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game house

Yesterday we brought you the news from Casual Connect that Puzzle Retreat would be coming to Windows Phone 8 this year. Now let’s follow up by discussing a Windows 8-specific game. This one comes from Game House, who we didn’t expect to have a mobile Windows presence at the show.

Imagine my surprise when I stopped by their booth and saw the Windows 8 version of Delicious: Emily’s Wonder Wedding running on a big and beautiful touch-screen monitor right at the front of their booth. Ruby Urlings, the game's producer was even on-hand to demonstrate its story and gameplay for us on video. Give it a watch (and read the history of Delicious on mobile Windows platforms) after the break!

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You’ve probably heard that Miniclip is offering four of its Xbox Windows Phone games for free right now. And as of last week, the Xbox Deal of the Week is back. So with a bunch of games gone free at the moment, does that mean we don’t get a new Deal of the Week today? Heck no it doesn’t!

This week’s deal game is another blast from the past, as it’s been on sale once before. But it’s actually a pretty awesome game that many players might have overlooked: Tiki Towers from Game House. Even better, the sale price is 99 cents this time, the cheapest Tiki Towers has ever been.

Now is the part where I remind you, our dear readers, that the Windows Phone Store doesn’t always update like clockwork. Sometimes price changes take time to go live. Case in point: I’m not seeing Tiki Towers on sale yet. But Microsoft assures us it will go on sale, and I believe them. So just be patient and check later tonight or Thursday; the sale will eventually go on.

Update: The sale is not scheduled to go live until Thursday for some reason. That explains it!

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At Windows Phone Central we usually get the Xbox Live release information a bit early, but this week we’re pleased to announce the Xbox Live Deal of the Week ahead of schedule as well. Following up on last week’s strong bargain of Monster Island for a dollar, this week’s discount is no less impressive. Starting this Wednesday, Game House’s Tiki Towers will go on sale for 99 cents, down from $2.99.

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Yesterday Windows Phone Central reported that Sally’s Salon Luxury Edition, the first game in the Sally’s series for Windows Phone, had been reduced in price from $4.99 to $2.99. While many believed the price change to represent the return of the Windows Phone Xbox Live Deal of the Week program, we did say it could have simply been a permanent price drop...

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At lunch time on Wednesday, we were a bit hesitant to post a story about the Marketplace updating late. What if it updated within the next few minutes after the post went live? As it turns out, we needn’t have worried. Sally’s Spa, this week’s Xbox live release, finally went live around 1 am EST Thursday. That’s officially the latest a Windows Phone Xbox live game has ever been posted. Cheers?

There is some good news, however. While Game House quoted the game’s price as $4.99 to us, it’s actually showing up at $2.99 right now. Could the lower price be a mistake? I don’t know, but if you’re interested in helping Sally start her own spa chain, I would advise buying now rather than waiting. That price increase on Fling makes me antsy! But you know, $2.99 certainly is fair for Sally’s Spa given that it’s a bit shorter than its predecessor Sally’s Salon and retails for $2.99 on iOS anyway.

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Lindsay Duffy (left) and Camay Wells

Windows Phone Central exclusively announced Sally’s Spa for Windows Phone a few months ago, and now we’re back with the first footage of the game running on our platform of choice.

“How?” you ask, filled with cat-like curiosity. Well, my inquisitive reader, Sally series publisher Game House had a major presence at Casual Connect Seattle, hosting not just a sizable booth but also a thumping pre-party featuring chicken and waffles, among other fine things. Aren't you dying to be a journalist now?

During the actual conference, Camay Wells, Director of Mobile Games Marketing, graciously demonstrated the game for us and showed off some of its new features. Spa-tastic video after the break! (Video link now fixed)

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Last month, Windows Phone Central announced that Droplitz Delight would soon be coming to Xbox Live. That time is now at hand, as Game House’s latest is now available on the Marketplace.

Droplitz Delight is the mobile-exclusive sequel to XBLA and Steam puzzler Droplitz. In each level, players are tasked with guiding the adorable liquid droplitz from the top of the screen to the bottom. You’ll have to quickly rotate a bunch of tiles in order to create a safe path for the little liquids, and then do it all again after the old path disappears. Gameplay modes include the 40-level Target Quest, Dash, Classic, and Free Play.

The warm and cuddly art style of Droplitz Delight would be reason enough for puzzle fans to give it a look, but the game has another ace up its sleeves too. Droplitz Delight rings up at just 99 cents – the perfect impulse price. You can get it here on the Marketplace.

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Screenshots from Droplitz Delight coming to Windows Phone on May 23

Last month, WPCentral broke the news of three new Game House titles coming to Xbox Live: Droplitz Delight, Sally’s Spa, and Tiki Towers 2. We’re now delighted to reveal the official release date and exclusive first screenshots of Droplitz Delight on Windows Phone. It’s coming Wednesday, May 23 for just 99 cents!

Droplitz Delight is the mobile-exclusive sequel to XBLA and Steam puzzler Droplitz. In each level, players are tasked with guiding the adorable liquid droplitz from the top of the screen to the bottom. You’ll have to quickly rotate a bunch of tiles in order to create a safe path for the little liquids, and then do it all again after the old path disappears.

Gameplay modes like the 40-level Target Quest, Dash, Classic, and Free Play should accommodate a variety of play styles. Delight features multiple Achievements for playing and completing the main Target Quest mode, unlike Game House’s previous puzzle game Collapse!, whose Achievements are the most quickly obtainable of any Windows Phone title. Nice to see Game House taking player feedback into account.

Droplitz Delight launches on May 23 and will cost 99 cents. Preceding it will be geoDefense Swarm on May 16.

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Windows Phone Xbox Live Review: TextTwist 2

There are plenty of excellent indie word games for Windows Phone (Words by Post, AlphaJax, and Spell It, to name a few). Even Wordament is available as an indie title, though it will shortly be jumping ship to Xbox Live land. But for now, there is a single Xbox Live game that involves finding words from an assortment of letters (i.e. anagrams): TextTwist 2 from Game House. Does it scratch the word game itch as well as the other games I mentioned? Well, Text Twist 2 honestly does contain both text and twisting, but unfortunately it lacks the polish and magic of other Game House titles or even its indie competitors.

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Clockwise from left: Droplitz Delight, Sally's Spa, and Tiki Towers 2

It’s been a while since the folks at Game House released a new mobile Xbox Live game, but that will be changing very soon. WPCentral is pleased to announce that Game House will be publishing three more Windows Phone Xbox Live games in the months to come. All three are sequels and should be a lot of fun when they finally roll out. Head past the break for full descriptions and more Game House news.

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When TextTwist 2 launched less than a month ago, Achievement hunters were thrilled. After all, anagram games are super cheatable thanks to Scrabble helper sites. But alas! The game was glitched, and one mode (Daily Word) didn’t work at all. Thankfully Game House takes their Xbox Live titles seriously, and we already have a patch to fix things.

TextTwist 2 version 1.1 release notes:

  • Daily Word mode can now be played daily after the first round is completed (days are measured in UTC time).
  • Achievements based on completing multiple rounds of games modes (‘Apprentice,’ ‘Journeyman,’ and ‘Grand Master’) can now be unlocked.
  • The ‘Lightning Bolt’ Achievement, for completing a Lightning round with no hints, is now achievable.

The update does what it says, alright. I loaded the game up after patching, and grabbed ‘Lightning Bolt’ and some of the multi-round Achievements. Gotta love it when a developer moves so quickly to fix a game’s problems.

A word of advice: if you plan to complete the requisite 30 rounds of Daily Word by playing with the phone’s clock, make sure to set the clock back as far as possible before launching the updated game. That way, you can hit 30 days on or around the present date instead of waiting for the Achievement to unlock on some future date (a common side effect of playing with the clock). Or you could just be patient.

TextTwist 2 costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here on the Marketplace.

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Collapse stacks up as the Xbox Live Deal of the Week

The Xbox Live Deal of the Week has been updating rather late these days. In fact, it’s only just turned up. Collapse! from GameHouse is now on sale.

 Collapse! is a simple puzzle game in which players slide blocks up and down to make colored matches. The sprawling Adventure mode offers plenty of twists on the standard gameplay, plus a simple character customization system. For better or worse, Collapse! also has the easiest Achievements of any Xbox Live game, mobile or otherwise. You can seriously get them all in 20 minutes or so. Check out our full review for more details.

Collapse! is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Pick it up here on the Marketplace.

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After a few hours delay, it’s here! The 100th Xbox Live release for Windows Phone, TextTwist 2 from GameHouse, is now on the Marketplace.

TextTwist 2 is a word-finding game that plays a lot like Boggle. The game presents a random assortment of letters which players then use to create as many words as possible. A dictionary with tens of thousands of words means just about any word you can think of should be accepted (no naughty ones though). Multiple game modes include Unlimited (no time limit), Standard (timed), Daily Word (try to find the longest word possible once daily), Lightning (find preselected words under a strict time limit), and Letter Mania (fill an anagram grid before time runs out).

So far, Text Twist 2 seems to be just as good as anticipated. Making selections on the main menu is a bit wonky as you have to highlight a selection before picking it - not sure why they didn't just use words with large hitboxes like practically every other mobile game. But selecting and deselecting letters in-game is completely painless, and that's what counts. The Achievements pop pretty quickly, too. We can always rely on GameHouse for easy GamerScore - except for Doodle Jump.

TextTwist 2 costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Scoop it up here on the Marketplace.

Oh, and WPCentral will have a new Game House-related announcement soon!

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We first caught wind of TextTwist 2 coming to Xbox Live back in August when GameHouse announced multiple Windows Phone projects. The publisher later decided to publish a few of those games as indie titles under their RealNetworks label, but TextTwist 2 has kept its Xbox Live status. And now it’s finally coming out this week.

TextTwist 2 is a word-finding game that plays a lot like Boggle. The game presents a random assortment of letters which players then use to create as many words as possible. Multiple game modes include Unlimited (no time limit), Standard (timed), Daily Word (try to find the longest word possible once daily), and Letter Mania (fill an anagram grid before time runs out).

Achievement hunters/OCD sufferers note that TextTwist 2 has a few Achievements that don’t end in a five or zero. Still, if they’re anything like Collapse!’s Achievements, it shouldn’t be too hard to get all 200 GamerScore in short order.

TextTwist 2 debuts this Wednesday, January 18. We don’t have a price yet, but we’ll update as soon as we know. As for the 100th Xbox Live game designation, I believe that count includes a few non-game apps and delisted games, but it’s still a nice thought.

Update: It will cost $2.99.

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Last’s week’s sale game may not have been very exciting, but this week’s Xbox Live Deal of the Week is much more enjoyable. Starting tomorrow, Sally’s Salon Luxury Edition goes on sale for $2.99, down from $4.99.

Sally’s Salon Luxury Edition is a time management game – the only example of the genre in the mobile Xbox Live lineup ever since the much inferior Star Wars Cantina got pulled. Over the course of 73 levels, players will help Sally keep customers happy by washing their hair, cutting it, and performing a number of other services. Her shops get busy though, so you’ll really need to stay on your toes. As I mention in our review, it’s tons of fun and the Achievements are quite reasonable. If you’re open to playing a game with a feminine theme, you won’t regret the purchase.

Sally’s Salon Luxury Edition goes on sale this Wednesday, for one week only. Scoop it up here on the Marketplace. Also, don't forget that Z0MB1ES!!1 (on teh ph0ne) is this week's new Xbox Live release.

Update: The sale price is live.

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Back in August, Game House, the makers of Doodle Jump and Tiki Towers, informed WPCentral that they had five mobile Xbox Live titles in the works. These included Collapse!, Delicious!, TextTwist 2, Cake Mania Main Street, and NCIS: The TV Game. And now, for better or worse, three of those titles won’t be attaining Xbox Live status.

Collapse! is already available (with super easy Achievements to boot) and TextTwist 2 is still coming to Xbox Live, so it’s the other three titles that Game House will publish as indie games. In fact, NCIS: The TV Game recently arrived in the Marketplace at the lower-than-Xbox Live cost of $1.99.

Many developers either publish Xbox Live games or indie games, but not both. In this case, Game House basically looked at the three games and decided that retooling them as Xbox Live titles would be more trouble than it’s worth. They have also decided to publish their indie games under the Real Networks label rather than Game House Live like their Xbox Live titles.

This switch may disappoint Achievement fans, but the subject matter of the games probably wouldn’t have greatly appealed to the more hardcore members of the Xbox Live crowd. On the plus side, we’ve learned that Game House has a secret Xbox Live title in the works that many of our readers will dig. Hopefully we can talk about it soon.

NCIS: The TV Game is a hidden-object game with some minigames and mystery thrown in for good measure. It costs $1.99; unfortunately there is no trial. Fans of the show can pick the game up here on the Marketplace.

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Game House recently updated two of their Xbox Live titles, and we’ve got the scoop on what’s changed.

First up, Doodle Jump’s version 1.3 update does not bring the new themes (levels) we were promised a while back. But it does take advantage of the Windows Phone Mango update’s removal of the 30 FPS cap, bumping Doodle Jump’s frame rate up to 60FPS. That should make split-second steering a bit easier.

Looking forward, three new themes will definitely come in the next update, which should hit before the end of the year. For more information on Doodle Jump, see our review.

As for Sally’s Salon Luxury Edition, the version 1.1 Mango update brings the following changes:

  • Support for Fast App Switching
  • Fixes to localized About screen
  • Setting the Vibra option to Off now stops vibration during gameplay

Nothing groundbreaking there, but Sally’s Salon was already a very polished time management game. Even guys can have fun with it – see our review for the skinny.

Doodle Jump costs $2.99 and you can get it here on the Marketplace. Sally’s Salon Luxury Edition (which I enjoy more) is $4.99 right here.

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Logic puzzles, physics puzzles… It’s been a while since we’ve seen a straight up match-3 puzzle game released to Xbox Live. That changes today, now that Collapse! - the game that sent some of our more hardcore readers into fits of rage - is now available on the Marketplace.

In GameHouse’s Collapse!, lines of colored blocks slowly rise from the bottom of the screen. Players simply tap groups of three or more same-colored blocks to clear them, which in turn causes other blocks to fall or… COLLAPSE!!!1! I’m not being sarcastic; I just wanted to type it that way. Exclamation marks in titles get my adrenaline pumping, ya know? Anyway, the game’s tap-tap rhythm makes it easy to pick up and play on the go. Gamers who need goals and variety aren’t out of luck, as the extensive Adventure mode contains all kinds of twists on the standard gameplay.

Collapse! costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. You can get it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace. After you actually try the game, let us know what you think. (Thanks, @tamon_y, for the heads up!)

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Collapse! coming to Xbox Live next week

It seems like only yesterday that WPCentral broke the news of five new GameHouse titles heading to Xbox Live. But it was actually a month ago! And what do you know, one of those games, Collapse!, will debut next week.

The PC version of Collapse! was GameHouse’s very first game, starting them on the road to becoming a casual gaming giant. It’s a match-three puzzler in which a stack of blocks rises from the bottom of the screen. Players frantically tap groups of three of more colored blocks in order to eliminate them. Customizable characters, multiple gameplay modes, and bosses make for a full-featured package. The Windows Phone version even supports both portrait and landscape modes, which we don’t see much in games.

Collapse! tumbles to Xbox Live on Wednesday, September 14. It will cost $2.99.

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