You can’t count on much from Xbox Windows Phone games (what few there are these days) other than Xbox Live Achievements. But lots of gamers love those, so there exists a significant crossover between Windows Phone gamers and users of the two primary Achievement sites: TrueAchievements and Xbox360Achievements.org.
Surprisingly, neither site has released a Windows Phone app… until now. A developer called Divided Pudding (who also published xkcd Comic Reader back in March) has just released a TrueAchievements app, called TrueAchiever. Despite not using the exact site name, it appears to be pretty much the site’s official app. How does it measure up to the site? Find out in our full review!
TrueAchievements is a site dedicated towards tracking Xbox Live Achievements earned, providing guides and other assistance towards earning Achievements, and allowing Achievement hunters to socialize with each other. The site supports Xbox One Achievement tracking, which Xbox.com amazingly still can’t do. TrueAchievement is truly an invaluable resource for Achievement hunters, despite the rough and unintuitive layout of the site.
That poor layout and lack of mobile optimization gives TrueAchiever ample opportunity to craft a better mobile experience than the real site. And the app does make many of the TrueAchievements site’s functions faster and easier to access on your Windows Phone device.
However, at present it lacks some of the site's functionality. For example, you’ll need to have registered at the real site before you can use the app. Otherwise you’ll get smacked with a rejection notice like poor George. Once you have a TrueAchievements profile, logging in to the app is as easy as entering your Gamertag.
Having logged in, users will be able to view all of the Xbox Live games and apps in which they have earned Achievements. You can already do that through the Xbox Live portion of the Windows Phone Games hub, but TrueAchiever goes above and beyond with its Achievement tracking.
For each game listed on a user’s profile, it also shows a meter and percentage reflecting how many of that game’s Achievements the user has earned. You can probably calculate that information in your head or use a calculator, but it’s faster and more fun to have the information at a glance.
It gets better. Select an individual game and you’ll be taken to a list of that game’s Achievements. The same page also displays how many registered TrueAchievements users have played a game, and how many have completed it (earned all Achievements). The ratio of users played/users completed gives a general indication of how difficult or time consuming that title’s Achievements are – or whether it has any unobtainable ones.
A game’s Achievements can be sorted by alphabetical order (the annoying default), TA score (a proprietary Achievement value based on rarity), Locked or unlocked status, and GamerScore value. I’ve always found the Locked/Unlocked sorting option to be especially useful when calculating which Achievements I still need to complete.
Achievement lists can even be pinned to the Start screen so that you can jump straight to them at a later date. The tiles the app creates are awfully low resolution, but they still provide a great shortcut for Achievement hunters.
As mentioned before, TrueAchiever and its source site can track and browse Xbox One Achievements. It goes without saying that using the app to look through those Achievements is much faster and easier than doing so through the console itself.
Perusing games and seeing which Achievements you still need to complete is nice, but the app’s Guide functionality truly sets it apart from the phone’s built-in Xbox features or any other resource. See, the TrueAchievements site allows users to create guides for individual Achievements (as opposed to full game guides like Xbox360Achievements.org). When you’re just working on a specific Achievement or two, nothing is quite so convenient as quick access to guides for the ones you need.
TrueAchiever can display those guides – with some caveats. You can’t tell which Achievements have guides and which don’t from the Achievement screen; you have to select the individual Achievement and see whether a guide comes up. Fine for now, but that needs to change in the future.
Having selected an Achievement that does have a guide, users can read both the guide and comments left on the guide by other users, and watch attached YouTube videos. You can’t leave comments or rate a guide from within the app, two elements that also need fixing. Nor can we write guides from within the app, which is less essential but still totally doable from a mobile interface.
The author of the guide appears at the top of the screen. Just a nitpick here, but the word “Author” is unnecessarily abbreviated as “Athr.” Since the app has plenty of room to display the full word, it shouldn’t be calling my peers and me Athrs.
Those complaints aside, it’s still terrific to have quick access to Achievement guides on the phone. Selecting an Achievement and reading over its guide proves so much faster than slowly navigating to the same page on the phone’s web browser.
The guide text fits the screen much better. It correctly displays bold and italic text too. Even some of the best Windows Phone apps can’t do that, for some reason.
You can reduce or increase the guide text font, which should be handy for people will smaller phones like the Lumia 520 or more robust ones such as the 1520. A Maximize/Minimize button next to the font size controls seems to do nothing at present.
More features present, in need of changing, or missing
TrueAchiever isn’t just about getting Achievements for yourself. It lets you read over your friends’ Achievements too. The app’s actual friends list is limited to the top 11 positions on your TrueAchievements friends leaderboard, oddly. I’d love to browse my full friends list as well. But in the meantime, we can at least search for individual gamers and look at their lists.
One of my favorite features of the site is the friends feed. This feed, similar to the Xbox One feature displays a list of you and your friends’ recent accomplishments. The TrueAchievements site allows members to comment on individual Achievement gains and accomplishments, sort of like Facebook. You can pat a friend on the back or just ask her how she got that tough Achievement.
The app does have a friend feed function, but it could be a lot more useful. It only displays Achievements won, not accomplishments like site anniversaries or other milestones. Selecting an Achievement from the feed just takes you to that Achievement’s page on the actual TrueAchievements site; it doesn’t even lead to the app’s version of the same page. Nor can users comment on Achievements, etc. or private message each other through the app.
The final feature on my wishlist is for users to be able to request updates from within the app. TrueAchievements only scans players’ Achievements once a day on its own. We can request additional updates through the site, but the app doesn’t support that just yet.
Okay, one more thing: that awful Live tile/Store icon needs to go!
TrueAchievements is a must-use site for gamers who enjoy Xbox Live Achievements. Even if you’re not a huge GamerScore hunter, the social nature of the site (seeing what friends are playing, etc.) can be plenty of fun.
Don’t let the laundry list of missing features dissuade you from grabbing TrueAchiever. It handles Achievement tracking and guides much better than mobile Internet Explorer. Going after those hard-to-get Achievements will be easier with TrueAchiever than ever before. The app does have lots of room for improvement, but most of the missing features will surely come in time.
With so few new Xbox Windows Phone games on the horizon, let’s do our best to earn what Achievements we can as we wish for a change of heart from Microsoft.
- TrueAchiever – Windows Phone 8 – 3 MB – Free – Store Link
Thanks to Stumbleduck06 for tipping us on the app!
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