halfbrick

The first Xbox-enabled version of Fruit Ninja launched shortly after Windows Phone 7 itself way back in December 2010. As the months rolled by, the iOS and Android versions received a number of updates while the Windows Phone game did not. Developer Halfbrick released a Kinect-enabled Xbox 360 version in 2011, and an Xbox Windows 8 version in 2012 – but still no update to the original Windows Phone game.

Things finally took a turn for the better this month when a Windows Phone 8-specific version of Fruit Ninja finally showed up to the party. The decrepit Windows Phone 7 version simultaneously got partially delisted from the Store, though Windows Phone 7 users can apparently still download it. The new Windows Phone 8 Fruit Ninja is identical in features to the Windows 8 version, so we’ll review them both and point out the improvements to the original game.

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Halfbrick Studios supported the launch of Windows Phone 7 with the release of Fruit Ninja and the promise of Age of Zombies. But Fruit Ninja never got content updates (unlike on other platforms) and Age of Zombies never showed up, having caught a bad case of the vaporwares. Many feared that the popular Australian game developer had jumped ship from Windows Phone entirely.

Then in October 2012, Halfbrick’s Jetpack Joyride suddenly showed up as an Xbox Windows 8 game. Microsoft teased a Windows Phone 8 version shortly thereafter, but months passed without the game showing up. Miniclip’s clone Gravity Guy 2 actually beat Jetpack Joyride to market in March! Thankfully Jetpack Joyride finally cleared the perils of Xbox certification and landed on Windows Phone8 earlier this month (and for free). Turns out it was worth the wait!

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The last two weeks have been full of great news for Xbox Windows Phone gamers. Last week we got the stunning Rayman Jungle Run, yesterday Microsoft announced Halo: Spartan Assault, and today doesn’t disappoint either. No, Gameloft didn’t suddenly release N.O.V.A. 3. But an equally requested title has just popped up…

Halfbrick Studio’s Jetpack Joyride is finally – FINALLY available on Windows Phone 8. It runs on devices with 512 MB of RAM. And it’s free! Are you ready for an endless runner that involves a lot more flying than running? Of course you are.

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As if the release of Wordament for Xbox Live wasn’t reason enough for Windows Phone gamers to celebrate, we get a new price drop today as well. Halfbrick’s Fruit Ninja now costs 99 cents, down from the original price of $2.99.

Fruit Ninja is the world’s most popular fruit-slicing game. It’s made all the rounds, including getting an exclusive Kinect version on Xbox 360. The Windows Phone version lags behind the iOS version (and the 360 one) in terms of content, but even in its woefully not-updated-for-Mango form, it’s a fun and approachable game. Choose one of three game modes and go to town on those dastardly, nutritional fruits! The Xbox Live Achievements are glitchy for some users, but on the whole they’re fairly reasonable and you’ll probably get them all after a while. Check out our review for more impressions.

As I said before, Halfbrick seems to have dropped the ball with updating Fruit Ninja on Windows Phone. The ball must have fallen down a well, where it's extremely difficult to retrieve. The Australian developer also announced Age of Zombies back at the Windows Phone launch, and yet the game has never materialized. Unfortunately for us, they are averse to answering emails, so we can’t provide an official word on whether they’ve dropped Windows Phone support. As we wait for Age of Zombies to materialize (or even Jetpack Joyride, for that matter!), feel free to email ol’ Halfbrickey and ask them to show Windows Phone the love it deserves.

Fruit Ninja now costs $.99, the same as the original iOS game. Get it here on the Marketplace, my fellow ninjas.

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Seeing as how Fruit Ninja is so popular with the Windows Phone crowd, we thought our readers might be excited to know that Fruit Ninja Kinect is coming out this Wednesday on Xbox 360.

Fruit Ninja Kinect is the same game that fans know and love, only with much nicer HD visuals and of course Kinect motion control. Players swipe with their hands to chop the fruit now instead of just their fingers. It’s actually a much more exciting (and tiring) take on the original concept. In addition to the standard Classic, Zen, and Arcade modes, the Kinect version introduces something missing from the Windows Phone game: multiplayer. It supports both co-operative and competitive gameplay for two players. This makes Fruit Ninja Kinect the perfect party game – it’s an active new spin on a game everybody knows and loves, plus others can join in the fun.

Fruit Ninja Kinect will cost 800 Microsoft Points ($10) when it debuts this Wednesday. Of course Xbox 360 owners will also need a Kinect peripheral in order to play it. Kinect players who aren’t in a huge hurry may prefer to wait for the retail release of The Gunstringer (from developer Twisted Pixel) on September 13. It costs $30 and includes both The Gunstringer on disc and a download code for Fruit Ninja Kinect.

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Although Windows Phone is still growing and early on in the launch, some developers are at least reporting a relaive hit. One of those is Halfbrick, makers of Fruit Ninja (see our review), the super popular citrus slicing game available also on Android and the iPhone.

In an interview with Business Insider Shainiel Deo, CEO of Halfbrick Studios said that game is having "moderate" success on the new OS noting that paid downloads (an important distinction) is in the "high tens of thousands". Halfbrick seems to be pleased overall with Microsoft but does note "I think Microsoft could be doing more to promote the phone and hopefully we’ll start seeing that soon."-- a common complaint we hear these days.

Deo also took a shot at Android stating that compared to Windows Phone "There are a number of varying devices but there is nowhere near the fragmentation issues that Android has." Zing. We've seen that before from Ballmer and Netflix.

Bottom line is although Windows Phone is still commanding very little market share, both developers and users seem to be quite happy from their respective sides--and that's important for driving growth.

Source: Yahoo! News/Business Insider

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In a somewhat interesting interview with Phil Larsen, Marketing Director with HalfBrick who made the popular Fruit Ninja, goes over how they hooked up with Microsoft to port that game over to Windows Phone 7.

In short, Microsoft wants to compete with the iPhone and bringing Fruit Ninja over was part of that strategy. HalfBrick was more than glad to do it and plan to bring their other games over as well, with time and resources being the only constraints.  Overall the company seems to have had a positive experience with Microsoft and seeing as Fruit Ninja is near the top for Xbox LIVE games, it seems the decision has paid off, literally:

How did the Windows Phone 7 port come about?

Phil Larsen: We’ve got contacts at Microsoft, and as they were launching Windows Phone 7 they wanted it to compete with the iPhone – it’s the next big mobile platform. We like what Microsoft does, and we were happy to port Fruit Ninja to it. We’ve got a team here that handles that kind of thing.

We brought it over, and we provided a bunch of good assets and information. It was released on December 22nd, so it’s only a couple of weeks old, and it’s done really well so far. It’s the number-one selling game on Windows Phone 7.

They did mention how doing an Xbox LIVE game is more work than the iPhone. The former requires you to work and go back and forth with Microsoft, who manage that aspect of gaming, whereas on the iPhone you just submit it to Apple. Still, despite that they had very little issues with the process.

Read the rest at VG247.

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