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free to play

Gems of War is the spiritual successor to Puzzle Quest –a match-3 puzzle-RPG with endless hours of content and PvP gameplay. It's also the whole grail of free to play games – a free game that never stops being fun even if you don't buy anything. Read our full review to learn why Gems of War might be the best free to play game on Xbox One.

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Does anybody remember Order & Chaos Online? It was the first and only Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) for Windows Phone with Xbox support. Although beloved by RPG fans, publisher Gameloft basically abandoned the Windows Phone version of Order & Chaos Online. With no content updates or bug fixes, and compatibility issues making it unplayable on the Nokia Lumia 1520, the game never got the chance to thrive like it should have.

One year later, Order & Chaos is back! Sort of. Gameloft has just released Heroes of Order & Chaos for Windows Phones (with 1 GB of RAM) and Windows 8 and RT. Heroes is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) spin-off of the main game. Since the PC hit League of Legends is not available on mobile devices, Heroes of Order & Chaos is truly the next best thing. And it's free to play, with cloud save support. Head past the break for our hands on video and first impressions!

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Clash of Clans is one of the most profitable mobile games in existence. But developer Supercell has so far refused to bring Clash to Windows Phone. That refusal opens up the doors for companies like Gameloft to swoop in and make their own Clash-like games. But Gameloft’s Total Conquest sits on the buggy side of things, so maybe you’re looking for a different game to play involving clans and clashes.

That’s where Game Insight’s Cloud Raiders comes in. A competitive raiding game set within a Skylanders-like world of floating islands, Cloud Raiders shows loads of polish even during its first official month of release on Windows Phone. With casual strategic battles, base building, clan support, and unrivaled cross-platform support, Cloud Raiders is both a great replacement for Clash of Clans and an impressive game all on its own. Read on for our full review.

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Anybody remember a little Windows Phone 7 shoot-em-up called Corona? Even for an older game, Corona continues to impress with its beautiful anime-style artwork and intense bullet hell shooting action. I thought Finnish developer Kajak Games had stepped away from Windows Phone development after completing Corona, depriving us of their high quality indie games.

As it turns out, Kajak has quietly released quite a few games lately. Today I checked out the studio’s Hopping Penguin, a platformer/endless runner starring a vampire bat – I mean penguin. Mundane title aside, Hopping Penguin offers some very good artwork and lots of platforming goodness in a free to play package. Check out our impressions and video after the break.

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Magic Realms is the Windows Phone and Blackberry version of Elemental Kingdoms, a popular collectible card game/RPG. It also happens to be a re-skinning of an existing game called Lies of Astaroth, with the same game mechanics but totally different cards, art and story.

Origins aside, Magic Realms is a vast and endlessly enjoyable card game. You get a lengthy story mode, online player-versus-player battles, clan support, semi-weekly live events, cloud saves, and even cross-platform compatibility with the Blackberry version of the game. That’s quite a lot of value from a free to play game. Learn more in our in-depth review.

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A while back we reviewed Spirit of Hero, a 3D MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) from Vietnamese developer TeaMobi. Although fairly buggy and riddled with translation errors, the game offered a lot of content and a unique look at Vietnamese history and mythology. And there aren’t exactly tons of free to play MMORPGs on Windows Phone.

It turns out that TeaMobi is something of an MMO specialist. They offer two more massively multiplayer online games on our favorite smartphone platform: Ninja School and Avatar. Today we look at Ninja School (aka Ninja School Online), a free platforming RPG similar to the popular Maple Story series. Surprisingly, this one works with both Windows Phone 7 and 8. Do technical problems and poor translation keep this game from ninja awesomeness? Find out in our full review.

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Lots of readers rely on Windows Phone Central to learn about new Windows Phone games, but how does our staff discover games to share with the folks at home? My favorite method is by checking the “Newly discovered games thread” in our forums. Dedicated readers like “John Lampard” and Mohamed Ashid post a never-ending stream of Store links for new games.

One of the games our forum boys recently shared actually surprised me quite a bit. Jelly Smash is a match-3 puzzle game from, makers of Angry Gran Run. At first glance, I pegged Jelly Smash as another Candy Crush Saga clone to throw on the pile. But the more I played this one, the more I realized how well it stands on its own. It also happens to be exclusive to Windows Phone and Windows 8 and RT, which adds a few extra cool points in my book.

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Last week we reviewed Spirit of Hero, a Windows Phone-exclusive MMORPG from Vietnamese developer TeaMobi. Although a large and potentially fun game, Spirit of Hero suffers from a poor English translation and several technical issues. I must be on a janky Asian games kick, because today I’m back to review Raiden X for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 and RT. This one comes from a Chinese publisher called Kim Labs and indie developer HeartTour.

Although Raiden X bears the name of the famous Raiden shoot-em-up series, it’s not an official Raiden title. The developer borrowed the name and a few assets and made their own Raiden game without permission of Raiden owner Seibu Kaihatsu. Yet unlicensed fan games like this are actually part of a longstanding tradition in Japan and Asia. They’re called doujin games, and exist in something of a gray market in their native countries. Some doujin games are great, while others are totally amateur hour – like Raiden X.

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Russian publisher Game Insight produces titles in many genres (mostly on other platforms), but its specialty is city-building games. Their previous Windows Phone and Windows 8 release 2020: My Country impressed me with its futuristic setting and wealth of content (see our review). But still, I longed to see more Game Insight titles make their way to mobile Windows platforms.

As luck would have it, Game Insight has just released Airport City on both Windows Phone (1 GB of RAM or higher at present) and Windows 8 and RT. It comes from Innowate, the same team who bought us the My Country series. Although the two game look and play a lot alike, Airport City does a few things differently as well. Namely it combines traditional city building with airport management, which proves more interesting than you might expect.

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Windows Phone 8 is home to an excellent massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) called Order & Chaos Online. Sadly, publisher Gameloft sent that game out to die by failing to support it with updates and keep it content-identical to its superior iOS and Android versions. What’s a Windows Phone-owning MMORPG fan to do?

Enter Vietnamese developer TeaMobi, recent graduate of Nokia’s AppCampus program. TeaMobi has just released an MMORPG called Spirit of Hero on Windows Phone – before competing platforms. We learned about Spirit of Hero through Windows Phone Central’s popular “Newly Discovered Games” forum thread, where our dedicated readers share the latest games they’ve discovered. Is Spirit of Hero a worthy successor to Order & Chaos Online? Find out in our detailed launch review.

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FIFA 14 heads out the tunnel on Windows Phone

Time was we posted an article about a new Xbox Windows Phone game (or games!) every week like clockwork. Those days are long behind us, never to return again. But I do get to write about the weekly Xbox console releases, which is almost as fun. And this week we actually do have a new Xbox Windows Phone game, on the unusual day of Friday: FIFA 14 from Electronic Arts! We hear a last-minute bug kept it from releasing on Wednesday.

FIFA 14 is the latest in EA’s extremely popular football/soccer sports series. Last year’s FIFA 13 was originally a Nokia exclusive, and only just became available to all Windows Phone users a month ago. Now all of us (with phones that have 1 GB or more RAM) can enjoy this year’s rosters and new features. And unlike FIFA 13 – which sells for $4.99, this year’s game is free to play. More details and Store link after the break!

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Gameloft launches World at Arms on Windows Phone 8

Mobile publishing giant Gameloft plans to send Windows Phone and Windows 8 lots of love this year. Brothers in Arms 3 and GT Racing 2 are two of their upcoming games, with several more unannounced ones in the wings. And today they’ve just dropped another one out of the blue…

World at Arms is now available on Windows Phone, with the Windows 8 version due to follow soon. The game combines city building with strategic warfare, all in a realistic near-future military setting. Think Kingdoms & Lords but with tanks, aeroplanes, and robots. World at Arms is free to play and works on Windows Phone 8 devices with 512 MB of RAM, so anybody can get in on the military madness.

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Gambling is an expensive real life hobby, unless you’re great at it. Gambling games take away the risk and cost (for the most part) and just let you focus on the fun of the game and the rush of winning.

You’ll find plenty of card games on mobile Windows platforms, and even some lighter fare like Bingo. Now we have a full-fledged game devoted to scratch-off tickets (also known as scratch cards): Jet-Set Scratch-Off Gold. It comes from Chicago-based developer Babaroga, maker of Shuffle Party, Zombies!!!, and Lucky Lanes Bowling. You might not expect it, but scratch off tickets adapt surprisingly well to videogame form.

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Last month, Russian publisher Game Insight’s popular city building game 2020: My Country launched on Windows 8. The game did not run on Windows RT at that time, nor was the Windows Phone 8 version ready. Optimizing for ARM-based hardware takes a little more time, and Game Insight wanted to get the lead version out in the wild in the meantime.

One month later, 2020: My Country has arrived on Windows Phone 8! And the Windows RT version is now available as well. If you enjoy free to play town-building games, the sequel to the original My Country is definitely worth a try. Read on for impressions and Store links!

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Back in the early days of Windows Phone 7 gaming, online games were few and far between. One game – Haypi Kingdom – made a name for itself by offering an MMO experience in which players could build strongholds and war against each other. Haypi Kingdom was quite buggy though, and eventually the developer stopped supporting it.

Since then, Windows Phone 8 has come along and we can now play genuine MMORPGs like Order & Chaos Online (also lamentably unsupported by its publisher). But that old Haypi Kingdom-style design is still fun and addicting, it turns out. Flare Games (who also made Royal Revolt) have just released its second Windows Phone 8 game: Throne Wars. With beautiful artwork, an easy to learn interface, and lots of player-versus-player battles, Throne Wars might just become the casual MMO to beat.

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Asphalt 8: Airborne is a popular racing title available cross-platform, including both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. The game was released on Microsoft's operating systems back in November of last year, but to kick off 2014 with a large burst of NOS, Gameloft have slashed the pricing of both listings to absolutely nothing. That's right, folks – you can now pick up the intense racer for free.

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Indie and mobile games go through various genres of the moment over time, sort of like how console and big-budget PC games have been stuck on First-Person Shooters for the last ten years or so. For the longest time, it seemed like every new small-scale release that came along was a tower defense game. Hardly anybody complained, due to the inherent joy of defending towers.

The new genre of the moment on mobile is definitely the endless running game. A slew of endless runners have recently flooded Windows Phone 8, including such high profile releases as Subway Surfers and Despicable Me: Minion Rush. Only one endless runner with 3D graphics sports Xbox Live features, though: Temple Run 2 from Imangi Studios (makers of Harbor Master). Does the only non-spin-off sequel to Temple Run stand tall above its competitors? Read on to find out.

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If there’s one thing Microsoft hates, it’s for consumers to know about an Xbox Windows Phone or Windows 8 game before that game is released. You’ll recall that a slew of Xbox-branded games for mobile Windows platforms popped up at the end of 2013, most of which had never been announced or publicized by the platform holder.

Still, a sharp-eyed tipster has discovered a game that could be the next Xbox release for Windows Phone and Windows 8.1/RT: Throne Together from Rogue Rocket Games and Microsoft Studios. Throne Together has already soft-launched in certain countries. At first glance, it appears not to be Xbox-enabled. But Windows Phone Central has confirmed with the developer that Xbox is definitely in this game’s future.

Throne Together is a fun and free little puzzle game. Head past the break for instructions on how to get it, plus our hands-on video!

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A few months back, Windows Phone Central revealed that Game Insight would be releasing a sequel to My Country on Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. The California/Russia-based publisher couldn’t announce a release date at that time, but at least we knew that 2020: My Country would be their next game for mobile Windows platforms.

At last, 2020: My Country is here on Windows 8 and RT; the Windows Phone 8 version should follow shortly.

Like the first My Country, 2020 is a complex and comprehensive city simulation game. Think closer to Sim City than Kingdoms & Lords. This one takes things into the near future, throwing a few sci-fi elements into the mix. It’s still free to play, which has its ups and downs.  Read on for our review on this new Windows 8 game.

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