Reviews

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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With gaming consoles, first-party accessories are often much nicer than their third-party equivalents. We've all had a poor experience with a third-party controllers at some point, but recent evidence suggests that third-parties are getting better at the accessory game. For example, Power A's recent Xbox One Mini Series controller is a pretty sweet (though not entirely superior) low-priced alternative to official controllers.

It certainly helps a third party's case when the first-party item wasn't really exceptional. The Xbox One Media Remote is a fine accessory, but was designed more for style than substance. Accessory manufacturer Nyko has taken the opposite approach with its own media remote. The Nyko Media Remote for Xbox One is a better remote control than the official model, and it costs ten dollars less to boot.

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Turbo Bugs Survival Run is an endless runner game that is available in the Windows Phone Store that plays out from a bug's perspective on things. You duck, dodge and jump to avoid various obstacles to stay one step ahead of a crazed bug destroying kid that is chasing you.

Graphics are nice and have a slight children's book feel about it (not necessarily a bad thing). Game play is challenging enough to keep the game from growing stale too quick and Turbo Bugs is available for low-memory devices.

Turbo Bugs Survival may not be as action packed as Subway Surfers or Temple Run but it does have a certain level of appeal that gamers young and old should find entertaining.

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The NBA 2K series from 2K Sports and Visual Concepts has been the reigning champ in the basketball simulation for the past couple of years. It helps that EA's NBA Live series have dropped the ball (no pun intended). But even then, NBA 2K has simply been playing a mean game, consistently delivered the most realistic presentation and gameplay possible.

Everything you loved about 2K14 is here in NBA 2K15 for Xbox One and 360 and most of it has been improved upon. This year's version of 2K on Xbox One is easily the best so far, but that doesn't mean it isn't hiccup free.

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The Windows Phone Store is has plenty lockscreen apps that allows you to add a certain level of customization to your Windows Phone lockscreen. LockAgenda hopes to attract your attention by displaying more of your daily schedule of appointments on your lockscreen.

The app has several display options for your appointments and a decent selection of lockscreen wallpaper images to choose from as well. You can even use your own image as your lockscreen wallpaper. I can see some appeal with LockAgenda and if you need to see more of your calendar from your lockscreen it may be an option worth trying.

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Back in September, Microsoft not only announced a couple new phones, but some new stylish accessories. One of those was the awkwardly named Microsoft Screen Sharing for Lumia Phones HD-10, which is a fancy title for a Miracast device. The timing of the announcement was also a little bit strange as Microsoft also has their dongle now called the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter.

Apparently, the two products overlap, and it is safe to surmise that the HD-10 was made by Nokia and the dongle by Microsoft prior to the acquisition.

Today, I am taking a look at the HD-10 and showing you how it brings something new to the table, including a video demonstration using the Lumia 830.

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Now that several wired controllers are available for Xbox One (Power A's Mini Series controller and Spectra controllers, plus some on the way from PDP), a gamer could easily run short of USB ports on his or her shiny new console. Plug a hard drive and keyboard into your rear ports and you're left with only one to spare. You can hardly plug in multiple wired controllers or flash drives with media files under those situations.

Thus a USB 3.0 hub is in order. Of course there are no Xbox One-specific USB hubs, but pretty much any USB 3.0 hub will do the trick. With that in mind, I grabbed the Sabrent 4-port USB 3.0 Hub for a mere ten bucks on Amazon. This little hub is perfect for Xbox One and 360 use (it supports USB 2.0 as well), and also goes great with Windows 8 and RT devices like the Surface.

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Even though Verizon put the Lumia Icon out to pasture less than a year after the launch, it doesn't stop current owners of the under-rated phone from needing a good case for it. Neither does it change the fact that the phone is alive and well in other markets around the world under the pseudonym Lumia 930. And for that reason, we give you the Incipio Feather ultra-light case for both.

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Incandescence is an upbeat Windows Phone game that will test your rhythm, reflexes and speed. Described as a finger drumming game, you try to keep pace with the background music's beat and tap circles that light up in rhythm with the music.

Incandescence reminds me a little of the popular Windows Phone music game SongArc but noticeably scaled back. The game still has its fair share of challenges but needs a little more meat on the bone to avoid getting stale too quick. Incandescence is available for low-memory devices.

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Nokia Lumia 830 – Unboxing and first impressions

Does the Lumia 830 live up to its name and is it a worthy upgrade? The answer may surprise you.

Last week I showed you in detail the Nokia Lumia 735 'selfie' phone, including my initial thoughts. While I begin wrapping up a full review for that phone later this week, the Lumia 830 arrived on my doorstep.

Dubbed 'the affordable flagship' by Microsoft, the Lumia 830 has a lot going for it, including a much sleeker design than its more powerful Lumia 930 sibling.

So how good is the Lumia 830? Check out my unboxing video, hardware tour, and first impressions of the latest Lumia phone to hit the market.

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Enter Orckid is an action packed Windows Phone game where you take control of a young orc warrior who has to hack his way through the various game quests.

The storyline has the Orcs nearing the brink of extinction and it is up to the young Orc warrior to save the day by defeating the enemies of the Orc. Available for low-memory devices, Enter OrcKid has decent graphics and challenging game play.

The game has potential but quirky controls tends to hold this game back and will a little fine-tuning to give Enter OrcKid a better chance of success.

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Review: Body Glove Satin Case for Lumia 520

I'll admit it right off the bat. I was wrong about the Body Glove Satin case for the Lumia 520. When I first saw the Body Glove Satin case in its packaging, I immediately thought that it would be a rubbery case that served little purpose, other than to render the sleek, pleasant-to-hold Lumia 520 bulky and difficult to use. What I found instead was an equally sleek case that compliments the form of its companion device.

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Our Windows Phones can be rather convenient at times, from checking the weather to sending a quick email to even casting a little light on things. Lightbox Pro is a Windows Phone utility app that offers eight different ways to use your camera light and phone display to light things up.

From the basic flashlight to a party ball, Lightbox Pro hopes to be your one and only Windows Phone light source. The app does have a certain level of appeal but a poorly designed trial version may likely turn many away.

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