dotw

Yesterday Windows Phone Central reported that Sally’s Salon Luxury Edition, the first game in the Sally’s series for Windows Phone, had been reduced in price from $4.99 to $2.99. While many believed the price change to represent the return of the Windows Phone Xbox Live Deal of the Week program, we did say it could have simply been a permanent price drop...

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Since the Xbox Live Deal of the Week program’s humble inception in March 2011 (with Frogger on sale), the program has become quite popular with deal hunting gamers. Perhaps I should say had become, because the deals of the week unceremoniously stopped coming after the August 8 late Marketplace update.

We theorized that Microsoft’s Xbox Live gaming division might have been too busy gearing up for Windows Phone 8 to bother with poor little WP7 games any more. Whether or not that played a factor, the program just might be back! Sally’s Salon Luxury Edition from Game House is now $2.99, down from $4.99.

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It’s a great week for Windows Phone gamers. Not only do we get a terrific new release, but the Deal of the Week is a game that’s never been on sale before. Need for Speed: Undercover, a launch title from Electronic Arts is finally on sale for $2.99, down from $4.99.

Now, I wasn’t much impressed with the more recent NFS title, Hot Pursuit – see my review. But Undercover isn’t bogged down with endless grinding or absurd difficulty. It’s just fast racing in beautiful licensed cars, as you’d expect from the series. Just look at our review; it’s pretty glowing.

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geoDefense has returned as this week's Xbox LIVE Deal of the Week on Windows Phone. Previously taking the title back in November 2011, it's good to see the futuristic light show tower defence game returning with a discounted price tag. The much loved Xbox LIVE title now has an older brother, geoDefense Swarm, but many still power up this classic while on the move.

geoDefense puts the player in charge of forming a tower-based defence around a generated path. This path is where creatures and critters will make their way along to the end where a number displays the remaining lives. Should a creep make their way to this point, a life will be deducted. A solid strategic mind is required to ensure the placement of towers, as well as types used, prevents these pests from making it.

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It took a bit longer than usual, but we have a new Xbox Live Deal of the Week at last. And I do mean new – Splinter Cell: Conviction is on sale for the first time. It’s just $2.99 this week, down from $4.99.

This version of Splinter Cell tells the story of series lead Sam Fisher’s investigation into the death of his daughter. To do that, he'll need to sneak around in the shadows, killing hundreds of guards when they’re not looking. That's what they get! A number of voiced cinematic sequences drive home the console-like feeling.

That makes sense because Conviction is actually a port of the excellent Xbox 360 game, though the level designs are different. Despite the rudimentary 3D graphics (darn XNA) and a few difficulty spikes, Splinter Cell is a fun and easy 200 GamerScore overall. Check out our review for more details.

Splinter Cell: Conviction is on sale for $2.99 for one week only. Get it here on the Marketplace. QR code after the break...

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Are you a fan of plants? Do you hate zombies? Then if you haven’t already purchased Plants vs. Zombies from PopCap Games, now is your chance because it’s the Deal of the Week!

Plants vs. Zombies is up there with one of the best Xbox LIVE titles for Windows Phone. It has cute graphics, hilarious and bizarre gameplay and it has an addictive quality that makes many users unable to put it down. For these reasons we give it a big thumbs-up and highly recommend it.

The game mostly involves planting plants that shoot at various zombies attacking your house. Variations in plants, ammo, tactics and zombies keep this alternate-tower defense game from getting stale.

All is not perfect though as PvZ hasn’t had an update since January and it is still missing proper Mango support (gah!) which is a heck of a shame since it’s so easy to fix. Hopefully PopCap can get around to fixing that and maybe adding a few bonuses for the rest of us?

You can read our full review of Plants vs Zombies to get an idea on our thoughts and our interview with the developer, PopCap. Otherwise, grab the free trial here in the Marketplace for Windows Phone. The game normally fetches for $4.99 but is on sale for one-week for $2.99. Go!

Don't forget, tonight's new Xbox LIVE is Gun Bros.

Thanks, Thomas, for the tip!

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Yes, our DOTW images are getting more and more obscure.

Last week Gerbil Physics - a game that had never been on sale before - became the Xbox Live Deal of the Week. That must’ve been an aberration, as this week we get another repeat deal. Bejeweled Live is on sale again for $2.99, down from $4.99.

Bejeweled is the classic match-3 puzzle game that has enchanted casual gamers across a variety of platforms. If you’re hungry for a simple puzzle game to play whenever a spare moment pops up, Bejeweled is a good place to look. As our review indicates, the Windows Phone version has three ways to play: Classic, Race the Clock, and Endless. It’s also got some tough and grindy Achievements despite being a casual title, but that’s PopCap games for you.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m ready for either the enhanced iOS version of Bejeweled (based on Bejeweled 3) or Zuma’s Revenge to come to Windows Phone. In the meantime, Bejeweled Live could use a permanent price drop, and it wouldn’t hurt to put Plants vs. Zombies on sale at last. Come on PopCap, make our dreams come true!

Bejeweled Live is on sale for $2.99 for one week only. Grab it here  on the Marketplace.

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This must be animal week for Xbox Live on Windows Phone. First we get the simian-themed Super Monkey Ball 2 as a new release, and now the sale game features hundreds of cuddly rodents. Plus it’s never been on sale before, unlike the previous June deals! Gerbil Physics from Pencel Games is on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99.

Sure, Gerbil Physics is a physics-based puzzle game, and we all own like twelve of those already. But this one’s 20 times cuter than the competition! Each level presents stacks of adorable, well drawn gerbils which players must then knock over with well-placed bombs. The Windows Phone version includes 72 levels (three times as many levels as the original Xbox 360 game), lots of new animations, music, and some entertaining story sequences, too.

We’ve heard whispers that a Gerbil Physics title update is in the works. I say whispers, but I might’ve put in a few suggestions as with the recent Chickens Can’t Fly update. Hey, I just mentioned another animal game! If only I could’ve worked Kinectimals into this post too… Oh well. Anyway, we’ll talk more about that update as soon as we can.

Gerbil Physics is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Get it here on the Marketplace and start saving those gerbils!

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We saw a lady wearing these at E3. I approved.

After a lengthy delay on the Marketplace update, nothing could please bargain hunters more than a repeat Deal of the Week, right? Somebody thought so, as this week’s DOTW is Tetris from Electronic Arts. Just like August and November last year, it’s on sale for $2.99, down from $4.99.

The Windows Phone version of Tetris is actually quite slick. It’s got great visuals and a good remix of the classic Tetris theme “Korobeiniki.” There are numerous gameplay variants such as Gravity and Radical that add a bit of variety to the game we’ve all played a million times before. Some have complained about the touch screen controls (swipe left and right to steer, tap to rotate, and swipe down to drop pieces), but I find them to be natural and effective enough. Our review also praises the game’s stat tracking. The actual game does not feature tights however, for better or worse.

Tetris is on sale for $2.99 for one week. Puzzle fans who aren’t too busy with Fling can pick ol' Tetris up here on the Marketplace.

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Repeat Deal of the Weeks are all the rage lately, and what better game to put on sale again than the graphically impressive and challenging Tentacles from Press Play? Just like back in December, Tentacles is on sale again. But the price is actually lower this time thanks to a recent price drop, making this the best deal yet.

Tentacles is the tale of a Japanese fetish gone awry. Wait, wrong tentacles! Actually, the game stars Lemmy, a small tentacled creature who ends up inside the body of his mad scientist creator. Unique touch controls allow Lemmy to move one tentacle at a time, navigating dangerous levels and eating eyeballs for health. With 40 levels (plus optional PDLC levels), beautiful 3D graphics and 2D story sequences, and an atmospheric soundtrack, Tentacles could be a game you’ll fall in love with.

One caveat though… As mentioned in our review, the difficulty ramps up in later levels (say 20 and on), leading to bouts of frustration. Depending on your patience and constitution, your experience could be different.

Tentacles is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Get it here on the Marketplace.

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 Today at E3 we had the pleasure of meeting a few of the fine folks at Gameloft. And what a coincidence, a Gameloft title is now the Xbox Live Deal of the Week. Assassin’s Creed is on sale for $2.99, down from $4.99. While it has experienced a price drop (down from a wallet-killing $6.99) and was part of last year’s Black Friday sale, this is its first official appointment as the DOTW.

Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles (review) is a 3D platformer/action title set in the middle ages. With great graphics and full voice acting (though the acting is atrocious), it feels like a DS game squeezed into a mobile title (‘cause it is). The controls are fiddly and the platforming can be frustrating, but the story and action mostly make up for it.

Assassin’s Creed is on sale for $2.99 for one week only. Get it here on the Marketplace as you prepare for the upcoming console release of Assassin’s Creed 3 (pictured).

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Chickens Can’t Fly from Amused Sloth is regarded by many as one of the best games on Xbox Live. How do you make a good game even sweeter? Put it on sale! That’s right; Chickens Can’t Fly is now the Xbox Live Deal of the Week at $1.99, down from $2.99.

In this tale of science versus nature, players control a hapless chicken as he’s harangued by cruel scientists. In each level, the chicken falls (not flies) through more than 60 massive obstacle courses while trying not to get sliced, fried, or electrocuted along the way. Great tilt controls, sharp artwork, and a subversive sense of humor make Chickens Can’t Fly a joy to play. Check out our review for more details.

Chickens Can’t Fly is due for a major title update anytime now, adding new features like Avatar Awards and asynchronous multiplayer.  Check back tomorrow when Windows Phone Central will provide an exclusive peek at how the update tweaks the difficulty for the better as well.

Chickens Can’t Fly is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Don’t stand their crowing – get it here on the marketplace right away.

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Those hoping for an exciting Deal of the Week will likely be disappointed this time out. The latest sale is a repeat: Monopoly from Electronic Arts. It’s on sale for $2.99, down from an overpriced $4.99.

What can you say about Monopoly? Our review praises its faithfulness to the original board game and support of customizing the game rules. The lack of online multiplayer keeps the game from being all that it could be, but that’s mobile Xbox Live for you. Thankfully the game does support local multiplayer, which could be fun if you’re stuck somewhere with nothing to do. Easy Achievements (only one of which is luck based) might provide an incentive to buy as well.

Monopoly is on sale for $2.99 for one week only. Grab it here on the Marketplace.

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This week, neon colors are all the rage on Windows Phone. On the one hand, you’ve got new Xbox Live release geoDefense Swarm, which promises to be super fun. On the other: BulletAsylum from UberGeekGames is the Deal of the Week, on sale for $1.99.

BulletAsylum is a modern take on the arcade classic Missile Defense. Aliens rain down from the sky and it’s up to your turrets to stop them. You can use a single finger to fire all your weapons at one area or two fingers to split the fire. Game modes include the extremely easy Arcade, an endless Survival mode that has no Achievements for some reason, and the frustratingly hard Architect mode.

It’s easy to get into BulletAsylum thanks to the pretty colors and flashing lights. The unlocking system is decent, and the Achievements are attainable for most mortal men and women. Still, I found the gameplay far too simplistic to maintain interest; the lack of depth really keeps the game from having much staying power. Check out our review for a lengthier – and dare I say more eloquent - explanation.

BulletAsylum is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Get it here on the Marketplace and let those bullets fly!

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Now that some high quality games like Feed Me Oil are launching at the 99 cent price point, would you consider buying a crummy iPhone port for twice the cost? That’s what we get for the latest Xbox Live Deal of the Week: Pocket God from ngmoco:). It’s on sale again for $1.99, down from $2.99.

Pocket God started as an iPhone game from Bolt Creative. In addition to its cute art and humor, the iOS game is known for its frequent episodic updates, which add new environments, minigames, and other fun content, all for free (vanity PDLC packs are also available). ngmoco:), who handles both the Windows Phone and Android ports of Pocket God, simply hasn’t shown a commitment to maintaining parity with the primary version.

The Windows Phone Pocket God in particular is plagued with semi-broken Achievements like ‘Shark Snap – God,’ whose description reads “Score over 100 shark snaps” but actually requires a ludicrous 1,000 snaps. The game hasn’t been updated in over a year, despite a promise from the developers last April. As a result, our version lags at least 8 episodes behind the superior iPhone game (which sell for 99 cents).

In ngmoco:)’s defense, the Xbox Live certification process is notoriously laborious and frustrating for developers. The situation seems to have improved somewhat since December, when we saw an explosion of title updates. That said, the floodgate still hasn’t allowed Revolution’s extremely long-delayed update to pass. I understand all that, but speaking as a consumer, it’s just not cool to sell a much inferior product for a higher price. Given Pocket God’s glitchiness and lack of content, a permanent price drop is in order, not a small sale.

Pocket God is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Get it here on the Marketplace.

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If you’re not interested in spending $4.99 for a multiplayer racer like Pac-Man Kart Rally this week, perhaps an action-RPG at the same price would be in order. The Harvest, from the recently-restructured South African developer Luma Arcade, is on sale for $4.99 (for the second time), down from $6.99.

The Harvest is an action-RPG set in a distant future in which aliens have conquered humanity. Thanks to the development of armored mech suits, the remaining pockets of humans finally have a chance to fight back. Our review praises the game’s beautiful 3D graphics, easy controls, multiple playable characters, and diversity of upgrade options.

The Harvest was one of the first quality Windows Phone-exclusive games. But many gamers passed over it or don’t know about it due to the lofty $6.99 price point. I would argue that a price drop is in order by now, but the sale price is fair enough for a game of this caliber.

The Harvest is on sale for $4.99 for one week only. Get it here on the Marketplace and start harvesting! Or stopping the aliens from harvesting, whatever.


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Remember that Xbox Live Deal of the Week poll from last month? Microsoft allowed users to vote on whether ZOMB1ES on teh ph0ne, Earthworm Jim, Doodle God, or Deer Hunter would go on sale this month. Doodle God and Deer Hunter have already permanently dropped to 99 cents, which left only Zombies or Earthworm Jim to go on sale. Zombies on the Phone (as I’ll now type it) won the poll anyway, and so it’s now the current Deal of the Week for $1.99.

Zombies on the Phone is the Windows Phone port of popular-‘cause-it’s-cheap Xbox 360 indie game I MAED A GAEM W1TH Z0MB1ES 1N IT!!1. Thankfully it includes a new game mode, 'Endless Zombies,' as well as the entirely new side-view shooter 'Time Viking.' It’s like two or three games for the price of one! Look past the intentionally basic yet chaotic visuals and you’ll find a challenging shooter with a nice sense of humor; just listen to the horrid but silly lyrical theme songs for proof. To learn more about the concept, check out our Xbox Live Developer Interview with Ska Studios and read the full game review.

Zombies on the Phone is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Get it here on the Marketplace and start shooting those darn zombies,

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You know what calms me down after a game charges me for one of its basic Achievements? Seeing a game get discounted that has never been on sale before. The new Xbox Live Deal of the Week certainly fits the bill. Kinectimals is now on sale for $1.99 for the first time, down from $2.99.

Kinectimals is the portable version of Frontier Software and Microsoft’s feline-themed Kinect game. Players can choose one of five kitties or import an existing cat from the 360 version using the phone’s camera. Then it’s time to teach your kitty tricks by performing swiping motions, play catch, complete challenges, and buy lots of accessories. There’s not much depth here, but the kitties are cute and the Achievements are super easy. Check out our review for more details.

Kinectimals is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Get it here on the Marketplace.

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After a fantastic seven game Easter sale, it’s only natural that the next Xbox Live sale wouldn’t match up. And this one really doesn’t match up! The Deal of the Week is 3D Brick Breaker Revolution from Digital Chocolate. Its sale price is $1.99, down from $2.99.

3D Brick Breaker Revolution is an Arkanoid-style brick breaking game. It has lots of levels. Now that we’ve got the good parts out of the way, let’s talk about the bad. The game’s 3D graphics run really poorly on Windows Phone. I find this annoying because not only are they the opposite of complex, but a game like this doesn’t need to be in 3D in the first place. The Marketplace screenshots aren't even from the Windows Phone version, as they show the wrong aspect ratio. 3D Brick Breaker Revolution's controls are just awful and add unnecessary challenge to an already tough game. The Achievements are super hard and you’re never going to get all of them. Check out our review to learn why we rated it a 3.5, back in our scoring days.

If you want a good brick breaking game, check out Xbox Live title IonBallEX from IronSun Studios. At least they put a little care into porting their title. Is there a best brick breaker in existence? On PC and Xbox 360, it’s Wizorb, which may eventually find its way to Windows Phone, I’m told.

3D Brick Breaker Revolution is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. You can find it here on the Marketplace.

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