Windows Phone games are a great way to pass the time with. Whether it's waiting hours in the car tag line or just a few minutes before a class starts, there is a vast assortment of quality games available in the Windows Phone Store. Some games are great for a quick gaming fix while others stand up to longer gaming sessiosn.
Then there's games that can cover all the bases, good for all occasions. Entertaining for short bits and addictive enough to keep you entertained for more extended periods.
For this week's roundup, instead of picking three or four games, we focus on four developers/studios that have a respectable portfolio of Windows Phone games. Some of which that can hold their own for those short gaming sessions or the longer marathon sessions. Along the way we'll spotlight a few of the titles offered by these developers and as always, if we've overlooked your favorite title feel free to sound off in the comments.
Compared to the other developer groups, 10tons may be the little kid on the block but their games are anything but little. 10Tons' gaming lineup includes Boom Brigade, King Oddball, Azkend and Dragon Portals.
All of 10Tons gaming titles share the same qualities - impressive graphics, challenging game play and plenty of game time Some take on a more humorous approach to gaming while others are more strategy in nature. Here are two standouts from 10Tons.
Tennis in the Face (trial/$2.99): Tennis in the Face is a humorous, challenging game where you play the role of ex-tennis pro Pete Pagassi who must battle the evil soda manufacturer Explodz Inc.Armed with your trusty tennis racket, you travel the game map to tackle over one hundred levels of play. You use your tennis racket to bounce tennis balls and exploding soda cans to take out Explodz's scientists, clowns, security guards, salesmen and other lackeys.
Each level has a limited number of shots at your disposal so you'll have to take careful aim. Tennis balls can ricochet and take out multiple enemies or trigger secondary explosions from soda machines and other destructive items that are laying about.
There is a trial version available for Tennis in the Face with the full version running $2.99. It is available for Windows Phone 8 devices and you can pick it up here (opens in new tab) in the Windows Phone Store.
Sparkle 2 (trial/$4.99): Sparkle 2, as you would guess, is the sequel gaming title to Sparkle. In a nutshell... think of the Sparkle games as a more robust version of Zuma and Sparkle 2 as a slightly refined version of the original.
Sparkle 2 has a story line to follow but if you choose to ignore the finer points of the narrative, you can still enjoy the game. But the Reader's Digest version of things has you challenging the dark powers to prevent orbs from falling into the abyss. In defeating the darkness, you discover keys that unlock the secrets of the land.
The game screen has a twisting path in which the collection orbs must travel. You take them out by shooting orbs into the string of orbs, creating matches of three or more of the same color/design. Bonus items are generated along the way to help you take out the orbs and if they reach the abyss, they are sucked into the darkness and you lose that round.
Sparkle 2 has three gaming modes (Story, Survival, and Challenge) along with sixteen enchantments you earn that will help your efforts. Graphics are outstanding, game play fast paced and full of challenge making Sparkle 2 well suited for short gaming periods as long as the more lengthy sessions.
There is a free trial version available with the full version of Sparkle 2 running $4.99. It is available for Windows Phone 8 devices and you can pick up Sparkle 2 here (opens in new tab) in the Windows Phone Store.
Like them or not, few will argue that the Angry Birds series of games haven't been successful. That humble battle between birds and pigs has extended to galaxies far, far, far away.
In the Windows Phone Store you have the original Angry Birds as well as the Seasons, Rio, Space and Star Wars versions. With each version being an Xbox Windows Phone gaming titles and being an entertaining way to pass short bits of time with and addictive enough to keep you busy for longer stretches.
While the Angry Birds games has a certain level of appeal, Rovio's support may be the one factor holding the games back on the Windows Phone platform. Rovio took forever to make Angry Birds available for Windows Phone and updates have come about at a snail's pace. All of which hasn't been good for Rovio's popularity within the Windows Phone community.
Still.. while Rovio has dropped the ball with regards to Windows Phones the Angry Birds games are fun games to play. But which title is the best? Star Wars and Rio seem to stand out based on the variety of environments and enemies you face.
Angry Birds Rio (trial/$.99): Angry Birds Rio is based on the animated movie that shares the same name (opens in new tab). It is also the only version of Angry Birds that doesn't involve battling green pigs.
The goal is to sling your birds into various structure to free captured (or kidnapped) rare birds from their cages and take out an army of angry monkeys. There is a slight green pig influence in the form of floating green pig balloons that you can take out for extra points.
The original cast of birds are at your disposal that include the black exploding bird, the white egg dropping bird, and the big red bird that crushes everything in its path. Angry Birds Rio has 240 levels of play spread across eight different backdrops. You also have 40 bonus levels to extend the gaming further.
There is a trial version available for Angry Birds Rio with the full version running $.99. It is available for Windows Phone 8 devices and you can pick up Angry Birds Rio here in the (opens in new tab) Windows Phone Store.
Angry Birds Star Wars II (trial/$.99): The Angry Birds cast has been transformed into the various characters of the Star Wars saga. While the first Angry Birds Star Wars installment focused on the first trilogy of movies (chapters four, five and six) the second installment takes aim at the second trilogy of Star Wars movies (chapters one, two, and three). Angry Birds Star Wars II also has the bonus of being able to play for the Dark Side (or Pork Side) of the Force as well as the siding with the good side.
Angry Birds Star Wars II has over thirty playable characters that include Yoda, Darth Maul, Anakin Skywalker (equipped with his pod racer), Jar Jar Binks, and General Grievous.
Currently, Angry Birds Star Wars II has eighty levels of play that are spread across the worlds of Naboo and Tatooine. You also have forty bonus levels that are tied into your characters and become unlocked as they earn more points during game play.
Speaking of which, Angry Birds Star Wars II does take on a few new features to the Angry Birds games. You have a gaming store where you can purchase bonus characters that can be rotated into your arsenal of birds available during game play. So if you need a character that shoots a blaster, you can rotate them into play to improve your chances of success.
As characters are used in successful campaigns, they earn experience based on the number of points they earn. You also earn currency as you successfully complete levels that can be spent in the game's store.
The only downside to Angry Birds Star Wars II is that it only has forty levels of play. You do have the teaser of a "Coming Soon" chapter of play and hopefully we'll see additional chapters of play become available for Angry Birds Star Wars II sooner than later.
Angry Birds Star Wars II does have a trial version with the full version running $.99. It's available for Windows Phone 8 and you can find Angry Birds Star Wars II here in the (opens in new tab) Windows Phone Store.
Disney Games have enjoyed online success for some time now and are experience similar success on smartphone platforms. Two general themes resonate with the Disney Windows Phone gaming line-up... you have the endless running games and the physic's based water routing puzzle games. You do have Wreck-It Ralph and Monsters University thrown into the portfolio to mix things up a bit.
The endless running games are based on the Temple Run game but with Wizard of Oz and Brave themes. You're physics based puzzle games are the "Where's My..." collection that includes Where's My Mickey?, Where's My Perry? and the Where's My Water? games.
I think the attraction of the Disney Windows Phone gaming line-up rests with its ability to appeal to a wide range of gamers. These titles can easily find a place in our Windows Phone's Kids Corner as well as being pinned to our Start Screen for the older crowd to enjoy.
The only glaring downside to the Disney collection is the lack of trial versions. However, there is a few ways to try things out but not in direct fashion. Here's a look at two of the more popular titles.
Where's My Mickey ($.99): Where's My Mickey puts the focus on classic Disney characters, with Mickey Mouse taking center stage. The game follows suit with all the "Where's My..." games in that you must guide water around various obstacles to help Mickey complete various goals. You tunnel paths for the water supply to reach a drain that in turn supplies Mickey with the wet stuff.
You also have to use wind and clouds to carry the water around while avoiding toxic materials that will not make Mickey a happy camper. Where's My Mickey has over one hundred levels of play with bonus levels that feature the Disney character Goofy. Additional Goofy levels can be purchased in-app.
Graphics are fantastic and I like the classic look of the Disney cartoons. Animated transition screens are humorous and the game play itself is challenging enough to keep adults interested but not too hard to make the younger crowd frustrated.
The downside to Where's My Mickey is that there isn't a trial version available. The full version is running $.99. If you're curious if the game style is your cup of tea, try out the free copy of Where's My Water. If you like the game play there, you'll enjoy Where's My Mickey.
Where's My Mickey is available for Windows Phone 8 and you can pick it up here (opens in new tab) in the Windows Phone Store.
Temple Run: Brave ($.99): Temple Run: Brave is a version of the popular Temple Run game with a Disney flare. You play the role of Merida from the Disney/Pixar movie Brave (opens in new tab). You've got to run, jump, slide and shoot targets in this constant runner game.
Your motivation? The demon bear Mordu is hot on your heals looking to gobble you up. The goal? Run as far as you can and always stay a step ahead of Mordu. So you have to hit every turn smoothly, clear all the hurdles and collect coins along the way. You maneuver Merida by a series of screen gestures and screen tilts. Miss a jump, slide, or turn and Mordu ruins your day.
The coins you collect along your journey can be used in the game's store to buy boosts, upgrades and outfits for Merida to use. The initial load time does take a little longer than normal to load but once up and running, Temple Run: Brave moves along at a nice pace. Graphics set the mood nicely for a hectic run through the Scottish neighborhood, game play challenging, and Temple Run: Brave is a nice edition to the Disney gaming line-up.
The downside is typical of most Disney titles in that there isn't a trial version. You can, however, download and try Temple Run to get a feel for the game and if you want a Brave feel for the game, then plunk down the $.99 for Temple Run: Brave.
Temple Run: Brave is a Windows Phone 8 game that you can grab here (opens in new tab) in the Windows Phone Store.
May have bitten off more than I can chew by including Gameloft in this week's roundup. Gameloft currently had eighteen gaming titles in the Windows Phone Store, all Xbox Windows Phone gaming titles, and it's tough to pick out two to highlight.
You've got arcade styled games with Earthworm Jim HD, card games with UNO & Friends, sports games with Real Soccer 2013, adventure titles with Six Guns, and racing games with Asphalt 7 Heat. And that only scratches the surface.
Many of the gaming titles from Gameloft score four plus stars with user ratings in the Windows Phone Store and with those that we've taken a look at are entertaining gaming choices. While any of the titles are worthy of the spotlight, I decided to pick two of my personal favorites.
Shark Dash (trial/$.99): Shark Dash is an arcade title from Gameloft that is a fantastic physics based puzzle game. Where Angry Birds has you hurling birds to take out your enemies, Shark Dash has you slinging a toy shark around a bath tub in an effort to devour rubber ducks.
Shark Dash has 96 levels of game play that span four global environments. With each level you have to gobble up all the rubber ducks, collect as many coins as possible, avoid sending your shark out of the tub, and do all this in as few moves as possible. There is a limit on the number of moves for each level and when you reach that limit, the tub plug gets pulled and your shark goes down the drain.
As you complete levels, you'll earn coins that can be spent in the Shark Dash store for shark skins to dress up your shark, elixir packs to add a few mulligans/do-overs to the game, and a few special bundles to unlock all levels or all shark skins.
Shark Dash can stand up to quick gaming spurts or longer game sessions. It's challenging enough to stay fresh and has that nifty addictive quality that keeps the game appealing.
There is a trial version available for Shark Dash with the full version running $.99. It is available for Windows Phone 8 devices and you can find Shark Dash here in the (opens in new tab) Windows Phone Store.
Let's Golf 2 (trial/$4.99): A well done golf game can be a fantastic way to pass the time. Whether it's taking in a few holes while sitting in the waiting room or taking in a full 18 when you've got more time to kill.
Let's Golf 2 is one of the best golf games available for our Windows Phone. Sure, it has cartoonish graphics but from the large selection of golf courses to the character customizations/upgrades, it's a quality golf game.
You've got a handful of gaming modes that include a career mode, instant play, challenge mode (longest putt, bunker play, birdie or bust, etc.), and free hole (single hole play). Courses span six global locations including England, Africa, and Greenland.
Let's Golf 2 is strong enough to appeal to the duffer in all of us. Simple gaming controls, challenging golf courses, and super graphics add to Let's Golf 2's appeal. Only thing missing is a multi-player mode. Wouldn't it be need to have a turn-based, online mode?
There is a trial version available for Let's Golf 2 with the full version running $4.99. It is available for both Windows Phone 8 and 7.x devices and you can snatch up Let's Golf 2 here in the (opens in new tab) Windows Phone Store.
Who's the strongest contender?
Of the four Windows Phone developers in this week's roundup, it's very tough to find a clear cut leader of the pack. Rovio's Angry Bird gaming series is hard to ignore but the pace of updates may leave many frustrated. 10Tons has a healthy collection of entertaining games that cover a wide spectrum that shares common traits, they are challenging and well drawn up.
Disney is a well established brand and their Windows Phone gaming library mirrors the quality we have come to expect from Walt's name sake. Gameloft may be the wild card of the group with plenty of titles, but not all clear cut winners.
These four gaming sources aren't the only game in town with a cornucopia of worthy gaming studios contributing to the Windows Phone gaming library. Occasional Gamer, EA Sports, Ubisoft and Babaroga all have fantastic gaming titles on the shelf with several titles that are well suited for all occassions.
It really was hard to pick only four studios to highlight this week and as with all our roundups, if we've missed your favorite game or developer, feel free to sound off below in the comments.