Temple Run 2 Review: Endless adventures on Windows Phone

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.

Temple Run: Brave arrives on Windows 8 and RT after a seemingly endless run

Way back in March, Microsoft announced a big batch of Windows 8 games that would be launching the following weekend. These mostly included Xbox-enabled games, but they mixed some indies in there too. And all of those games did launch that weekend but one: Temple Run: Brave from Disney and Imangi.

We never learned what caused the holdup, but the important thing is Temple Run: Brave has launched for Windows 8 and RT at last! In our previous article I said it might not have Xbox Live features, and unfortunately that has proven to be the case. At least Windows tablet and PC users can now enjoy an installment of the popular Temple Run series… No word on a Windows Phone port of this one, unfortunately.

Head past the break for a hands-on video and our full impressions!

Harbor Master picks up Mango support at the docks

Harbor Master, the more exciting nautical take on Flight Control, received a Mango update this week. As usual WPCentral has braved dangerous waters to score the details for you, our faithful readers.

Harbor Master version 1.3 release notes:

  • Adds Fast App Switching support
  • Frame rate increased from 30 FPS to 60 FPS
  • Minor bug fixes

Those changes should make chasing the 50,000 cargo Achievement (argh) a bit more palatable. Besides the annoying Achievements, I really do enjoy Harbor Master overall – see my review.

Harbor Master costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Sail on over here to get it from the Marketplace.

Harbor Master version 1.2 release notes have arrived

Imangi Studios, makers of Harbor Master, just released another patch for its fine line-drawing game. WPCentral has bravely fought off a nasty batch of pirates in order to deliver the patch’s contents.

Harbor Master version 1.2 change log:

  • Fixed the Xbox Live leaderboards to show all time high scores instead of weekly high scores
  • …and that’s it.

Not a huge change, but it’s certainly nice to have the leaderboards working right!

In Harbor Master, players direct ships to port by drawing lines on the touch screen. After a ship has unloaded its cargo, it must also be steered safely away. Seven levels with hazards like cyclones and sea monsters, plus some fairly tough Achievements, will keep players busy for a long time. For more details, check our preview here. Our full review will arrive to port any day now.

Harbor Master costs $2.99 and has a free trial. Pick it up here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

Harbor Master - Review

Touch-screen gaming has its advantages and disadvantages. We’ve all played games like Earthworm Jim that try to replicate traditional console controls on the touch screen with limited success. But building a game around the advantages of a touch screen can produce wonderful results and even new genres. Such was the case with Firemint’s Flight Control – the first line drawing game. It played like nothing else and sold like crazy on numerous platforms, including Windows Phone. Every good idea can be improved upon, as developer Imangi shows with Harbor Master. Its nautical theme and new mechanics will keep Flight Control fans and new players alike enthralled for quite some time.

Chart a course past the break for our full review.

Harbor Master version 1.1 update comes to port

Harbor Master, the nautical line-drawing game, received an updated recently. We’ve braved dangerous waters to smuggle in some release notes for the update.

Harbor Master version 1.1 changelog:

  • We fixed a glitch that would cause the frame rate to be choppy on certain devices when playing the trial version of Harbor Master
  • We fixed a few incorrect translations for buttons on the pause screen (I believe French and Spanish were switched)
  • We fixed the options for the Fast Forward Speed multiplier.  It was possible to set the speed on fast forward to be the same as normal speed.  This shouldn't have been allowed.  So we fixed that.

The performance fix really makes the game run much smoother. WPCentral has also learned that Imangi plans to release a future update to address some Leaderboard issues.

In Harbor Master, players direct ships to port by drawing lines on the touch screen. After a ship has unloaded its cargo, it must also be steered safely away. Seven levels with hazards like cyclones and sea monsters, plus some fairly tough Achievements, will keep players busy for a long time. For more details, check our preview here. Look forward to a full review soon.

Harbor Master costs $2.99 and has a free trial. Pick it up here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

Xbox Live: Harbor Master and Centipede now in the Marketplace

An amazing two weeks ago, we brought you the news of this week’s Xbox Live releases and their prices, and now our prediction has come true. Harbor Master and Centipede are finally available on the Marketplace.

Harbor Master is a line-drawing game from Imangi Studios in which players direct incoming ships to port. Once the ships unload their cargo, they must also be sent safely on their way. It features seven levels with cool hazards like pirates and sea monsters. For more information, check out our exclusive preview.

Centipede is a faithful emulation of the hit 1980 arcade game from Atari (the Windows Phone port comes from Krome Studios). Players control a garden gnome who fends off invading centipedes and other vile bugs. Centipede is also the first Game Room title for Microsoft’s mobile platform. These arcade ports include bonus content like 3D recreations of the original arcade cabinets as well as historical data. WP7 Game Room games share Leaderboard data with the Xbox 360 and Games for Windows Live (PC) versions.

Both games costs $2.99 and have free trials. Grab Harbor Master here and Centipede here (Zune links) on the Marketplace.

Harbor Master - Exclusive preview

A couple of weeks ago we reported that Harbor Master was probably coming to Xbox Live on April 13. Developer Imangi Studios recently confirmed that release date is correct, so we thought it would be a good time to bring you a full preview of the game.

Firemint’s Flight Control is a well-known line-drawing game. The game presents players with a simple 2D overhead map with two or more runways and helicopter landing pads. Planes and helicopters enter the screen randomly and the player must direct them to the appropriate runway/landing pad by drawing pathways. Vehicles are color coded and must be sent to the same colored destination. They also vary in size and speed, but they’re all worth one point each when landed. As an aircraft lands, it disappears and the player is free to worry about other oncoming planes. It’s a simple formula that becomes more challenging as the number of incoming planes increases.

Imangi Studios saw an opportunity to improve on the line-drawing formula with their own title, Harbor Master. At first glance it looks similar to Flight Control, but Imangi has made a lot of tweaks that result in a different and more interesting game.

Right from the start, Harbor Master’s focus on boats instead of planes changes the line-drawing experience. Each map has land forms and structures that boats must navigate around in order to dock. Thus maps require unique strategies as players create shipping lanes based around map’s shapes.

Steer past the jump for our full preview with plenty of screenshots and exclusive details straight from the developer...

Xbox Live: April 13 game releases leaked 2 weeks early?

There was a time when we didn’t know what games were coming out on Xbox Live until the night before they launched. Those dark ages are behind us now, thank goodness. Lately we’ve been alerted to Xbox Live release dates more and more in advance. Now, it seems we may have learned about the release date of two Xbox Live titles more than two weeks before the fact!

Has my intensive course in astrology finally paid off? Venus isn’t in the right house to say for sure. Instead, the Windows Phone 7 page has provided a possible glimpse of the future. We’ve mentioned before that the page’s Too Many Games section lists a few unreleased games along with most current Xbox Live titles. The release dates of upcoming games are usually left blank. While pouring over each game’s product pages, however, we discovered two games with April 13 release dates listed. The date could be a placeholder or an error, but it’s tantalizing to think about.

What do we know about these April 13 maybes? Head past the jump and all your questions will be answered.