Get a first look at Halo: Spartan Assault for Windows Phone 8

The Windows Phone Central crew is down here at E3 to bring you the latest in gaming. While E3 isn’t heavily focused on mobile gaming, there are some treats to be found on the showroom floor if you’re wanting to get your game on with Windows Phone. One game that is highly anticipated in the community is Halo: Spartan Assault. It’s a twin-stick, top-down shooter for both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. Videos after the break.

Windows Phone 8

Most of your mobile gaming probably takes place on your smartphone. They’re easier and more convenient to lug around than even a tablet. So how’s Spartan Assault on them? Not bad at all. Screen real estate is obviously a luxury on smartphones, even among devices in the 4.5 inch range like the Lumia 928. But Spartan Assault worked well in the few minutes we played with the device in the Xbox press lounge. The current build of the game had only one level on the device but was still able to give us an example of the overall experience you’ll be getting sometime in July. We even managed to snag some screenshots of the game for anybody at work without access to YouTube.

Main menu and mission brief (click to enlarge)

Halo: Spartan Assault gameplay and post game awards (click to enlarge)

Windows 8

Windows 8 is where I think Spartan Assault will really shine. The larger screen real estate works out to more rooms for controls and you aren’t blocking the action with your fatty mcfatfat thumbs. Just by luck when we were playing with the Windows 8 version Graeme Jennings sat at the chair next to us to rest up before he hit the showroom floor. You’ll remember him as the senior producer at 343 Industries that we interviewed a few weeks back in Santa Monica. He shared some interesting insight into the game and how it will run on Windows 8 vs. Windows RT. Right now on the Surface Pro you’ll get 60 frames-per-second when playing Spartan Assault. Obviously the weaker performing Surface RT won’t be getting rates that high, but still gets a respectable 30 frames-per-second.

Long gaming periods probably won’t be a blast on a device as heavy as the Surface Pro (Bro, do you even lift?). But with the future of Windows 8.1 bringing better support for tablets in the 7-8 inch range I think we’ll have a winning combo with those devices and Halo: Spartan Assault.

What do you guys think of the game so far? Buying it for just Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8? Or are you going to be like me and get both on day 1. Halo: Spartan Assault is coming to Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 sometime in July for the price of $6.99 each.

P.S. Don’t’ forget to grab these Spartan Assault wallpapers.

  • I'll be getting in on my surface first, and then maybe phone just for achievements, if its as good as it looks
  • NOVA 3 is now available for Lumia devices only.
  • I can't find it, direct link?
  • No link really. Why even post on here.
  • Go here
  • Here's how to get it for free right now on a Lumia phone:
    1. Go to phone setting
    2. Change region to India (not language)
    3. Restart phone
    4. Go to marketplace and download it for free.
    5. Change back region and enjoy!
  • Holy crap does it look good on the phone.  I wasn't expecting that at all.  Damn!  I'm really impressed.
  • Me 2
  • Oh, this is a MUST have for my Lumia 920.
  • Seconded!
  • I'm saying they should sell a special edition phone with Spartan preinstalled, and give a $100 discount, to those who buy it, on a new XBO!! This is a terrific idea!!
  • I would buy a special edition Spartan assault lumia 920 for sure make it happen Microsoft.
  • want it for my surface RT it looks like a great game.
  • Hrm... not a fan of the "thumbsticks on the screen". I need tactile response otherwise my thumbs wander all over the place. Also, another thing that bugs me with the current state of mobile gaming is so many games require you to put your hands all over the screen essentially covering up what you're trying to look at.
  • How else would you do it though? Tilt control is hardly,feasible for a game like this
  • Same issues here... but what can they do? The only thing I can think of is a hardware accessory. I sure would live an Xbox controller that mounts to the screen. But most people will have to make do with touch...
  • The problem stems from their choice of game style. It's been shown you can't really do an FPS-style game on a touch device (iD tried to do it with their on-rails Rage game) which leaves you with only a third person game or what they settled for, the top-down shooter.
    I had the zombie game on iPhone (can't remember what it was called) with the same controls as this and played it for about 5 minutes and never touched it again. Same goes for the Mass Effect third person shooter on WP8. If the controls "don't work" for me then I'm not going to play.
    Another issue is the two-handed game. The perfect mobile game (for me) is a portrait oriented, set-up and watch type game. Part of Angry Birds' success is the set up and watch style of play where you don't need to keep your hands on the screen and you can play it on the bus or train without fear of losing because of a bumpy road.
    I saw at E3 (via blogs) that MadCatz (I think) have already got a small stand to attach your Windows Phone to the new Xbox One controller to use as a second screen. If they could get the controller to work with the phone that'd be great although not exactly portable. 
  • Twin-stick shooters work just fine on touch screen devices. Yes, there's a learning curve, but if you actually put the time into it, you'd get the hang of it too. What you're doing is giving up because it's different. That's your right, but it also keeps you from enjoying these great mobile experiences.
  • It would good but Lumia 920 gets too hot to really enjoy games like this....
  • Well, this was addressed in the interview for this game (well, one of them). This game's built to expect your hands to wander. As the interviewee stated, the tocuh input will follow you. If your hands drift up, so will the expected point of reference for the thumbsticks. The guy said if your thumbs drift to the top of the phone, the sticks will as well. That means the drifting issue won't lead to complete loss of control like in most twin-stick games (happened a lot for me on Gun Bros.). This game will compensate and continue to play smoothly.
  • I specifically was watching the left thumb of the demoer to see if the Spartan would suddenly stop if the thumbs wandered past a designated boundary but you can see the direction stick boundary move along the bottom left corner, seems like they have a pretty decent solution.
  • I guess I'll just have to try it and see. I'm likely to buy the game just to support the devs and the platform anyway. Also... cheevos.
  • Well, the touch works, you just need training and I mean hours of training. Modern Combat 4 is good example. There you can freely locate your stick and button layout as you wish, but still, it needs hours of training before you can really play and not concentrate controlling the aim and movement.
  • Too bad you can't just plug your Xbox controller into your phone huh? Just like on the Surface. I personally hate touch games, but this, I will definitely buy. Looks promising! Surface does work with a Xbox controller. But only after the first update of the game tho.
  • Whatever happened to the idea of small portable blutooth controllers like they have for android?
  • I started a thread about that and I guess nobody but us likes the idea...
  • Its a shame as that would solve many of the issues. Esp if the controller had like a pop out thing to hold the phone securely.
  • Great developments for the WP platform lately, be it games or expected os update (wp8.1) or influencing iOS7.. :P
    WP ftw. :)
  • That looks great and I plan to buy it, I do still play with my 3DS as well.
  • Giggitty!!
  • I gots all this credit from my Lumia 928's... Why not?
  • Going into my stasis pod now to pass the time till its released! Looks awesome on the phone.
  • No Sam, I don't lift
  • The one game I will actually play on my Surface Pro. Looking forward to it.
  • 2x Achievements gonna make all my iPhone toting XBL friends jealous, lol
  • How hot did the phone get guys? Important to know.
  • Good question...this is a big issue.
  • This exactly .. Even today I cannot dare to play Temple Run for more than 15 mins on my Lumia 920. It gets really hot & battery drainage is amazing !
    How about you all guys ? .. or is it me only ?
  • Not hot at all, but we we're only playing with it for about 20 mins. 
  • Can't wait to play this game!
  • Hope to see the fps version one in the future (will probably for 1gb ram devices only)
  • meh. I think i'll spend my hard-earned $7 on NOVA 3
  • So how will this go on Windows 8 devices without touch? Will it work at all? Is there controller support? I'd consider getting this on my Windows 8 desktop, if I am even able to play it on a non-touch device.
  • Ooo, controller support! If I could plug in my 360 controller and plat, that would be awesome! Otherwise I'll be playing on my Surface and MAYBE on my 920 if I really like it.
  • If we don't get controller support, my 920 might be the only means of playing I'll have, as I dont' know if there will be mouse/keyboard support, or even reasonable controlers for it.
  • You can already use the 360 controller on any windows device with a full size USB. You have to use either the wired controller or buy the PC wireless device for 360 controllers.
  • Does not answer my question as to how THIS GAME will react to a controller. What will be the controls, and can they be reprogrammed? I can do touch input with a controller. Also, I already have a GameStop wired controller, along with an AirFlo one. I don't NEED and controller, I just want to know how this game will use them.
  • It should act like any dual stick controlled game with the to analog sticks being utilized. It also supports keyboard and mouse too.
  • And Keith, while you can use controllers on Win8 devices, controller support for this game will come post launch. Sorry if I caused any confusion.
    Sorry about that, the link is for the wireless dongle that connects to your PC or surface for cheap. Found it through Bing's search results.
  • We covered all that in our day one announcement articles, Keith. As for reprogramming the controls, I don't think you can adjust much besides sensitivity. I could be remembering wrong though. And of course it works on non-touch Windows 8 devices. There's not a single Xbox Windows 8 game that doesn't.
  • Is the a 1g game or can be played on 512m equipped devices?
  • I will be buying this day one for my 920. Maybe on Windows 8 after seeing how it plays on the phone.
  • #musthave
  • I'll be getting day one for the 920 and RT. Hopefully support for Xbox controller is coming soon for the surface.
  • You can use the 360 controller on Surface already. It has a full size USB, so either use the wired controller or buy the wireless PC device and play wirelessly. Its pretty cool.
  • The Windows 8 version of the game won't support controllers at launch. Support is coming in a title update.
    Sorry about that, the link is for the wireless dongle that connects to your PC or surface for cheap. Found it through Bing's search results.
  • Don't just post a link by itself. You need a sentence describing the link so people know it's not spam.
  • Jason you have no idea what the difference is between supported by the device and supported by the game. Posting that link makes you look more foolish than you could possibly know.
  • He asked if there was controller support for the Surface.
    @OldSchool.... If you want to know if there will be controller support specifically for this game; the answer is yes, but post-launch. Again, I apologize if I've caused any confusion.
  • Hey it's cool and sorry if I wasn't clear on the question. I knew about native support for the device but was wondering about game support for the controller. I didn't know about the wireless dongle so thanks for that.
  • Totally awesome! Can't wait.
  • Very smooth game play. Love it!
  • Can't wait to play this. WP8 will be the first phone to have a truly platform defining game franchise. There maybe apps that used to be synonomous with iOS only like Path and Instagram but those eventually went to Android (maybe Instapaper still is), but no games. If you say what is the go to game for Android or iOS people may rattle off their favorites but it won't be the same way that Halo will become part of the gaming identity of the WP8 (and beyond) platform. It's nice change for the WP community to get a little bit of exclusivity once in a while.
  • Look awesome! If anything I'll get it for my Lumia 920, but I don't even play games on the go anyways.
  • I'm sad now. My Surface RT with Limited Edition Year of The Snake touch keyboard was stolen. I used to play games on it with my 360 controller because I had that PC wireless attachment. I loved my full sized USB port! I'll still buy this game for my Win8 laptop, but I seriously miss my surface. They should have put GPS in it along with some tracking software. Oh, and make it harder to do a factory reset on.
  • HELL YEA!!!!! ITS THE BOMB! Love the look of this!
  • Looks fun but I don't think it's $7.00+ freemium fun
  • What does that mean ? 7 + freemium ? (I hate made up words)
  • Oh major nelsons podcast he mentioned that you can hook a 360 controller up to play on windows 8..
  • Been able to do that for a long time with the WiFi dongle.
  • I meant specifically for this game seven... And the dongle is only for wireless 360 controllers. Wired ones hook directly.
  • Oh ok lol, sorry then. It would be very cool to be able to do that, I wonder why more W8 games haven't implemented that yet. For the X1 controllers using WiFi-Direct for wireless and Micro-USB cords for wired, and given that Windows 8.1 is supposed to implement WiFi-Direct, I hope we see a lot more cross functionality with the controllers and games.
  • Support for the Xbox 360 controller on the Windows 8 version is coming in a later update. Won't be there at launch. 
  • Do birds fly? Then this is a must on my Surface. No questions.
  • Ostriches, Cassowaries, Rheas, Emus, Penguins, and Kiwis can't :P
  • Yuck
  • Want multiplayer!!! :)
  • i can't wait to play this next month
  • Day 1, both versions. A special edition themed hardware release would be cool (phone or tablet)
  • Finally a proper game. None of this angry birds where's my water puzzle bullshit or some half arse ripoff from gameloft
  • I hope it can be played on my 620 with 512 Mb RAM
  • I don't have a tablet so I'll just be getting this for my Lumia 1
  • Thank you Sam. You are a legend. With this, i will own every Halo game so far. Day one buy. Period.
  • Curious if it will work with the xbox control on surface rt
  • It will totally work with the Xbox 360 controller...after an update after launch. They're working on it, but it won't be ready day 1. 
  • If I can play this with my Xbox controller plugged in (Surface RT), I will definitely buy it!
    Edit: Oke, after an update this is possible. Lookin fwd to it!
  • The controls are like the ones in Gun Bros... The controls are just fine.
  • It's great, great win 8, there are many good applications. Do you go to Viet Nam. If you go o Viet Nam. you can go go du lịch nha trang đà lạt or du lịch hạ long. It is very nice