Puzzle

Next week, two new Xbox Live games are coming to the Marketplace! That hasn’t happened in ages. Even more unusual, both games will be free. The ‘official’ Minesweeper and Sudoku apps come to Windows Phone courtesy of developer Babaroga, who we interviewed back in June, and Microsoft Game Studios.

Head past the break for our exclusive first screenshots of the two games and lots of details!

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Bubble Town 2 - Review

Windows Phone is just crawling with puzzle games, both of the indie and Xbox Live varieties. Puzzlers are probably the single easiest type of game to develop and they’re well-suited to playing on the go, so it makes sense. Bubble Town 2 from I-Play is one such game, released early on for Xbox Live. It’s an adaptation of a once-popular Facebook game that since been pulled by the publisher. Bubble Town may be a ghost town on Facebook, but is it worth visiting on Windows Phone? Perhaps…

Bubble Town’s got something of a story, aimed at the young‘uns. A bunch of evil aliens called Lumps are invading Bubble Town, and it’s up to the Borbs to stop them. See, even though Bubble Town has the word bubble in its name and is a clone of a spin-off of Bubble Bobble  - Bust-a-Move/Puzzle Bobble, the game doesn’t technically contain any bubbles. They’re Borbs. The writing in the pre-level story sequences is about what you’d expect from a cut-rate kids’ cartoon show, though it does at least inject some personality into the proceedings. Impatient gamers can always skip past them anyway.

Shoot past the break for our full review.

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Tiki Towers - Review

When you think of puzzle games, falling-block games like Tetris and match-three games such as Bejeweled probably spring to mind. But there is another type of puzzler that differs greatly from those games. I speak, of course, of the physics-based puzzle game. These games challenge players to place items throughout a level, using their interaction with the level and the game’s physics to accomplish a goal. Tiki Towers from Game House falls into this cerebral sub-genre.

The premise of Tiki Towers involves an airplane dropping numerous boxes of monkeys onto several different islands. All five of a box’s monkeys must make it from their box to the goal in order to complete a level. The monkeys have their own AI and will walk and jump short distances. But each level contains peaks, pits, and other hazards that the simians can’t surmount on their own. That’s where the player comes in.

Grab a banana and swing past the break for our full review.

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Last week Women’s Murder Club from I-Play was the Xbox Live Deal of the Week. Continuing the trend, another I-Play title goes on sale this week: Bubble Town 2. The sale price is $1.99, down from $2.99.

Bubble Town 2 is a Puzzle Bobble/Bust-a-Move clone. In these puzzle games, a stack of colored bubbles slowly descends from the top of the screen, threatening to crush the player. By aiming and firing your own bubbles you can make matches and eliminate the stack. Bubble Town’s controls are a bit imprecise but it’s still pretty fun. It also has some of the most hideous graphics ever, a true testament to how far an artist can go without the benefit of education or talent. But hey, until Taito decides to bring Bust-a-Move to Windows Phone, Bubble Town will have to do.

Bubble Town 2 will be on sale for one week starting Wednesday. You can get it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace. Anybody think I-Play’s other Xbox Live game - Fast & Furious: Adrenaline - will go on sale next week?

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Murphid - Review

We’ve heard from developers that the XNA framework makes it easy to port games between Xbox 360 and Windows Phone.  That’s a good thing as gamers who enjoy a game on the big screen may also want to play it on the go and vice-versa. One indie game that recently made the transition from 360 to Windows Phone is Murphid from Decapod Studios. While Murphid’s name might lead one to expect a connection to Robocop, it’s actually an unrelated but unique puzzle game.

Drop past the break for our full review.

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Pirate's Mind free for a limited time

Pirate’s Mind is a unique puzzle game that combines Bejeweled-like gameplay with memory card games. Instead of jewels and cards, players try to match different kinds of coins and create huge combos. It's fun and easy to play. Plus, as our review points out, the game has great graphics and sound effects. Pirate’s Mind will also be one of the first games to utilize Scoreloop’s online leaderboard system later this year.

The good news, pirate and puzzle game fans, is that Pirate’s Mind is now free! Next week the game goes back to full price, so you’ll want to make like a pirate and rush to loot its spoils. Grab it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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Square Off isn’t the only Xbox 360 indie game launching on Windows Phone today. Decapod Studios’ Murphid has just debuted as well.

Murphid is a match-3 puzzle game with a twist. In games like Castlevania Puzzle, pieces fall from the top and players must quickly rotate and drop them into place. But in Murphid, the player’s piece is fixed at the top of the screen and doesn’t drop on its own. Players can either aim and send the piece straight down or swap it out with the next piece – no rotating here. Lining up three pieces of the same color causes them to disappear, often creating satisfying chean reactions. Since pieces don’t fall automatically, pressure in Murphid comes from the stack of blocks at the bottom of the screen’s constant rise.

Decapod’s puzzler boasts several modes - including a full campaign, as well as in-game Awards that function like Achievements. I’ve spent some time with the Xbox 360 version and look forward to taking the mobile version for a swing.

Murphid only costs $.99 and there is a free trial. Grab it here on the Marketplace.

Head past the jump for Murphid’s full announcement press release and feature list.

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After three weeks of Game Room releases, we finally have a modern game for this week’s Xbox Live title. Enigmo, from Austin-based developers Pangea Soft and Chaotic Moon Studios (makers of The Revenants, see review), has now made the jump from iPhone and Windows Mobile to Windows Phone 7.

Enigmo features 50 levels of physics-based puzzles. The goal is always to force one or more liquids (water, etc.) into their matching receptacles. Players have a limited number of gadgets at their disposal to reflect and filter fluids in the right direction. Enigmo’s realistic physics are brought to life with some very clean 3D graphics. You’ll find more details and a list of Enigmo’s Xbox Live Achievements here.

Enigmo costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Grab the enigmatic puzzler here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

But wait, there’s more! We’ve also learned that Pangea Software’s Cro-Mag Rally is coming to Xbox Live for Windows Phone. Indie developer Citizen 12 is very secretively handling the port. Yet we do know that Cro-Mag Rally is a caveman-themed kart racing game with 9 tracks and 11 drivable vehicles. Windows Phone needs a kart racer, so let’s hope it races to market soon.

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This week’s Xbox Live title is Enigmo, a physics-based puzzle game. Enigmo sort of blind-sided us as we hadn’t heard about it coming to Windows Phone until recently, but now we’ve got some concrete details to share with you.

Enigmo was originally developed by Austin-based developer Pangea Software. It debuted on the strange and foreign Mac platform before making a successful run on iPhone. It’s also been released on the Windows Mobile platform – anybody remember that one?

We’ve already seen a physics-based puzzler on Xbox Live in the form of iBlast Moki. Enigmo is a little bit like that, but the goal is to direct streams of liquids into the appropriate receptacles using various gadgets. The Windows Phone version of Enigmo features sharp 3D graphics and 50 puzzles to solve. It was developed by Chaotic Moon Studios, also located in Austin, and will cost $2.99.

Head past the break for our exclusive reveal of Enigmo’s Xbox Live Achievements and the game’s debut trailer.

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iBlast Moki - Review

The runaway success of Angry Birds is proof that physics-based puzzlers are a great match for mobile devices. Lots of short levels and cute characters are the key. iBlast Moki, an Xbox Live title from Godzilab Games is another high-quality game that uses physics for its puzzles. Its bright, endearing graphics and simple controls belie the game’s surprising depth and challenge.

The first thing gamers will notice about iBlast Moki is the Mokis themselves. Seemingly inspired by the PSP game Loco Roco’s character designs, Mokis are little balls with smiling faces. They display a lot of personality for body-less characters, peering around everywhere, taking naps, and looking rather surprised as they get tossed around each level.

Roll past the jump for our full review.

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Pirate's Mind - Review

Puzzle games are a great fit for mobile gaming. They’re playable in short bursts and appeal to a wide audience. They’re also very easy to create, as every seemingly Indie developer and his brother has at least a couple of the Marketplace. Developer M80 games’ Pirate’s Mind manages to stand out from the crowd thanks to its unique game play and high-quality presentation.

Pirates are a greedy sort, spending much of their time thinking about treasure. So a pirate themed puzzle game must naturally revolve around collecting money. In Pirate’s Mind, the playing field consists of 30 coins. Every coin’s back looks identical, but there are actually three kinds of coins to match: bronze, silver, and gold. Matching coins works kind of like the card game Memory in that after flipping two coins, if they aren’t a match, those two coins will still be in the same place. Then you can flip a new, random coin and try to match it with the ones you’ve already seen.

Learn more of Pirate’s Mind’s secrets after the jump.

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Xbox Live on Windows Phone 7 already has a puzzle RPG game, Namco’s Puzzle Quest 2. But that game is riddled with bugs and really wasn’t optimized for mobile platforms. Thankfully Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night from Konami shows a lot more care in making a quality puzzle RPG. In fact, it may be the best Xbox Live title released for Windows Phone 7 so far.

Castlevania has a long, proud history. The first title was released on the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System way back in 1987. Castlevania games tend to be action-platformers; after 1997’s Symphony of the Night, strong RPG elements became standard as well. In adapting the series to mobile platforms, Konami realized that action games don’t usually work well with touch screen controls. Prudently, Encore of the Night replaces the traditional platform jumping and battles with something new to Castlevania: puzzle battles. Role-playing elements haven’t fallen by the wayside, though, resulting in a game that is at once familiar and fresh to series veterans.

Head past the jump for our in-depth review.

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Glow Artisan - Review

Glow Artisan was first released in December of 2009 as DSiWare for the ubiquitous Nintendo DSi handheld gaming device. It was received with fantastic reviews from nearly every critic and gamer to give it a go.

If anything, Glow Artisan is a bit overwhelming and fantastic. Powerhead Games has constructed a puzzle game with such depth and scale that every other game within the same genre has been put to shame. I mean, there are puzzle games and then there's Glow Artisan. A puzzle game's puzzle game. Now that Glow Artisan has been ported to WP7 as part of the library of Xbox Live Arcade games we'll have to see how well this puzzler translates to a single screen. So far, things look fantastically overwhelming.

Read on to find out why.

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Well this should be fun.

Looks like software developers Magmic, who have Rubik's cube officially licensed, are bringing the app over to Windows Phone 7. Magmic makes a bunch of Windows Mobile games, including Peggle, NY Times Crossword, Worms, etc.

The game has recently been released on the iPhone/iPad and even features 3D puzzle solving.

The Windows Phone 7 version will evidently feature the following:

  • Four different sizes of cubes
  • “Free play” or the more challenging “Timed mode”
  • A timer to keep track of your best solution times
  • Variations like “CRAZY cube” and “Picture cube”
  • A solution guide to help you learn how to solve the puzzle
  • Anaglyphic 3-D mode (3-D glasses not included)

Sounds good to us. No word on release date. You can check out the iPhone video demo after the jump to get a rough idea of what to expect.

[via Global Nerdy]

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Review: SPB Puzzle

SPB Software has announced the release of SPB Puzzle, a classic jigsaw puzzle game for your Windows Mobile, touch screen phone. We received an advanced copy of SPB Puzzle and took it out for a test drive. Follow the break for our impressions and a few screen shots.

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