light and slim, but it also enhances the Surface's form by adding a skin of natural wood.

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Review - HTC Double Dip case for the HTC One

It's time once again to check out another case for the HTC One for Windows. Since making its ways from Verizon to AT&T and soon to T-Mobile, we've been giving you a small taste of the wealth of cases that are available for it.

This time around, we are reviewing the HTC Double Dip hard case. It's a lightweight, playful case that gives you the option to change the look of your phone in seconds.

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Bang Bang Monsters is a Windows Phone arcade game where you must protect your herd of sheep from an alien invasion. You play the role of a farm girl, who is armed to the hilt with an assortment of nasty weapons who must take out a wide assortment of alien monsters who are intent on devouring her sheep.

The game has five gaming modes, two mini-games, six bosses to smash, and over fifteen gaming achievements to reach. Graphics are good, game play challenging and Bang, Bang Monsters makes a nice first impression. The game is available for low-memory devices.

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Shoot-a Story is one of the more unique Windows Phone shooter games available in the Store. First, the game is composed completely out of text and second, the goal is to destroy some of history's greatest novels, word by word.

Every aspect of Shoot-a Story, from game play to the gaming menus, is text oriented. For example, the ship that you use to attack the novels is literally the word "SHIP".

Available for low memory devices, Shoot-a Story may not appeal to everyone but we have to give the developer credit for coming up with a unique approach to shooter games.

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Although the much-loved Pinball FX2 sadly never showed up on Windows Phone, Microsoft's mobile phone platform has a long-running pinball series of its own: Pinball League from Tainicom. It started with The Juggler way back in 2011, followed by Dr. Pickaxe the next year. Both games also made it to Windows 8 and RT.

After a two year absence, Tainicom is back with their latest pinball game – Pinball League: Hardhat Zone. This and Tainicom's previous pinball games are universal purchases, so you can buy it once and enjoy on Windows Phone and Windows 8 and RT. Excitingly, Hardhat Zone introduces some new features like portrait and landscape support, Facebook leaderboards, and multiplayer via NFC (Near-Field Communication). See the NFC multiplayer mode in action in our video review!

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Ghost Academy is a Windows Phone game that pulls together a collection of mini-games that will test your skills at speed, timing and observation. Ghost Academy's premise is that each game represents a monster skill that a young vampire, zombie or possessed skeleton may need training on.

Training that will better the chances of success each monster will have when they go out and terrorize the world. The games are not overly complicated but challenging in their own right. Available for low-memory devices, Ghost Academy may not be up for marathon gaming sessions but it is a decent option to consider for shorter bits of time.

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With the HTC One (M8) for Windows graduating from a Verizon exclusive to being available on AT&T and coming soon to T-Mobile, we've been reviewing some cases to give you a taste of what's out there.

Next up is the StoryLeather Side Flip Stand case for the HTC One (M8) for Windows. It is a premium leather case that acts as both a stand and mini portfolio for your smartphone.

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ReadAloud is a text to speech converter for your Windows Phone or Windows 8 device. The app supports conversion of web pages and .PDF files.

You can also save articles opened in ReadAloud for listening to later and control the rate and pitch of the spoken words. While we did experience a few bugs in using ReadAloud over the past few days, it comes across as a handy means of listening to articles and documents when reading them from your Windows Phone or Windows 8 screen isn't practical.

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Update: Microsoft has confirmed that Movie Creator is for Lumia Windows Phones only

In 2014, taking a photo, quickly editing and sharing it across various social networks is a common as the smartphones they are created on. There are no barriers to entry any longer. Video, however, is a different story. Sure, there is the odd looping Vine or a straight up video on YouTube, but the idea of creating more artistic creations on phones is something users struggle with these days.

Today, Microsoft is looking to fix that with the release of Movie Creator BETA as a universal app for all Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 devices.

Movie Creator is just one of a few video-creation apps released on Windows Phone in the last year. Movie Creator builds off of Video Tuner and Movie Moments, sitting in between as a sort of "Goldilocks", at least according to Microsoft's Matt Collins.

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Dead Earth: Trigger Man Duty & Last Shooter Call is a first person, Sci-Fi shooter for our Windows Phone where you find yourself in the middle of a war against cyborgs.

You patrol the streets taking out as many rebellious machines as possible before your oxygen supply (a.k.a. game timer) runs out. The game does take on a RPG gaming feel with character advancement and equipment upgrades available.

Dead Earth: Trigger Man Duty & Last Shooter Call is available for low-memory games and comes across as an entertaining action game for our Windows Phones. Graphics are a little on the dark side but game play is full of challenges.

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Halo: The Master Chief Collection – Xbox One review

Videogame re-releases are not an uncommon thing, especially early in a new console's life cycle. They help boost a fledgling system's software library and make older games available to new players. That last bit is important, because most game systems are not backwards compatible. Re-releases preserve games and keep them alive for existing fans and new generations of players.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection goes a step beyond most re-releases by compiling the four numbered Halo games into a single Xbox One release. No longer do players need to drag out their original Xbox consoles to enjoy Halo CE and especially Halo 2, nor do they need an Xbox 360 for Halo 3 and 4. Master Chief Collection packs them all in one bundle with plenty of new features. Don't miss our detailed review, featuring our best ever video review for a console game!

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This is the week of the HTC One M8 for Windows, now that it is available on Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. In order to help jumpstart you one your way to using yours, we are reviewing cases like mad.

Today we take a look at the Incipio NGP Impact Resistant Case for the HTC One M8 for Windows. NGP stands for "next generation polymer," a mix between plastic and silicon. The balance of flexibility and sturdiness gives the Incipio NGP case a uniqueness all its own.

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Someline is an enjoyable Windows Phone puzzle game where you are tasked with linking colors squares by tracing a path between the two. The challenge comes into play in that your lines cannot share the same path.

The puzzle game has eight worlds with 120 levels of play with the first two worlds included in the free version. The additional levels are available in two packs (3 levels each) that are available through in-app purchase ($.99 each pack).

Someline is available for low-memory devices and isn't a bad time waster of a game. The only downside is that the first two levels do not last long and you'll be faced with the decision to pick up the add-on packs.

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