Reviews

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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Camera360 is one of the more popular Windows Phone camera apps on Store shelves and the developers have launched a sequel of sorts that they hope will have similar success - Camera360Pro.

Camera360Pro is billed as a more advanced, premium version of the original but at first glance, many will scratch their heads at such a notion. Most of Camera360Pro features remain hidden, giving the app a clean appearance. Swiping up, down or tap/hold on the screen will reveal a host of features that give Camera360Pro its premium tag. There is a slight learning curve with Camera360Pro but overall, it is a nice addition to the Windows Phone photography app library. It definitely makes choosing a photography app a little more difficult.

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Amazing Ninja is a Windows Phone game that has a minimalistic design and feel but is not without challenge. The story line behind Amazing Ninja has you playing the role of a young ninja warrior whose girlfriend has been captured by an evil witch.

Game play with Amazing Ninja is a little less dramatic. You jump your ninja through a maze of passages to eventually reach your girlfriend. The game is available for low-memory devices, Amazing Ninja does not have many bells and whistles and can be a rather frustrating game at times. While some may find Amazing Ninja to be a fun time waster, others will be turned off by the overbearing ads that appear throughout the game.

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Nova Bacon is an arcade styled Windows Phone game where you are in charge of supplying the pork products (a.k.a. pigs) for an outer space fly-thru restaurant. You'll snatch up wayward pigs as they roam the earth and protect them from attempts by humans to save them from slaughter as you haul them to your restaurant in outer space.

Available for low-memory devices, Nova Bacon is another Microsoft Garage project and isn't a terrible game to pass the time with. It could use a little fine-tuning as game play does feel a little drawn out.

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Balls in Line Lite is a Windows Phone game that is described as a remake of the classic game Color Lines that has been fine-tuned to meet today's gamers needs. I'm not exactly sure what "today's gamers needs" means but Balls in Line Lite seems to have more of a board game feel and slightly better graphics than it's predecessors .

Available for low memory devices, Balls in Line Lite has two gaming modes where you are tasked with creating lines of at least five or 2x2 squares of the same colored balls. The game takes on a bit of a casual pace with no timer to race and has its fair share of challenges. At first glance, Balls in Line Lite comes across as a good title to have handy in your Windows Phone gaming library when you are in the mood for a casual puzzle game.

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Reachme is a Windows Phone app that offers a simple means of sharing your location with others. The app is a Microsoft Garage project and lets you send your location, along with turn-by-turn directions to get to that location. While sharing your location with Reachme is presented in simple fashion, to share your location the recipient will need a Microsoft Account, be listed in your contacts and have Reachme installed on their Windows Phone.

All of which does give Reachme a rather restrictive feel that will likely tarnish any appeal the app has to offer. The app has potential and I can see it coming in handy, but Reachme needs a option of sharing your location without the need for the recipient to have a Microsoft account and Reachme installed.

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Review: Urban Armor Gear for the Surface Pro 3

When I think of heavy duty protection for smartphones and tablets, I conjure up the image of a bulky, rubberized monstrosity that resembles more of a fat suit than a case. Sure, it will protect your device from nearly any threat, but it also makes it look like a swollen tick with bad fashion sense.

Urban Armor Gear must have had a similar image in mind when designing their tough case for the Surface Pro 3 because it avoids those very pitfalls. Rather than being a tough and ugly movie monster, the Urban Armor Gear for the Surface Pro 3 is the rugged, handsome action star.

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Andromeda Blue RL is a sci-fi styled combat game available in the Windows Phone Store that has you battling your opponent for control of a group of floating islands.

You can compete online against other Andromeda players or take on the computer in a single player game. The graphics and animations are nicely drawn up and overall, Andromeda Blue RL is a fun game to spend a little time with. Available for low-memory devices, the game does need a little fine-tuning, which should be taken care of in the near future.

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Classic arcade games, more often than not, involved defending the earth or another planet from alien invaders and other extraterrestrial threats. Missile Command, Galaga, and many more games took that simple concept and branched out into unique gameplay directions.

Nowadays we have a trend of producing retro-style games for modern gaming platforms. That was Throwback Entertainment's goal with Deflector Mobile (also simply called Deflector). The game purports to be a classic arcade-style game in which players have to protect the earth from aliens and asteroids alike. Deflector has potential, but a number of UI issues keep it from having much-staying power. At least it's free!

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There are plenty of Windows Phone games available in the Store to help you pass short bits of time. These games are not overly complicated but challenging nonetheless. Toilet Time is one such Windows Phone game that is a collection of quick, mini-games designed to help you pass the time from the lavatory or anywhere else for that matter.

Available for low-memory devices, Toilet Time does have a bit of appeal. Games generally test your skills at speed and concentration. It may not be your first choice of games to occupy your private time but if you are looking for a game that is a change of pace, Toilet Time is worth trying.

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Quicky is an interesting Windows Phone app that creates app shortcuts for your Windows Phone Notifications Center in slightly roundabout way. You essentially send yourself notifications that, with the help of a little bit of coding, serve as shortcuts to launch particular apps or games.

The app is the product of 16 year old Windows Phone developer Han Swinkels and while the concept may not appeal to everyone, Quicky is a well presented Windows Phone title. I did run into a few bugs that need ironing out, but overall the app comes across as a creative way to access your Windows Phone apps and games.

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Top Rated Fishing Games for your Windows Phone

Fishing is a fantastic way to spend the day but with the Seasons changing and temperatures dropping, the opportunity to spend an afternoon on the lake may not still be available for many. For those who are itching to try their hand at hooking the catch of the day during the colder months (or at least pretending to), there is a small collection of Windows Phone games available in the Store.

We've pulled four of the top rated fishing games from the Windows Phone Store for this week's roundup and while some of the titles approach fishing from a non-traditional approach, all are decent games to pass the time with.

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If you are in search of a simple, challenging, addictive game for your Windows Phone - you will want to try Night Chopper.

Night Chopper is inspired by the Timberman games but approaches being a lumberjack from a slightly different angle. The viewpoint of chopping down the tree is from the bottom up. That is you are looking up the center of the tree. The different perspective does take a little time to get used to and can drive you nuts (in a good way that is).

Available for low-memory devices, the developer has done a good job delivering a rather nice gaming title to our Windows Phone.

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Diamond Blitz is an online puzzle game where you play against others to see who can create the most matches (or diamonds) from multi-colored tiles. Game play is similar to other online games available such as Wordament; you just try to play with colored tiles instead of letters.

Diamond Blitz is available for low-memory Windows Phones as well as Windows 8 devices. The game comes across as maybe more of an acquired taste than one with across the board appeal but isn't without challenge, testing your skills at speed and recognition. While it may not end up being everyone's cup of tea, Diamond Blitz is a gaming title worth trying and might even surprise a few.

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Late last night, Microsoft in a surprise move announced the Band, a new health and fitness wearable that includes a heart rate monitor, UV sensor, Cortana integration and a gorgeous color touch display.

Perhaps even more impressive, the $199 is available today from Microsoft Stores and online. Stock is limited and, unfortunately, the Band is U.S. only for now as Microsoft tests out the waters.

I managed to pick one up this morning. Here is a full unboxing, tour, and how the Band interacts with Windows Phone.

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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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