breeze

Everybody loves free games – especially Xbox Live ones. Updates are usually welcome too. On that note, ad-supported freebie Breeze, from Null City Software and Microsoft Studios, just received a festive holiday update.

Breeze version 1.1 release notes:

  • Adds holiday-based theme support
  • Fixes a few collision bugs

The holiday theme support is quite timely with Valentine’s Day just around the corner. Play the game any time between now and Tuesday, February 14th to see the new visuals. The player’s flower is currently a rose, and every level’s maze looks a bit love-lier than usual as well. Rob Hutchinson at Null City also offered this tantalizing comment: “Playing the game at different points of the year may yield different visual effects.” Anybody want to play with your phone’s calendar and investigate that hint?

Breeze is a fun little maze game with 50 GamerScore of easy Achievements – see our review for full details. Considering that the game is free and all dressed up for the holiday, Windows Phone gamers have no excuse not to give it a download. You’ll find it here on the Marketplace.

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While it’s tough for indie games to get noticed on Xbox 360, several of them have found new life as Xbox Live titles on Windows Phone. Breeze is the latest game to make the jump. Developed almost entirely by one person – Rob Hutchinson of Null City Software, Breeze doesn't quite share the scale of most other Xbox Live games. Thankfully it’s a free (and ad-supported) game, and should go over well with a wide variety of gamers.

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The series of free, ad-supported Xbox Live games that began with Minesweeper and Sudoku now continues with Breeze. The new game comes from the same Microsoft producer as previous titles (Kirby Leung) and developer Rob Hutchinson at Null City Software. For more details about the game’s development (and original Xbox 360 version), check out our exclusive preview.

Breeze is basically a maze navigation name. In each level, players must blow the flower from the start to the goal, sometimes collecting Sunshine orbs in order to unlock the goal. Touch anything – a wall or moving obstacle – and you’ll have to retry the level. As such, managing the flower’s momentum plays an important role in keeping it safe.

I’ve enjoyed my short playtime with Breeze so far. Its 50 GamerScore of Achievements are seriously easy as they don’t even require playing on the Hardcore difficulty. I found the tilt controls actually work much better than touch. The problem with touch is that the flower moves in the opposite direction of where you touch the screen, making you have to think in reverse. Thankfully tilt just moves the flower in the direction of the phone’s tilt – not sure why touch couldn’t have worked the same way.

Breeze is now available in English speaking countries and will come to other regions at a later date worldwide. You can grab it here on the Marketplace.

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Xbox 360 version trailer

Last week we said that two Xbox Live games would hit the Marketplace this Wednesday the 14th. It turns out that wasn’t quite accurate… But don’t worry, it’s good news! Joining Battlewagon and Doodle God will be Breeze, for a total of three Xbox Live releases in one week!

What’s Breeze, you ask? We’ve got exclusive early details. The goal of Breeze is to navigate a flower through 60 maze-like outdoor levels. Each level has a goal that must be unlocked by collecting Sunshine orbs, plus dangerous obstacles like tree branches that can snag the fragile flower.

Instead of directly moving the flower around those hazards, you’ll control the wind that blows the flower – hence the name.  The game offers two control types: Touch and Tilt. Touch mode uses multi-touch controls; whatever points you touch acting as the source of the breeze. Tilt controls work as you’d expect, allowing players to control the breeze by moving their phones to and fro.

Breeze is a relaxing game, with lovely backdrops and a soothing soundtrack consisting of four songs (one for each in-game season). For those keeping score, that makes Breeze the first free, ad-supported mobile Xbox Live title with music. Getting back to the gameplay, the game also offers a Hardcore difficulty for players who like a challenge. Hardcore makes the flower larger, takes away the Air-Brake ability, and reduces the time limit of each level.

Origins

Breeze is the brainchild of Rob Hutchinson of Null City Software and will be published by Microsoft. Rob created the concept while university, and went on to publish the game as an Xbox Live Indie Game on Xbox 360 in August. While other Xbox Live Indie Games have graduated to Xbox Live games on Windows Phone, Breeze is the first to be distributed as a free, ad-supported game.

Almost here

The Windows Phone version of Breeze comes to English-speaking territories this Wednesday, December 14. It will require the Mango update. The Xbox 360 version is available right now for 240 Microsoft Points ($3). You can purchase it here.

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