supermono

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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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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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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