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Windows Phone 7

New Skulls Of The Shogun Trailer Reveals Cross-Platform Play

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
17 Bit, PC games, Skulls of the Shogun, Strategy games, trailer, Windows Phone 7, XBLA

New Skulls Of The Shogun Trailer Reveals Cross-Platform Play

Having been in development for what seems like forever (I remember previewing what I thought was a fantastic build back in 2010), Skulls Of The Shogun is finally nearing release. As evidenced by this new trailer, the personable strategy game is set to release on Xbox Live Arcade in October, alongside Windows Phone and Xbox Live On Windows 8.

Skulls Of The Shogun supports asynchronous multiplayer, meaning that you can challenge fellow warlords across all three platforms.

Click here to read more...

Jet Set Willy 360 Officially Launches On Xbox Live & WP7 This Weekend

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Elite Systems, Indie Games, Jet Set Willy, Jet Set Willy 360, Platformer, Windows Phone 7, Xbox 360 games, Xbox Live Indie Games, ZX Spectrum

Jet Set Willy 360 Officially Launches On Xbox Live & WP7 This Weekend

Jet Set Willy 360, an officially-licensed port of Matthew Smith's 1984 Speccy platformer, will be released on Xbox Live and Windows Phone 7 this weekend.

But considering that it was impossible to complete due to an infamous late-game bug, can we expect to see the end this time?

Click here to read more...

Sonic 4 Episode II Launch Trailer

Author:
Tom Silkstone
Category:
News
Tags:
Android, Dimps, iOS, Microsoft Windows, News, Playstation network, Sega, Sonic 4: Episode 2, Sonic Team, WiiWare, Windows Phone 7, Xbox Live Arcade

Sonic 4 Episode II Launch Trailer

I've got to be honest I wasn't really that interested in this one until I watched the trailer this morning and a smile spread across my face as some of my childhood memories began to resurface. Sonic and Tails are fighting together again across a variety of levels ranging from industrial environments to battling it out amongst the clouds. If you're playing through by yourself Tails'll be controlled by the computer, or you could always invite one of your friends round to play the loveable little fox. The video looks pretty damn good if you ask me and this episode appears to be action packed, so why not go and download it now.

Click here to check out the trailer!

Sonic 4: Episode 2 Will Synchronise XBLA/ Windows Phone 7 Saves

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Sega, Windows Phone 7, XBLA

Sonic 4: Episode 2 Will Synchronise XBLA/ Windows Phone 7 Saves

Pick Up Where You Left Off

The potential for cross-platform gaming was one of Windows Phone 7's major unique selling points, but so far, only a few spinoff titles have managed to include the functionality over the last year. However, SEGA has confirmed that Sonic 4: Episode 2 will allow players to synchronise their save files between the Xbox 360 version and the Windows Phone 7 app, letting us pick up exactly where we left off while on the move. [OXM]

We'll have a hands-on preview for you very soon.

Free Xbox Live Indie Games Companion App Out Now For Windows 7 Phones

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Eleventy-Aught Studios, Indie Games, Windows Phone 7, Xbox Live Indie Games

Free Xbox Live Indie Games Companion App Out Now For Windows 7 Phones

The Xbox 360's Metro dashboard update shafted Indie games good and proper, burying them deep within an arcane list of marketplace menus. But help is now at hand if you happen to own a Windows 7 Phone, courtesy of an sterling effort from developers Dave Voyles and Casey Young. These two indie heroes have created a companion app that allows you to browse the marketplace, view ratings and then queue up trials/full versions to download onto your Xbox 360 directly. It's a crying shame that Microsoft hasn't provided one themselves - considering that the indie marketplace is a massive unique selling point for their console - but it's a fantastic effort nonetheless.

The XBLIG Companion App is free. Get it here. Then consider donating if you find it useful.

Eleventy-Aught Studios have confirmed that Android and iOS versions are in the works, and we'll let you know when they're available.

Why We Love . . . Microsoft Points

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Microsoft, Microsoft Points, Virtual currency, Windows Phone 7, Xbox Live

Why We Love . . . Microsoft Points

A bit of a special Why We Love today, in which we take a peek at the recent rumour surrounding Microsoft's alleged abandoning of the Points scheme in favour of "real" currency, and what such a move could entail.

Rumours have been flying around over the past week or two suggesting that Microsoft Points - the currency currently used to purchase or rent content across Xbox LIVE, Zune Marketplace and Windows Phone 7 - will soon be canned in favour of actual "real" money. For many this will be a joyous relief, and event worthy of celebration as an outdated and potentially confusing model is jettisoned in favour of a simple marketplace that everyone can understand.

Crucially, it will bring Microsoft more in line with its competitors on the mobile gaming battlefield, where transactions are very much one-to-one: you always know where you are with your purchases. In an industry where the lines between gamers and non-gamers, hard core and casual, are becoming every more blurry, such transparency is vitally important.

Click here to read more...

REPORT: Microsoft Points To Be Discontinued By Year End?

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Digital Distribution, Microsoft, Microsoft Points, Windows Phone 7, Xbox Live, Zune Marketplace

REPORT: Microsoft Points To Be Discontinued By Year End?

Well this is interesting. According to a new report, Microsoft appear set to discontinue the use of Microsoft Points when it comes to transactions in the virtual marketplaces in a move that will affect the way consumer purchases operate across Xbox LIVE, Zune and Windows Phone.

Click here to read more...

Xbox Live Indie Game Of The Week: Windows Phone 7 Special!

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Argie RPG, Decimation X2, Fun Infused Games, Hypership Out Of Control!, Indie Games, IonBall, Ironsun Studios, On 3 Technologies, Windows Phone 7, Xbox Live Indie Game of the Week, Xona Games

indie-gotw-540x180

This last week, I've taken an uncharacteristic break to prepare for E3 and get a cheeky bit of cheap sunshine thanks to a last-minute deal... but enough lame excuses [I thought we fired you? -Ed]. Whilst I've been separated from my console, my Windows 7 mobile has staunchly stayed within easy reach - so it's time to round up some of the best indie games to have supported the fledgling platform!

Well, after a little rant. Before last year's Xbox.com site redesign that included indie games into the browser marketplace, Microsoft rightfully took a lot of flak for failing to give these titles enough exposure. Unfortunately they've failed to learn from their mistakes, meaning that Indie games aren't hosted in the browser marketplace along with their Microsoft-published big brothers.

The upshot is that you'll need Zune (groan) installed to take advantage of the download links... and it took a fair bit of detective work using Bing's (groan harder) visual search to track them down. Prepare for an longer, angrier rant at a later date. I now return you to our feature presentation.

Hypership Out Of Control!

If Hypership Out Of Control looks familiar, it's because Fun Infused Games' breakthrough indie hit is no stranger to our Game Of The Week roundups. In fact, we rated it as one of the best XBLI titles of 2010... and it's now also one of the best games on Windows 7 phones.

Click here to continue our mobile indie adventure! >>

Angry Birds Topples 200 Million Downloads

Author:
Felix Kemp
Category:
News
Tags:
Angry Birds, Apps, Games news, Windows Phone 7

angry-birds-game

Angry Birds' success has been nothing less than phenomenal, so it's of no surprise to hear it's whistled past the two hundred million downloads mark. The swine-hating, structure-toppling puzzler, which began life on Apple's iPhone, had already netted twelve million downloads on the App Store alone, but publisher Rovio expanded the brand to desktops, home consoles and even Apple rival, the Windows Phone 7. This cross-platform blitz yielded much fruit; two hundred million fruit, to be precise.

Angry Birds' creator, Peter Vesterbacka, announced the news on-stage at Rovio event yesterday, championing the news by throwing a large rock at trussed-up pig - only joking PETA. Vesterbacka also revealed the browser-based Angry Birds - released just a week ago - has already averaged five million web downloads. The continued success of Angry Birds demonstrates just how resilient the casual market is; which is sure to shock a few industry figures who don't fancy the industry much. [Joystiq]

Why We Love... Rocket Riot! Rocket Riot!

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Codeglue, Funk breakdown, music, Rocket Riot, SonicPicnic, Why We Love, Windows Phone 7, Xbox 360 games
Discuss:
Xbox 360

why we love

A few days ago, Dealspwn ground to a halt as us writers clustered around the warm, colourful glow of Rocket Riot. You might have expected us to have been enjoying the anarchic multiplayer modes of Codeglue's spectacular XBLA debut - or collaborating in a tense cooperative attempt to get ourselves its coveted You Can Handle The Riot achievement. Hell, you might have just expected my colleagues to be admiring how crap I am at the rugby challenges.

But no. We were listening to the Rocket Riot theme tune. Over... and over... and over again. Whilst dancing around like idiots.

rocket riot music banner

Let me explain. Rocket Riot boasted an impeccable nu-retro style in every aspect of its presentation; including lavish sprites and destructible cover made from thousands of independent pixel blocks (bloxels?). But when it came to the soundtrack, SonicPicnic worked their little dutch socks off to create a truly exceptional set of musical interludes. Mixing classic chiptune vibes with pumping electronica was a great fit for the game - but when it comes right down to it, the theme is one of the most impressive pieces of videogame composition we've ever heard.

Check it out (and legally download it) here. Hey, Jack Wall? Marty O'Donnell? You know that new sound you've been looking for? Well listen to this!

Here we go now, hold on tight. Rocket Riot! Rocket Riot! >>

Report: Microsoft Killing Off Zune Hardware

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Microsoft, News, Windows Phone 7, Zune

zuneLogo_web

A Bloomberg report has emerged suggesting that Microsoft are to wind up hardware production on the Zune line, according to 'a person familiar with the decision' who wished to remain anonymous as the decision was yet to be formally announced.

Microsoft's would-be-answer to the iPod will cease to be, with the company instead looking to concentrate on the Zune software, focusing on pushing it further across multiple platforms such as Xbox LIVE and Windows Phone 7.

Click here to see what the report had to say...

From A New Gaming Education To I Am Alive, Alive - News Roundup 1st February 2011

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
apple, Dark Soul, Education, From Software, Games news, I Am Alive, Ian Livingstone, iPhone, Playstation Suite, Project Dark, Report, Sony, Ubisoft, Windows Phone 7

Report Recommends Big Changes To UK Game Education

big_union_jack

The influential Livingstone Hope report is set to release in full later today. Authored by the revered indutry veteran Ian Livingstone (Eidos Life President and UK gaming guru), it strongly recommends sweeping changes to the Information Technology curriculum in order to help Britain compete in the increasingly-important gaming market.

Videogames production plays to the UK’s twin strengths of creativity and high-technology and ticks all the boxes for the digital economy.

But despite young people being passionate about videogames, they are unaware that games such as Grand Theft Auto and SingStar were developed in the UK and unaware of the career opportunities in the UK.

The report suggests that Computer Science should replace information technology, with a new focus on teaching programming languages and coding skills over... you know... creating fake restaurant menus and suchlike. What's more, Livingstone also suggests that IT and art should be taught together rather than kept apart. After all, we all know that games are fast becoming an emergent art form. [GI]

We steadfastly believe that Britain is a great gaming nation- and that these measures would usher in a new generation of videogame developers. Should we change our curriculum to get with the programme? Did your IT lessons teach you anything remotely useful? Have your say in the comments!

UPDATE: I Am Alive Goes Downloadable; Out This Year?

Update: This story has unfortunately been outed as a fake. Thanks for the subtle heads-up, ODB!

I Am Alive is an innovative survival game that was announced two years ago, with a turbulent dev cycle resulting in genuine doubt as to whether it would ever hit the shelves. However, Ubisoft exec Jane Raymond has revealed that it never will... because the project is now slated as a downloadable release for PSN and XBLA.

Ubisoft have yet to officially comment on the situation, but have taken the site down for maintenance. Perhaps an announcement is on the way? [JeuxVideo via EG]

Project Dark Is Dead. Long Live Dark Soul!


When From Software unveiled 'Project Dark' at last year's Tokyo Games Show, many gamers and pundits wondered whether it had any connection to Demon's Souls. After all, the action and art style seemed to be overwhelmingly similar to the wildly-successful PS3 sleeper hit. From Software were quick to deny that Project Dark was the working title for Demon's Souls 2... and have revealed that it has nothing to do with the franchise whatsoever.

In fact, it's had a complete change of identity. According to Famitsu Magazine (via GAF), the project is know known as Dark Soul- and is set in an entirely new "medieval dark fantasy" universe. Apparently the gameplay will be similar to Demon's Souls in terms of hardcore trial-and-error combat, but that's where the inspiration ends.

Dark Soul is set for a simultaneous PS3 and Xbox 360 release some time this year. We'll keep you up to date with the latest. [GAF]

Playstation Suite Takes Aim At iOS And WP7

playstation suite

Sony's Playstation Suite is set to bring first-party Playstation content to Android handhelds later this year, but SCE boss Kaz Hirai has suggested that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Most pundits assume that Apple is the major rival for the recently-unveiled Sony NGP and related services (along with Windows Phone 7 to a lesser extent), but Hirai would like to see Playstation Suite available on all platforms. That way, everybody gets paid.

There are a variety of operating systems, but we're focusing first on Android. There's also Windows, iOS and so forth, but we don't have the resources to make it compatible with everything from the start.

We have a completely open stance with carriers and handset makers. - SCE President Kaz Hirai

However, considering that Apple has recently rejected the Sony Reader from the App Store, it's likely that there'll be a serious conflict of interest. This move will also possibly anger Sony Ericsson, who stand to lose an important target audience for the Zeus 'Playstation Phone' Z1. We'll bring you the details as this story develops. [Thanks, Andriasang]

Mobot has more on the story.

Introducing Mobot.net | Shiny Mobile Deals, News & Reviews

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Dealspwn
Tags:
iPhone, Mobile games, Mobot, Windows Phone 7

mobot

Crack open the champagne, hug the person next to you, get utterly smashed and have a tattoo carved into your buttocks to commemorate the event! The HUKD Network has given birth to a new blog: Mobot. Boasting copious amounts of slick and shiny deals on mobile phones, bringing you breaking news on the latest goings-on in the mobile world, and dishing the dirt with no-holds-barred handset and app reviews. I can tell it's going to be a useful site...no more going drunk eBay-ing and stupidly buying two overpriced Omnias for me!

Bitterwallet-Mobot

We've even pimped out our very own Jon Lester to chip in with a bunch of reviews for the likes of RAGE: Mutant Bash TV, Star Battalion and Galaxy on Fire 2 and you can expect the odd little crossover as the year goes on, with the mobile market becoming an increasingly important battlefield. Plus we love the little 'Mobotox' pun.

From The 3DS Launch Date To Customer Service Server Snafu - News Roundup 19th January 2011

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
3DS, Activision, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Final Fantasy Versus XIII, Geohot, homebrew, Nintendo, Windows Phone 7
Discuss:
Call of Duty: Black Ops

3DS Launches On March 25th!

3dsdiscover

Finally! Nintendo have confirmed a March 25th release date for their highly anticipated 3DS handheld- along with twenty five  games set for the "launch window." HMV has estimated a £229 retail price for the basic unit that will reportedly ship in either aqua blue or cosmos black.

We can't wait.

Activision: Closing Black Ops PS3 Servers Is "Viable"

blops xbow

This is an odd little story. Putting it mildly. Freelance blogger Jason Koblovsky claims to have engaged in a bizarre dialogue with Activision customer support, where grievances about Call Of Duty: Black Ops' PS3 performance were countered by a suggestion that the servers could ultimately be closed instead of repaired.

The publishers have the right to shut down the servers for their game at any time as well which based on the number of reported posts from users may be a viable solution over the free PSN.

To be honest, this is probably just a poorly worded response caused by the aggravation of dealing with an angry consumer- not a statement of intent. Activision's social media puppet master, Dan Amrich, has been quick to deny any genuine plans to shut down the servers in a recent tweet.

I do not see "shutting down servers" as an action item here. I think someone's inaccurately implying intent.

There's almost certainly nothing to this, but there's no doubt that Black Ops' PS3 performance is causing both consumers and Activision no end of grief. Are you having problems? Fancy a bit of a rant? Have your say in the comments!

Windows Phone 7 Team Encourage GeoHot Jailbreak

geohot wp7 twitter

Infamous hacker and homebrew coder George "GeoHot" Hotz is currently embroiled in a fierce legal battle with Sony over a the latest firmware breaches- and has been sued by Apple in the past. However, Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 team are taking a very different tack. Microsoft developer Brandon Watson has offered to furnish Hotz with a WP7, stating that they'd actively encourage him to "build cool stuff" on the platform.

It's a nifty marketing stunt to be sure, but with some analysts predicting that WP7 will overtake Android as the fastest-growing OS in 2011, it'll be interesting to see what a jailbreak manages to bring to the table.

Huge Final Fantasy Versus XIII Trailer

Yesterday's announcement that Final Fantasy Versus XIII would be a PS3 exclusive nearly broke the internet- partly thanks to an incredible new trailer that shows off the blend of high fantasy with gritty realism. Well, as gritty and realistic as Final Fantasy games get, anyways. [GT]

CES Keynote Blowout! - News Roundup 6th January 2011

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
3D, Avatar Kinect, Beyond Good & Evil HD, CES, Fable Coin Golf, Game Room, Intel, Kinect, Microsoft, News, Portal 2, PS Phone, PSN, Sandy Bridge, Torchlight, Windows Phone 7
Discuss:
Portal 2

CES Blowout: Microsoft Vs Sony

ces logo

Microsoft and Sony have given their keynote speeches at this years Consumer Electronics Show... and there are a few little announcements hidden behind the usual posturing and posing. For your delectation, here's the whole shebang in digestible bitesize form.

Microsoft

  • Rumour Controlled: Avatar Kinect is real. The rumours (reported yesterday) have been confirmed. Microsoft will be rolling out Avatar Kinect this Spring, allowing our virtual caricatures to mingle and chat in themed environments with gesture support and the ability to record our own podcasts!
  • Torchlight and Beyond Good & Evil HD confirmed for XBLA. The downloadable port of Runic Games' loot grinder has been confirmed as a full Xbox 360 exclusive- and the reskinned classic Beyond Good and Evil will remain exclusive to Microsoft's console for an as-yet undisclosed period of time. They'll form part of the XBLA House Party promotion that kicks off February 16th. We'll have full reviews next month!
  • Game Room & Fable Coin Golf Headed To WP7. Game Room's decaying bloated carcass is a mockery of its incredible potential- but the news that arcade games (and achievements) can be shared across the  PC, Xbox and Windows Phone 7 should help to rejuvenate the service. Oh, and a Fable-themed coin golf game will also let you... well... play golf. For coins.
  • Kinect has sold 8 million units in 60 days. That's actually very impressive for a risky new peripheral. Hopefully this user base will warrant the creation of more innovative games as well as better integration into Xbox 360 dashboard operation. 2011 promises to be a great year for Kinect, and we're looking forward to seeing what the next few months have in store.

Sony

  • New Prototype 3D Headset Revealed. Basically it's a virtual boy for the new generation. Executive deputy president Hiroshi Yoshioka introduced the new tech, which is a closed visor with integrated headphones. Seperate displays for each eye should cut down on headache-inducing interference, though since it's a prototype, no details on performance or pricing have been announced. We'll keep you posted.
  • Playstation Phone tacitly confirmed. Again. Oh, you coy little tease. We already know that the Zeus Z1 smartphone with Playstation emulation functionality is a very real proposition, but SCE CEO Kaz Hirai has dropped a few more hints that they'll be "integrating into mobile the assets [they've] collected in the Playstation family." Yes, we know that the PS Phone is happening. Hurry up and showcase the damn thing already before we get bored!
  • PSN Subscribers reach 60 million. Which is almost enough for a small game of MAG. All joking aside, this is an impressive achievement made possible by their innovative freemium sales model. To put this in perspective, Microsoft has hit 30 million users. Take from this what you will.

Did we miss anything important? Excited about this year's CES- or was it a bit of a damp squib? Drop us a line in the comments!

Intel Reveal "Game-Changing" Sandy Bridge Processor

sandy bridge ces reveal

This is probably the biggest news from CES 2011. Intel have revealed their new Sandy Bridge processor, which is the first 32 nanometer-based chip on the market. Apparently it will offer "a console-like experience on the PC," which means less messing around with graphics options and drivers before being able to play the games themselves. Sandy Bridge will apparently also provide lower manufacturing costs along with improved performance and cooling rates, which will hopefully guarantee a competitive launch price.

Valve's Gabe Newell stepped up to the plate and praised the new chip, stating that "it’s a real game changer." Portal 2 will apparently be optimised to run on the Sandy Bridge processor when it releases later this year.

From Dante CONtroversy To Pricey Piano Peripherals - News Roundup 21st October 2010

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Capcom, Dante, DMC, Games news, Harmonix, Marvel Pinball, Microsoft, Ninja Theory, Rock Band 3, Windows Phone 7

Capcom: Dante Controversy Was Planned

It's amazing how defensive fans can get about visual changes to their favourite characters. Sucker Punch fans got all riled up over Cole's inFamous makeover earlier this year, but that's nothing compared to the backlash Ninja Theory has been receiving over the new edgy emo Dante who'll be fronting their DMC prequel. Don't hate on the studio, though, because Capcom exec Christian Svensson has explained that Ninja Theory were forced into the redesign by orders from the top in order to be more outlandish and create greater visibility for the IP. Nice one, Inafune.

The original concepts that came back for Dante were actually extremely close to the Dante everyone knows and loves. The feedback that came back from [Keiji] Inafune and [Hideaki] Itsuno was, ‘No guys, this needs to be completely different, we need you to go much further and be much more creative.

Svensson continued to state that the redesign was actually part of a plan to create a storm of controversy and hence whip up publicity for the title.

To be fair, I think some of the strategy here was to create that discussion and dialogue, and I think it drastically raises the visibility of the title versus if we had just done another Dante. - Christian Svensson

Well, we played right into that one. Let's leave Ninja Theory alone and judge DMC on its own merits. [IGN]

Harmonix Unveils Rock Band 3 Peripheral Prices

rb3 logoMany pundits and analysts have foretold the death of the peripheral music game as we know it, with Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock clocking in at a measly 88 thousand sales. Harmonix are about to fly squarely in the face of that trend, however, with a massive lineup of pricey plastic implements. Here's the damage!

  • Rock Band Wireless Keyboard with Rock Band 3 software included - £109.99 (Xbox 360/PS3) and £99.99 (Wii)
  • Rock Band 3 Wireless Fender Mustang PRO-GUITAR Controller - £124.99
  • Guitar, mic and keyboard stands - £24.99 each
  • Rock Band Wireless Keyboard - £69.99
  • Rock Band 3 Wireless PRO-DRUM and PRO-CYMBALS Kit - £119.99
  • Other guitars including bass - £59.99 to £84.99
  • Rock Band 3 MIDI PRO-ADAPTER - £34.99
  • Rock Band 3 Microphone - £24.99

Yikes! Don't worry, we'll be keeping our eyes peeled for the best deals once the October 29th release date rolls around. [MCV]

Windows Phone 7 Launches Today In UK

windows phone 7 old manWe were impressed by the Windows  Phone 7firmware (as well as a solid port of XBLA gem Rocket Riot) at this year's Gamescom, as it successfully blended simple intuitive features with a decent games lineup. Today marks the UK launch of Microsoft's foray into the mobile market... but good luck finding a handset. Both online and high street retailers are still being extremely cagey about selling the new phone, including official UK partner Orange who are only paying lip service to a single HTC platform.

We suspect that there'll be a media storm over the next few days.

Ratings Reveal Marvel Pinball

pinball

A new listing on the Australian Ratings Board has revealed the existence of Marvel Pinball, a Marvel Comics-themed pinball title from Hungarian Developer Zen Studios.

Details are still thin on the ground- in fact, all we know is the name, developer and the fact that it's "multiplatform". However, considering Zen Studio's modus operandi, we can safely assume that it'll debut on PSN and XBLA. We'll tell you more as we hear it.

Windows Phone 7 Preview: Xbox LIVE In The Palm Of Your Hand

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Games previews, Gamescom 2010, Microsoft, Mobile games, Windows Phone 7, XBLA, Xbox Live

wp7_lockup1_vert_small_normal

Jon and I arrived in Cologne borne, it seemed, on a sea of iPhones with our rather more established counterparts all sporting Apple's wonder gizmo. By comparison our Batphones – the falsely-advertised Nokia XpressMusic 5800s – were like sizing up a Mensa wizard with an ELC calculator. 'God we need iPhones' was the primary utterance for the first hour after touchdown.

But perhaps not.

Expecting to see a cavalcade of Kinect-based stuff we'd already kicked around with at the Galleries over in Covent Garden, we were pleasantly surprised to find so much more...including a hands-on play with the Xbox LIVE experience on the new Windows 7 Mobile.

646416wp7

Testing things out on a prototype courtesy of Samsung, I was surprised to find that everything worked really very well indeed. The menu system, whilst pretty blocky and hardly stunning is perfectly serviceable, customisable and allows you to navigate with ease. It'll have all of the usual mod cons that you want from an accessible smartphone these days, but what we're really looking for is the Windows LIVE experience that's been promised.

You'll find pretty much everything you can find on the Dashboard of your 360 here. Avatars were fully integrated into pretty much everything and customising them was a breeze. Messaging, obviously, was a cinch and it was easy to bring up your list of friends, Achievements, statuses and leaderboards with a dab or swipe of your finger. Oh yeah...and Halo Waypoint.

DSCF0009_picnik

We've seen a few developer videos touting XNA games on the platform but yet to really see how it'll work. Well, that all changed today as I was handed a phone and told to go nuts. First up? Twin Swords a side scrolling hack and slash title with some light RPG elements and lots of cartoon gore. Responsiveness was the order of the day here. Having spent a good half an hour marvelling at how Kinect was still highly inaccurate, the Windows Phone 7 stunned me with its crossover potential and intuitive controls.

Imagine an iPhone crossed with XBLA and you're not far off. Twin Swords handled like a dream, the touch buttons to control attacks responding well, a touch circle to the left acting like a an analogue nub with haptic feedback. The graphics were XBLA quality, suffering no loss in framerate when furious double-tapping was occurring. Unlike Kinect, though, it was impressive to see just how quick and precise everything was when controlling the game. I decided, though, that it needed a sterner test and so turned to Rocket Riot.

Jump the break to see how WP7 fared, along with the latest list of launch titles for Windows Phone 7