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Tower defense is one of my favorite genres because of its versatility. There are so many variations between TD games, from the wholesome simplicity geoDefense to the undying awesomeness of Plants vs. Zombies. Sometimes developers even combine tower defense with action games, allowing players to run around the field attacking enemies in addition to the strategic planting of towers. Zombie Attack 2 did just that a couple of years ago, although somehow the game still ended up a big, stinking pile of boring.

Vampire Rush, a former Nokia exclusive Xbox game for Windows Phone comes from Chillingo and Lithuanian developer A-Steroids. While it doesn’t quite achieve its full potential, Vampire Rush does manage to provide the right blend of strategy and excitement that Zombie Attack 2 so woefully lacked. Read on for our full review!

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Earlier today Miniclip dropped the price of their Windows 8 and RT versions of iStunt 2, Gravity Guy and Monster Island to free titles.

Miniclip has now added the Windows Phone 7.x/8 versions of these games to their free offer. The free offer on the Xbox Windows Phone titles is only for a limited time only. As an added bonus, the Xbox Live game Fragger is also a freebie.

So if you've been on the fence or just want to build up your Xbox Windows Phone gaming library, now's the time to act. Head past the break for all the links and QR Codes.

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We can’t say whether there will be two Xbox Windows Phone releases this week just yet. But we can tell you – and show you – one very exciting game arriving for Windows Phone 8 on Wednesday. Originally announced back in October, Gameloft’s Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour will finally arrive this week! Not only will it be the first Xbox Windows Phone first-person shooter, but it promises even more advanced multiplayer features than we saw in Asphalt 7 earlier this year.

During my recent trip to the Game Developers Conference, I stopped by the San Francisco Gameloft office for a quick tour. Lennon Arcaro, Gameloft’s Account Director was kind enough to walk me through the opening moments of Modern Combat 4. See our world exclusive hands-on footage after the break!

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Of all the offsite meetings we engaged in during GDC, the most pleasant place to visit was probably Electronic Arts’ suite at the St. Regis Hotel. Within that cozy location, Android Central’s Simon Sage and I met with Dan Tausney, PR Manager of Chillingo. As you might remember from our article about their most recent Windows Phone releases, Chillingo is the arm of EA responsible for publishing indie games from all over the world. They’ve been a major Windows Phone supporter and will soon be doing the same for Windows 8 as well.

Check out our hands-on footage with Contre Jour for Windows 8, see your favorite mobile Games Editor in action on video, and learn about Chillingo’s future Windows 8 plans after the break!

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Skulls of the Shogun has been an incredibly important game for Windows Phone and the Microsoft ecosystem as a whole. It’s the first Xbox Live game to cross platforms between the Xbox 360, Windows Phone, and Windows 8. It was also the Xbox Windows Phone game that ended the game drought we faced earlier this year. After so many weeks without a new game, Skulls quenched many a Windows Phone gamer’s thirst.

We had the opportunity to speak with Skulls of the Shogun developer 17-BIT twice last year, first at E3 and later Casual Connect. Of course, that was all before the game launched. Now that Skulls of the Shogun is live and in players’ hands, Windows Phone Central jumped at the opportunity to ask 17-BIT’s lead programmer Borut Pfeifer about how the game performed and what players can expect in the future.

Head past the break for the full video interview!

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Galactic Reign was quite the revelation when it appeared on Windows 8 and then Windows Phone 7 and 8 last month. Here was an exclusive strategy game for Windows platforms with cross-platform asynchronous multiplayer, and Microsoft basically forgot to tell anybody about it before release. But it’s definitely worth playing if you enjoy competitive strategy games. Check out our review to learn just how the game works.

One of Galactic Reign’s most unique aspects has to be its large-scale space battles. See, the fleets of ships that clash against each other in the game can number in the thousands. Instead of rendering these battles in-engine, the details about each side’s armada are sent to the cloud. From there, a cinematic video gets constructed and sent back to the game for players to watch.

The technology for those cloud space battles comes from Canadian developer Slant Six games. Last week at GDC 2013, we chatted with Paul Martin, Director of Technology and James Ricker, Cinematics Director about Galactic Reign’s videos and Slant Six Games’ experience working with Microsoft. Head past the break for the full video interview!

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Gameloft has made quite a name for itself as a prolific publisher of core games for smartphones. When we say core games, we mean titles that provide a meatier, more console-like experience than typical mobile games. In fact, most of Gameloft’s lineup consists either of licensed games or clones of popular console games. N.O.V.A. 3 is a Halo clone; Modern Combat 4 replicates Call of Duty, etc. That’s why so many of us love Gameloft – they give us the mobile games that other developers refuse to create.

Still, Gameloft is a big company and it can afford to produce all kinds of games – even a few casual ones – without diminishing its reputation. One such game is Shark Dash for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. No, the world wasn’t exactly crying out for another physics puzzle game. But Shark Dash is just fresh, charming, and affordable enough to make it worth a look. And who can say no to easy Achievements?

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Things have certainly been picking up for Xbox on Windows Phone lately. Not only do Nokia and Chillingo continue pumping out exclusives like Vampire Rush and Storm in a Teacup, but there have been two non-Nokia Xbox releases for several weeks now. The trend continues today as the long-awaited Ms. Splosion Man from Iron Galaxy Studios finally debuts alongside Amazing Alex. That’s the good news.

The bad news? Just like Chaos Rings last week, Ms. Splosion Man is only available for Windows Phone 7 devices! It staggers the mind to think that a Microsoft-published game would launch without Windows Phone 8 support in 2013. Color us all highly disappointed. Of course, Rovio’s Amazing Alex is actually a Windows Phone 8 exclusive, so things sort of balance out… Sorta.

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Ah, Chillingo. Where would Lumia owning gamers be without you? Just a couple of weeks ago, the indie-focused arm of Electronic Arts published a pair of new Nokia exclusive Xbox games: Dream Track Nation and Tiny Plane.  Those ports are a little rough, but the developer PowPowGames already has patches on the way. Besides, more Xbox games is always a good thing, especially after that drought we suffered at the beginning of the year.

Now Chillingo is back with two new Nokia exclusives for Windows Phone 7 and 8, each coming from a different developer. First up is the creatively named Storm in a Teacup from Cobra (makers of iBomber Defense), followed by Vampire Rush from Lithuanian developer A-Steroids. One game will be a hit, while the other seriously needs some work. Make your guesses about which is which and then head past the break to find out the answer!

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A couple of days ago, Microsoft announced a slew of Windows 8 games that would be launching over the weekend. Today several of those games are readily available to download: Shuffle Party, Samurai vs. Zombies Defense, Bejeweled Live, and Delicious – Emily’s True Love. The only one that hasn’t shown up yet is Temple Run Brave (based on that movie I dislike), but I’m sure it will be along sometime soon.

Head past the break to check out our hands-on demonstration of Shuffle Party from GDC, plus quick impressions and download links for the games that appeared alongside it.

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iOS screenshots

Bejeweled Live isn’t the only Xbox game coming to Windows 8 and RT this week. As another GDC celebration, Microsoft has just announced a horde of Windows 8 tablet and PC games that should start becoming available this weekend, plus six more that are planned for the future. Most of these will be Xbox-enabled, but we’re not sure about a few of them. The biggest news is that Windows 8 will have its own Temple Run game to brag about!

Head past the break for the full list!

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Back in February, PopCap surprised us by suddenly releasing Bejeweled Live+ exclusively for Nokia Windows Phones. Confusing name aside, that game is basically a mobile version of the phenomenal Bejeweled 3.

Well, it turns out that Windows 8 and RT were sorely in need of some Bejeweled love as well. Or should I say Bejeweled Live? Today at GDC 2013, we had the chance to talk with Jeff Green, Director of Editorial and Social Media at PopCap Games, who kindly demonstrated the Xbox-enabled Bejeweled Live for Windows 8 and RT.

Full video and more details after the break!

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This is GDC week, so you can count on some cool developer interviews and hands-on stories as the conference progresses. But it’s also just an exciting week for Windows Phone releases. First we had the release of Sims Medieval for Nokia devices, and now general users can look forward to two regular Xbox releases on Wednesday. We’re looking at one Windows Phone 7 game and one for Windows Phone 8. The former will also be the most expensive mobile Xbox game to date, but at least it’s a good one: Chaos Rings from Square-Enix!

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Windows Phone 8 has received so much Xbox game love this week (in the form of The Dark Knight Rises and Shark Dash) that Windows Phone 7 owners were surely feeling left out. I mean, they should all be busy with Galactic Reign, but that’s another story.

Apparently someone at Nokia saw the lack of releases for the legacy OS and said, “No! This should not be.” To that end, Nokia and Chillingo have just published two Nokia-exclusive Xbox Windows Phone 7 games: Dream Track Nation and Tiny Plane. Both games look like great casual titles to keep Nokia owners busy.

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The Windows Phone Central staff covers all the big mobile events, such as Mobile World Congress and CES. But our gaming readers are probably most excited by gaming event coverage, such as last year’s Electronic Extertainment Expo and Casual Connect visits. Of course we’ll return to those shows again this year, but we’ve got a new one on the table too.

The Game Developers Conference - aka GDC 2013 - runs next week from March 25-29 in San Francisco, California. Your friendly neighborhood Gaming Editor and a handful of Mobile Nations staff will be there scouring for all the best Windows Phone and mobile gaming news.

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Was Gameloft’s The Amazing Spider-Man game too bright and cheery for you? Get ready to stalk villains from the shadows and do lots of brooding then, because there’s a Batman in town. The Dark Knight Rises for Xbox Windows Phone 8 is here! Not surprisingly, it requires phones with 1 GB of RAM, so lower memory devices like the Lumia 620 will have to remain crime-ridden for the time being.

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Galactic Reign is a Microsoft game that was co-developed with Canadian developer Slant Six Games that pretty much came out of nowhere when it appeared on Xbox Windows Phone 7 and 8 and Windows 8 and RT last week. For gamers who have yet to upgrade to Windows Phone 8, another Xbox game that runs on the previous OS is always a blessing. And cross-platform multiplayer is something we can all appreciate, regardless of which Windows Phone we carry.

Last week, we posted an extensive impressions piece about the Windows 8 version of Galactic Reign. This week, I’m back with a full review that covers both versions. Read on to find out whether or not this sci-fi strategy game has universal staying power.

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Xbox games for Windows Phone 8 were slim pickings until Gameloft’s highly anticipated Asphalt 7 rolled out a few weeks ago. That rad racer became the first of the publisher’s 12 announced games to actually see release, followed shortly thereafter by The Amazing Spider-Man and Real Soccer 2013. That still leaves 9 more games to go, including the hotly anticipated FPS titles N.O.V.A. 3 and Modern Combat 4.

We won’t be shooting enemies this week, at least not with bullets. Batarangs, however are a different story. This Wednesday, Gameloft will release The Dark Knight Rises and Shark Dash for Windows Phone 8.

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