minisquadron

Over the last couple of months, Windows Phone Central has been highly skeptical and/or critical of Microsoft’s dedication towards Xbox games for Windows Phone. As the weeks without a new Xbox release (excluding Nokia exclusives) have grown, so has our certainty in an underlying problem. This culminated with a game developer stepping forward to explain Microsoft’s reticence towards approving new Xbox projects, not to mention the conspicuous snubbing of Windows Phone in the announcement of the multiplatform WSOP: Full House Pro.

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This week we got a surprise double release on Xbox Live, with not only Contract Killer but also Lode Runner Classic launching simultaneously. Still, the overall number o Xbox Live games only increased by one. Why? MiniSquadron from Supermono and Fat Pebble Games was pulled from the Marketplace.

MiniSquadron looked like a very promising Xbox Live title – we were super excited about it prior to its release last year. Once the game finally came out, things looked a bit different. It suffered from numerous bugs, including a weapon that consistently crashed the game and a broken Achievement worth a whopping 50 GamerScore. The virtual d-pad and buttons were also tiny and awkwardly positioned. We still gave it a positive review overall, but with the assumption that original developer Supermono would do the right thing and commission an update from Fat Pebble, the porting team.

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Last week’s Xbox Live Deal of the Week was an unexciting repeat, but things are looking up this week. We’ve got a game that’s never gone on sale before, and it’s a relatively recent release, too. MiniSquadron from Supermono and Fat Pebble Studios is now on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99.

MiniSquadron is a fast-paced and challenging 2D aerial combat game. With 9 maps and 63 different aircraft to unlock, it certainly has a lot to keep players interested. The colorful graphics and classical music impress, and even the menus are better than average. Unfortunately, MiniSquadron is also a fairly buggy game, with a broken Achievement worth a whopping 50 GamerScore. The developers haven’t even updated it for Mango, either. Despite these major problems, it’s still an enjoyable game – see our review to learn all of the pros and cons.

MiniSquadron is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Fly over here to get it from the Marketplace. Thanks to Jimbob73 for the tip!

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Windows Phone Xbox Live Review: MiniSquadron

For the longest time, Rise of Glory was the only aerial combat game in the mobile Xbox Live lineup. Not a bad game, but the relatively complex tilt controls and sterile atmosphere kept me out of the pilot seat. A year later, MiniSquadron finally touched down on the Marketplace. Both games feature mid-air dogfighting - and still they couldn’t be more different. Created by indie developer Supermono and ported by Fat Pebble, MiniSquadron is simple, silly, and incredibly addictive. Even steep challenge and rampant glitchiness can’t keep it down.

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Since its announcement, we at WPCentral have been eagerly anticipating the release of MiniSquadron on Xbox Live. Imagine my disappointment then when I booted the game up on Wednesday only to discover that the virtual stick simply did not work. As a result, I couldn’t steer the plane or do much of anything besides get an Achievement for bouncing into the walls. A quick check of the comments section on Wednesday’s announcement article and other gaming forums reveals the problem is fairly widespread, though it doesn’t affect everyone.

Thankfully there is a fix for MiniSquadron’s control problem. If your game’s virtual stick isn’t working, simply restart your phone. The next time you boot up the game, the controls should be fixed. You’re then set to enjoy some 2D aerial combat!

Fat Pebble, the developer responsible for the Windows Phone port of MiniSquadron, is aware of the control bug. They have promised to fix it as soon as possible. While the inconvenience of the bug seems like a total downer, it’s actually a boon for gamers. You see, MiniSquadron was developed prior to the Windows Phone Mango update and therefore doesn’t support Fast App Switching. Now that the devs have to update the game to fix the bug, it will be easy for them to throw in Fast App Switching at the same time. Let’s just hope Microsoft allows the update to pass quickly (as they seldom do).

In the meantime, don’t let the presence of a little bug keep you from buying MiniSquadron. The workaround is a very minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things.  MiniSquadron costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Touch down here on the Marketplace to get it.

Update: MiniSquadron may not receive an update to fix the control bug and its broken Achievement after all. We'll post again if things change.

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MiniSquadron is one of those Xbox Live games that was announced back in 2010 and yet never seemed to materialize. We even ran an exclusive preview of the Windows Phone version all the way back in April. The wait is finally over, as MiniSquadron has finally emerged from the Bermuda Triangle of Xbox Live certification and onto the Marketplace.

MiniSquadron is a 2-dimensional aerial combat game, originally developed by Supermono Studios and ported by Fat Pebble. Players start out with a single plane, but as they defeat enemies they’ll eventually unlock a total of 60 unique aircraft. You’ll do that unlocking via two gameplay modes – Classic, which involves taking on the game’s 9 stages one at a time, and Survival, a battle against endless waves of enemies. The aerial action is accompanied by an appropriate soundtrack of classical tunes.

MiniSquadron costs $2.99 – quite a bit less than most holiday air travel, I can tell you. Pick it up here on the Marketplace.

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Remember Mini Squadron? It’s one of those Xbox Live games that was announced back in 2010 that still hasn't come out yet. We ran an exclusive preview of the Windows Phone version all the way back in April and yet the title never materialized. We’re proud to announce that changes this month, as Mini Squadron will finally launch on December 21!

A quick Mini Squadron refresher: the original game came from Supermono Studios. Fat Pebble handled the Windows Phone port, with Microsoft Studios acting as the publisher. Mini Squadron is a 2-dimensional aerial combat game. With over 60 unlockable aircraft (7 exclusive to Windows Phone) and 9 different maps (one exclusive), Mini Squadron will provide tons of plane-shooting fun.

Since we’ve already gone into detail about the gameplay and features, let’s check out the game’s soundtrack. Mini Squadron features ten midi remakes of classical tunes:

  • 'Canon in D' - Pachelbel
  • 'Fur Elise' - Beethoven
  • 'La Toupie from Jeux D’Enfants' – Bizet
  • 'Minuet' - Boccherini
  • 'Moonlight Sonata, 1st Movement' - Beethoven
  • 'Musette' – Bach
  • 'Ride of the Valkyries' – Wagner
  • 'Sugar Plum Fairy' - Tchaikovsky
  • 'Symphony No. 40' - Mozart
  • 'Waltz No. 8' – Tchaikovsky

Mini Squadron soars to Windows Phone on Wednesday, December 21 at the ground-level price of $2.99. It will not require Mango at launch, though a future update is likely.

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Mini Squadron - Exclusive preview

MiniSquadron is already a hit on iOS and Android devices. Microsoft approached the game’s creator, UK-based Supermono Studios, and asked them to bring the game to Xbox Live. Supermono promptly teamed up with Fat Pebble to do the conversion. We spoke to Fat Pebble about the game, and now we’re bringing you this exclusive preview.

MiniSquadron, as you might expect, involves planes. Lots of ‘em. Players battles hoards of aerial opponents in a two-dimensional space. Controlling the plane is as simple as changing the pitch (the angle of its nose) with a virtual analog stick. This lets you pull off a variety of loops and other maneuvers as you chase down enemy planes and dodge oncoming attacks. Just don’t fly too high or the plane will stall and nosedive; hit the ground and you’ll crash and burn. Horizontal level boundaries just bounce planes safely away.

Incoming fire won’t bounce off so safely, though players and enemies alike can take a few shots before going down. Every aircraft comes equipped with one of seven weapon types, including cannons, missiles, fireballs, lasers, and more. Each type has its own variations, with different damage, firing speed, and range. Blasting enemies without getting hit yourself increases a combo multiplier, so skillful players will earn higher scores.

Fly past the jump for screenshots and details about MiniSquadron’s new Windows Phone features.

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