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twin blades

Press Start Studio’s Xbox Live hack-and-slash game Twin Blades has had a rough time of things. Last year it was pulled from the Marketplace over concerns about its violent content, only to return four months later with the zombie blood replaced by harmless green goo.  But even then, the game proved to be incompatible with the Windows Phone Mango update, which wasn’t rectified for another three months.

Fast-forward to March of this year, and Twin Blades is once again gone from the Marketplace. Not only that, but the Xbox 360 indie and iOS versions, as well as Press Start’s other Windows Phone title, Butterfly, are also gone. As usual, they all disappeared without warning.

We contacted Microsoft about the delistings and received this response:

Due to unforeseen circumstances both Microsoft and the developer are unable to make these games available in the Mobile Marketplace going forward.  We have appreciated the opportunity to share these games with our customers.”

Basically, the titles have been permanently removed. They didn’t say why, but in situations like this that don’t involve licensed games, a mass delisting usually means that the developer has gone out of business. Press Start Studio, a small French developer, did not return requests for comment. Further signs that their doors may have closed: they haven’t updated their website since October, and they actually failed to respond to an interview that we had arranged a short while before that. Too bad, it would have been good!

It’s always sad to see the passing of a game from existence. Twin Blades had a vocal little fan base who loved its stylish art and action. In our review I lamented its extreme repetitiveness and poor level design though. As for Butterfly, another game I reviewed – well, that one was just terrible. You’re not missing much from its absence but some easy Achievements.

If we learn anything more about Press Start Studio’s fate, we’ll be sure to let you know.

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PAC MAN CE DX and Twin Blades get updates

A dirty open secret about Twin Blades (see our review), even after it returned to the Marketplace, was that it didn't work on phones with Windows Phone 7.5--it literally would crash upon launch. That made it the first (and to our knowledge only) game/app that would completely die in Mango.

Now with version 1.3, all of that seems to be behind us as the game now works in Mango. We say works in Mango but it is not, we repeat not Mango-ready. Yeah, super lame. No fast app resume here folks. Although a somewhat repetitive game, it's well worth a trial run and you can grab that here.

[Correction: Hey, look at that. For some reason our fast-app resume was not working but now it is. So yes, looks like Twin Blades is Mango ready--so that's something.]

Likewise PAC MAN CE DX version 1.1 got updated but there's no clear indication of what was fixed, so we'll have to try to find out for you. You can pick up that game here--and as far as Pac Man games go, that one is pretty great (see our review). But at $6.99 and no fast-app switching, ouch, we think waiting for a deal-of-the-week may be apropos here.

We're reaching out to both companies to try and pry a full change log from their hands and will post if there's anything significant regarding achievements or bug fixes.

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After a long absence, Xbox Live action title Twin Blades - from developer Press Start Studio - has returned to the Marketplace.

Twin Blades tells the tale of Sister Angelika, a scythe- and gun-toting nun on a mission to save the world from an evil necromancer. You know, necromancers tend to get a bad rap. Why do people have to hate? Anyway, instead of talking her problems out like a mature adult, Sister Angelika simply slices and blasts through hordes of zombies in this action title. A virtual thumbstick controls running and jumping while buttons take care of scythe and gun attacks. Twin Blades has a lengthy story mode and a survival mode. The Achievements aren’t too hard, but it will take four total playthroughs to get them all. Stay tuned later today for our full review!

Twin Blades costs only $2.99 and there is a free trial. If you support the oppression of necromancy, hack and slash your way here (Zune link) to grab it from the Marketplace.

PS Yes, this is the Xbox LIVE game this week.

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Twin Blades - Review

For several months, Twin Blades from Press Start Studio reluctantly enjoyed the distinction of being the only Xbox Live game to be pulled from the Windows Phone Marketplace. During its absence, it earned something of a cult status as mobile gamers suddenly realized they were missing out on a hardcore action experience. Now the game is back with green zombie blood instead of the original red. Is Twin Blades’ return cause for celebration? Yes, unless you’re a zombie, in which case, stay out of Sister Angelika’s way.

Slice past the break for our full review.

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Now that the 6 Weeks of Must Have Games has ended, we’re back to learning about the weekly Xbox Live releases a bit less far in advance. The first Xbox Live title to follow Angry Birds will be… Twin Blades from developer Press Start Studio and publisher Microsoft Game Studios.

That’s right, after disappearing from the Marketplace for several months over concerns about it gory content, Twin Blades is coming back. Users who already own the game have received an update that changes the game’s blood to green, and soon the game will be officially available for sale.

Twin Blades is a side-scrolling hack-and-slash game starring a nun who is tasked with saving the world from an army of the undead. She’s armed with a sickle and an assortment of guns, all of which can be upgraded by collecting zombie hearts. It’s a challenging and lengthy game with both a story mode and an all-action survival mode. We’ll have a full review soon.

Twin Blades will be available on Wednesday, July 6 for $2.99.

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Twin Blades, an Xbox Live game from Press Start Studio, recently disappeared from the Marketplace. We contacted the developer to find out what happened, and the news is not great.

A PSP Minis port of Twin Blades was recently rated 'M' (Mature) by the ESRB. The Windows Phone 7 version of the game never received an ESRB rating. Microsoft has a 'no mature content' policy for Xbox Live games on Windows Phone 7. Because the ESRB decided the PSP version of Twin Blades is too gory for teens (it is fairly bloody, with the zombie decapitations and such), Microsoft pulled the game from the WP7 Marketplace. Twin Blades was never available on the Marketplace in Germany, where more violent games are almost universally banned.

Will Twin Blades return to the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace? Press Start Studios is working on a solution with Microsoft to bring the game back, but no decision has been made yet so they can't say when it will come back.

We're disappointed at Twin Blades' loss as it was one of the meatier Xbox Live launch titles on Windows Phone 7. It featured lots of levels, weapons, a lovely gothic visual theme, and a surprisingly mature story. Oh, and plenty of violence against cartoonish zombies.

Will the tale of a gun and scythe-toting nun waging war against the undead return in watered down form? One has to question why mature Xbox Live titles are prohibited on Windows Phone 7 when a child would be incapable of even purchasing a Windows Phone 7 device. It seems Microsoft is trying to protect children from a platform that is almost exclusively available to adults. The iPhone version of Twin Blades, meanwhile, is still available for purchase.

We'll update when Twin Blades' final fate has been decided. In the meantime, people who already bought the game should absolutely not delete it from their mobile devices as it can't be redownloaded.

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Looks like the folks at MobileTechWorld got to play with the Samsung Omnia HD modified for Windows Phone 7.

They note that the processor has been updated from the lackluster TI OMAP 3430 to a Snapdragon (presumably 1GHz) and that this device probably won't make it to production, for obvious reasons.

Their impressions? Very positive noting 

As you can see in the video below everything is running smoothly with no sign of lag or stuttering and everything was functional on the handset (GPS, data, and even camera). It’s the smoothies mobile experience I have ever witness (on par with the iPhone) and it definitely feels a lot better when used on a real handset compared to the desktop emulator.

That seems to be the consensus lately on anyone who gets to play with one of these prototypes, which is a great sign considering finalized hardware and software is still months away.

Also, the video game 'Twin Blades' by Press Star Studio was shown off. The game is currently available on Xbox Live Arcade (400 points) and was ported in under 2 weeks by one programmer. It's already fully integrated with Xbox including achievements and this will be available when WP7 launches. Sweet--going to download to XBox right now.

Both videos after the jump.

[via MobileTechWorld; Twin Blades]

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