Xbox Live

3

Doodle Jump - Review

Slowly but surely, all of the major iPhone gaming hits are finding their way to Windows Phone. It’s important that Microsoft’s young platform has the games that people like and want to play. The latest game to make the jump to Xbox Live is Doodle Jump, originally developed by Lima Sky. The Windows Phone version was ported by Mr. Goodliving (who were shut down by owner RealNetworks prior to the game’s actual release) and Game-Lion Studios. Doodle Jump has been a huge success on other platforms due to its unique, appealing art style, precise accelerometer-based controls, and easy-to-learn, hard-to-master game play.

Is Doodle Jump just as much of a standout on Windows Phone? Step, no, jump past the break to find out.

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

The Xbox 360 is a great place to advertise Windows Phone 7 as the phone’s Xbox Live features are designed to appeal to console gamers. Now gamers can learn about Windows Phone and get a free avatar prop for their trouble.

Here’s what to do:

  • On the Xbox 360, switch to the Inside Xbox section of the dashboard.
  •  Find the tile that reads: Get a free Windows Phone for your avatar/Your avatar is the special guest on Hot Apps with Laura Foy (it’s marked as an Advertisement).
  • Watch the video and then…
  • You’ll see a zoomed-in view of a Windows Phone. Navigate the cursor to the “Keep the phone!” tile. Click it and download the avatar prop.

That’s it! Have your avatar call my avatar. We’ll go out for ice cream.

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

It’s the third week of Microsoft’s Must Have Games promotion. This week’s Xbox Live release, geoDefense, comes from Critical Thought Games. It’s now available in the marketplace.

geoDefense is a traditional tower defense game in which waves of enemies travel along a path on their way to the player’s base. Building and upgrading towers along the way is your only defense. geoDefense’s claim to fame is its Geometry Wars-inspired vector graphics. Everything is made up of colorful neon outlines and explosions are accompanied by a cool background warping effect. geoDefense gets pretty hard eventually, but I found it much easier to learn to play than the existing Xbox Live tower defense games,  Battle for Hoth and Zombie Attack! 2.

geoDefense costs only $2.99 and there is a free trial. Tower defense fans will definitely want to grab it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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

Wake up! Glyder is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week

Last week’s Deal of the week, Pac-Man, underwhelmed us due its poor controls and steep difficulty. This week’s sale game isn’t too exciting either, though it’s kind of by design. You see, the game in question is Glyder: Adventure Worlds from Glu Mobile. It’s on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99.

As our review explains, Glyder is a very sedate game with no real story or sense of urgency. But it does have lots of flying around wide open 3D spaces. Activities include item collecting, races, and that’s about it. Control-wise, players can opt for tilt or touch-screen controls – always nice to have a choice. Glyder will appeal to patient, even-tempered gamers. People who can read a Stephen Baxter novel without dying of boredom. If that sounds like your thing, put down that hefty copy of The Time Ships and give the demo a try.

Glyder is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Collect it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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

Microsoft’s E3 keynote presentation may have left Windows Phone cold in the dust, but that doesn’t mean the company has completely neglected their mobile platform at the event. They’re showing off several new Xbox Live games and a few that were previously announced but haven’t been mentioned in a while.

Head past the jump for screens and details on all 7 upcoming titles.

More →
1
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
13

Microsoft's E3 2011 keynote summary

Today Microsoft delivered their keynote presentation at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles. The presentation details their Xbox 360 console plans for the next year. Windows Phone was disappointingly absent from the presentation, though some WP7 games are being announced separately today. For now, let’s look at the major announcements from the presentation.

As expected, Kinect was a major focus this year. The huge sales success of Kinect as well as the uniqueness of the device caught many developers by surprise last year. This year, we’ll be seeing several much more substantial games either require Kinect or support it optionally. Kinect Fun Labs is a new feature that’s now available on the dashboard. The approximately 720 MB download features several free Kinect tools and activities and even Xbox Live Achievements. Inside the Fun Labs, gamers can create an Xbox avatar by scanning their bodies, scan objects and have them appear on-screen, and move their hands to draw in the air. Kinect is certainly becoming a much more useful peripheral to own, though many would like to see a price drop too.

Microsoft continues to expand the Xbox 360’s functionality as a home entertainment device. A new, redesigned dashboard update will come this fall. Video-related features include YouTube support (finally!) and live television too.

Windows Phone users who have grown accustomed to the Bing search button will welcome the Bing search function’s arrival on Xbox 360 too. It can search the Xbox 360 Marketplace, content stored on the console, and Netflix. Bing Search will be even more convenient thanks to Kinect voice recognition.

Head past the jump for a full list of games mentioned during the conference.

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

So the big E3 gaming convention is going on today, with Microsoft set to reveal tons of Xbox goodness. It may not be a coincidence then to see Xbox Live Extras get updated today to v1.6 with a significant addition, namely the ability to buy and change your avatar's appearance within the app itself.

As you can see from the image above, you can now change your avatar and purchase new items from the Marketplace (using MS Points)--this is quite the update and nearly completes the Xbox LIVE experience on the phone. The ability to use MS Points is interesting only because we're expecting the usage of actual money and MS Points to overlap, eventually, in the Marketplace as an option for purchases--perhaps this is the first sign?

Finally, we can't help but notice the usual speed-tweaks, making the app a bit zippier than before (though perhaps that's placebo). We've reached out to Microsoft for an exact change-log, so expect an update to the post later on.

You can grab Xbox LIVE Extras for free in the Marketplace here.

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

Windows Phone gamers know developer Press Play from their beautiful and creative puzzle platformer, Max and the Magic Marker. The studio hasn't been resting on its laurels since that game's release. Today WPCentral brings you an interview with Thomas Gravgaard, senior software developer and project lead for Press Play’s Windows Phone titles. We’re especially proud to bring you the first screens and details of their upcoming Window Phone-exclusive Xbox Live game, Tentacles.

Slide past the break for the full interview and lots of Tentacley goodness.

More →
1
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
4

4000 MS points WP7 offer at BestBuy

If you're a heavy Xbox user this offer is for you. BestBuy is adding a 4,000 Microsoft Points card in your shopping cart for free when you purchase a Windows Phone 7 handset. This deal is only avaiulable in-store so you'll need to swing on by to your local BestBuy to earn this mammoth amount of points. 

Unfortunately -- as of yet -- Microsoft points can't be used in the WP7 Marketplace, which would make this offer all the more worth while, but getting those must-have addons for your Xbox 360 games, renting/downloading movies, completing your music collection and suiting up your avatar to show off on your WP7 device can't be all bad, right?

Currently BestBuy are selling six handsets; Samsung Focus, HTC Surround, HTC HD7, LG Quantum, HTC Trophy and the HTC Arrive. Going for this deal certainly wont leave you feeling "cheaped" into getting a below-par device since there's a great selection available.

Source: BestBuy, via: WMPU

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

Hydro Thunder GO recently headlined Microsoft’s 6 Weeks of Must Have Games promotion. As the only Windows Phone-exclusive game in the promotion’s lineup, it had some big shoes to fill. Luckily the game’s 3D graphics are some of the best on the platform and it controls like a dream.

When Microsoft offered to let WPCentral interview Mattias Olsson - CEO of Pixelbite, the game’s developer, we jumped at the chance. We grilled him on the challenges Pixelbite faced in bringing the fan-favorite boat racing series to Windows Phone and even got to peak at some of the game’s maps.

Zoom past the break for our first Xbox Live Developer Interview, complete with plenty of images.

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

Harbor Master version 1.1 update comes to port

Harbor Master, the nautical line-drawing game, received an updated recently. We’ve braved dangerous waters to smuggle in some release notes for the update.

Harbor Master version 1.1 changelog:

  • We fixed a glitch that would cause the frame rate to be choppy on certain devices when playing the trial version of Harbor Master
  • We fixed a few incorrect translations for buttons on the pause screen (I believe French and Spanish were switched)
  • We fixed the options for the Fast Forward Speed multiplier.  It was possible to set the speed on fast forward to be the same as normal speed.  This shouldn't have been allowed.  So we fixed that.

The performance fix really makes the game run much smoother. WPCentral has also learned that Imangi plans to release a future update to address some Leaderboard issues.

In Harbor Master, players direct ships to port by drawing lines on the touch screen. After a ship has unloaded its cargo, it must also be steered safely away. Seven levels with hazards like cyclones and sea monsters, plus some fairly tough Achievements, will keep players busy for a long time. For more details, check our preview here. Look forward to a full review soon.

Harbor Master costs $2.99 and has a free trial. Pick it up here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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

Let’s see, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX recently hit Xbox Live. Everybody loves it, but they’re not crazy about the $6.99 price. Do the powers at Namco lower the price to make the Pac-public happier? No way, they put the original Pac-Man on sale instead. Pac-Man is the Deal of the Week at $2.99, down from $4.99.

Pac-Man is a straight port of the original arcade game. It contains a single maze which Pac-Man must clear of its dots and fruits repeatedly until the ghosts finally become too fast and take him down. Pac-Man was once a huge arcade hit and many of us fondly remember the original. Unfortunately, it’s not a terrific game on Windows Phone. As our review points out, the controls just can’t keep up with the challenging gameplay, plus the Achievements are like 3 cents and a Twinkie short of impossible. Buy it if you want a quick dose of nostalgia, but don’t expect anything near the fun and quality of Championship Edition DX.

Pac-Man is $2.99 for one week only and of course there is a free trial. Chomp it up here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

More →
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
14

Doodle Jump has landed on the Marketplace

The 6 Weeks of Must Have Games is in full effect. Following on the heels of Hydro Thunder Go comes this week’s Xbox Live release, Doodle Jump. It’s out now on the Marketplace.

Doodle Jump is the progenitor of the jumping game subgenre. It distills the essence of platformers – jumping onto platforms, avoiding death by falling, and defeating enemies – into a simpler game. Here players control the Doodler by tilting the phone. He’s always jumping, so you only need to worry about where you’re going to land, collecting powerups, and tapping enemies to kill them.

The Windows Phone version of Doodle Jump (like Pocket God before it) contains the main game but loses a bit of content. Namely, a few themes are missing. Each theme changes the appearances of Doodle Jumper and his enemies as well as completely changing the background. Five themes are currently included on Windows Phone: Original, Halloween, Christmas, Jungle, and Space. For those keeping track, indie clone MonsterUp (similar if not better in quality) only has three themes right now, so Doodle Jump still has the leg up there.

Doodle Jump is a monster hit on other platforms. It’s extremely cute and easy to play. The Windows Phone version costs $2.99 and there is a free, short trial. Jump on it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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

Remember The Revenants: Corridor of Souls? It’s an early Xbox Live title from Chaotic Moon Studios, the developers who recently brought Enigmo to Windows Phone. The game recently received a major update, and WPCentral is here to unlock its mysteries for you.

The Revenants version 1.2 changelog:

  • Improved visuals on the "end of level" sequence.
  • Improved the "loop detection" logic.  This should help people who draw "nearly closed" circles.
  • Improved how the game handles volume control for music started outside of the game.
  • Added new 8 backgrounds.  Improved the background for the last room in the level sequence.
  • Updated the Chaotic Moon logo screen.
  • Changed version from v1.0.5 to v1.2.0.

That last bit is worth mentioning because a surprising number of game makers forget to update their title's version numbers when a patch is released, including Star Wars: Battle for Hoth and Rocket Riot.

The Revenants is an arcade-style game in which players draw circles around ghostly enemies in order to free their souls. The game keeps players on their toes as hordes of enemies simultaneously flood the screen. Clear a room of its deceased stragglers and it’s on to the next room with untold dangers. Our review praises the circle-drawing gameplay and visual effects; though we thought it could have used a bit more content. The new backgrounds should add some welcome variety, and the loop detection logic makes a good thing even better.

The Revenants: Corridor of Souls is only $2.99, and there is a free trial. You’ll find it here (Zune link) in the Marketplace… if you dare.

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

Guitar Hero 5 Mobile - Review

If you play music games on consoles and also have friends who play real instruments, then you probably know at least one who won’t be bothered to play said games because he’d rather be doing the real thing. It’s a snooty perspective in which the musician is actually bothered by the idea of people pretending to do what he (or she) does without going through years of practice. You can try to tell them how the singing in Rock Band and Guitar Hero is real singing (karaoke-style), but by that time they’re probably outside smoking a cigarette while thinking of how much cooler they are than you.

Just as music snobs don’t get music games, as a music gamer, I don’t quite get Guitar Hero 5 Mobile. The real Guitar Hero is a simplified simulation of the complex act of making music that uses plastic instruments. The mobile version is a simplified simulation of that simulation, sans plastic instruments. It helps if you think about it that way – this version in no way recreates the act of making music. But it is kind of like playing the console game on a touch screen. Perhaps that’s reason enough for it to exist?

Plug in your amp and follow the jump for our full review.

More →
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
5

Super Monkey Ball - Review

Back in elementary school, I once bit into a piece of fried okra thinking it was a Tater Tot. What should have been a delicious, tiny hash brown actually tasted like green death, forever ruining okra for me.

Super Monkey Ball on Windows Phone is a lot like that. On the outside, it has all the makings of a quality game – cute characters, a fun premise, fairly good graphics, and catchy music. I was really looking forward to it before it came out. Beneath Super Monkey Ball’s tasty exterior, however, lies an unpleasant surprise: utterly abhorrent tilt controls.

The Super Monkey Ball series has made quite a name for itself since its debut in Japanese arcades and subsequent release as a GameCube launch title. Players guide one of four monkeys (each inside of a clear ball) across one or more floating platforms and through a goal, avoiding hazards and collecting bananas along the way. The only significant difference between the monkeys is the annoyingness of their voices – I found GonGon to be the most tolerable. Anyway, instead of directly controlling the monkey, you tilt the maze itself and try to steer the monkey where it needs to go. It’s a fun and unique concept.

Roll past the break for our full review.

More →
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
4

Hydro Thunder GO - Review

One of the latest XBox Live games to hit the Windows Phone Marketplace is Hydro Thunder Go from PixelBite. The racing game has sentimental value to me in that I can remember playing it in arcades and eagerly waiting for its release on the Nintendo 64 platform over a decade ago.

It has since been released in some shape, form or fashion on multiple gaming systems and has now landed on your Windows Phone. It's a pricey game but if you like racing games, especially boat racing games, it's well worth the price of admission.

We've spent some time with the PixelBite developers and after the break you can find out more on Hydro Thunder Go.

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

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX - Review

A long time ago, Pac-Man was king of the arcades. If you were a gamer, you were either playing Pac-Man or wishing you were playing it, and you never failed to ask asked your mom to make Pac-Man pancakes in the morning. Over the years, the yellow guy’s popularity has waned despite the occasional (and generally mediocre) sequel.

Fortune turned back in Pac-Man’s favor with 2007’s downloadable console title, Pac-Man Championship Edition. Critics and gamers alike praised CE’s return to classic-style game play and looks. Three years later, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX improved on CE’s foundations, creating the perfect Pac-Man game for the modern era. Now DX comes to Windows Phone with a few less features than the console version but just as much retro modern charm.

Turn a corner, watch out for ghosts, and head past the break for our full review.

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

Following on the heels of OMG: Our Manic Game comes Game Chest: Logic Games, the new Xbox Live Deal of the Week. It’s down to $1.99 from the regular price of $2.99.

Logic Games contains three distinct games: chess, minesweeper, and Sudoku. Each game comes in easy, normal, and hard varieties. Chess is the star of the bunch in that it offers a weird invite-a-friend-on-PC to play option. It’s an interesting workaround to the prohibition against online play, but the invitation method is so slow and clunky, I doubt many people will use it except to earn the associated Achievement. This version of chess has no customizable settings and no local multi-player option - a glaring oversight.

Minesweeper is a love-or-hate it game. I’m sure many people out there have tried it on one platform or another, died in the first move or two, and called it quits. But I’ve always found the act of deducing which spots are safe and which have bombs to be quite enjoyable. This version’s controls could be better – I sometimes set off a bomb when I was trying to zoom in and out on the higher difficulties. Easy and Normal are good ways to kill time though.

Sudoku is a highly competent version of the Japanese puzzle game. The only video game version of Sudoku I’ve ever found truly addicting is the version Nintendo included in the Brain Age DS games. In Brain Age, gamers can select individual puzzles instead of being assigned random puzzles, and then try to beat their best times. Logic Games’ Sudoku lacks those two elements, but completing random puzzles is still decently fun.

Our review praises the Game Chest games’ progression system. Each time you complete a game, you’ll earn points. Gain enough points and you’ll level up. It takes absolutely forever to level up after a while though, making it a real chore to go for the Achievements for reaching maximum level in each game.

If you like two or more of the games included in Game Chest: Logic Games, it’s a logical purchase. The game is $1.99 for one week only. Pick it up here in the Marketplace.

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

Xbox Live integration has been a selling point of Windows Phone since day one. Gamers can earn Achievements; view their avatars, friends lists, and more from the convenience of their phones. But to do many of those things, you have to download the separate free Xbox Live Extras app and then launch it from the Games hub. It’s a needlessly complicate process.

Thankfully Mango will greatly streamline Xbox Live integration. Xbox Live Extras will join the dinosaurs and Milli Vanilli in extinction as its contents will now be built into the main Games hub. The Xbox Live page within the hub will display a user’s polygonal avatar and several other items: Xbox Live Gold membership status (lending credence to the rumor that online play will finally debut alongside Mango) and links to the user’s Profile, Achievements, and Avatar (for customization). This should make the profile and avatar editing options much easier to find than their previous location: stashed away in a pop-up menu at the bottom of the screen.

Live tiles are a great and wonderful thing. We all love them, and I’m pretty sure WPCentral’s Daniel Rubino has several tattooed on his arm. On the other hand, live tiles also take up a lot of space – only 6-8 will fit on-screen at once. People who own a lot of games on Windows Phone often have to scroll quite a bit to find the title they wish to play. Game organization and launching will become slightly easier in Mango thanks to a new list view within the Games hub. The list view displays each game’s name alongside icons that are about fifty percent smaller than before. It doesn’t really fit much additional information on-screen, but gamers will be able to locate titles by names instead of icons.

The Friends section will also receive a few minor tweaks. Friends’ profiles and bios will be separated onto two pages instead of being crammed onto one. Additionally, it will become possible to add new friends directly from the phone thanks to the addition of a New Friend button at the bottom of the Friends page. Now if Microsoft would just add the ability to send and receive Xbox Live voice messages from the phone too – only text messages are supported right now.

These changes will strengthen gaming and Xbox Live use on Windows Phone. Today’s conference didn’t address online play, but we’re still hoping for an announcement sometime around Mango’s actual launch. For Windows Phone gamers, that date can’t come soon enough.

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

Pages