Reviews

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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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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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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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More Brain Exercise - Review

When Nintendo’s Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! debuted on the DS in 2006, it jump started the brain training sub-genre. Based on the theories of neuroscientist Dr. Ryūta Kawashima and featuring his image, Brain Age contained a variety of minigames and puzzles aimed at ‘exercising’ the brain and thus (supposedly) improving mental functions. It also included the single best videogame version of sudoku that I’ve ever played. Brain Age’s runaway sales success inspired many imitators, including mobile Xbox Live titles Brain Challenge from Gameloft and More Brain Exercise from Namco Bandai Games. More Brain Exercise is the closer of the two to Brain Age’s fantastic design, but unfortunately it’s a pretty poor copy.

Head past the break for our full review, brainy readers.

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Enigmo - Review

iBlast Moki may have been the first Xbox Live physics puzzler on Windows Phone, but the genre itself goes much farther back. Take, for example, Enigmo, a game that Austin-based Pangaea Software originally published on personal computers in 2003. The puzzler met with huge success at the time, and has since been ported to a variety of platforms as well as spawning a sequel. The Windows Phone port of Enigmo comes from fellow Austin developer Chaotic Moon Studios. It’s a no-frills port, but the cerebral gameplay holds up quite well.

Splash past the break for our full review.

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Snake - Review

XIMAD is offering Snake over at the Windows Phone Marketplace with is yet another variation of the classic snake game. The game of snake has gone a long way since the days of the monochrome version that was on so many Nokia bar phones.

The game premise hasn't changed a bit. You guide your snake around the screen collecting gems and artifacts while avoiding obstacles. The game has two modes, Arcade and Challenge. The Arcade Mode has you score points to work your way through multiple levels.  Each level has a required number of gems to collect in order to advance to the next level.  The further you advance, the more challenging the levels become.

The Challenge Mode is more of a free-style game that has you competing for a high score.  The more gems you collect, the longer the snake becomes.  The longer your snake becomes, the more challenging maneuvers become.

More after the break.

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Trail Buddy - Review

Trail Buddy is a location tracking application for your Windows Phone that can be used for hiking, biking, geocaching and other activities that require GPS and/or mapping. Trail Buddy's features include:

  • Create multiple trails with waypoints (aka points of interest) and tracks
  • Start, pause, stop track recording and view current location information on one easy-to-read page
  • View your location, waypoints and track on a map (accessing maps requires a good quality connection)
  • View accumulated stats at any time for the current trail
  • Pre-define waypoints or capture your current position along a trail - you can even set a waypoint from the map
  • Take pictures directly from the waypoint page

To see how well these features work out for Trail Buddy, take the jump past the break.

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Tap Shot - Review

Here's a fun game to pass the time with. Tap Shot is a finger tap shooting gallery for your Windows Phone that will test your reaction time and powers of observations. 

The goal of the game is simple. Tap the screen to shoot as many targets as they appear on the screen within thirty seconds, avoid tapping friendly targets and don't miss. The game has three levels of play to keep you challenged.  Take the jump past the break to read more about Tap Shot and catch our hands-on video.

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