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Is this the end ... ?

What if there really are no more new Windows Mobile devices?


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i5 or i7?

Comparing performance and battery in the Surface Laptop Core i5 and Core i7

Don't be an easy target

7 tips to protect your Windows PC against malware


What do you think of Skype's new Snapchat-esque makeover? (poll)

1080P vs 4K

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Surface > Mac

Microsoft's latest device lineup truly (and finally) rivals Apple's

New pen is mightier than the old pen

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Driving back in time

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A good port

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♏ vs. 🅿

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Cream o' the crop

Before buying a Microsoft laptop, check out our pick for the absolute best

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

Share your experiences with Microsoft tech support for Windows 10 Mobile

What's the difference?

What to expect from ‘Xbox One X Enhanced’ games

Best o' E3

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AR hearts and minds

Will Apple beat Microsoft to the AR punch?

ThinkPad Mini

The updated ThinkPad X1 Tablet has a few unfortunate flaws

To be continued

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update: Everything we know so far

all in on alcantara?

Are you a fan of the Alcantara on Microsoft Surfaces and Type Covers?

Versatility perfected

Surface Pro 2017 review: A 2-in-1 you'll actually want to use

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SHOP: Surface Laptop | Surface Pro (2017)


Anybody remember when Tetris was the Xbox Live Deal of the Week? Those days have returned, comrades. Tetris will again go on sale for $2.99 this week, down from $4.99.

The Windows Phone version of Tetris is actually quite slick. It’s got great visuals and a fine remix of the classic Tetris theme “Korobeiniki.” There are numerous gameplay variants such as Gravity and Radical that add a bit of variety to the game we’ve all played a million times before. Some have complained about the touch screen controls (swipe left and right to steer, tap to rotate, and swipe down to drop pieces), but I find them to be natural and effective. Our review also praises the game’s stat tracking.

Tetris will be on sale for $2.99 for one week only starting Wednesday. Puzzle fans can pick it up here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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It seems like only yesterday we were discussing Farm Frenzy 2’s Achievements… Actually, it was three days ago, but that’s still pretty close, and three is prime number just like one. Anyway, speak of the devil, Farm Frenzy 2 is tomorrow’s Xbox Live release.

Farm Frenzy 2 is a casual farm simulator from Russian developer Alawar Entertainment. The game may not be much to look at (ouch, that Live tile!) and who cares about farms? But the game is surprisingly fun;I’m already digging it more than this month’s previous releases.

Most levels have multiple goals, but they almost always involve keeping your animals alive and happy. To do that, you plant grass. When the water for grass seeds runs out, you go to the well and buy more. Happy animals produce eggs and such, which you can then sell or use to make flour and other products. Levels are nice and short, perfect for mobile play. By beating levels, you earn stars to spend on all kinds of upgrades for the farm. It's more fun than a barrel of chickens!

Farm Frenzy 2 debuts on Wednesday, November 23. It will cost $2.99.

Thanks to Dark Synopsis for the tip!

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De-Bugs Pool - Mango App Spotlight

XIMAD has released yet another De-Bugs game over at the Windows Phone Marketplace. De-Bugs Pool has you battling the same pesky bugs but this go around your extermination duties have been transformed into a game of pool.

The Mystery Pond has frozen over for the winter and holes have been drilled to resemble billard pockets. You goal, sink bugs into the holes as fast as possible in the fewest amount of shots. Once you're left with one bug on the ice, you'll advance to the next level.

You loose points with misses shots and by shooting your bugs directly into the holes. You choose a bug to act as a cue ball to shoot other bugs into the holes (much like you would in a game of billards).

Shots can be controlled in three ways. Flick has you swiping at that screen to send your bugs into each other. Yield has you tap, hold and pull back to make your shot. Tilt has you tapping the bug that will act as a cue ball and tilt your phone to line up the shot (only accessible after you pause the game and go into settings). Personally, I like the Yield method for its accuracy.

De-Bugs Pool is a simple yet challenging game from XIMAD that isn't a bad choice when you need to pass short periods of time. There really needs to be a help/how-to section to explain the rules but after about the second level, you get the hang of things.

De-Bugs Pool is a free, ad-supported game that you can download here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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Xbox Live Black Friday sale looks a bit familiar

Last week, Sonic 4, Full House Poker, and Assassin’s Creed all went on sale for half a day before mysteriously returning to full price. Those three Xbox Live titles are now officially on sale for the week of November 22-28, apparently as part of a Black Friday sale.

Sonic 4: Episode 1 is a 2-dimensional platformer starring the world’s fastest hedgehog. Our review praises its similarity to the XBLA version as well as the touch screen controls, which are the best we’ve encountered in a mobile platformer. Sonic 4 regularly sells for $6.99, but it’s $4.99 this week. Marketplace link

Full House Poker (review) is a single-player Texas Hold ‘Em simulator. Not only was it the first Windows Phone title to feature full Avatar integration, it also shares excellent connectivity with the Xbox 360 version of the game. Full House Poker is on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99. Marketplace link

Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles (review) is a 3D platformer/action title set in the middle ages. With great graphics and full voice acting (though the acting is atrocious), it feels like a DS game squeezed into a mobile title (‘cause it is). The controls are fiddly and the platforming can be frustrating, but the story and action mostly make up for it. Assassin’s Creed is on sale for $2.99, down from $4.99. Marketplace link

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Xbox 360 Metro Dashboard coming December 6

We’ve been looking forward to the fall Xbox 360 dashboard update for quite some time now. Good news: it’s coming Tuesday, December 6, a few weeks before Winter kicks in.

In addition to switching over to the Metro UI, the upcoming dash includes a host of new features: full Kinect motion and voice control (sweet!), improved avatar animations (pretty cool), a quick launch list of your ten most recently played games and apps (so nice), Cloud storage for profiles and save data (whoo hoo!), the ability to set beacons, which advertize that you’ll be playing a game at a specific time, and better Facebook integration. It also opens up a new App section which will include stuff like YouTube and UFC apps, and enables the forthcoming Windows Phone Xbox 360 Companion App's connectivity with the console.

On the downside, the 360's Metro dash is even more overflowing with ads than the current version. The clutter of advertisements sometimes make it difficult to find the actual content you’re looking for. Premium themes, at least in the current beta version, lose some of their luster as Friends list backgrounds have vanished. Worst of all, the beta dashboard update completely the ability of one of my consoles to stay connected to Xbox Live through my router. The other system is fine though, and it’s apparently not a common problem. I hope hope hope they get that straightened out by December 6, because I hate not being able to connect and play online games and watch Netflix with my main system.

The new dashboard look is all part of Microsoft’s plan to have a unified interface between all of its platforms. Next year’s Windows 8 will also go Metro.

Source: Kotaku

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Dreadnoughts Defense heading to the Marketplace

Ghost Engine Games is working on a tower defense game for your Windows Phone. Dreadnoughts Defense takes your tower defense to the skies with Steampunk inspired airship combat. You control the Zeph Fleet to defend the remaining Skyholds and preserve the future for your people. Game features include:

  • Storyline unveils the history of the Dreadnoughts Universe through a fifteen stage campaign.
  • Master the strategy of four standard airships and two advanced airships.
  • Battle five unique enemay ships. Deploy oil derricks to harvest oil for advanced ships.
  • Unlock twelve unique and challenging achievements. Survivor mode.

Dreadnoughts Defense is currently in the Marketplace certification and is expected to hit the open Marketplace in the coming weeks. There will be a trial version available for Dreadnoughts Defense that will let you play the first three stages, with the full version running $1.99.

The initial release will be a Nodo Version only requiring Windows Phone 7. Ghost Engine Games is already working on a Mango Version of Dreadnoughts Defense that will add online achievements, fast resume, Live Tile support and ringtones into the mix.

We'll take a closer look at Dreadnoughts Defense once it's released but based on the teaser video the graphics look great and it will be interesting to use airships in a tower defense game.  What do you guys think?

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Burn the Rope - Review

One of the things I love about reviewing mobile games is that I get to play things that would never get released on consoles – at least, not unless they had already made a splash on mobile phones first. Burn the Rope from Big Blue Bubble definitely falls into that category. While its gameplay could technically work with an analog stick, Burn the Rope is designed entirely around rotating the phone in crazy directions.

Burn past the break for our full review.

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Xbox Live - Fusion: Sentient connectivity demonstration

Few things inspire as much excitement in dedicated Windows Phone gamers as connectivity between mobile Xbox Live titles and their Xbox 360 counterparts. Having logged a number of hours with the latest ‘connected’ Windows Phone game, Fusion: Sentient, as well as its Xbox 360 big brother Fusion: Genesis, I thought a demonstration might be in order.

As explained in the video, Fusion: Sentient players can auction or transfer (gift) Sentients (mechs) to Xbox 360 players. In the console game, Sentients provide a number of useful services, including attacking enemies, healing and buffing players, mining for resources, and grabbing loot. Not all Sentients are created equal, and the rarer, more useful types can command a high price in the Auction House.

Windows Phone players don’t benefit much from shipping and selling off their Sentients other than earning credits. What do can you do with those credits on the go? Nothing at all. But there is an Achievement for selling over 200,000 credits worth of Sentients. That would take either tons of raising and selling the little guys, or simply getting somebody to big crazy amounts on one or more of your auctions.

The most ideal connectivity between a console and mobile game would involve both the Windows Phone and Xbox 360 versions benefitting equally from the exchange of data. Fusion: Sentient’s connectivity could be better since it leans heavily towards the console game. Still, Fusion: Genesis players will appreciate the influx of rare Sentients that the phone game brings to the table. Let’s hope future Xbox Live titles on Windows Phone evolve the cross-platform connectivity even further.

Fusion: Sentient costs only $2.99 and there is a free trial. Score it here on the Marketplace. Fusion: Genesis for Xbox 360 costs 800 Microsoft Points ($10) right here. We’ll have a full review of Fusion: Sentient soon.

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To celebrate this week’s release of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, the mobile Halo Waypoint app has received a significant update. Waypoint is now one of the sleekest-looking Windows Phone apps around thanks to a complete visual overhaul. Mango features include Fast App Switching and the ability to pin specific pages to the start screen. I also love that you can listen to podcasts and even watch episodes of Red vs. Blue from directly within the app. Both audio and video playback utilize a unique interface that keeps them feeling like a part of the app instead of just weblinks. Finally, Custom Challenges are a-go.

The only feature that doesn’t seem to have made it past the finish line yet is the ATLAS map system. ATLAS promises to connect with the Xbox 360 version of Halo Reach (and Anniversary) and provide real-time maps of multiplayer games. ATLAS should hopefully arrive with the next Waypoint update.

Halo Waypoint becomes more useful with each update. While it won’t quite become indispensible until ATLAS joins the party, it’s still a great free download for any serious Halo fan. Grab it here on the Marketplace.

Thanks to The WeeBear and Mosammey for the tip!

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Many gamers were justifiably excited about the release of Let’s Golf 2 this week. Let’s count the reasons: it’s a high-quality golf game and clone of Hot Shots Golf, the 3D graphics are pretty for a mobile title, and it proves that Gameloft continues to support Windows Phone, if only a tiny bit. Every new title Gameloft produces (even semi-B-list stuff) potentially brings us one step closer to getting their newer stuff like Dungeon Hunter III, we can only hope.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Let’s Golf 2 is extremely borked. I also hate saying ‘bork,’ but we’re a family-friendly site. While the game looks and plays great, its Xbox Live functionality is completely broken. Busted leaderboards are one thing, but we’re talking Achievements here! You can view them just fine and they pop in-game, but they aren’t associated with your GamerTag. That makes ‘em useless, sadly.

We’ve contacted Microsoft and Gameloft about Let’s Golf 2’s problems and will update when they respond or the game’s online features get fixed. In the meantime, Achievement hunters might want to hold off on playing this one. 

UPDATE: A Microsoft representative has informed us that they're aware of the Let's Golf 2 online issues and are actively working to resolve them.

UPDATE 2: We have a report in from Brian M., that the LIVE achievement and leaderboards are now working.

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Riddlersoft Games, the UK indie developer responsible for A Robot’s Conundrum and Abyss: The Great Ascent, will soon publish a new indie Windows Phone title: OSR: Unhinged.

OSR, aka Old School Racer, first debuted on consoles as an Xbox Live Indie Game. It’s basically a Trials HD-style physics-based stunt game. If you haven’t played Trials, think Jet Car Stunts but in 2D. Not my kind of game, but lots of people love ‘em. The mobile version adds some extra content, which is always welcome.

Here’s the feature list for the Windows Phone version:

  • 30 Unique levels with alternative roots and hidden tokens.
  • 6 mini games.
  • 200 tokens to collect
  • 10 bikes to unlock
  • Your own ghost to race against.
  • Leaderboards for every level and mini games
  • Elite Leaderboards that give your overall rank as well as interesting statistics.
  • Smooth performance and tight controls.
  • Lots of options to set the game up as you want.

OSR Unhinged should be available on Windows Phone later this month. If you can’t wait, the Xbox 360 version is now available for 80 Microsoft Points ($1). Grab it here from a PC or Mac.

Source: WP7Connect; Thanks, Dale, for the heads up!

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Following on the heels of the gorgeous Castlevania Puzzle, another game that hasn’t been on sale before will be this week’s Xbox Live Deal of the Week... Namely Enigmo, the physics puzzler from Chaotic Moon Studios and Pangaea. On Wednesday it will go on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99.

Enigmo’s 50 levels are all about getting water, oil, and lava from their starting points into matching receptacles. You’ll need to use 8 different tools to steer, bounce, and filter the drops in the right direction. See our review to learn more about how the gameplay works.

Enigmo is the only Xbox Live physics puzzle game with 3D graphics, and it has a catchy and romantic soundtrack to boot. The only downside? One of its Achievements is broken, and the update to fix it has languished in certification hell for 6 months now. That’s a bit too long for a simple fix, guys…

Enigmo will be on sale for $1.99 starting Wednesday, November 16 for one week only. At that time you can pick it up here on the Marketplace.

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Over the weekend, the makers of Ghostscape announced that it’s coming to Xbox Live on November 30. But that still left us wondering about the Live releases for this week and next week. We can stop contemplating this week’s release at least, as it turns out to be Let’s Golf 2 from Gameloft.

First revealed during E3 in June, Let’s Golf 2 is a port of the popular iPhone game. It’s got attractive and stylized 3D graphics (based on Sony’s Hot Shots Golf series), 8 different golfers, and 6 courses containing a total of 108 holes in total. That’s a lot of golfing!

Let’s Golf 2’s materialization raises hopes that Gameloft’s other announced title, the 3D stealth shooter Splinter Cell: Conviction might not be too far off. However, parental controls haven’t materialized yet and the game is rated M, so I wouldn’t expect it before that feature is added to the OS.

Let’s Golf 2 arrives on Wednesday, November 16. We don’t have a price yet, but we’ll update with one tomorrow (my money’s on $4.99).

Thanks to DarkSynopsis for the tip!

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Purity - Mango App Spotlight

Purity is a tile based, puzzle game for your Windows Phone. The concept is simple but challenging. You have a series of tiles that you have to navigate through from point A to point B, absorbing them all along the way. Choose your route carefully because once the tile is absorbed, you can't go back (well...almost).

Purity has 60 levels of play and as you progress up the levels, they become more challenging and special tiles (teleports, shields, connectors, etc.) come into play. Each level can be re-playable so you can try to best your score.

Movement is a little on the tricky side. You control your player (a white orb) by pressing and holding the screen to get a 4-way controller to appear. Slide your finger in the direction you want your orb to move. Should you make a boneheaded move or fall asleep at the wheel, there is a rewind feature. Just tap the screen with two fingers and your player rewinds one move. The movement controls do take a little time to get used to but once you get the hang of things, Purity is an enjoyable, "fun to pass the time with" game for your Windows Phone.

Purity is a free, ad-supported game for your Windows Phone that you can download here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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Minecraft is a wildly successful sandbox building game for PCs. The game is best known for its distinctive retro 3D art style as well as the amazing constructions that people build with it. Minecraft is coming to Xbox 360 as a Kinect title in 2012, but unfortunately the Minecraft Pocket Edition is an Android exclusive. Is there no hope for Windows Phone Minecraft fans?

The answer to that question should be readily apparent to anyone familiar with the Xbox 360 indie gaming scene. The 360 is already home to a number of fully-featured Minecraft clones, including Total Miner (the best clone) and FortressCraft (the first clone). XBLIG games are relatively easy to port to Windows Phone, so one of those titles shouldn’t be far behind… Then again, we still don’t have any XBLIG RPG ports, so clearly somebody at Microsoft needs to get more XBLIG devs into the WP7 development scene.

Not to worry, though – we’re still getting a Minecraft clone, developed exclusively for Windows Phone. Dubbed Survivalcraft, it seems to have most of the things you’d expect from this type of game: large, randomly generated worlds, mining, crafting objects with mined materials, and building stuff. It’s coming from a small indie developer so I wouldn’t expect much more out of the gate, but even the ingredients I just listed should make for an enjoyable portable experience.

Survivalcraft is currently undergoing certification. In the meantime, check out the developer’s remarkably sparse blog for a few extra details. We’ll let you know when Survivalcraft comes out of the darkness and into the light of the Marketplace.

Source: WP7Connect

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IronSun Studios' IonBallEX (review) nicely filled a niche in the Xbox lineup. Their new title BattleWagon looks to do the same, but this time it doesn't fit an established genre so closely.

The developer describes Battlewagon as an arcade action/strategy game. Players equip a medieval Battlewagon with various weapons and upgrades and then send it to invade enemy castles. Combat uses simple, one-touch controls that should be well-suited to mobile play. With 68 levels that take place across the four seasons and some lovely Amiga-esque graphics, Battlewagon should provide a fresh and lengthy gameplay experience.

Battlewagon is currently targeted for a late December release. It will require Mango out of the gate, which shouldn't be a problem by then. We’ll let you know when the release date and price become official.

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It’s been a while since we learned about a mobile Xbox Live game’s release date more than a week in advance. Well, we can now mark November 30 on our calendars, as that’s when Ghostscape is coming to Windows Phone, according to the friendly and communicative developer, Psionic Games.

Ghostscape originated as a free flash game, which you can play right here on Kongregate. It is an old-school adventure game, played from a first-person perspective. Enter a creepy haunted house, solve puzzles, and take photographs of ghosts to eliminate them. Along the way you’ll collect diary pages and piece together the house’s sordid history. It was once the location of the Republican Convention. BOO! Just kidding.

The Windows Phone version adds new puzzles, areas, and items to the original design. The Achievements mostly revolve around photographing everything in the game, but there’s also one for beating it in less than 20 minutes. Hope you like speed runs!

Ghostscape comes to life on Wednesday, November 30. It will cost $2.99. 

ViaWP7 Connect

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