Reviews

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Minesweeper - Review

Minesweeper as we know it was created in 1990 and has been bundled with every new version of Windows since 1992. The mobile Xbox Live version, developed by Babaroga and published by Microsoft, is one of the first two free ad-supported games for Xbox Live and the first to be available in regions outside of North America. This game shares much in common with its fellow free game Sudoku, though the actual gameplay is completely different, with a much higher learning curve. Get past that and you’ll find an enjoyable logic puzzle game.

Step carefully over the mines and past the break for our full review.

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5

Implode: Xbox Windows Phone Review

Implode for Windows Phone

I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing three mobile Xbox Live physics puzzlers so far: iBlast Moki, Tiki Towers, and Enigmo. Now that IUGO’s popular Implode! has come to the Windows Phone, could the genre be getting too crowded for its own good? That depends on how much you like a cerebral challenge. After braving Implode!’s vast quantity of levels, I’m pleased to report that my brain has yet to be tapped out. More importantly, Implode! is good enough and different enough to justify its place on the platform.

Put on your hard hat and head past the break for our full review.

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9

Gravity Guy - Review

There are many different approaches to adapting traditional genres to mobile platforms. Take platformers, for example. Sonic the Hedgehog 4 brings an Xbox 360 title to Windows Phone with touch-screen controls. I love the game, but some people either can’t or don’t want to adapt to touch-screen controls. Doodle Jump, designed purely for mobile phones, simply relies on tilt-control to steer its ever-jumping hero from platform to platform. Gravity Guy from Miniclip falls somewhere between the two extremes.

Flip past the break for our full review.

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Collapse! - Xbox Windows Phone Review

How much do Xbox Live Achievements affect your enjoyment of a game? The best Achievements enhance the gameplay experience, simultaneously rewarding progress and encouraging players to experience the game in new ways. Sometimes we see games whose Achievement difficulty doesn’t match their casual nature – Doodle Jump and Harbor Master to name only two. There are also poor games whose only redeeming value is the easiness of their Achievements (hello, Butterfly!). And then comes Collapse! from GameHouse. A good game with easy Achievements, but there is such a thing as too easy.

Head past the jump for our full review.

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Tower Bloxx: New York - Xbox Windows Phone Review

After the huge disappointment of 3D Brick Breaker Revolution from Digital Chocolate, I wasn’t exactly eager to play any more of their games. That title sported an awful 3D graphics engine, poor controls, and overly difficult gameplay and Achievements. Surprisingly, Digital Chocolate’s other Xbox Live title, Tower Bloxx: New York is far less offensive. It’s still nothing special, but fans of casual games may enjoy it.

Climb the stairs past the break for our full review.

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Jabra Drive - Review

For those who have never gotten used to the Bluetooth headsets and still need a hands-free solution for their Windows Phone, enter the Bluetooth Speakerphone. Jabra makes a nice assortment of speakerphones and today we turn our sights on to the Jabra Drive.

The Jabra Drive is a basic Bluetooth speakerphone that is solidly built, has just enough features to make it appealing and decent call quality. Moderately priced at $49.95, the Drive might be a good choice for those looking for a hands-free solution that doesn't have too many bells and whistles. To see how well the Drive performed, follow the break.

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Windows Phone App Review: WPRemote for Roku

Here’s something I’ve been wishing Windows Phone would get for quite a while: a Roku remote control app. It’s called WPRemote for Roku and it comes from indie developer Localyf. (Note that this app was previously called ROKUbox before the Roku company asked Localyf to change its name.)

“What’s a Roku?” you might wonder. That’s what I love about you, dear reader – your inquisitive nature.

Had past the break for our full review.

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Hyper Defence XT - Review

We first mentioned Hyper Defence XT when it first hit the beta stages. The Windows Phone game has now hit the open Marketplace and our first impressions hold true.

Not much has changed with Hyper Defence XT since we last visited the pre-release version.  The tower defense game is set in the fictional Outpost 26 where you have to defend the outpost from invading aliens. There are a wide assortment of weapons to buy and upgrade to wipe out the invading hords.

Continued after the break.

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Bobble Biker - Review

The developers of Juice Factory have a new Windows Phone game over at the Marketplace. Bobble Biker is a motorcycle race game that has you navigate through a series of jumps, bumps and hazards without crashing or losing your head.

Bobble Biker has the multi-level race game, a race track creator and access to other user-created race tracks. Along the way you can earn cash to unlock addition bikes, upgrades and get new racers.

To read more on Bobble Biker, make the jump past the break.

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5

PES 2011 - Review

For those who aren't aware of Pro Evolution Soccer (PES), it's a series of football (soccer to some parts of the world) games by Konami that began back in 2001. It sports similar gameplay to the likes of Fifa by EA Games, but is put down by lack of licensing. PES2011 for Windows Phone is no exception with a handful of teams sporting unlicensed names – Man Red (Manchester United) and Man Blue (Manchester City) to name but a few.

Don't allow the above to put you off from trying PES2011 out, it really is a superb football sim for Windows Phone. There are a number of game types available including quick match, exhibition, UEFA club competition and leagues & cups with fairly challenging gameplay and intelligent AI. Head on past the break for the quick run through and video goodness.

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8tracks - A Mango app review

As described over at the Windows Phone Marketplace, 8tracks is a handcrafted internet radio for your Windows Phone. The Mango app offers a simple way to discover and share music through an online mix that contains at least eight tracks of music. The eight is actually the infinity symbol ( ∞ ), representing infinite music but "eight" is easier to type.

The 8tracks concept is rather interesting. You sign up for a free membership (here's their website), upload your favorite tunes in mixes (playlist for us old timers), and add them to 8tracks collection for all to enjoy. The Windows Phone app, taps into this collection and brings the mix to your phone.

The 8tracks app lays things out rather nicely with the ability to listen to established music mixes, create your own mix, as well as search the online library by artist or genre.

To see how well 8tracks performs, hit the jump past the break.

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5

Corona - Review

While puzzles games may be the easiest genre of game to develop, resulting in hundreds of them clogging up the Marketplace, 2D shooters (aka shoot-em-ups or shmups) are pretty common as well. Simple shooters with procedurally-generated levels and generic, lifeless backgrounds are a dime a dozen. While these games are fun in small doses, it’s easy to become apathetic toward them given their sheer numbers, generic designs, and how little content they really contain. That makes Finnish developer Kajak Games’ Corona all the more impressive. It packs all the content and personality of a real arcade shoot-em-up into an exclusive Windows Phone game at a fraction of the cost.

Fly past the break to see exclusive Corona concept art and, of course, our full review.

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Fight Game: Rivals - Review

The last few years have seen a revival of the fighting game genre, thanks in no small part to Capcom’s Street Fighter IV. That game even made the trip to iPhone intact, with simplified touch screen controls keeping the portable version fun and playable. Since Street Fighter IV hasn’t been ported to Windows Phone yet, the platform is wide open for a fighter.

Enter Fight Game: Rivals from Dutch developer Khaeon GameStudio. Rivals takes an entirely different approach to touch-screen fighting, replacing a virtual stick and buttons with turn-based strategy and minigames. It’s a clever approach, though the gameplay itself lacks variety.

Jump kick past the break for our full review.

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IonBallEX - Review

The Atari classic Breakout may have started the brick-breaking genre, but Taito’s Arkanoid took it to the next level, adding enemies and powerups into the mix. Enter indie developer IronSun Studios, whose IonBallEX draws liberal inspiration from Arkanoid while adding a few unique twists.

Before we get to the nuts and bolts, a history lesson: IonBallEX (a title which could seriously use one or two spaces) is the Xbox Live sequel to the original IonBall, which debuted as an indie game on Windows Phone (see our review). It then migrated to Xbox 360, also as an indie game. The only Xbox Live brick-breaking competition on Windows Phone is the abysmal 3D Brick Breaker Revolution (review), so IonBallEX is automatically the best game of its type by default. Thankfully it’s actually pretty good.

Slide past the break for our full review.

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Sudoku - Review

Sudoku, which comes from developer Babaroga and publisher Microsoft, is one of the first two free ad-supported games for Xbox Live. It’s currently available in the US only, though it will likely debut in lands afar eventually as well. There are a ton of different sudoku games on Windows Phone already. This version is certainly not definitive, but it’s a pretty good way to get some free Achievements.

Head past the break for our full review.

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