miniclip

It's time to hop into the hot seat and fire up the engines as Hot Rod Racers from Miniclip speeds onto Windows Phone. The highly popular game has only been available on iOS and Android for a week and already Miniclip has released the Windows Phone counterpart (for Nokia Lumia hardware that is). This is a positive sign of things to come. If you're ready to commence drag racing, shift past the break for more details and store links.

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Windows Phone has its fair share of great games. There are a ton of high quality games from both indie developers and larger game makers. Game developer Miniclip has just released a new game for Windows Phone called Rail Rush. As you may know, Miniclip is no stranger to Windows Phone. They’ve released popular games like Fragger, Gravity Guy, iStunt 2, and others. Now they’ve got another game that’s sure to be addictive. Let’s check it out.

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When Windows Phone 8 launched in November of last year, it soon become clear that certain Xbox Windows Phone 7 games were incompatible with the new OS. Microsoft’s immediate solution to the problem was to partially delist all of those games, removing their listings from the Windows Phone website. They did this without informing the developers of those games. After we published an article exposing the issue, the games eventually made it back to the web store with updated compatibility information.

We tell you all this because Microsoft has just made a similar but even more harmful maneuver. This week, no less than eleven Windows Phone 7 games were completely delisted from the Store. They can’t be redownloaded by people who purchased them. And several of the game’s developers were NOT informed by Microsoft of the issues leading to their removal or the removal itself. Read on for the full scoop!

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The first Gravity Guy starred a hero wrongfully imprisoned by his evil government for manipulating gravity. He broke out of prison, only to be endlessly pursued by a heartless Gravity Trooper. At the end of the game, Gravity Guy escapes to his freedom.

Gravity Guy 2 disappoints ever so slightly by comparison because all pretense of story is gone. Players control a now-helmetless Gravity Guy, but the cut scene bookends and evil pursuer have vanished. The store description says Guy has been captured and cloned (Miniclip also published this webpage to expand on the premise), but that doesn’t spill over into the game itself.

In fact, the first game’s story mode and local multiplayer are MIA as well. An endless runner doesn’t need these things to keep players entertained, but the lack of context and modes still represents a small step back in an otherwise much improved game. Still! Forget the missing bits, this one really is much better.

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Earlier today Miniclip dropped the price of their Windows 8 and RT versions of iStunt 2, Gravity Guy and Monster Island to free titles.

Miniclip has now added the Windows Phone 7.x/8 versions of these games to their free offer. The free offer on the Xbox Windows Phone titles is only for a limited time only. As an added bonus, the Xbox Live game Fragger is also a freebie.

So if you've been on the fence or just want to build up your Xbox Windows Phone gaming library, now's the time to act. Head past the break for all the links and QR Codes.

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Windows 8 and RT gamers recently survived a dangerous outbreak of gaming deals thanks to the Microsoft Studios Sale, which only just ended. But now, another rash of Xbox Windows 8 deals threatens players’ well being – if not their wallets. Miniclip has made three of its games free for a limited time only: iStunt 2, Monster Island, and Gravity Guy. Can your Windows 8 or RT device handle so many free games at once time? There’s only one way to find out…

These games all have In-App Purchases, so Miniclip stands to profit even when giving their titles away. But you can enjoy and complete most of them without spending a cent, except perhaps for the ultra-tough Gravity Guy.

Update: All three games plus Fragger are also free on Windows Phone this week!

Head past the break for download links and our game descriptions!

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This is GDC week, so you can count on some cool developer interviews and hands-on stories as the conference progresses. But it’s also just an exciting week for Windows Phone releases. First we had the release of Sims Medieval for Nokia devices, and now general users can look forward to two regular Xbox releases on Wednesday. We’re looking at one Windows Phone 7 game and one for Windows Phone 8. The former will also be the most expensive mobile Xbox game to date, but at least it’s a good one: Chaos Rings from Square-Enix!

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Last week’s Xbox Live Deal of the Week marked the return of the popular sales program, but it failed to impress due to the subterranean quality of the game on sale, Fusion: Sentient. Still, the DOTW’s return promised brighter days to come, and quickly, too. This week’s deal is Monster Island, widely regarded as the best Angry Birds-type game currently available on Windows Phone. Plus it’s on sale for not just $1.99 like we’ve come to expect from a discounted $2.99 game, but only 99 cents!

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After an unusual delay, the Marketplace has finally updated. That means Fling from Miniclip is now available!

Fling is a puzzle game that plays much differently from Miniclip’s previous Xbox live releases. In each level, players must flick furballs into each other with the goal of leaving only one monster on the board. Furballs can only travel horizontally or vertically and they only stop when they hit another furball, so you’ll need to experiment and/or think a few moves in advance to win.

Fling can get pretty tough what with all the planning and such. Factor in an Achievement for completing 500 (!) puzzles and it might take quite a while to complete. Not everybody has that much time on their hands - or in some cases, the brain power. Thankfully, help is near at hand. This online Fling solver will knock out even the toughest puzzles. No, it won’t make anybody smarter (playing on your own would probably be more useful to that end), but at least it can save that precious time we capitalist citizens value so much. I kid!

Fling costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here on the Marketplace.

Update: The price rose from 99 cents to $2.99 shortly after launch.

Thanks to Zebrasqual for the tip!

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Actual Windows Phone screenshots free of marketting text!

It’s getting down to the wire, but we do at last have details of this week’s Xbox Live release. This Wednesday, prolific Swiss developer Miniclip’s latest game Fling makes its debut. Fling’s Achievements were first discovered back in early May, along with Battleship and Mirror’s Edge. This will make two down and one to go, won’t it?

Fling is a puzzle game that plays much differently from Miniclip’s previous Xbox live releases. In each level, players must flick furballs into each other with the goal of leaving only one monster on the board. Furballs can only travel horizontally or vertically and they only stop when they hit another furball, so you’ll need to experiment and/or think a few moves in advance to win.

Fling packs metric tonnes of puzzles spread across four game modes. Free-play lets you play at a relaxed pace without time constraints; Arcade challenges players to solve as many puzzles as possible before time runs out; Challenge breaks groups of levels up into timed sets; and Frenzy is a never-ending survival mode. Arcade and Frenzy each have several specific Achievements, while the other modes do not.

With many mobile Xbox Live gamers suffering from puzzle game fatigue, Miniclip’s newest needs something special to catch gamers’ eyes. Good news! Fling launches Wednesday, June 20 at a price of only 99 cents. If you can’t wait a day to play it, head over to Miniclip.com right now to check out the Flash version.

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Last Thursday, Miniclip’s beleaguered Xbox Live game Monster Island returned to Xbox Live after a month-long absence. While the physics puzzler’s Achievement problems were resolved, the game itself still could not be downloaded by customers outside of the US. This puzzled many of us since Miniclip is a European developer and all of their other Windows Phone games are available in multiple regions.

We asked Microsoft for comment and received this response,

“We are pleased to report that the Achievements have been improved and the US version is up on the Windows Phone Games Marketplace. We are working with the developer on some final testing for the worldwide release and hope to make it available soon.”

Miniclip shed some light on the Achievement gaffe but didn’t go into much detail about the regional issue:

“There were some original achievements (e.g., the ones we're using on the iOS, Android, etc.) that were against Microsoft Achievements policy. Unfortunately they only warned us after the game passed all the certification processes and was ready to be released. The game had to be taken out, and we changed the Achievements list… Yes, it will come to all marketplaces in the near future. :)”

That future must have just come to pass, because our friend Zebrasqual and several other gamers have confirmed that Monster Island is now available in the United Kingdom. Other parts of Europe like neighboring France don't have it yet though. At least British gamers can now get in on the bomb-throwing fun... Hopefully other regions won't have to wait too much longer either.

Monster Island costs $2.99 in the US. Pick it up here on the Marketplace.

Thanks to Zebrasqual or the tip!

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Our friends at Xbox360Achievements.org often discover Achievements lists for games before release, and sometimes even before a game’s announcement. Actually, much of the credit goes to French gamer Zebrasqual, who one site called ‘the best Windows Phone gamer in the world.’ Mr. Squal (as I like to call him) makes it his business not just to have the most mobile Xbox Live Achievements of anybody; he’s also great at finding Achievement lists and making them public.

The latest batch of Achievement lists ousted by Zebra and Xbox360Achievements.org include: Battleship and Mirror’s Edge from Electronic Arts and Fling from Miniclip. The two EA games are expected to be timed Nokia exclusives, so don’t let’s get excited about them just yet, non-Nokia owners.

Head past the break for previews of each upcoming Xbox Live game!

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When Miniclip’s latest Xbox Live game Monster Island debuted four weeks ago, we were at once pleased and dismayed. On the one hand, Monster Island is easily the best Angry Birds-style game on Windows Phone. It packs an absolute ton of creative and well-designed levels – 252, with more promised in future updates. It even boasts multiple types of bombs, enhancing the puzzle complexity. But on the other hand, it also launched with an Achievement specifically for buying three dollars’ worth of in-game coins as PDLC. This raised the cost of earning Monster Island’s full 200 GamerScore from $2.99 to $5.99. Not cool on the developers’ part, and the game should never have made it through certification that way.

WPCentral broached the issue with Microsoft, who removed Monster Island from the Marketplace just two days after release.

Today Monster Island returned to the US Marketplace, and existing users received the new version 1.1 update. As expected, the update changes the ‘Big Spender’ Achievement, removing that annoying PDLC requirement. Two other Achievements were adjusted as well. Players who unlocked these Achievements prior to the update will not need to unlock them again.

Old list:

  • Curiosity Killed Monsters: Buy a solution pack in the Store
  • Keep ‘em coming: Buy a skip pack in the store
  • Big Spender: Buy 3 coin packs

New list:

  • Curiosity Killed Monsters: Earned 750 coins and spent them on a new character in the Monster Island store!
  • Keep ‘em coming: Earned 1500 Coins and spent them on solutions in the Monster Island store!
  • Big Spender: Earned a total of 2500 coins and spent them in the Monster Island store!

As you can see, all three Achievements have new requirements. ‘Keep ‘em coming’ took over the old requirements from ‘Curiosity Killed Monsters,’ which is good because level skip packs are basically useless. You can’t unlock new worlds or Achievements for existing worlds by skipping around! Buying new monsters offers no gameplay benefit (they purely add aesthetic variety), but at least now players have some kind of incentive to try a new beastie out. On the whole, these changes make Monster Island’s Achievement list much more fair and well-considered.

We’re glad that Monster Island has returned, but one oddity remains. The game is still available only in the US Marketplace, just as it was on release day. Miniclip is located in the frozen climes of Switzerland and their other Xbox Live games for Windows Phone (Gravity Guy, Fragger, and iStunt 2) are all available outside of the US. Perhaps they’re still laboring away at translating Monster Island into other languages? That wouldn’t explain its absence from the British Marketplace though. WPCentral’s own Richard Edmonds still can’t play Monster Island, and that’s just not right. We’ve reached out to Miniclip and Microsoft and will update should they respond.

Monster Island costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. American users can get it here on the Marketplace. If you’re located outside of the US, you can always try the Flash version free at Miniclip.com.

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Monster Island’s Xbox Live launch on Wednesday was odd for a couple of reasons. First, only people located in the US could buy it, even though past Miniclip games launched worldwide. Second, one of Monster Island’s Achievements, ‘Big Spender,’ is tied directly to purchasing $3 worth of PDLC. That raised my eyebrows pretty much off my head, and I know I’m not alone.

Only a couple of days after its US-only release, Monster Island no longer shows up while browsing or searching the Marketplace. For all intents and purposes it has been pulled, though you can still grab it from the link in our previous article. Why was it pulled? No official word on that yet, but we do know that Microsoft is actively investigating the Achievement issue, thanks in part to yours truly. The Big Spender Achievement breaking well-known Xbox Live rules and the seemingly erroneous US-only launch are the most likely reasons for the game’s removal.

How did Monster Island end up with an Achievement tied solely to purchasing in-game content? In all likelihood, no one noticed the problem during the certification process. Big Spender’s description, ‘Buy 3 coin packs’ could sound like a normal in-game action to someone who hasn’t played the game or studied it very closely. Of course, part of the certification process should involve testers actually unlocking the Achievements to make sure that they work, at which point the problem would have been spotted. Still, sometimes things slip through, such as Broken Achievements or other bugs.

The important thing here is that Microsoft seemingly realized something was wrong this week and acted quickly to keep it in check by pulling Monster Island. If the practice of literally paying for Achievements was allowed to continue, then Achievements would lose their emotional value. After all, many gamers like me prefer to play Xbox Live games so that we can earn Achievements and share our accomplishments with others. Doubling the cost of a game for 10 GamerScore is not an Achievement.

 We’re still waiting on official word about Monster Island’s Big Spender Achievement and the game’s subsequent disappearance from the Marketplace. If Microsoft releases an official statement, WPCentral readers will be the first to know.

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It’s time to take a break from Sid Meier strategy games for a while and settle into some nice throwing things at other things. I am, of course, speaking of Monster Island, the latest Xbox Live release from Miniclip.

Monster Island is basically a monster-themed version of Fragger. Instead of a grenadier, you’re now a monster who must defeat invading monsters. Aim and throw five different kinds of monster grenades to destroy your stationary enemies. With a whopping 262 levels (and more promised in a future update), it offers plenty of bomb-throwing fun.  

Monster Island features a robust in-game shop in which players can purchase new characters, level unlocks, level skips, and level solutions using in-game currency. Being a Miniclip title, it also allows users to purchase coins with Microsoft Points. That’s not so bad in and of itself, but the Big Spender Achievement actually requires players to purchase not one, but three coin packs!

The cheapest coin pack costs 80 MSP ($1), so users would need to spend a minimum of $5.99 ($2.99 for the base game plus $3 for three coin packs) in order to earn Monster Island’s full 200 GamerScore. Of course, larger packs actually offer more coins per dollar than smaller packs, so why couldn’t the Achievement just be for buying a single pack? More importantly, this is the first Windows Phone title to actually require players to spend additional money in order to get all of the base game’s Xbox Live Achievements. Even among Xbox 360 games that practice is extremely rare (if not prohibited outright), so it’s startling that Microsoft allowed it here.

Perhaps it’s natural for publishers to test the limits of what they can sell to users as PDLC, but many would agree Miniclip has gone too far on this one. It’s a shame too, as without the annoying PDLC component (and multiple in-game pop-ups encouraging players to spend their coins), Monster Island is probably the most robust Angry Birds-type game on Windows Phone. The massive quantity of levels and variety of playable characters and bombs, not to mention some clever level design, certainly makes it worth a look. Could 'Big Spender' have simply slipped through the certification process by mistake? We've contacted Microsoft and will report back if they reply.

Monster Island costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here on the Marketplace. Alternately, you can check out the Flash version at Miniclip.com.

Update: Currently the game is only available in the US. We'll let you know when this changes.

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While Sid Meier’s Pirates! is arriving on Xbox Live this Wednesday, Microsoft has already announced next week’s new title as well. It will be Monster Island from Miniclip.

Monster Island is basically a monster-themed version of Fragger. Instead of a grenadier, you’re now a monster who must defeat invading monsters. Aim and throw five different kinds of monster grenades to destroy your stationary enemies. With four huge sets of levels, it offers plenty of bomb-throwing fun.  Being a Miniclip title, Monster Island will also feature optional microtransactions, allowing players to purchase level skips and solutions with Microsoft Points.

Monster Island comes to Windows Phone on Wednesday, April 18 and will cost $2.99. If you’d like to try it sooner, check out the Flash version at Miniclip.com.

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Who says spring is too late for winter sports? The time is right for iStunt 2 (no relation to Jet Car Stunts), which is now on the Marketplace.

In iStunt 2, players steer a snowboarder around 2D courses, collecting stars and trying to earn high scores – not unlike the GameBoy classic Motocross Maniacs. Your border will have to survive crazy loops, buzzsaws, gravity portals, and other hazards in order to reach the finish line. Steering is as simple as tilting the phone to adjust the board’s position, while swiping down on the screen crouches and swiping up jumps.

iStunt 2 has four sets of levels containing at least 88 levels (we’re not sure of the exact number yet). The coins earned from completing levels can be spent in the game’s shop to unlock new rides, boards, and level skips. You can even unlock Gravity Guy and the protagonist from Fragger, Miniclip’s previous Xbox Live titles.

Miniclip was the first mobile Xbox Live developer to incorporate PDLC in their titles, a trend which continues in iStunt 2. Players can purchase coins for the in-game shop using Microsoft Points – it’s 80 MSP($1) for 1500 coins or 320 MSP ($4) for 20,000. But remember, spending money on coins is an entirely optional timesaver since you earn them in-game anyway.

iStunt 2 costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here on the Marketplace and start boarding!

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You know what type of game we need on Xbox Live for Windows Phone? RPGs! Sigh. But another hole in the lineup is snowboarding games, which will soon be filled by iStunt 2 from Miniclip. It’s next week’s Xbox Live release.

iStunt 2 is a simple game in which players navigate a snowboarder around 2D courses, collecting stars and trying to earn high scores. The courses have crazy loops, buzzsaws, gravity portals, and stuff to make things interesting. Control should be a snap on Windows Phone. You just tilt to adjust the board rotation, and that’s it.

In addition to hunting down stars in the game’s 88 levels, players can unlock new boards and riders in the game’s shop. As this is a Miniclip game there will probably be optional PDLC to make things easier. The PDLC was sort of annoying in Gravity Guy but rather innocuous in Fragger, so it’ll likely be fine here.

iStunt 2 comes to Xbox Live on Wednesday, March 28 for $2.99. If you’d like to try it out before hand, the Flash version is free to play (and fun) on MiniClip’s website.

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When Gravity Guy launched last year, two of its Achievements were unavailable to players. This was not due to glitches but by design – quite unusual for an Xbox Live game. Fast forward to today and Gravity Guy’s version 1.1 update has arrived. It packs quite a lot for an update, including a few surprises.

Gravity Guy version 1.1 release notes:

  • Added Fast App Switching support
  • Added the Rescue chapter to Story Mode (29 new levels)
  • Added paid DLCs:
    Slowdowns: Slows down the game for 90 seconds. It's like "bullet time"

The paid DLC (PDLC) is the big news here. Gravity Guy has officially become the first third-party Xbox Live game to offer PDLC, a bit ahead of Bug Village and Zombies!!!. Players automatically get three free Slowdowns, which can be used by tapping the new icon in the top-left corner of the screen. Slowdowns typically last for about one and a half levels – if the player doesn’t make any mistakes. Use up your free Slowdowns and it costs 160 Microsoft Points ($2) to buy a pack of 5 more.

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Gravity Guy - Review

There are many different approaches to adapting traditional genres to mobile platforms. Take platformers, for example. Sonic the Hedgehog 4 brings an Xbox 360 title to Windows Phone with touch-screen controls. I love the game, but some people either can’t or don’t want to adapt to touch-screen controls. Doodle Jump, designed purely for mobile phones, simply relies on tilt-control to steer its ever-jumping hero from platform to platform. Gravity Guy from Miniclip falls somewhere between the two extremes.

Flip past the break for our full review.

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