cross-platform multiplayer

Early this summer, a big batch of Xbox Windows Phone and Windows 8 games disappeared from the Store and into the ether. Some of these games would return without their Xbox features, we reported, while others would stay gone for good. One of those delisted titles was Carcassonne, a strategic board game from German developer Exozet games. This week, it finally returned to Windows Phone.

Formerly a Windows Phone 7 title, Carcassonne has been upgraded to Windows Phone 8 status. The new version looks better and plays faster than ever. It has a new cross-platform online multiplayer mode that should make playing with friends easier than before. And even better, Carcassonne supports universal purchases. Buy it once and get the Windows Phone and Windows 8 and RT versions. Read on to find out how the game plays and what changes the Remastered version brings!

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Unity support has really helped some of the larger mobile games come to Windows Phone, even if we still get them later than other platforms. Case in point, Russian-publisher Nival has just published King’s Bounty: Legions on Windows Phone 8. King’s Bounty is a turn-based strategy series that started its life on Sega Genesis/Mega Drive long ago and continues to thrive on Steam.

King’s Bounty: Legions is exciting for a number of reasons. For one, it’s a serious strategy game and it’s free to play. More importantly, it supports cloud saves and cross-platform multiplayer via Facebook! You can start playing on Windows Phone and then pick up where you left off on Steam, Facebook, iOS, and Android. Read on for more impressions.

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Last week’s Apps World was an event dedicated to mobile games and apps - and the craft of making them. Apps World culminated with the Big Indie Pitch, a contest in which game developers pitched their games to members of the press. I look forward to telling you all about my experience with the Pitch very soon.

In the meantime, let’s look at one of the two games that won the Big Indie Pitch. New York-based developer Odin’s Hammer bought their social interaction/photo game Revel to the show. Revel is a unique scavenger hunt-style game in which players take photos of things in their environment and try to outdo their peers. And though it’s a long way off, Revel will be coming to Windows Phone!

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Six-Guns is one of the largest scale Xbox games for Windows Phone 8 thanks to its open world setting and vast assortment of missions to complete. Despite some overbearing In-App Purchases and an undercooked multiplayer mode, Gameloft’s western-themed game has legions of fans.

Shortly before Six-Guns’ arrival on Windows Phone 8, Gameloft also announced a version for Windows 8 and RT. We knew little about the tablet and PC version other than its status as an Xbox title, but the mostly great Windows 8 port of Asphalt 7 inspired hopes. Now Six-Guns has arrived on Windows 8 and we’ve put it through its paces.

Does the big-screen port match gamers’ expectations? Read on to find out and see hands on video!

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Windows Phone has its share of graphically intense 3D racing gamers like Asphalt 7 and Hydro Thunder Go. 3D racers can be beautiful and exciting, but overhead-style racing games have their own simple, retro appeal.

Indie developer Black Coal Studio has recently ported just such a game to Windows Phone 8: Paper Racer.  With super cute hand-drawn artwork, custom car designs, and cross-platform online multiplayer, this little racing game might just be worth a look.

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Galactic Reign is a Microsoft game that was co-developed with Canadian developer Slant Six Games that pretty much came out of nowhere when it appeared on Xbox Windows Phone 7 and 8 and Windows 8 and RT last week. For gamers who have yet to upgrade to Windows Phone 8, another Xbox game that runs on the previous OS is always a blessing. And cross-platform multiplayer is something we can all appreciate, regardless of which Windows Phone we carry.

Last week, we posted an extensive impressions piece about the Windows 8 version of Galactic Reign. This week, I’m back with a full review that covers both versions. Read on to find out whether or not this sci-fi strategy game has universal staying power.

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In a recent editorial, I complained that Microsoft has largely stopped announcing or publicizing Windows Phone games in advance. Well, this week we have a prime example of that. Galactic Reign from Slant Six and Microsoft Studios has just showed on Windows 8 and RT with Xbox features and will appear for Windows Phone 7 and 8 devices (also with Xbox features) later today.

Microsoft teased the game back in October but made absolutely no mention of platforms, so nobody really knew it was coming, and especially not as a multiplatform release with connectivity features. But other than the lack of proper PR, a new game showing up on Windows Phone and Windows 8 with cross-platform asynchronous multiplayer is always good news, so we’ll stop complaining. For now.

Since the Windows 8 game launched ahead of the mobile version, we’ve already put several hours into it. Head past the break for our full impressions, plus details about buying the game on one platform and playing it from another!

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Microsoft hasn't pushed gaming enough on Windows Phone, which has been adequately covered in our series of editorials by Paul Acevedo. We've gone into some detail as to who Microsoft can save Xbox Games for Windows Phone, but it seems the company does have plans to tackle the issue. Still aiming for the "Three Screens" goal, Microsoft is looking to release some titles in the future to take advantage of cross-platform support.

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Microsoft has never released a portable console like the Playstation Vita or 3DS, instead opting to publish Xbox-branded games for Windows Phone and Windows 8… A wise choice given the modern trend towards smartphone and tablet gaming over handheld game systems. With the Xbox 360’s excellent lineup of downloadable games, Windows Phone users rightfully expected the chance to play many of their XBLA favorites on their mobile phones.

Unfortunately, the number of robust, XBLA-quality titles released for Xbox Windows Phone to date is incredibly small. I count only Final Fantasy, Puzzle Quest 2, Castlevania Puzzle, ilomilo, Plants vs. Zombies, Sonic 4: Episode I, and Sonic CD as games with full console-level production values and quantity of content. Crimson Dragon Side Story, Hydro Thunder GO, and Civilization Revolution would be on there too if not for their Playstation One-era graphics. Maybe 11 games out of Xbox Windows Phone’s over 150 titles feel like full XBLA games and not just smartphone/casual titles.

Well, add another game to the top-tier pile because Skulls of the Shogun from 17-BIT and Microsoft Studios fits right alongside the XBLA and Windows 8 versions that released alongside it.

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Here at Windows Phone Central, we’re all big fans of strategy title ARMED! from Dallas-based indie developer Sickhead Games. Among the game’s many qualities are sharp 3D graphics, intuitive controls, online multiplayer, and of course, plenty of strategic depth. Not only that, but Sickhead has regularly updated the game since its release, tweaking and improving a variety of elements with each patch.

The latest update, version 1.6 is no less impressive than previous updates. The update just went live so look for it pushing out any time.  We've got the full list of changes to share with you, the most impressive of which is the new price: $2.99, down from $3.99. That and more ARMED! news after the break.

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