Reviews

Welcome to the latest installment of our semi-weekly feature, Steam Spotlight! Here we will look at interesting games available on Steam, the popular digital distribution platform for Windows computers. Today's Spotlight title is Harold from Moon Spider Studio, not to be confused with horror game Hektor from Rubycone. All those H names!

Endless running games: you can find about a million of them on mobile and PC, and they kind of blend together after a while. Harold dares to be different by combining endless running with genuine hardcore puzzle mechanics. The result is a game that looks like a platformer but plays like a tough-as-nails puzzle game. It also boasts a beautiful art style and a truly unique premise (you play as a guardian angel for the world's worst distance runner), so there's that.

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Borderlands: The Handsome Collection Xbox One review

When Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel launched on previous-gen platforms in October of 2014, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 had already been available for nearly a year. Many Borderlands fans like me who would otherwise be the prime target of The Pre-Sequel had already moved on to new consoles. We all hoped and/or expected Gearbox and 2K to port the game to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 where it would look and run better than any Borderlands console game before it.

This year, we got our wish! Not only did The Pre-Sequel recently make its way to new-gen consoles, it also brought Borderlands 2 along for the ride. Borderlands: The Handsome Collection bundles the second and third games in the series (but not the first) and all of their downloadable content (that's a LOT of DLC) in one $60 retail or downloadable package. No, you can't get them separately.

Players who have already completed both games on other platforms might not be eager to buy this new collection, but everyone else – even if you already played one or the other – should give The Handsome Collection a serious look. Read on for our detailed review with gameplay video!

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Review: Oddworld: New n' Tasty for Xbox One

Oddworld: New n' Tasty is a ground-up reconstruction of Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, a legendary PS1 puzzle platformer.

Developed in conjunction with Oddworld Inc. and Just Add Water, New n' Tasty has hit 2.4 million sales to date, partially owing to its usage of Unity, a popular games engine for targeting multiple platforms.

It's difficult to review a game that holds so much nostalgia for me personally. I spent countless hours as a kid meticulously rescuing each and every Mudokon throughout the game's sprawling side-scrolling world. New n' Tasty hopes to both serve fans of the classic Oddysee, as well as bring in new fans for its truly Odd franchise.

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Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 is the follow up to 2013's Xbox 360 hit that brought the addictive fruit slicing game from phones to your living room. As where the original game was a Kinect version of the mobile app, this time it adds some unique gameplay modes that are only available on Xbox One. That being said, the limitations of Kinect are still its biggest drawback.

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Welcome to the latest installment of our semi-weekly feature, Steam Spotlight! Here we will look at interesting games available on Steam, the popular digital distribution platform for Windows computers. Today's Spotlight title is Gurumin: a Monstrous Adventure from Nihon Falcom (makers of the Ys series) and US-based publisher Mastiff.

Gurumin is a 3D platformer starring a girl who wields a drill against the evil monsters who threaten the peace between the human world and kindly monsters. Along the way she'll collect new parts for her drill, equip an arsenal of hats and outfits, and rebuild the friendly monsters' village one piece of furniture at a time.

With cute characters, bright and cheerful colors, and old-school 3D gameplay, Gurumin is not your average Steam game. Find out more in my detailed review with video!

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Review: Battlefield Hardline on Xbox One

Battlefield swerves away from the military to deliver fans of Xbox One a cops and robbers fantasy.

How frequent should multiplayer shooters see releases? Call of Duty enjoys a yearly launch cycle headed by three separate studios (and a bunch of additional collaborating studios). Some argue higher frequency of releases leads to stagnation. Some resent the lack of innovation, and more and more of us are refusing to purchase annual franchised game releases that fail to innovate.

Sections of the community are concerned that Visceral's Battlefield Hardline could represent the same for the Battlefield franchise. Just how far does it go to differentiate itself from Battlefield 4, which launched just 18 months ago?

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A spill of drink or a nasty fall can mean the untimely end for your smartphone. Whether you work hard or play hard, your phone sometimes pay the price. So some of us need a little extra protection, even if it is for a budget device, like the Lumia 521.

Amzer, a well-known name in quality cases, has just the thing for those of you that need to shield your Lumia 521 from bumps and bruises. Their Hybrid kickstand case combines the shock-absorbing cushion of silicon with a rigid plastic outer shell, giving you a double layer of protection against most of what you can throw at it.

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The Xbox One has no shortage of puzzle platformers thanks to games like Max: the Curse of Brotherhood, Kalimba, and Thomas Was Alone. They all manage to be quite different from one another, simultaneously satisfying the itch for solving puzzles and running and jumping through levels. Now Xbox One has another distinctive puzzle platformer, thanks to the good folks at Curve Digital.

Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones (sequel to the original game for PC, PlayStation systems, and iOS) launched first on Xbox One last week, followed by Windows and PlayStation versions this week. That's progress, baby! Stealth Inc 2 lets players sneak through a variety of trap- and puzzle-filled levels, and even create and share their own levels. You'll also need to work together with AI-controlled clones of your character, which feels pretty unique.

Continue reading for my full review and gameplay video!

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Review - Amzer Pudding TPU Case for Nokia Lumia 520

The Lumia 520 series is one of the most popular Windows phones around the world, not to mention the most affordable. But just because it has a low price point doesn't mean that you don't want to protect it from harm.

The Amzer Pudding TPU case for the Lumia 520 is a simple, economical way to keep your Lumia 520 from getting scratched, dinged, or busted up.

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10tons is best known for its casual games like Sparkle 2, King Oddball and Tennis in the Face. But way back in 2003, the developer also made a fairly hardcore twin-stick shooter called Crimsonland and later remastered it in 2014. Last week, Crimsonland finally arrived on Windows Phone and Windows 8.

With dozens of weapons and perks to unlock, several game modes and tons of blood to spill, Crimsonland is an exciting release for genre fans. Read on for our full review of the Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Steam versions of Crimsonland – complete with video review.

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The undead of Resident Evil are a fitting metaphor for a franchise with one foot in the grave.

Since the departure of Shinji Mikami, Resident Evil has arguably become a decrepit shadow of its former self, mutated with spin-offs and genre hybridity as Capcom seek to broaden the brand's audience.

Resident Evil 2 is widely regarded as one of the greatest horror games ever made, and is a personal favourite. Watching the franchise rot like one of its iconic undead monstrosities has been a painful endeavour. What made Resident Evil 5 scary wasn't to be found in chilling atmosphere, tense and vulnerable gameplay, but instead in catastrophically poor design choices. Resident Evil had become a linear action arcade shooter with wilfully awful controls and an utterly absent minded plot. Resident Evil 5 had no idea what game it wanted to be, and I felt so wronged by it that I haven't touched the franchise since, until now.

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Slender Man (or Slendy, as his friends call him) was created by a forum poster in 2009, according to Wikipedia. A blurry, faceless man added to old photographs, the character soon caught the imagination of online horror fans of all ages. YouTube videos and several indie games followed, most notably a free downloadable title called Slender: The Eight Pages.

That game would serve as the inspiration for its much larger sequel Slender: The Arrival from Canadian developer Blue Isle Studios. This one casts players as several severely screwed people who are being stalked by the sinister Slender Man and his minions. Slender: The Arrival has just arrived on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, after launching on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows in 2013 and 2014.

Slender might just be the scariest game I've played. Read on for more details and to witness me freaking out in our exciting hands-on video!

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When it comes to preventing damage to your smartphone, there are a number of different options that offer varying levels of protection. If you are a Lumia 1520 owner, you may be looking for something that shields your device without adding much weight or bulk to the already monstrous monolith of a phone.

If that is your goal, you may want to consider the BodyGuardz UltraTough clear full body skin for the Lumia 1520.

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Thanks to the existence of several standout titles like Rogue Legacy, Binding of Isaac, and Crypt of the NecroDancer, the Roguelike genre has exploded in popularity over the last couple of years. Characterized by randomly generated levels, the inability to continue when you die, and minimal room for error, games in the genre are addictive and tough to master. Although Rogue Legacy has been announced for Xbox One, Microsoft's console has long been without a Roguelike – until now.

Ziggurat comes to Xbox One and Windows from Spanish developer Milkstone Studios, who started out making numerous XBLIG titles for Xbox 360. Their first ID@Xbox release is a magic-themed first-person shooter in the vein of classic FPS Hexen. It also happens to be an FPS Roguelike, of which there are very few games so far.

Can Ziggurat's wizardly appeal and addictive randomness overcome a few technical issues and sometimes unfair difficulty? Read our full review with video find out!

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Welcome to our new feature, Steam Spotlight! Every weekend we will look at a different game available on Steam, the popular digital distribution platform for Windows computers. With the indie gaming scene exploding on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, many of these titles will eventually make their way to consoles. But why wait when you can play exciting titles on your Surface Pro or PC right now?

Today's Spotlight title is Crypt of the NecroDancer from Brace Yourself Games and Klei Entertainment, makers of XBLA hit Mark of the Ninja. Take one part dungeon crawler, one part rhythm game, another part "Roguelike," mix them cleverly together and you have NecroDancer. Exploring super-tough dungeons while hopping to catchy beats is a fresh and engrossing experience.

Read on for our detailed impressions and slam dancin' video review!

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Indie games can drive consumers to buy consoles nearly as much as AAA releases. What else are you going to play in between the big retail releases, and where else would you find more creative and experimental game designs? With this in mind, Team17, creators of the Worms series have started an indie initiative in which they help fund a publish indie games. LA Cops comes to Xbox One from this initiative and has looked promising since it was announced.

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The Xbox One launched with a pretty killer fighting game – that little exclusive known as Killer Instinct, to be precise. Microsoft has implemented innovative pricing strategies with Killer Instinct, allowing players to use one rotating character for free, and then buy either individual characters or a season pass containing a group of characters. But how would a Japanese company handle piecemeal character delivery in a fighting game?

The answer is Dead or Alive 5: Last Round from Koei Tecmo, recently released on Xbox One and 360 and PlayStation consoles (the Xbox 360 version is simply an update for DOA Ultimate). Last Round is the latest evolution of Dead or Alive 5, with all the characters, stages, and modes from the previous versions of DOA5 plus some new characters and features. Fighting fans can buy the whole game outright for $40 (a steal), try a free demo with four characters, or grab the Core Pack of eight fighters for $10.

Does Last Round stack up with fighting game greats? Find out in our detailed review with video!

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Many gamers would agree that the Xbox One has a strong lineup of exclusive games, especially now that Halo: the Master Chief Collection's multiplayer matchmaking finally works. However, Microsoft doesn't have a lot of new retail exclusives lined up for the first half of this year other than the already-released ScreamRide. Thus, it falls on downloadable exclusive titles like Ori and the Blind Forest to represent the gaming possibilities that only Xbox One can bring.

Developed by Moon Studios and published by Microsoft, Ori and the Blind Forest is an exploration-focused action-platformer, also referred to as a Metroidvania game. With stunning and colorful visuals, a massive world to explore, and lots of upgrades and secrets to find, platforming fans will find lots to love in Ori. But you'll want to bring your gaming skills, as the Blind Forest is more challenging than most of its genre brethren.

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Review: Evolve for the Xbox One

This is my first review for Windows Central, and frankly it's a tough one. Evolve has been the subject of much controversy. Many gaming outlets have run articles examining DLC and 'value for money' as a result of the game's business model. Evolve features a prolific amount of paid DLC out of the box, in addition to being a full priced title. For a game that focussed almost exclusively on 4v1 multiplayer, many gamers felt that Evolve may not live up to the asking price. This review carries the danger of becoming yet another article on the issue of value in gaming. Ultimately - I want to help you decide whether Evolve is the kind of game you'd consider worth your cash.

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Review – Trident Cyclops case for Surface Pro 3

The Surface Pro 3 is one of the most versatile devices to hit the personal computing scene in quite a while. And for the high number of students, office dwellers, and home users that own one, a laptop sleeve or portfolio cover is usually more than enough to keep theirs safe.

However, if you are someone who totes your Surface around to different job sites, out of your vehicle, or are just plain clumsy, you may find that you may require something more robust.

Whatever the reason may be, anyone looking for extra protection for their Surface Pro 3 should consider the Trident Cyclops case.

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Transport Empire: Windows Phone and Windows 8 review

Every game publisher has its strengths, and many of them have their niches – particular things they focus on as well. European publisher Game Insight practically owns the city building genre on Windows Phone, having released numerous entries like 2020 My Country, The Tribez, and Big Business Deluxe. Of course they all vary in theme, and sometimes quality.

Lucky for fans of the genre, Game Insight has just released one of its best city building games on Windows Phone and Windows 8: Transport Empire. In Transport Empire, you'll manage a network of trains, ships, and airships (but mostly trains) as they travel across a fictionalized Europe to deliver goods and reap profits. If you like trains, this free to play title is worth a look.

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If there's one game developer that knows roller coasters and theme parks, it's UK-based Frontier Developments. From 2003-2005 they made a name for themselves with three Roller Coaster Tycoon games and several expansions before switching publishers to develop a pair of Thrillville games. Eventually Frontier produced Kinect Disneyland Adventures and 2013's Zoo Tycoon for Microsoft, perhaps to less player acclaim.

Now Microsoft and Frontier team up once more for the Xbox One and 360 exclusive ScreamRide. Billed as a spiritual successor to Roller Coaster Tycoon, ScreamRide is a roller coaster building and riding game with a focus on destruction. With three campaign modes and a full sandbox mode with coaster sharing, ScreamRide is surprisingly robust for a game about coasters. But those gameplay pieces don't always fit together as well as they should, threatening to derail the fun.

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With the starting price of a Surface Pro 3 hovering around the $800.00 mark, it is important to do what you can to protect it. A screen protector is a good start and can be found for a fairly low price.

However, not all screen protectors are equal. They may do some things well, but create issues for you in other areas. The Tech Armor anti-glare screen protector for the Surface Pro 3 is a great example. Upon early investigation, it seemed like a real winner, only to end up having one fatal flaw.

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These days most electronic devices, especially high-end ones like the Surface Pro 3, have durable, scratch-resistant glass screens. That makes screen protectors much more of a personal preference than a must-have accessory.

They can also serve other functions, such as glare filtering. Since I often work in a very well lit environment most of the day, I find having a glare filter can be beneficial, so I decided to try a few. Today I will be looking at the JOTO Screen Protector Film Guard for the Surface Pro 3.

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Microsoft Lumia 435 review

Microsoft isn't short on Windows Phones at the lower end of the price and hardware spectrum but that didn't stop the launch of another. The Lumia 435 is the new entry level point for a Lumia Windows Phone.

It's a crowded space, though. With even some of its own stable mates to compete against, does the Lumia 435 have what it takes?

Let's find out.

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