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Must-have games for your Nokia Lumia 900

You've read our Must-have apps for the Nokia Lumia 900, now it's time for the games...

One of Windows Phone’s most attractive features to gamers is its Xbox Live integration. All Xbox Live games feature Achievements and online friends leaderboards, making it easy to compare and show off your progress with your pals. Every Wednesday Microsoft releases a new Xbox Live title, which come in the following price ranges: free, $2.99, $4.99, and $6.99.

With over 100 Xbox Live titles released so far and many more on the way, new users like those who’ve just picked up the Nokia Lumia 900 (review) might have a tough time deciding which games to grab first. Factor in the abundance of indie games and there’s even more to choose from. Fear not, friends – I’ve played nearly every single Xbox Live game on Windows Phone, and reviewed most of them for this very site. If anyone can help, it’s WPCentral.

Read past the break to learn what I think are the best...


Best games for the Lumia 900

Here are my suggestions, divided by category…

Freebies - First you’ll want to pick up the free Xbox Live titles. Most are supported by ads and offer 50 GamerScore of Achievements, though Bug Village has 200 GamerScore and relies on optional microtransactions rather than advertisements.  These are all the current free games, roughly in order of quality from best to worst:

Casual – Games that anyone can pick up and play, regardless of age or gender. These are usually great to pick up and play for a few minutes at a time. Some of these could fit within other genres, but I’ve placed them here since they have that extra simplicity and appeal.

Hardcore – Looking for a challenging, console-like experience? Dodonpachi Maximum is a vertically-scrolling bullet hell shoot-em-up from Japanese developer CAVE. With 15 ultra-challenging stages, you’ll need a ton of practice to unlock its secrets. Zombies (on the Phone) is actually three games in one. All three are twin-stick shooters (with virtual sticks, obviously) and a great sense of humor.

Physics puzzlers – Physics-based puzzle games are in surprising abundance – even games like Angry Birds fall into this genre. Assuming you’ve already got that game (or want something a little more puzzley), the two best physics games are Gerbil Physics and Tiki Towers. Both are just loaded with charm. Gerbil Physics is a little rough around the edges at the moment, but the developer is planning an update to fix up its minor problems

Racing – Windows Phone doesn’t have a ton of racing games just yet. Of the few on offer, Hydro Thunder GO is easily the best. It features fast-paced, arcade-like gameplay, fanciful tracks, and impressive water effects. If you like the Xbox 360 version, you’re sure to love playing Hydro Thunder on the GO.

Sports – Like racing, there aren’t too many sports games to pick from at the moment. Still, these two selections easily hold their own in quality. Let’s Golf 2 is a highly-polished arcade-style golf sim, very reminiscent of the Hot Shots Golf series. It does have one broken Xbox Live Achievement, but otherwise it’s a must-buy. Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 (also known as PES 2012) is Konami’s highly realistic soccer/football simulation. If you’re serious about your soccer, don’t hesitate to grab it.

Strategy – Windows Phone has several great strategy options, and even more like Carcassonne on the way. Zombies!!! is a unique horror-themed board game that’s slated to receive online multiplayer in a future update. Civilization Revolution may not be easy on the eyes, but it packs an incredible amount of depth. Taking your civilization from the dawn of time all the way into the future just never gets old, provided you can get your head around the interface. Finally, Plants vs. Zombies is the best tower-defense game ever created and my personal favorite game. Use an arsenal of attack plants to keep your house safe from hordes of comical zombies. You’ll be amazed at how many clever minigames PopCap squeezed in on top of the main game.  

Indie – While Xbox Live games are Windows Phone’s special draw, the platform also hosts a multitude of interesting indie titles. Even GamerScore hunters owe it to themselves to check out the cream of the indie crop.

Armed! is a turn-based strategy game from Sickhead Games that features impressive 3D graphics, an unparalleled user interface, and best of all – online play. It easily matches Xbox Live games in terms of quality.

Dragon’s Blade is one of the very few Japanese-style turn-based RPGs on the platform. Not only does it provide a series role-playing experience, it even has online play to boot. With both a paid and free version, RPG fans have no excuse not to try it.

Words by Post is an online Scrabble game. There are actually several such games to choose from, but its cross-platform multiplayer gives it the edge.

Rainbow Rapture is a clone of Tiny Wings on iOS but oh so much better. The story is you're a cloud-rainbow who's unhappy with the world. So you've decided to eat everyone. Yes, it's misanthropic, colorful, challenging and hilarious. By diving and flying high, the physics in Rainbow Rapture and the 60 FPS makes a fun, casual game. See our hands on here to get an idea. And if you like it on Windows Phone, you'll love it on your Xbox 360 (opens in new tab).

Last but not least, MonsterUp is a Doodle Jump-like endless jumping game from Karios Games. In many ways it surpasses the original, thanks to the bright, cheery monster designs and highly honed gameplay.

  • Armed! - $3.99
  • Dragon’s Blade - $6.99 (DX) or Free
  • Words by Post - $2.99 or Free
  • Wordament - Free (Now an Xbox Live title)
  • Rainbow Rapture - $1.49 or Free
  • MonsterUp - $1.29 or Free
  • Survivalcraft - $3.99


Are those all the best games for Windows Phone and the Lumia 900?

There you have it – my personal favorite Windows Phone games in a variety of genres. Did I miss one of your own top picks? Let me know with a comment.

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • Nice write-up.
    My problem with these Xbox Live Windows Phone games is that it seems to give MS the idea to increase the price of the games. For example, Angry Birds costs more on WP than iOS. For those of us who don't own an Xbox and don't care for those services, I wish we'd be able to buy a non xbox live version of the games for a cheaper price.
  • I agree that the $2.99 price tag can be a sticker shock, especially for those who are coming from other platforms, and we'll always hear the price comparisions. I do feel  it has limited my purchases (somehow I can justify purchasing several apps for 99 cents, but put some thought before purchasing for $2.99). While that hasn't stopped me from purchasing apps, it certainly has made me more picky.
  • Tentacles is my personal favorite
  • Another for the list: BBB:App-ocalypse. Free tower defense game with unique powerups and the 1st person mode to get more involved in the game by rotating the phone 180 degrees. A ton of fun!
  • I was going to recommend that, too! :D
  • I don't like tower defence games and LOOOOVES!!! BBB: App.... And its free, hard to get better....well, a way to buy it to skill adds would be nice.
  • As a multiplatform Scrabble, the best has to be WordFeud. It's got a larger userbase and support for multiple languages, that's a no brainer.
  • What?
    Tentacles is probably the best WP game out there and it is WP exclusive
  • Civilization Revolution was a TRAVESTY! And does NOT deserve to be on this list.It earned my first ever 1-star review in the marketplace. Redicoluos attempt at taking peoples money.
  • Says someone who obviously hasn't spent much time with the game. At least support your argument rather than just trashing it.
  • Hahaha imma try this game now
  • If you're worried about a couple bucks, just wait for a sale like the recent one, where I picked up civilization and other titles for .99.
  • ilomilo even though right now it doesnt work
  • BTW Just curious: Anybody ever download an app/game and it immediately crashes for you on the splash screen? Deleting the app and downloading it again fixed it for me but still strange. (Game in question was Rainbow Rapture).
    Was gonna say the game was bugged or something but wanted to see if reinstalling it would fix it.
    EDIT: Found a game like Rainbow Rapture called "Penguin". I prefer it :P
  • I don't believe this is always a problem with the game but more a problem with the phone's memory management. If I have a game open in the background I can't use Nokia Maps or open another game. It does depend on the size of the game and new app. If I have Dodonpachi Maximum in the background that seems to cause issues.
  • Ah ok thanks. I'll go and test this now. BTW: How can I remove an app/game from memory? Holding down the back button shows whats in memory but I can't see how to remove it from it.
  • Click BACK button when that happens, maybe you just accidentrally hit the button
  • Don't forget about Krashlander! One of the first great games on WP7 and still great. (Physics based puzzle game) There is a free and cheap paid version.
  • Armed is far better than any other mobile game I have seen on any platform. Well, I guess if you really hate competing with real people who can kick your ass you may not like it and you should shoot birds into pigs.
  • It's not enough to grab Words By Post, you also have to convert at least one Words With Friends user.
    I've convinced both an iPhone user and a Galaxy Nexus user to make the switch from W.W.F. to W.B.P.
  • Am I blind or is Wordament not on this list?
  • I actually had it in the list but then cut it out for length. Sorry man.
  • Exactly. Wordament is my most played game :D
  • You need to include Taptitude.
  • I second this!
  • I enjoyed these also: Glyder: Adventure Worlds ilomilo Fable Coin Golf Max and the Magic Marker Doodle God Pac-Man Championship Edition DX (but NOT Pac-Man) Rocket Riot Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Ep. 1 geoDefense
  • I would have liked to see geoDefense on this list somewhere. I bought all of the games on sale during Easter weekend, plus the $2.99 geoDefense, and I barely touch the other games. I have never been so addicted to a mobile game since I first played Angry Birds.
  • geoDefense is a great game and very challanging... A def for the list...
  • You're missing Arcane's TD. I love that game!
  • WP Central, a must have site for Windows Phone users!!!
  • Very disappointed by lack of Bouncy Mouse mention.
  • Wordament has surely got to be on the list?!
  • Heh, maybe I'll stick it back in... Had trimmed it out before posting.
  • No Flight Control? Easily my favorite game. I'm straight addicted. 
  • IMO Harbor Master is a slightly better game. But the WP7 version of Flight Control lags behind the other versions a bit too much - that's one reason we didn't include it.
  • Wow. No haz Tentacles? That's my fav game. It's exclusive too. Oh yea, I forgot. Your a n00b at it. LOL
  • Hey, at least I know the difference between your and you're. :P
  • Too bad it's not helping you with Tentacles ;)
  • Angry Birds is actually on sale for $0.99!
  • Sale ? That is a price it should always be. Just like all other platforms...
    That is one thing MS needs to fix, Pricematch other platforms with apps. It's the only thing I hate about WP7. I seem to end up paying 3X the amount for a game than iOS or Android most of the time.
  • Well, it's not happening, so life would be easier for everyone if we all just got over it.
  • Correction Paul, developers need to man up and stop ripping off customers.
  • Microsoft sets the prices for Xbox Live games - developers have nothing to do with it. And I promise the price points aren't changing.
  • Really? Time for some updating there are (7) @ $.99
  • I stand corrected! MS sometimes makes policy changes without notifying us in advance...
  • Shameless plug:
    Robonom - a robot programming game
    Car Scar - a combat disc, save your car, destroy enemy car, action-packed game.
  • i like doodle god :D
  • Paul you should update the Prices in the article, reflecting the permenent price drops.
  • I like the free apps. I think xbox must release 2 versions of games, first one for free, other one paid. They may put a limit to some levels in free version. This will make a large number of customers happy, those who don't wanna spend a penny other than the data cost of mobile operator on apps and games.