Latest Planet Coaster developer diary video shows off modular track placement and more

Frontier has published the third developer diary entry for Planet Coaster, which runs viewers through some gameplay elements, including modular track placement, as well as online features like seeing what friends have created in their own parks.

Xbox Live: Kinectimals update brings Mango support and new Live tile to the kitties

Most of us were pleased as punch when Kinect exclusive Kinectimals made the trip to Windows Phone – see my review, for instance. Then it got ported to iPhone for some reason, sending some nasty mixed signals about Microsoft’s faith in their own mobile platform. That aside, we can at least be glad that Kinectimals on Windows Phone received a nice little update last week.

Kinectimals version 1.1 release notes:

  • Fast app switching
  • Enhanced/interactive game tile:
  • Pin on your start screen to always know your how your cub is doing.
  • LIVE tile will tell you if your cub is hungry, happy, thirsty or needs a bath.
  • Additional in-game language support (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Brazil Portuguese)

It’s good to see Fast App Switching support at last – Kinectimals launched at a time when some users didn’t have Mango yet, so they wouldn’t have been able to play it before upgrading. And more languages means the game can be sold in more markets – a smart move.

On the downside, when this new update first became available, some users have reported difficulty in downloading and installing the update. This seems to be a random Windows Phone/Marketplace glitch rather than a Kinectimals-specific problem though.  If you experience something like this in the future, turning your phone off and then back on should take care of it.

Kinectimals costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here on the Marketplace and start petting your kitties. They need love!

Kinectimals - Review

Is there much crossover between Kinect-toting Xbox 360 owners and Windows Phone gamers? Sure, lots of people buy into more than one of Microsoft’s gaming platforms. And even smartphone users without a console could still have a heart, and thus love kitties. Surely developer Frontier Software and publisher Microsoft Studios banked on both of those points when deciding to bring Kinectimals to Windows Phone. It squeezes much of the console game’s fun into much smaller mobile devices.

Dash past the break for our full review.

Kinectimals catnapped, Microsoft to rescue on November 2

We’ve received a lot of questions and comments about the Xbox Live title Kinectimals disappearing from the Marketplace. Many of you have been worried about the missing kitties, so it’s time to set the record straight.

First off, the Windows Phone version of Kinectimals appeared on the Marketplace Wednesday morning alongside the regularly-scheduled Xbox Live release, Orbital. It was a pleasant surprise, as we only expected a single Live release. Later that day, Kinectimals dropped off the Marketplace.

As it turns out, Kinectimals’ release was a ‘soft launch’ according to a Microsoft representative we spoke with. They released it as a tease to build hype for the game’s official release, which comes next week on November 2. Anyone who already purchased the game can enjoy it as normal, but those who didn’t will need to wait till Wednesday. In the meantime, enjoy the above picture of my kitty, MouseCat, getting into trouble at the CiCi's Pizza buffet. We also have this demonstration video from Nokia World.

We actually updated out original story yesterday, but many readers may have missed it with everything going on. For the record, you can always find gaming-related news by jumping to the Games section of our site.

Keep the tips and questions coming.  We love hearing from you guys and gals.

Kinectimals sneaks onto Xbox Live along with Orbital, pulled a few hours later

Yesterday we mentioned that Orbital would be this week’s Xbox Live release, and that has proven to be true. But it turns out that wasn’t the whole story. Microsoft has gone and sneaked Kinectimals onto the Marketplace as well!

Kinectimals is the portable version of Frontier Software and Microsoft’s feline-themed Kinect game. Players can choose one of five kitties or import an existing cat from the 360 version (which we haven’t tried just yet). Then it’s time to teach your kitty tricks by performing swiping motions, play catch, complete challenges, and buy lots of accessories. So far Kinectimals is a surprisingly faithful port of the retail Xbox 360 version, and it doesn’t even have the original’s obnoxious announcer, always a plus. The Achievements are also super easy. And last but not least, it’s Nodo compatible!

As for Orbital, it’s a Mango-only game. The simple concept, multiple gameplay modes, sci-fi graphics, and techno music all make for an addictive experience.

Both games are only $2.99, so buying both won’t break the bank. You can find Kinectimals here and Orbital here on the Marketplace.

UPDATE: Kinectimals' early release was a mistake. The game has been pulled and will return on November 2.

Thanks to TheWeeBear for the tip!

Kinectimals to feature kinect-kitty, I mean connectivity

When gamers learned that Xbox 360 Kinect game Kinectimals is coming to Windows Phone, undoubtedly many of us wondered whether there would be connectivity between the two versions. Wouldn’t it be cool to take your existing Kinect kitty on the go?

A Microsoft representative shared these details with us:

“The answer is yes, Kinectimals for Windows Phone does share connectivity with the Kinectimals for Xbox 360 version. You can import your favorite pet to your Windows Phone from your Xbox 360 by simply holding the phone up to the TV screen and capturing the QR code from the pet. The phone will recognize the code and add the pet to the mobile experience. Players can export their favorite mobile pets into their Kinect for Xbox 360 Kinectimals game by holding their Windows Phone up to their Kinect sensor which will read the QR code assigned to their pet and add it to their console experience. If players are logged onto their WP and Xbox 360 consoles with the same Xbox LIVE credentials, this process will happen automatically.”

That’s great news for Kinect owners. Kinectimals’ connectivity isn’t exactly using your Windows Phone and a Kinect simultaneously to control an Xbox 360 game, but it is the first interaction between the two devices. The last time we saw Xbox 360 connectivity of any sort was in Microsoft Game Studios’ Full House Poker.

Kinectimals on Xbox 360 is a combination adventure title/mini-game collection/pet simulator in which players adopt an exotic kitten on a mysterious island. It’s targeted towards kids, but I enjoy most of the mini-games and the overall sense of progression as new areas of the island, items, and animals are unlocked. I do wish harm on the narrator though, as his voice should be illegal in civilized countries. Thankfully his blithering can be turned off! Anyway, the Windows Phone version retains just about everything the console version is known for and adds a few new elements into the mix too. We’ll have more details soon.