monster island

Numerous Windows Phone 7 Xbox games delisted this week over In-App Purchase issues

When Windows Phone 8 launched in November of last year, it soon become clear that certain Xbox Windows Phone 7 games were incompatible with the new OS. Microsoft’s immediate solution to the problem was to partially delist all of those games, removing their listings from the Windows Phone website. They did this without informing the developers of those games. After we published an article exposing the issue, the games eventually made it back to the web store with updated compatibility information.

We tell you all this because Microsoft has just made a similar but even more harmful maneuver. This week, no less than eleven Windows Phone 7 games were completely delisted from the Store. They can’t be redownloaded by people who purchased them. And several of the game’s developers were NOT informed by Microsoft of the issues leading to their removal or the removal itself. Read on for the full scoop!

Top Windows 8 games to sit back and relax

Windows Phone Central Roundup: Windows 8 Games

Last week we checked out the Top Windows 8 games for the “hardcore” gamer; this week, we are heading in the opposite direction and taking a look at the top Windows 8 games for those of you who just want to kick back. Cue the relaxing playlist on Spotify, grab a glass of California Merlot, and turn on that foot massager – we are counting off some of the Top Windows 8 games to sit back and relax.

MiniClip adds Windows Phone versions to free gaming offer

Earlier today Miniclip dropped the price of their Windows 8 and RT versions of iStunt 2, Gravity Guy and Monster Island to free titles.

Miniclip has now added the Windows Phone 7.x/8 versions of these games to their free offer. The free offer on the Xbox Windows Phone titles is only for a limited time only. As an added bonus, the Xbox Live game Fragger is also a freebie.

So if you've been on the fence or just want to build up your Xbox Windows Phone gaming library, now's the time to act. Head past the break for all the links and QR Codes.

iStunt 2 and more Miniclip Xbox games for Windows 8 and RT free right now

Windows 8 and RT gamers recently survived a dangerous outbreak of gaming deals thanks to the Microsoft Studios Sale, which only just ended. But now, another rash of Xbox Windows 8 deals threatens players’ well being – if not their wallets. Miniclip has made three of its games free for a limited time only: iStunt 2, Monster Island, and Gravity Guy. Can your Windows 8 or RT device handle so many free games at once time? There’s only one way to find out…

These games all have In-App Purchases, so Miniclip stands to profit even when giving their titles away. But you can enjoy and complete most of them without spending a cent, except perhaps for the ultra-tough Gravity Guy.

Update: All three games plus Fragger are also free on Windows Phone this week!

Head past the break for download links and our game descriptions!

Monster Island gets super cheap as the Xbox Live Deal of the Week on Windows Phone

Last week’s Xbox Live Deal of the Week marked the return of the popular sales program, but it failed to impress due to the subterranean quality of the game on sale, Fusion: Sentient. Still, the DOTW’s return promised brighter days to come, and quickly, too. This week’s deal is Monster Island, widely regarded as the best Angry Birds-type game currently available on Windows Phone. Plus it’s on sale for not just $1.99 like we’ve come to expect from a discounted $2.99 game, but only 99 cents!

Xbox Live - Monster Island expands to France and other nations

Monster Island is an Xbox Live title with a tumultuous history. First it launched in the US-only rather than worldwide and with Achievements that broke the Live rules by requiring players to spend money off the bat, and then it got pulled. The game eventually came back with fixed Achievements, and shortly thereafter became available in the United Kingdom too. When would other nations get to visit Monster Island (which is actually a peninsula), we wondered?

Today’s the day, it seems! Monster Island is now available in the frost-bitten climes of France. The region is known for its year-round snows and deadly walrus attacks. It’s also one of the last nations on Earth to still use Latin as its official language. Also, Rayman comes from there (really). Okay, so I don’t know anything about mysterious France, but I do know people from there can finally grab Monster Island and start earning Achievements like the rest of us.

Monster Island costs $2.99 (in the US) and there is a free trial. Get it here on the Marketplace. Now that the game has launched in France, could it be available in others as well? Let us know in the comments below, readers.

Thanks to Zebrasqual for the tip!

Monster Island for Windows Phone now available in the UK

Last Thursday, Miniclip’s beleaguered Xbox Live game Monster Island returned to Xbox Live after a month-long absence. While the physics puzzler’s Achievement problems were resolved, the game itself still could not be downloaded by customers outside of the US. This puzzled many of us since Miniclip is a European developer and all of their other Windows Phone games are available in multiple regions.

We asked Microsoft for comment and received this response,

“We are pleased to report that the Achievements have been improved and the US version is up on the Windows Phone Games Marketplace. We are working with the developer on some final testing for the worldwide release and hope to make it available soon.”

Miniclip shed some light on the Achievement gaffe but didn’t go into much detail about the regional issue:

“There were some original achievements (e.g., the ones we're using on the iOS, Android, etc.) that were against Microsoft Achievements policy. Unfortunately they only warned us after the game passed all the certification processes and was ready to be released. The game had to be taken out, and we changed the Achievements list… Yes, it will come to all marketplaces in the near future. :)”

That future must have just come to pass, because our friend Zebrasqual and several other gamers have confirmed that Monster Island is now available in the United Kingdom. Other parts of Europe like neighboring France don't have it yet though. At least British gamers can now get in on the bomb-throwing fun... Hopefully other regions won't have to wait too much longer either.

Monster Island costs $2.99 in the US. Pick it up here on the Marketplace.

Thanks to Zebrasqual or the tip!

Xbox Live: Monster Island updated and back on the Marketplace

When Miniclip’s latest Xbox Live game Monster Island debuted four weeks ago, we were at once pleased and dismayed. On the one hand, Monster Island is easily the best Angry Birds-style game on Windows Phone. It packs an absolute ton of creative and well-designed levels – 252, with more promised in future updates. It even boasts multiple types of bombs, enhancing the puzzle complexity. But on the other hand, it also launched with an Achievement specifically for buying three dollars’ worth of in-game coins as PDLC. This raised the cost of earning Monster Island’s full 200 GamerScore from $2.99 to $5.99. Not cool on the developers’ part, and the game should never have made it through certification that way.

WPCentral broached the issue with Microsoft, who removed Monster Island from the Marketplace just two days after release.

Today Monster Island returned to the US Marketplace, and existing users received the new version 1.1 update. As expected, the update changes the ‘Big Spender’ Achievement, removing that annoying PDLC requirement. Two other Achievements were adjusted as well. Players who unlocked these Achievements prior to the update will not need to unlock them again.

Old list:

  • Curiosity Killed Monsters: Buy a solution pack in the Store
  • Keep ‘em coming: Buy a skip pack in the store
  • Big Spender: Buy 3 coin packs

New list:

  • Curiosity Killed Monsters: Earned 750 coins and spent them on a new character in the Monster Island store!
  • Keep ‘em coming: Earned 1500 Coins and spent them on solutions in the Monster Island store!
  • Big Spender: Earned a total of 2500 coins and spent them in the Monster Island store!

As you can see, all three Achievements have new requirements. ‘Keep ‘em coming’ took over the old requirements from ‘Curiosity Killed Monsters,’ which is good because level skip packs are basically useless. You can’t unlock new worlds or Achievements for existing worlds by skipping around! Buying new monsters offers no gameplay benefit (they purely add aesthetic variety), but at least now players have some kind of incentive to try a new beastie out. On the whole, these changes make Monster Island’s Achievement list much more fair and well-considered.

We’re glad that Monster Island has returned, but one oddity remains. The game is still available only in the US Marketplace, just as it was on release day. Miniclip is located in the frozen climes of Switzerland and their other Xbox Live games for Windows Phone (Gravity Guy, Fragger, and iStunt 2) are all available outside of the US. Perhaps they’re still laboring away at translating Monster Island into other languages? That wouldn’t explain its absence from the British Marketplace though. WPCentral’s own Richard Edmonds still can’t play Monster Island, and that’s just not right. We’ve reached out to Miniclip and Microsoft and will update should they respond.

Monster Island costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. American users can get it here on the Marketplace. If you’re located outside of the US, you can always try the Flash version free at

Monster Island no longer listed in the Marketplace, possibly due to Xbox Live Achievement issue

Monster Island’s Xbox Live launch on Wednesday was odd for a couple of reasons. First, only people located in the US could buy it, even though past Miniclip games launched worldwide. Second, one of Monster Island’s Achievements, ‘Big Spender,’ is tied directly to purchasing $3 worth of PDLC. That raised my eyebrows pretty much off my head, and I know I’m not alone.

Only a couple of days after its US-only release, Monster Island no longer shows up while browsing or searching the Marketplace. For all intents and purposes it has been pulled, though you can still grab it from the link in our previous article. Why was it pulled? No official word on that yet, but we do know that Microsoft is actively investigating the Achievement issue, thanks in part to yours truly. The Big Spender Achievement breaking well-known Xbox Live rules and the seemingly erroneous US-only launch are the most likely reasons for the game’s removal.

How did Monster Island end up with an Achievement tied solely to purchasing in-game content? In all likelihood, no one noticed the problem during the certification process. Big Spender’s description, ‘Buy 3 coin packs’ could sound like a normal in-game action to someone who hasn’t played the game or studied it very closely. Of course, part of the certification process should involve testers actually unlocking the Achievements to make sure that they work, at which point the problem would have been spotted. Still, sometimes things slip through, such as Broken Achievements or other bugs.

The important thing here is that Microsoft seemingly realized something was wrong this week and acted quickly to keep it in check by pulling Monster Island. If the practice of literally paying for Achievements was allowed to continue, then Achievements would lose their emotional value. After all, many gamers like me prefer to play Xbox Live games so that we can earn Achievements and share our accomplishments with others. Doubling the cost of a game for 10 GamerScore is not an Achievement.

 We’re still waiting on official word about Monster Island’s Big Spender Achievement and the game’s subsequent disappearance from the Marketplace. If Microsoft releases an official statement, WPCentral readers will be the first to know.

Monster Island now on the Windows Phone Marketplace along with a PDLC Xbox Live Achievement

It’s time to take a break from Sid Meier strategy games for a while and settle into some nice throwing things at other things. I am, of course, speaking of Monster Island, the latest Xbox Live release from Miniclip.

Monster Island is basically a monster-themed version of Fragger. Instead of a grenadier, you’re now a monster who must defeat invading monsters. Aim and throw five different kinds of monster grenades to destroy your stationary enemies. With a whopping 262 levels (and more promised in a future update), it offers plenty of bomb-throwing fun.  

Monster Island features a robust in-game shop in which players can purchase new characters, level unlocks, level skips, and level solutions using in-game currency. Being a Miniclip title, it also allows users to purchase coins with Microsoft Points. That’s not so bad in and of itself, but the Big Spender Achievement actually requires players to purchase not one, but three coin packs!

The cheapest coin pack costs 80 MSP ($1), so users would need to spend a minimum of $5.99 ($2.99 for the base game plus $3 for three coin packs) in order to earn Monster Island’s full 200 GamerScore. Of course, larger packs actually offer more coins per dollar than smaller packs, so why couldn’t the Achievement just be for buying a single pack? More importantly, this is the first Windows Phone title to actually require players to spend additional money in order to get all of the base game’s Xbox Live Achievements. Even among Xbox 360 games that practice is extremely rare (if not prohibited outright), so it’s startling that Microsoft allowed it here.

Perhaps it’s natural for publishers to test the limits of what they can sell to users as PDLC, but many would agree Miniclip has gone too far on this one. It’s a shame too, as without the annoying PDLC component (and multiple in-game pop-ups encouraging players to spend their coins), Monster Island is probably the most robust Angry Birds-type game on Windows Phone. The massive quantity of levels and variety of playable characters and bombs, not to mention some clever level design, certainly makes it worth a look. Could 'Big Spender' have simply slipped through the certification process by mistake? We've contacted Microsoft and will report back if they reply.

Monster Island costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here on the Marketplace. Alternately, you can check out the Flash version at

Update: Currently the game is only available in the US. We'll let you know when this changes.

Monster Island coming to Xbox Live on Windows Phone next week

While Sid Meier’s Pirates! is arriving on Xbox Live this Wednesday, Microsoft has already announced next week’s new title as well. It will be Monster Island from Miniclip.

Monster Island is basically a monster-themed version of Fragger. Instead of a grenadier, you’re now a monster who must defeat invading monsters. Aim and throw five different kinds of monster grenades to destroy your stationary enemies. With four huge sets of levels, it offers plenty of bomb-throwing fun.  Being a Miniclip title, Monster Island will also feature optional microtransactions, allowing players to purchase level skips and solutions with Microsoft Points.

Monster Island comes to Windows Phone on Wednesday, April 18 and will cost $2.99. If you’d like to try it sooner, check out the Flash version at