Risk wins Windows Phone 8 compatibility, but two more Nokia Xbox games lose it

Every time we report on Windows Phone 8 compatibility, it’s a good news/bad news situation. The Oregon Trail gained compatibility while Shoot 1 UP lost it… Babel Rising 3D sort of became compatible (which was a mistake), and KenKen lost it for no apparent reason…  Which brings us to this weekend.

Good news: Risk from Nokia and Electronic Arts is now available for Lumia phones running Windows Phone 8! On the other hand, two more games – both Nokia exclusives – have jumped ship from Windows Phon 8. Can’t win, can we?

The semi-delisted club

Parking Mania

Insert crashing pun here

Before we talk about Risk, let’s get the WP8 incompatible games from Nokia out of the way first. Parking Mania is one of the partially delisted titles, which should surprise nobody. The game consistently crashes on certain levels, making it impossible to complete on Windows Phone 8 devices. Too bad, because otherwise it’s a fun little casual title about the celebrated pastime of parking cars. Hopefully Parking Mania gets patched soon; I’m eager to complete and review it.

Second on the newly incompatible list is Chillingo and Cobra’s iBomber Defense. In our recent review, we complained of frequent crashes when returning to the main menu after starting or completing a level. iBomber also suffers from a horrendous frame rate whenever the screen gets crowded. Even worse: several of its ridiculously hard Achievements are broken! According to our always tactful reader Arsenic17, these issues aren’t unique to WP8, as it runs poorly on Windows Phone 7 as well. Considering iBomber Defense’s overall fun factor, let’s wish it a speedy return and (however unlikely) reduced difficulty.

As far as we know, both iBomber Defense and Parking Mania can still be purchased from Nokia WP7 handsets.

Risky business

Risk attack

QR: Risk

With that unpleasant business out of the way, it’s time to celebrate the return of Electronic Arts’ Nokia-exclusive port of Risk. After launching on October 19th, Risk can finally be played on Windows Phone 8 devices – that’s relatively speedy for an Xbox Windows Phone update. The game still has an odd graphical glitch on its Achievement menu (pictured), but otherwise it runs quite smoothly and speedily.

Risk is based on the classic strategic board game. Now, I’ve never been a huge fan of the real game nor the enhanced XBLA version, but for some reason the Windows Phone 7 game actually grabs me. The interface is well-designed and allows for fast-forwarding of just about all the repetitive stuff like dice rolls and AI turns, unlike the much slower Game of Life.

Remember how Carcassonne required players to win an insane 200 lengthy games for its Achievements? Risk requires a much fairer 20 wins and has only one challenging Achievement to its name. It even supports Wi-Fi multiplayer, another advantage over Game of Life.

You can find Risk’s Windows Phone Store page here, but it can only be purchased from a Nokia Lumia phone.

Growing pains

Risk Windows Phone Achievement bug

One of these stripes doesn't belong...

Technically, the Windows Phone 8 incompatible list has grown by one title due to the double whammy of games getting pulled. Heck, four out of the nine Nokia-exclusive games can't be bought on WP8. In a way, their partial delisting is actually good news since it means Nokia and EA are aware of the games’ issues. That gives them a decent chance of getting fixed, just like Risk.

Still, you have to wonder why so many recent titles haven’t run properly on WP8. Shouldn’t Microsoft test for that kind of thing before allowing games to pass certification? After all, it highlights the fact that Windows Phone 7 games frequently don’t run smoothly on Windows Phone 8 despite early promises to the contrary.

Conspiracy theory time: maybe somebody at the big Microsoft actually took that idea to heart and has chosen not to allow Windows Phone 8-incompatible Xbox Windows Phone games to release in the future. That could explain the recent, worrying drought of new releases. Maybe they actually had some games lined up, but realized those titles wouldn’t run on Windows Phone 8 at the last minute. I doubt we’ll ever find out the truth, but that possibility is the only one that wouldn’t indicate a lack of support from the Xbox for Windows Phone team.

What do you think, dear readers?

Thanks to TNT Judbud and Sans Gluten for the tips!

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!

  • I'm with you, Paul. So waiting for a patch for Parking Mania. I love this game. And it pisses me off that I can't complete it due to the crashing levels. But there are still other games I'm waiting for WP8 compatibility as well. Sid Meiers Pirates for example.
  • Tentacles?
  • Any word on when Risk will be available to everyone? I would love to get this on my 8x. I understand the reasons for the Nokia exclusives, but that doesn't make it blow monkey balls any less.
  • No word from Nokia on that subject yet, but I'm still trying to get an answer.
  • Product Exclusives: Great for Companies, Terible for Consumers.  That is just the way it works.
  • What about games like temple run, agent dash?? I guess they will NEVER come on WP :/
  • You can always ask the creator of Temple Run to port the game. His Twitter handle is @kshepherd He's said no in the past, but hopefully he changes his mind someday.
  • I noticed the update for Risk yesterday.  Been playing in on my Lumia 920 and its running pretty well.  Wish they would implement online multiplayer.  Honestly, how hard can that be for a game like Risk?
  • WiFi multiplayer would lead me to believe they KNOW it isn't hard...probably companies like AT&T are still pushing them to NOT do it, because of all the bandwidth it would eat up.
  • Luckily I dont use my phone that much for gaming otherwise I would be pretty disappointed.
  • Ok, so hear me out.. I see other 'Nokia' only games/apps that then get put in the store as non-Nokia exclusive so the store contains 2 versions.  And then the non-Nokia gets updated frequently... leaving the Nokia out to dry or getting delayed updates.
    Not sure I want to buy something that will later get left behind.  Why doesn't the store simply have a single App which is only visible to Nokia users until a later time when everyone can then buy the same app?
  • Is this incompatible problems on apps also?
  • So no new game and no deal of the week again this week?
  • Uh oh, no reply from Paul - guess that means he's saving the bad news for one of tomorrow's posts :(
  • That's certainly a possibility, but I'm also on an odd sleeping schedule and went to bed shortly after this post went live.
  • That'll kill you early man :)  So...looks like no new game again this week, bummer.
  • It's official: Possible reasons why we get no new Xbox game for Windows Phone this week
  • Where is Tentacles ??? Where is Feed me Oil ? 2 games I own and still have not gotten all the achivements from...
    Is it possable to get a refund for games that are not working on WP8 ????
  • Agreed on Tentacles. I also bought that game, still have cheevos and levels unplayed, and now can't play it.
  • I bought tentacles 1 day before switching to WP8 :(
  • The most important question is,"Did someone at Microsoft notify the devs when the apps were pulled this time around?"
  • It's probably still coming. Also, please don't yell.
  • Another Nokia exclusive.  Are there any other non-Nokia owners out there getting sick of Nokia only apps!?  If I was a mobile phone developer, I would steer clear of Windows Phone for this very reason.  Microsoft needs to level the playing field, otherwise it is going to be a Nokia only market eventually.  It is always better to have competition.
  • Yes. I agree. It should be Microsoft paying developers for the porting of the games, not Nokia. The reason developers steer clear of WP platform, is because of the roughly 1% global install base of Windows Phones(I trust Statcounter data). Why would the developers bother? The reason these apps/games get released at all, is that Nokia is paying the developers to port it. Otherwise they wouldn't be released at all. You should be very happy that Nokia does this. As far as I can remember most/all of these Nokia exclusive apps and games are Nokia exclusives for limited time only(3 months, 6 months, whetever).
  • So what happens when you buy games on WP8 and then they get pulled? I did that with Parking Mania, iBomber Defense, and Babel 3D!
  • How do you keep track of all this nonsense that's what I want to know.
  • My brain is a computer! Actually, I did a lot of research in college, which has helped out a lot for this job. :)
  • Glad that RISK is back, it was the only purchased game that I had left which I couldn't redownload onto my new 920 having moved from an 800.
  • First time I play risk on any device, LOVE IT!