The Windows Phone Xbox Live Deal of the Week returns with a slight whimper

Last Wednesday the price of Sally’s Salon Luxury Edition dropped, sparking speculation that the Xbox Live Deal of the Week might have restarted. As it turns out, the Deal of the Week did not restart last week. No, it’s starting up again this week – today, even. That’s the good news!

Before I break the bad news, a history lesson: the very first Windows Phone Xbox Live Deal of the Week was Frogger back in March of 2011. At the time, I plead with the Xbox Live team not to give up on the program if Frogger didn’t sell like hotcakes (it’s not very good). This week I had to make a similar entreaty because the game going on sale today is no less than Fusion: Sentient from Wahoo Studios.

Wasted potential

You’d actually have to try really hard to find a lesser Xbox Live game than Fusion: Sentient. It’s probably the single worst game I’ve reviewed for Windows Phone Central. Sentient didn’t fail for lack of promise though. Conceived as a companion game for Xbox Live Arcade game Fusion: Genesis, both games launched simultaneously and share connectivity features. Look how excited I was beforehand!

When the games actually rolled out though, things changed. Fusion: Genesis (which came from Starfire Studios, not Wahoo) ended up being a fairly engrossing and lengthy RPG experience, though its multiplayer features could use some work. See my review at Co-Optimus for more details.

So many problems

Sentient, however is bad in almost every way a strategy RPG can be. Check our review for the whole story, but I’ll outline its worst errors here. The story, which unfolds slowly through badly-drawn scenes between missions, has absolutely no connection with the missions or gameplay. It’s like nobody told the artist what the game would be like.

Speaking of gameplay, every one of the game’s 40-plus missions adheres to a rigid 3-stage template, making every mission feel like the next. It’s a recipe for boredom. Along the same lines, item management shows a complete lack of thought, which makes finding and equipping items a complete chore. Speaking of items, someone in Japan created a spreadsheet of the entire game’s arsenal for some reason. Download it here.

Technical problems mar the game as well. Not only are the loading times excessive, but there’s no fast App Switching. Multiple Achievements are broken, so nobody can get the full 200 GamerScore. Wahoo Studios provided zero support for the game after launch, never fixing the Achievements or even responding to press enquiries (and we did try on multiple occasions).

Deal or no deal?

Why Microsoft chose to bring the Xbox Live Deal of the Week back with such a clunker, we may never know. The important thing is the Deal of the Week has returned and next week’s sale game is extremely likely to be of higher quality than this one.

Fusion: Sentient will be on sale for $1.99 for one week only. If you don’t value your time so much, get it here on the Marketplace. Note: if you don't see the sale price yet, try back later in the day.

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • It's incredible what low quality games get accepted into the LIVE brand while others superior indie games can't get in.
  • That is true sometimes - ARMED! was about 20 times better than Fusion: Sentient at launch, and it's only improved since then.
  • But the developers of ARMED! didn't want to be a Xbox-Windows phone branded game.
  • Is that you, Bouncin Back? Anyway, as I understand it Sickhead actually did try for Xbox Live status early on. After it was declined, they decided it was for the best.
  • I don't see how someone would not want to be Xbox branded. Xbox branded games sell more than any other just because of the name... And achievements. I have about 80% of the Xbox games and only like 3 games not branded.
  • Hopefully Alphajax becoming LIVE-enabled soon is proof that Microsoft is trying to do a fairer job of allowing indie devs into the LIVE brand.
  • I'm waiting for Pac-Man CE to be the DOW
  • I actually bought this and Genesis and played the hell out of Sentient while barely touching Genesis.  I did hate the item management, but I did like selling my Sentients in the store (when it worked) and made some good money for my efforts.  I was hoping for more games with this kind of connectivity. Instead we got Kinectimals. 
  • So no info as to why DotW took a hiatus, or why it's coming back now, or if we can expect future  furloughs for DotW?
  • fix achievements then we will talk about a purchase
  • I just bought this two days ago because I wanted a live enabled strategy game. Good job me.
  • I thought it was only one achievement that was unobtainable? 
    That seems to be the case when you look at the game's TrueAchievements page.