Reviews

Last year when the Xbox One launched, you could get it in any color you wanted – as long as it was black. But select Microsoft staff members received a white console with the words " I made this" emblazoned on both the system and the controller. The gamers among us who aren't fixated on black electronics (boring!) looked on with much envy.

This week, white Xbox One consoles finally became available to the masses (sans Kinect) as part of the limited edition Sunset Overdrive bundle. Ringing up at $400 ($350 next week), the bundle includes a white console and controller, black headset, and a download code for the Day One Edition of Sunset Overdrive. I anxiously waited outside of my local BestBuy so that I could snag a white console the minute the store opened. Read on for our impossibly detailed review and unboxing video of the highly sought after Xbox One bundle!

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Monster Buster: World Invasion is a Windows Phone game where you wage one on one battles with fantasy monsters. The game calls on you to search your neighborhood using your Windows Phone location services for a wide variety of monsters, battle them and once defeated they become available for your personal collection of monsters. In many respects Monster Buster: World Invasion reminds me of the Pokémon, just without the Pokeballs.

While there should be monsters to battle in your neighborhood that are within arms reach, you may find yourself hopping in the car or walking a few blocks to find rare monsters to battle. The pace of the game is on the casual side but not without challenge. Graphics aren't too shabby and each monster has a small collection of attacks to use that calls for a little strategy during combat.

Available for low-memory devices, Monster Buster: World Invasion does have a bit of an addictive appeal to it and is a fun time waster of a Windows Phone game.

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Review: Nokia Lumia 635

It's not the cheapest Windows Phone you can buy, but it might just be our favorite in the affordable category. Here's why.

The Lumia 630 and Lumia 635 were announced by Nokia during the Microsoft Build 2014 keynote. These two smartphones were among the first in the world to come with Windows Phone 8.1 and the Lumia Cyan firmware out of the box. In the Lumia lineup, the 63X series sits above the Lumia 530 and potentially represents a tremendous smartphone value. In the United States, you can get the Lumia 635 for anywhere from $100 to $140 off-contract. That's a killer price.

We recently reviewed the Lumia 530, a Windows Phone you can get for just $70. While it makes a handful of compromises, you can't ignore how cheap it is. Is it worth spending a little bit more and getting the Lumia 635? Let's find out.

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Glass Crush is a challenging puzzle game for Windows Phone that offers a slight twist on the match three concept. You are given a collection of cubes of assorted colors and have to crush them by creating matches of three or more.

The challenge comes into play in that you have a limited number of moves to crush all the cubes. Available for low-memory devices, Glass Crush isn't an overly complicated game but the simple design gives way to some challenging puzzles. The game has been available for some time and after a handful of tips to check the game out, we found Glass Crush to be a decent time waster of a game.

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Review: Nokia Lumia 530

Is the Lumia 530 the best Windows Phone you can buy on a budget? Let's find out.

The Lumia 520 is the best-selling Windows Phone of all time. Announced during Mobile World Congress 2013 by Nokia, as of a few months ago the Lumia 520 has over 12 million activations. The Lumia 520 represented tremendous value when it launched, and it is still the most popular Windows Phone in the majority of markets. This reason is why its successor, the Lumia 530, has a high bar to reach.

At launch, you'll find the Lumia 530 for well under $100 in the United States and in Europe for about €85. This price-point makes it the cheapest Lumia to date and one of the most affordable Windows Phones in general. However, in 2014, does the Lumia 530 live up to the Lumia 520?

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Lightomania is a lively Windows Phone puzzle game that has you bouncing and shooting fuzzy little creatures where they can gobble up a hanging light. You'll bounce the fuzzy creatures off each other and navigate around an assortment of obstacles and dangers to get to the light bulb.

Available for low-memory devices, Lightomania is full of colorful animations and challenging puzzles to conquer. The game has seen a fair amount of success on other platforms and in playing Lightomania over the past few days; I can see that success carrying over to the Windows Phone version.

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Sunset Overdrive from Insomniac Games is the Xbox One's newest exclusive IP. These guys have worked exclusively with Sony on PlayStation for almost 20 years. However, Insomniac studios decided it was time for something new and Microsoft was willing to take a chance on them. Thus Sunset Overdrive was born.

Insomniac takes a radiant apocalyptic world, adds some unique over-the-top game play elements, and a touch of great writing and creates the tour-de-force that is Sunset Overdrive. The game is in no way, shape, or form afraid to go all out. Xbox One gamers are in for a special experience with this one.

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Mid-term Elections are right around the corner with U.S. voters going to the polls to elect Federal, State and Local officials. Election Essential is an app available for both Windows Phone and Windows 8 that is designed to deliver information on the State and Federal candidates on the ballot.

The information is compiled from various political watchdog groups such as Sunlight and Project Vote Smart. Along with candidate information, Election Essential will also provide users with information on any Statewide Amendments and measures that will appear on the ballot.

Election Essential comes across as a handy app to have if you need to dig around and see which candidate is worthy of your vote.

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Moto Racing is an endless runner styled game for your Windows Phone that has you weaving a motorcycle through traffic. You collect coins to buy new and faster motorcycles and ultimately see how far you can go without kissing the pavement.

The game's pace does have a little zip to it and a decent selection of bikes. Moto Racing isn't a bad title to have in your Windows Phone gaming library and is a fun way to pass the time. While the game is available for low memory devices, Moto Racing has more of a casual feel than what you would find with a more feature rich that you might invest marathon gaming sessions with.

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Review: Incipio Feather case for the Surface Pro 3

The Incipio Feather case for the Surface Pro 3 is a tale of two cases. For the most part, it lives up to what you would expect from an Incipio product. Overall, it looks great and is very comfortable to hold.

On the other hand, there are a few uncharacteristic things that make you scratch your head.

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No argument here. We have a ton of photo editors available in the Windows Phone Store. Which one is best? Your guess is as good as mine and one of the latest offerings hoping to catch your eye is OneRoom.

What sets OneRoom apart from the cornucopia of photo editors already available in the Windows Phone Store? You do have editing presets that helps you edit photos quickly and the app can handle images up to 38MP in size. The app is also minimalistic in design that hopes to make the editing flow more user friendly.

In just tinkering with OneRoom for a short time, it does have a bit of appeal but may struggle to knock off the more popular editors such as Photoshop Express, Fhotoroom or Fantasia Painter due to a few missing features. Still, if you are looking for another photo editor to add to your Windows Phone Library or are still searching for that one editor that fits your tastes bests, OneRoom is worth a try.

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Movie Quizz is a Windows Phone trivia game that tests you skills at identifying movies through their posters. The game takes a bit of a casual approach with seven level of movies to identify that are grouped into movie genre or leading actor categories. Movies range from the more current titles as well as those from 50's and 60's.

Movie Quizz is available for low-memory devices and while it takes on movie trivia from a slightly casual approach, the game is an enjoyable way to pass short bits of time with.

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Goldsmiths Jewel HD is an interesting Windows Phone puzzle game where you are tasked with collecting an assortment of jewels while avoiding non-precious stones.

The game, available for low-memory devices, seems to rely more on luck than skill though. You collect the gems by initiating a line that bounces around the screen. When the line hits a jewel (or stone) they fall to the bottom of the screen and are considered "collected".

Goldsmiths Jewels HD does have a certain amount of appeal and does grow on you slightly.

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WordsUp is a relatively new Scrabble styled game that is available for both Windows Phone and Windows 8 devices. WordsUp offers online and local game play with up to four players. The game also allows you to stack tiles on top of others, changing the words that are on the board to form new words.

In just playing WordsUp for a short time, it comes across as a challenging and fun word game that will not only test your skills at spelling but also has an element of strategery.

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Review: Moko Smart Shell for Surface Pro 3

The Surface Pro 3 is hands down one of the best personal computing devices out there, Windows-based or otherwise. But even the low-end models can be costly, so you want to make sure you do what you can to protect your investment.

MoKo makes a variety of cases for the Surface Pro 3. Today we take a look at the MoKo Smart Shell cover, protective and stylish case.

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If you've ever had the urge to strap a fifty caliber machine gun to the hood of your car and blast your way through rush-hour traffic, the Windows Phone game Deadly Racer might be a gaming title worth trying.

The 3D racer calls upon you to work your way through traffic, destroying vehicles to earn points and eventually unlock vehicles that are more powerful. The endless track is full of targets to destroy both from your lane of traffic and any oncoming vehicles.

Steering controls will take a little time to get used to but nothing impossible. Available for low memory devices, Deadly Racer does have a certain level of appeal but could also use a little fine-tuning.

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You Must Escape is the latest installment of a popular game style that has you escaping rooms by solving puzzles. You Must Escape has 100 puzzles to solve that range from the ridiculously easy to puzzles that may drive you nuts.

We visited a similar game, Doors, last year and recently receive several requests to review You Must Escape (thanks everyone!). There are a few design differences in the numerous incarnations of this game and while there is a sense of familiarity with You Must Escape, the game reminds us that sometimes simple works just fine. Please note, You Must Escape is available for low-memory devices.

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COPTAR is an Augmented Reality (AR) game that not only places you behind the controls of a combat helicopter but will also use what you see as the backdrop for the game. COPTAR launches your Windows Phone camera and uses whatever is around you as the gaming background; be it your living room, backyard or street corner. Game play is very similar to any other air combat game with power-ups that fall from the sky and a handful of missions to tackle.

While the concept behind COPTAR has a certain amount of appeal, the game falls short on user-friendly controls. While available for low-memory devices, COPTAR has potential but until the game receives a little fine-tuning, the gaming experience can be a little frustrating.

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In 1994, the original Killer Instinct took arcades by storm. The next year a downgraded but respectable Super Nintendo port followed, along with a GameBoy version. The home games helped maintain enthusiasm until Killer Instinct 2 arrived in arcades in 1996. The Nintendo 64 would see a mildly stripped-down port called Killer Instinct Gold that year.

The true arcade version of Killer Instinct 2 has never been available on home consoles… Until now. Like Killer Instinct Classic before it, Killer Instinct 2 Classic comes bundled with the purchase of Killer Instinct 2 Ultra Edition on Xbox One. The $39.99 bundle gets you eight characters in the new Killer Instinct, plus Killer Instinct 2 as a standalone game. Killer Instinct 2 Classic even gets online play, making it a more viable alternative to Killer Instinct Season 2. Read on for gameplay details, hands-on video, and exclusive screenshots!

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Revers9 is a new Windows Phone puzzle game that challenges you to arrange a set of numbers in order before time runs out.

There's really not much to Revers9 but the game will test your reflexes and speed at solving number puzzles. The game can get mildly frustrating as you race to get the numbers in order but in a good way. Available for low-memory Windows Phones and Windows 8 devices, Revers9 isn't a bad title to add to your Windows Phone gaming library.

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Wheel of Words is a Windows Phone word game that has potential but is in desperate need of a design overhaul. The concept has you spinning a wheel, which randomly generates a word from an assortment of categories.

The word is conveniently missing a few letters and it is your job to fill in the blanks. The challenge comes into play with a game timer that you have to race in completing the word.

Available for low-memory Windows Phones and Windows 8 devices, Wheel of Words is an interesting game but a cluttered, distractive game layout with the Windows Phone version significantly holds the game back.

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Windows Phone has plenty of Sudoku and Word Search games to choose from. But it has never been home to the biggest games of those types – until now. UK-based developer Supersonic-Software and Appy Nation (a consortium of developers who team up to act as publisher) have just brought their popular World's Biggest Sudoku and World's Biggest Word Search games to Windows Phone.

What do the World's Biggest games have going for them? Each one claims to have the largest collection of puzzles of their type (for a mobile game), which means they'll give you plenty to puzzle over at home or on the go. They're free and supported by ads, making for an easy download with no barrier to entry. And both games are really slick, providing a great interface for the puzzlin'. Read on for hands-on video and impressions!

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Is the Lumia 830 an upgrade or sidegrade to the Lumia 920?

The Nokia Lumia 830 is starting to hit store shelves worldwide, including the widespread availability in Canada starting today on Rogers, Telus, and Fido. Depending on where you fall on your phone usage and expectations, the Lumia 830 may be a practical upgrade from your current Windows Phone.

Today, we are taking a closer look the Lumia 920 versus the Lumia 830. Although the former was the Windows Phone star back in 2012, the Lumia 830 is positioned slightly below that as an 'affordable flagship'.

How well matched is the Lumia 830 against the Lumia 920? Let's find out.

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Review: BodyGuardz Armor for Lumia 1020

I've never been a huge fan of stick-on skins for devices. I've got nothing against them, but I never found much use for them. The ones I had were, usually, the transparent ones that offered minimal protection and ended up turning brown after a couple of weeks of fraternizing with dirt and pocket lint.

The BodyGuardz Armor for the Lumia 1020 brings a little more to the table though. It is a cross between a protective film and decorative skin.

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