Reviews

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Word Blast - Review

Okay... here's another word game for your Windows Phone. Word Blast is a scrabble-like game that allows you to compete against other users online or pass and play with someone in person.

Where AlphaJax, Words by Post and Spellit follow the Windows Phone Metro theme, Word Blast takes on a more traditional layered design. You have a main menu that gives you access to creating games, view games, view the leaderboard, and access your gaming options. From there you're sent to other menus to access more particular parts of the game.

More after the break.

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16

Words by Post - Review

We've covered our fair share of word games for the Windows Phone. Some may argue that there are way too many word games in the Marketplace.  But, word games are an easy way to pass the time and can be entertaining, challenging and competitive.

Words by Post is such a game. Sure, it's another scrabble type game but Words by Post expands your opponent base by jumping platforms.  Words by Post is compatible with the games iPhone and Android versions.

Among the scrabble-type games,  AlphaJax may be the front runner with its fantastic appearance and large player base.  But the cross platform feature definitely makes a case for Words by Post to be the top dog.

Head on past the break to see how Words by Post measures up.

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6

Basecamp - Review

Basecamp is a tracking app for your Windows Phone that should help you from loosing your way while your out hiking, climbing, surfing or whatever voodoo that you do while in the great outdoors. Basecamp helps you remember what to do at the fork in the trail as you head back to camp, where you parked your car, and will also remind you when to start heading back to camp.

The core function of Basecamp is to set a GPS coordinate for your base camp and help track yourself back when you venture out. Basecamp will also help you send out an SOS should you find yourself in trouble. To see how well Basecamp can tracks your steps, hit the break.

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Activity Roulette - Review

Having a hard time deciding what to do? There's a Windows Phone app to help you with that.

Activity Roulette is available over at the Marketplace to help you make those tough choices on dinner, recreational activities, movies, office pranks and more. Activity Roulette includes a series of preset topics that can be listed by popularity or newness. The topics include not only social activities but roulettes for more personal activities such as studying, doing your homework, and choosing a color.

Continued after the break.

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5

Monkey Mini Golf - Review

There simply is not enough golf games over at the Windows Phone Marketplace. But things are looking better with the release of Monkey Mini-Golf.

While it's a miniature golf game (nothing wrong with that but would it be so bad to have an 18 hole EA Sports golf game?), it has a certain appeal to it. Graphically, it reminds me a lot of the Donkey Kong games that hit later in that titles lifespan. The miniature golf holes do have a degree of challenge to them and gaming controls are simple, yet effective.

To read more on Monkey Mini Golf, ease on past the break.

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MustEatBrains - Review

At some point Zombies became popular and your Windows Phone isn't exempt from their influence. It wasn't long ago we first shared with you the latest game involving the undead, MustEatBrains. Since, we've had some time to spend some hands on time with the game and found it to be a mixed bag.

Graphically, the game is well presented. I like the hand-drawn, retro feel to the game. Animations are nice, game controls decent, and the plot simple. To learn more on the latest zombie game to hit the Marketplace, hit the break.

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Quask - Short Take

We present to you Quask from Skyboost. Quask is a question-answer app for your Windows Phone that responds to questions that are entered via the keyboard or submitted by voice. Quask will then try to answer your question audibly.

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6

Beards and Beaks - Review

Real-time strategy games can be tough to get right on platforms other than computers. Console controllers can’t match the speed and accuracy of a mouse, so most developers don’t even try. Smartphones are much better at recreating mouse-style controls thanks to their touchscreens, but the lower screen resolution compared to PCs still complicates things. Thus, non-PC strategy games tend to be of the less click-intensive tower defense variety. But Microsoft Game Studios has bravely crafted a casual RTS experience with Beards & Beaks, the Windows Phone-exclusive Xbox Live title.

Beards & Beaks (which I always want to type as ‘Birds & Beaks’ for some reason) revolves around two warring tribes: gnomes and crows. Each side competes to collect treasure before the other, inflicting as much harm as possible along the way. Strangely, the game is completely devoid of an actual story - a missed opportunity given the unique and adorable character designs. Even Angry Birds (whose ‘birds versus pigs’ premise is similar enough) has story sequences, after all!

Flick past the break for our full review.

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2

Frogger - Review

Updating a classic game for modern audiences is tricky business. Change it too much and you’ll turn off people who liked the original. But stick too closely to the original and it might not appeal to today’s gamers. For examples of perfectly accurate classic ports that are unlikely to gel with people living in the now, see Asteroids Deluxe and Lunar Lander. The Windows Phone port of Frogger, oddly enough, is simultaneously too similar and too different to make much of an impression. It’s not as bad as getting hit by a car, but Konami could have done a lot better.

What qualifies Frogger as a classic? The game made quite a splash when it debuted in arcades in 1981. Its premise and game play are fairly unique: help a group of frogs cross the highway, one at a time, and make it safely to their homes. Most importantly, it inspired a terrific early Bad Religion song.

Jump across the street and past the break for our full review.

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3

Falling Skies - Review

TNT is a forward-thinking network. First they picked up the sci-fi series Falling Skies, which comes from executive producer Stephen Spielberg. Science fiction can be expensive to produce so we don’t see nearly enough of it on television. Only a few episodes of the show have aired so far, but it’s already been picked up for a second season. Further showing support for the show, TNT has also released a companion app for Windows Phone. It comes to us from Chaotic Moon Studios, the developers of numerous official apps like Best Buy and FlightAware.

Before we talk about the app, let’s touch on the show itself. Falling Skies takes place six months after a malevolent alien race has conquered the earth, killing most of the human population. A group of freedom fighters, the Second Massachusetts, struggles to push back the invaders while protecting as many civilians as possible. These defenders include the protagonist Tom Mason, a former history professor (played by Noah Wyle); his teenage son Hal Mason (Drew Roy); Captain Weaver (Will Patton) – the military leader of the group; and Anne Glass (the always attractive Moon Bloodgood), a pediatrician-turned-medic. The show features plenty of action and intrigue. Occasional sappy moments, mostly involving Tom’s youngest son Matt (Maxim Knight) may induce groans, but they’re largely overshadowed by the better bits.

Head past the jump for our full review.

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4

Bubble Town 2 - Review

Windows Phone is just crawling with puzzle games, both of the indie and Xbox Live varieties. Puzzlers are probably the single easiest type of game to develop and they’re well-suited to playing on the go, so it makes sense. Bubble Town 2 from I-Play is one such game, released early on for Xbox Live. It’s an adaptation of a once-popular Facebook game that since been pulled by the publisher. Bubble Town may be a ghost town on Facebook, but is it worth visiting on Windows Phone? Perhaps…

Bubble Town’s got something of a story, aimed at the young‘uns. A bunch of evil aliens called Lumps are invading Bubble Town, and it’s up to the Borbs to stop them. See, even though Bubble Town has the word bubble in its name and is a clone of a spin-off of Bubble Bobble  - Bust-a-Move/Puzzle Bobble, the game doesn’t technically contain any bubbles. They’re Borbs. The writing in the pre-level story sequences is about what you’d expect from a cut-rate kids’ cartoon show, though it does at least inject some personality into the proceedings. Impatient gamers can always skip past them anyway.

Shoot past the break for our full review.

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Bandit: Rustler - Review

Cattle Rustlin' has hit the Windows Phone. Where Crazy Horses calls for you to lasso and corral horses, Bandit: Rustler has you lassoing and collecting stampeding cattle.

The game is well presented with colorful, cartoon animations. But good graphics is but one aspect of a quality game. To find out more on Bandit:Rustler, mosey on past the break.

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Apple Bin - Review

Looking for a game for your Windows Phone that's challenging, entertaining and unique? Check out Apple Bin from Escape Development.

The goal is to toss an apple into the bin in the fewest throws possible. Much like the paper toss games but as you progress through the levels, the game throws obstacles in your way to hinder your shots.

More after the break.

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3

Tiki Towers - Review

When you think of puzzle games, falling-block games like Tetris and match-three games such as Bejeweled probably spring to mind. But there is another type of puzzler that differs greatly from those games. I speak, of course, of the physics-based puzzle game. These games challenge players to place items throughout a level, using their interaction with the level and the game’s physics to accomplish a goal. Tiki Towers from Game House falls into this cerebral sub-genre.

The premise of Tiki Towers involves an airplane dropping numerous boxes of monkeys onto several different islands. All five of a box’s monkeys must make it from their box to the goal in order to complete a level. The monkeys have their own AI and will walk and jump short distances. But each level contains peaks, pits, and other hazards that the simians can’t surmount on their own. That’s where the player comes in.

Grab a banana and swing past the break for our full review.

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4

Sally's Salon Luxury Edition - Review

Sally's Salon lead

Sally’s Salon is cut from the same cloth as other time management games like Diner Dash. The goal in each level is to please as many customers as possible without keeping anyone waiting longer than necessary. Customers enter the establishment with five hearts floating over their heads – some empty and some filled. If they are made to wait too long at any point in the visit, the hearts will start to empty. Once they run out, the customer leaves in frustration. Performing services that please the customers will fill up their hearts. Different kinds of customers have different patience levels and tipping habits; learning which ones to prioritize is part of the fun.

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Banzai Birds - Review

The Windows Phone Marketplace has Angry Birds where you toss birds from a slingshot, Twitter Hunter where you try to shoot at the birds and now you have Banzai Birds where you aid birds parachute safely to the ground.

Game play is simple, birds begin a free fall to the ground and at some point you tap the screen to deploy their parachute. Sounds simple, right?

Drop on past the break to see how simple Banzai Birds can be.

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Brain App - Review

Brain games are a great way to pass the time with on your Windows Phone. They can be entertaining, educational and good exercise for your noggin'. Brain App is a four challenge brain game from Chris Meyer that is challenging enough to keep you interested but not too difficult to get you frustrated.

The Windows Phone game includes math, sequencing, and identification challenges that have both easy and advanced levels. If you like brain stimulating games, slide on past the break to see how Brain App measures up.

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25

Dell Venue Pro - Review

Dell made a shaky entrance into the Windows Phone 7 market. You had supply issues, quality control issues and software headaches. Slowly but surely these problems are getting ironed out with the Venue Pro but does it leave consumers with a quality Windows Phone?

While some may see this as being late to the table (Dell isn't that generous with review units), we decided to take advantage of the $299.99 sale and ordered a few on our own. Out of the box, the Venue Pro makes a nice first impression. The 4.1" AMOLED Screen has a good bit of pop to it with vibrant colors and sharp contrast. But does the positive first impression last?

Just make the jump past the break to see if the Dell Venue Pro continued to shine or dulled a little after several days of use.

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Phonealytics - Review

Analytics, the right-hand man for any web developer or e-consultant, is the base of all marketing campaigns, social expeditions and performance reports for any website. Google Analytics is the freely available and widely used software offered by the search giant for webmasters to take advantage of. The beauty of Google Analytics is the integration it has with Feedburner and Adsense as well as available APIs. It's freely available and offers webmasters with a fairly accurate picture of how a web property is performing (should visitors have JavaScript enabled). Although one must remember that nothing can compare to server-side software like AWStats etc. with accuracy.

The most useful data that's looked at includes visits/visitors, bounce rate, time-on-site and sources. As mentioned above, it's vital for marketing, reports and optimization of software or pages. Visits and visitors are counted and recorded to calculate the ratio for new visits against returning visitors. Bounce rate determines how relevant or effective your site is to captured audience. Time-on-site is pretty self-explanatory, while sources covers where visitors came from (be it search engines, direct or referring sites).

Unfortunately, since Google Analytics makes use of Flash for graph rendering, the service is less-than available on smartphone platforms that do not support Flash. How would a Windows Phone user keep up with site statistics while on the go? Allow me to introduce Phonealytics, by Luke Lowrey. 

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10

Word Arena - Review/Preview [Updated]

The Windows Phone Marketplace has its fair share of word games and in the coming days, its numbers will grow by at least one. Z Games, the developers of Bubble Burst and Pandemic, have submitted Word Arena to the Marketplace. Word Arena reminds me of Wordrix and Wordament but with a few more features. We had the opportunity to get a sneak peak at Word Arena and found it to be an enjoyable Windows Phone game.

To find out more about this new word game for your Windows Phone, slide on past the break.

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Blackjack Caribbean - Review

Looking for a simple game of blackjack? One with a pirate feel to it? Blackjack Caribbean from XIMAD is being offered over at the Windows Phone Marketplace that might fit the bill.

Blackjack Caribbean is a simply, yet entertaining, version of blackjack. The game's graphics are nice and the game ran smoothly with no bumps, glitches or crashes experienced. Blackjack Caribbean is a free, ad-supported game and to read more on the game, hit the break.

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Star Ninja - Review

Star Ninja has been available at the Windows Phone Marketplace for some time now and pits ninjas against pirates. Not exactly your classic conflict but entertaining nonetheless.

The game includes four game modes and fifty levels of play. It does have a Shuriken Ninja feel to it but challenging enough to stand on its own. To find out more about Star Ninja, skip on past the break.

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