Xbox Live

And now for something completely different. Next week’s Xbox Live title is Fight Game Rivals from Dutch developer Khaeon GameStudio. It’s a strategy/fighting game, which is indeed a thing.

How many quality fighting games can you name for mobile phones? There’s iPhone Street Fighter IV and…. That’s it. Touch-screen controls and fighting games are difficult to combine effectively, much like beer and ice cream. That’s why Khaeon went the strategy route for Fight Game Rivals.

Players choose one of six fighters (each with a real-world fighting style) and participate in tournaments against other burly dudes. Up to five Fighting Skills (moves) can be taken into each battle. During the fight, selecting a skill initiates a touch-screen minigame. The better players do at the minigames, the more damage they dish out. Minigames determine whether opponents’ attacks are blocked as well. Once either pugilist runs out of health, the fight ends. Credits obtained from winning fights can be used to unlock skills, locations, and outfits.

Fight Game Rivals is extremely unique - just like each and every one of us except for Rich Edmonds - and we’re looking forward to trying it out. It will cost $2.99.

More →
2
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Cro-Mag Rally, the first kart racer on Xbox Live, is kind of rough around the edges. Chief among its problems are the tilt controls. Currently, the game requires players to hold a virtual accelerator button while also steering by tilting the phone, unlike every other Xbox Live racing game. It’s a clunky control method and hard to get used to. On the plus side, the game is affordable and has easy Achievements.

Citizen 12, the developer who handled the Windows Phone port of Cro-Mag is taking its criticisms seriously. They’ve provided WPCentral with full release notes for the game’s upcoming patch as well as a heartfelt apology to gamers. Yes, this means I can no longer tease them about being tight-lipped.

Head past the break for the full scoop as well as exclusive screens showcasing the game’s new camera angle.

More →
1
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Hydro Thunder GO is one of the best-looking 3D games on Windows Phone, and it’s an exclusive to boot. Still, some readers reportedly experienced frame rate issues (which seemed to be handset dependent). When we interviewed Pixelbite, the game’s developer, they promised to look into it. Fast forward a few months and a major Hydro Thunder GO update has just been released.

Hydro Thunder GO version 1.3 release notes:

  • Performance improvements: [Pixelbite] did some performance profiling with the newly released Mango tools and managed to improve the game performance between 10-20% depending on the device and the in-game situation.
  • Minor bug fixes for the new OS releases, such as the music was not looping properly

The game always ran great on my Samsung Focus; now other handsets can better share in the visual splendor. Check out our review for more impressions.

But that’s not all! WPCentral is pleased to present this exclusive map of Hydro Thunder GO’s Venice Canals track. See, the game’s secret "Reckless Yachting" Achievement requires racers to destroy all seven gondolas in the Venice track. This map should make finding them much easier. For more maps, check out our Pixelbite interview.

Hydro Thunder GO costs $4.99 and there is a free trial. Swing by here (Zune link) to pick it up from the Marketplace.

More →
1
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

PopCap Games, Game House (interview), and Zynga are probably the three heaviest hitters among casual game developers and publishers. PopCap is the most mainstream of the big three, selectively porting their games from PCs to consoles and mobile devices with amazing success. On Windows Phone they have produced Bejeweled LIVE (review) and Plants vs. Zombies (review), which I feel is the single best game on the platform. We’re super excited to bring you this interview with Andrew Stein, PopCap’s Director of Mobile Product Management.

Head past the break for an insightful interview and exclusive, never-before-seen Plants vs. Zombies concept art!

More →
2
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Remember kids, there is no Xbox Live release in the US this week. Not a common circumstance, and hopefully the last time it occurs. The rest of the world, however, gets Babaroga’s Minesweeper, which was already released in the US a couple of weeks ago. It’s a free, ad-supported game. See my previous post on Minesweeper for details on how unfortunately busted it is.

No new games to play this week? Perhaps Super Monkey Ball from Sega will soothe your troubled soul. It’s the Xbox Live Deal of the Week with a sale price of $1.99. Mr. Cranky Pants is even less fond of this version of Super Monkey Ball, but let's just leave our review to do the talking.

Minesweeper is available here (Zune link) on the Marketplace and it costs nothing. Super Monkey Ball is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Roll over here to get it.

More →
1
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

There may be no new Xbox Live release this week (unless we count Minesweeper launching outside of the US), but the Xbox Live Deal of the Week train keeps a-rollin’. Sega’s Super Monkey Ball will be on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99.

Super Monkey Ball on Windows Phone is a sad story. It launched at $4.99 and dropped to $2.99 just a few weeks later. Could the price drop have been indicative of the game having problems? Oh yes. As I state in our review, this version of Monkey Ball is just terrible. It looks and sounds pretty, but the tilt controls are the worst I’ve ever experienced. There are also two Broken Achievements which may or may not get fixed some day. If you’re a very patient and forgiving gamer, you may still enjoy Super Monkey Ball, but it sure drove me bananas.

Super Monkey Ball will go on sale for $1.99 on Wednesday, August 24. You can find the game here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

More →
1
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

When Minesweeper and Sudoku, two free Xbox Live games developed by Babaroga and published by Microsoft, were released only in the US a few weeks ago, our foreign readers were understandably displeased. We speculated that it might have been because of the games’ reliance on in-game advertisements, which may not have been cleared for other markets yet.

Good news then, as Minesweeper is coming to foreign markets on Wednesday. Well, sort of good news. Minesweeper is actually pretty busted on the highest two difficulties, filling levels with so many mines that they’re impossible to clear without repeated use of the EMP powerup. Babaroga tells us this may be fixed in the future, but for now it seriously hampers the fun.

Minesweeper can be downloaded here (Zune link). No news yet about when Sudoku will be released outside of the US, but we’ll keep you posted. We’ll have reviews of both games very soon.

Thanks to Professeur Thibault for the tip!

More →
1
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Microsoft didn’t provide many screenshots or details about Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp at Gamescom last week. We do know that it will contain at least four minigames taken from the recent Xbox 360 release, Toy Soldiers: Cold War.

The enterprising lads at WP7Connect have done a little digging and found YouTube videos of the Xbox 360 version’s minigames that will also be included in the Windows Phone game. Of course the WP7 versions will look much simpler and control differently, but the videos should at least give gamers an idea of what to expect from Boot Camp.

Follow the break for two additional video trailers for Toy Soldiers.

source: via: wp7connect

More →
1
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

geoDefense, the Xbox Live tower defense game with Geometry Wars-inspired visuals, has been a bit buggy since its release. Chief among those bugs is the dreaded save data bug, which we reported on in June. This bug caused some gamers to lose all of their progress when replaying levels, and nobody likes that.

Thankfully today’s version 1.6 patch fixes the save data bug at last. No longer should anyone fear playing geoDefense and trying for higher scores. We’re glad to see Critical Thought Games continuing to hone its enjoyable strategy title.

If for some reason you want a more traditional tower defense experience than the exceptional Plants vs. Zombies, geoDefense is the place to look. It costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

More →
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
20

No new Xbox Live game on August 24

While Microsoft recently announced 12-ish new games coming to Xbox Live, it looks like those titles may not be ready for release just yet. Prepare yourselves, Windows Phone gamers: there will be no new Xbox Live release next week.

I can’t remember the last time there wasn’t an Xbox Live release in the US. Sadly, our European readers already know what it’s like to not see a new game on their Marketplace. When Sudoku and Minesweeper came out for free last week, everybody was surprised that they were only released in the US.

I’m just shocked at this hole in the release schedule, as the last two Game Room retro games, Time Pilot and Shao-Lin’s Road, have almost certainly been complete for a long while. Hopefully the negative reaction to previous Game Room games (stemming largely from the ancientness of some of those games and releasing them all in a very short time span) hasn’t resulted in their cancellation. Some of us want those Achievements!

There will, of course, be an Xbox Live Deal of the Week, so many gamers will still have a reason to pick up a game they didn’t own before. Check back here on Wednesday and we’ll let you know what game is on sale.

More →
1
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Yesterday we reported on some new features that are coming to Xbox Live when Mango rolls around. One of those was ‘Fast Async,’ Microsoft’s proprietary form of asynchronous multi-player. Geekwire reached out to Microsoft and published this interview with an unnamed representative:

“How will Fast Async work and how does it compare to the current approach for turn-by-turn gaming in WP7? 

Similar to turn-by-turn async gaming, Fast Async, coming this fall with the Mango update will expand on this experience by enabling Xbox LIVE games to manage game data and sessions in a faster and more flexible way. It will also provide a way for games to find players across screens, without having to wait and watch the matching happen, and will prompt players with clear messaging, when it’s their turn to move.

Will Fast Async be implemented by default in all turn-by-turn games, via the OS, or will it only come in some turn-by-turn games, when developers implement it? 

Fast Async will only be included in Xbox LIVE titles if implemented by the game developer.”

The good news we can take away from this is that Xbox Live games will soon have turn-by-turn multi-player, just like indie games have had for a while now. And Fast Async is apparently a little better than regular old async, particularly in the area of matchmaking. One game we know of that will definitely support Fast Aync is Babaroga’s Zombies!!! board game. Oh, and Fast Async isn’t limited to just Windows Phone, which some people are taking to mean that Xbox 360-Windows Phone cross-platform gaming could be happening too.

The potentially bad news though is that real-time multiplayer has not been announced and may not arrive with Mango. If that’s the case, let’s hope it’s not too far off. I doubt Gameloft will port N.O.V.A 2, the popular iPhone Halo clone, until Windows Phone supports real-time multi-player. Insert comment about how Gameloft only seems to be more interested in porting older, much less popular games here.

Sources: Geekwire via WMPUThree Panel Soul

More →
1
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Anybody remember when Tetris was a killer app that made people want to go out and get a black and white GameBoy to play it on the go? Those days have long since passed; hence even $4.99 seems like a lot for Tetris. Thankfully EA’s Tetris is finally on sale this week for $2.99, which goes down a lot easier.

The Windows Phone version of Tetris is actually quite slick. It’s got great visuals and a fine remix of the classic Tetris theme “Korobeiniki.” There are numerous gameplay variants such as Gravity and Radical that add a bit of variety to the game we’ve all played a million times before. Some people complain about the touch screen controls (swipe left and right to steer, tap to rotate, and swipe down to drop pieces), but I find them to be natural and effective. Our review also praises the game’s stat tracking.

Tetris is on sale for $2.99 for one week only. Puzzle fans can pick it up here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

Fun fact! I almost wrote a book about Tetris before deciding I didn't quite love the game enough to write about it for more than a hundred pages.

More →
1
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

When gamers learned that Xbox 360 Kinect game Kinectimals is coming to Windows Phone, undoubtedly many of us wondered whether there would be connectivity between the two versions. Wouldn’t it be cool to take your existing Kinect kitty on the go?

A Microsoft representative shared these details with us:

“The answer is yes, Kinectimals for Windows Phone does share connectivity with the Kinectimals for Xbox 360 version. You can import your favorite pet to your Windows Phone from your Xbox 360 by simply holding the phone up to the TV screen and capturing the QR code from the pet. The phone will recognize the code and add the pet to the mobile experience. Players can export their favorite mobile pets into their Kinect for Xbox 360 Kinectimals game by holding their Windows Phone up to their Kinect sensor which will read the QR code assigned to their pet and add it to their console experience. If players are logged onto their WP and Xbox 360 consoles with the same Xbox LIVE credentials, this process will happen automatically.”

That’s great news for Kinect owners. Kinectimals’ connectivity isn’t exactly using your Windows Phone and a Kinect simultaneously to control an Xbox 360 game, but it is the first interaction between the two devices. The last time we saw Xbox 360 connectivity of any sort was in Microsoft Game Studios’ Full House Poker.

Kinectimals on Xbox 360 is a combination adventure title/mini-game collection/pet simulator in which players adopt an exotic kitten on a mysterious island. It’s targeted towards kids, but I enjoy most of the mini-games and the overall sense of progression as new areas of the island, items, and animals are unlocked. I do wish harm on the narrator though, as his voice should be illegal in civilized countries. Thankfully his blithering can be turned off! Anyway, the Windows Phone version retains just about everything the console version is known for and adds a few new elements into the mix too. We’ll have more details soon.

More →
3
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Today at Gamescom, Microsoft announced a ton of upcoming Xbox Live games. They have since provided a video that shows many of these games in action.

In the video:

  • Chickens Can’t Fly from Amused Sloth
  • Mush from Angry Mango
  • Fight Game Rivals from Khaeon Studios
  • Kinectimals from Frontier Studios
  • Toy Soldiers Boot Camp from Signal Studios
  • Orbital from BitForge
  • Shoot1UP from Mommy’s Best Games
  • Cro-Mag Rally from Pangea Software
  • Burn the Rope from Big Blue Bubble
  • Farm Frenzy 2 from Alawar Entertainment

You’ll notice that Shoot1UP wasn’t actually included in today’s announcement. But we do know it’s a 2D shooter and a port of an Xbox 360 indie game. We’ll have more details about the game soon.

Thanks Colin for the tip!

More →
3
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

We have already mentioned the new features heading to your Windows Phone Game Hub with the Mango update. Well the other shoe that dropped with that news is that fourteen new XBox Live titles are also headed to Windows Phone.

We know about Beards & Beaks: Cave Area, IonballEX and Fight Game: Rivals and to see what the other eleven titles are, hit the break.

More →
1
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Beards and Beaks is the only mobile Xbox Live title so far to feature downloadable content. The game launched with both a free set of levels (Forest) and a paid set (Mountains). And now, the fifth and presumably final set of levels, Cave, is available for purchase.

In our Beards and Beaks review, I noticed that a ninja gnome appears in some of the between-level screens but not as a controllable unit. The Cave DLC rectifies that, as it introduces both the Ninja gnome and Sorcerer gnome to Beards’ gameplay. The Ninja is fast and kills enemies with extreme precision, though he can’t take as much damage as other gnomes. Yep, he’s easily my favorite unit. The Sorcerer is no slouch either, launching fireballs over long distances. Neither of the new guys can be used in older levels, but they do make the Cave levels feel fresh.

Adding units to one side but not the other wouldn’t be fair. To keep things balanced, the Cave also introduces new enemies – a super strong Football crow and another crow that’s extra fast on its feet.

As for the levels themselves, I encountered a new environmental hazard – a gate that players can manually open to let the gnomes through. But the gate closes after a few seconds, treasure-carrying gnomes can’t pathfind through it correctly, and when it raises back up, it kills any gnomes who were attempting to passing through. You tell me if it’s a good addition or not. The overall difficulty of the Cave levels is harder than previous levels, which makes sense as players will have already honed their strategic flicking skills on previous levels before taking on the Cave.

The Beards and Beaks Cave DLC costs 80 Microsoft Points ($1). While it sadly doesn’t add any Achievements, the new units, enemies, and overall challenge represent a great value for the money. Anyone who really likes Microsoft’s gnome versus crow game should not hesitate to give the Cave a download. 

Beards and Beaks can be purchased here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

More →
1
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Last week, WPCentral broke the news that IronSun Studios’ IonBallEX (yes, the developer is averse to spaces) would be coming to Xbox Live. We just didn’t expect it so soon! IonBallEX is this week’s Xbox Live release.

IonBallEX is an Arkanoid-style game in which players use a paddle and ball to break bunches of bricks. This game is more interesting than many of its brethren thanks to its darkly futuristic setting, a wide variety of block types and power-ups, lots of enemies and bosses to fight, and its experience system. Plus it’s a sequel to an indie game, which we don’t often see on Xbox Live. For more details and screenshots, check out our preview.

IonBallEX (boy I’d rather type that as Ion Ball EX) comes out on Wednesday, August 17 and will cost $2.99. Brick-breaking fans won’t want to miss it.

More →
2
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Buy.com's eBay store is offering up a sweet deal on a XBox Live Messenger Starter Pack until August 17, or while quantities last.  The package, which will only run you a cool $42.99, includes a 1 Year Xbox Live Gold subscription, 400 XBL Points, a chatpad and a plug-in headset (reg price = $67).  We're not normally one to sling products for other companies, but we know a good deal when we see one.  Considering a year of XBL Gold will normally run you $59.99 alone, you can't miss.  Click on the source link to get there.

Source: Buy.com eBay Store

More →
1
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Tired of playing Flowerz, penniless Windows Phone Xbox Live gamers? Then today’s your day! Minesweeper and Sudoku are both on the marketplace costing nothing at all.

Minesweeper and its kid brother/dance partner Sudoku are the games many of us know and love, but they do include some fancy new additions to get the cerebral juices flowing. There’s the snazzy/maybe a little plain Metro UI design, a leveling system, and powerups that can ease the pain of challenging levels. To learn more about the powerup system and future plans for these titles, check out our mini-interview with Babaroga, the developer. Both games are free and ad supported, so their Achievements are only worth 50 GamerScore a piece - 150 less than a standard Xbox Live title. But hey, free GamerScore is free GamerScore, so let’s not get bogged down with numbers.

Logic puzzle loving gamers can find Minesweeper here (Zune link) and Sudoku here on the Marketplace.

Update: Games only available in the U.S. as of now, may show up in other regions later. Maybe not.

More →
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Sports fans who haven’t bought Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 (the only sports title on Xbox Live so far) for some reason are in for a treat this week. Konami’s premiere soccer game is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week at $2.99!

PES 2011 is a surprisingly accurate recreation of the sport, with realistic tactical game play, licensed European teams, advanced A.I. and numerous authentic animations. Can you kick a soccer ball into some guy’s junk if you want? Not quite that realistic, but I digress.

Pro Evolution Soccer’s 3D graphics contribute to the realism as well. The player models, detailed stadiums, and weather effects all make for a very console-like presentation. The game features multiple control options: simple accelerometer and touch-screen controls or a virtual pad and buttons. It’s also got some very grindy Achievements, so prepare to be in it for the long haul if you want the full 200 GamerScore.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 is on sale for $2.99 (down from $4.99) for one week only. Get it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace, football fans!

(Yes, this does mark the second of Konami’s three Xbox Live games to go on sale. We’re that much closer to a Castlevania Puzzle deal!)

More →
2
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Pages