Windows Phone 7 Games Catch-All


I haven't been able to find a good review site for Windows Phone 7 games, so I've been poking around the market on my own. I've been working my way through the Live-enabled games because, as with the Xbox 360, they're all required to have demos. I haven't delved too deeply into the non-Live games, but from the looks of it there's a lot of the usual chaff. From what I've seen so far, here are my impressions:

  • ilomilo - You've probably heard the buzz about this game for the XBLA release, and it's just as good on WP7. It's a charming puzzle game where you work to reunite two friends, ilo and milo, by controlling both characters and guiding them around 3D mazes. The artwork is reminiscent of the hand-made look of LittleBigPlanet and looks great.
  • The Harvest - This is an ARPG where the Diablo-esque click-click-click has been replaced with tap-tap-tap. It's hard to judge a game like this based on a demo because so much of the genre's appeal lies in upgrading your character over time, but the demo is fun and teases a fair amount of content with three character classes and some decent-looking upgrade options. The real killer for this game is that the loading times can be quite long. The first time I loaded the game, it took a minute before I could play; reloading that saved game took less time, but still 30 seconds or more from menu to game.
  • Max and the Magic Marker - A puzzle-platformer that's appeared on Wiiware and the PC, this is probably my favorite version of the game. You navigate a little kid around fairly typical platforming hazards while drawing new platforms on the screen with your finger. The controls are well-done, and the drawing is much more intuitive here than on the Wii or PC. The problem, again, is that the load times are on the longer side which makes this harder to pick-up and play.
  • de Blob Revolution - Not a port of the Wii platformer but a puzzle game set in the same universe. You guide the titular blob through mazes, converting creatures called Graydians to color, without crossing the trail of paint the blob leaves behind him. It's a well-done casual game with a good sense of style. I intend to pick up the full version at some point.
  • Flowerz - Execrable spelling in the title aside, this is a neat little match-three game with a good bit of mechanical depth. You place colored flowers on a grid to make horizontal or vertical rows of three. The depth comes in that some of the flowers leave other, differently colored flowers behind them when they're cleared, so you have to plan ahead when you place them. It's surprisingly addicting and comes at just the right price of free.
  • Revolution - Another puzzle game. This time you're presented with a fixed set of cogs you need to turn and limited number of cogs you can place on the board to make that happen. It's simple and easy to pick up. I'm not sure if the full game has a lot of depth to it.
  • Puzzle Quest 2 - It's Puzzle Quest! I really don't have much to add.
  • Assassin's Creed: The Chronicles of Altair - I think this is just a port of the iOS game, and it's decent but not great. It's a largely side-scrolling platformer with some sword fighting mixed in. The virtual analog stick is finicky and makes it difficult to walk when you're trying to get past Templars undetected, but I'm not a huge fan of virtual pads and sticks in general.
  • Glyder - A tilt-controlled flight game with steampunk trappings, this one has a fun demo but I can't imagine myself putting a lot of time into the full version. The graphics are decent if unremarkable, and the controls are responsive enough. However, the mechanics really seem to lack any sort of depth that would make multiple courses worth playing through.
  • The Revenants: Corridor of Souls - This is the only real dud that I've tried out so far. The idea is interesting: you control an orb of light in a little arena being attacked by various beasties and bad things. You can tap to teleport the orb anywhere on the screen, or you drag it around to create a trail of light. Making loops with the light trail creates a vortex that sucks enemies into it for points and bonus lives. Unfortunately, the game explains itself poorly and the controls are spotty. Tapping to move doesn't always work, and sometimes even dragging the light around can be unreliable.

I'll post more impressions as I play more games. So, anyone else playing Win Phone 7 games?

I picked up the Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst game to see how the tie-in would work with the full game on the 360. It's a base defense game, but the maps are based on real-world Bing maps, so you plop your bases down in real areas and the freaks use the real roads on the map to reach your base (my first base is located at my apartment complex). This lets you set up choke points, etc. I've enjoyed it, though the 360 game connection stuff hasn't really worked all that well. It's a fun little game given how much I dislike the usual tower defense games.

I downloaded Flowerz and ilomilo for free when I got the phone. Flowerz is a nice little match 3 and I like the strategy element of matching the dual colors. I've not had a chance to try ilomilo yet.

It is quite fun earning cheevos while out and about.

ilomilo was being given out for free? Man, and I've got to buy it.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

ilomilo was being given out for free? Man, and I've got to buy it. :)

Speaking of buying how does the cost of games compare to iOS games? How about the graphics? Similar? Better?

What I've seen of The Harvest looks fantastic (graphically). The gameplay looks fun as well despite the long load times.

ilomilo is a very fun game, so much I think I'm gonna pick it up on XBL as well. The graphics on the WP7 phones are no less good than what I had on my iPhone.

EvilHomer3k wrote:

Speaking of buying how does the cost of games compare to iOS games? How about the graphics? Similar? Better?

In terms of cost, Live-enabled games start around $3 and go up to $8. Non Live-enabled games average from $1 to $3. The Live-enabled games seem to be the higher-quality games from bigger publishers, so the big points of comparison would be with games from EA and the like on the iPhone.

Edit: Also, in case there's any confusion: WP7 games aren't purchased with Microsoft Points. Unlike XBLA, WP7 games are paid for in cold, hard cash.

So far as graphics go, there's no Infinity Blade yet, but otherwise they seem comparable. Based on the hardware specs, there's no reason that a WP7 phone couldn't power something like Infinity Blade if it were ported over.

Prices sound decent. Infinity Blade could run on many Android phones, too. I think the issue is the lack of developer support from companies capable of it.

I bought the full version of de Blob Revolution and it's a bit of a mixed bag. The game has three modes: rescue mode, where you just save little Graydians in the maze; speed mode, is just like rescue mode but you do it against a clock; and chase mode, which is like speed mode except that you have enemies chasing you.

What I hadn't realized from the demo is that the rooms you play through aren't set. Instead, they're randomly generated based on the mode and difficulty level you select. When you first start the game, you only have access to rescue mode and only have the very easy and easy difficulty levels. You play each mode in rounds of four to six rooms, and at the end of each round you're given a score for the number of Graydians rescued, whether or not you were under the par time, and how high you had the difficulty set. That score adds to an overall total that's used to unlock new features, gameplay modes, and difficulty levels.

Each of the game's modes is mechanically sound and enjoyable in its own right. Personally, I enjoy the rescue mode for the pure problem-solving. But therein lies the problem.

The game's designers clearly expect that you'll graduate from rescue mode to speed mode to chase mode as they become available. They also expect that you'll graduate to higher difficulty levels as they unlock. They've geared the points system to this end, so that you get more points for the harder modes and difficulty levels, which makes sense. However, they've also setup the system to actively punish players for playing rescue mode by docking them points for not having a par time on the course. Rescue mode on the hardest difficulty rewards fewer points than speed mode or chase mode on a lower difficulty because most of the player's score is wiped out by the deduction for not having a par time. You can even at times take a hit to the overall score solely because of the time deduction. Adding insult to injury, the game's NPCs pop up on the scoring screen and get on your case for not earning enough points.

The overall effect is off-putting. I have no problem with getting fewer points for playing an easier mode in the game, but I'm not thrilled about being punished for it. It's sapped my enjoyment of the game a bit despite my really enjoying the mechanics themselves.

The full version of ilomilo is every bit as charming as the demo. I played it to 100% completion and loved every minute of it. My only complaint is that it's a little bit short and a little bit easy for the $5 price tag.

I also bought the full version of The Harvest. I haven't had as much chance to place it since it's long loading times make it hard to just pick up and play. I've enjoyed what I have played, however, so I'll be making some time for it in the near future. One thing that's nice about it is that if you played the demo version and then upgrade to the full version, you'll pick up where you left off in the demo without having to start a new game. You'll also receive any achievements you earned during the demo; they'll all go through the first time you load the full version of the game. That's a nice feature to have.

My first purchased game is The Harvest. I agree on the load times. I think the game itself is very enjoyable. It looks very good and is well polished. I find it comparable to a PSP game in the overall quality of the game. I've gotten some demos of other games but haven't played much of them because I've been playing The Harvest.

I've been playing a lot of Glow Artisan lately. It's a fun little puzzle game, but the gold medals for time can jump off a bridge. I'm having trouble finishing even the easy puzzles quickly enough.

Microsoft is planning a Summer of Arcade-style span of six weeks of big releases. The games mentioned so far are: Plants vs Zombies, Hydro Thunder Go, Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1, geoDefense, and Doodlejump. The rumor is that Angry Birds will be released in that window as well.

In the next couple weeks, Fable Coin Golf will be released. As with Full House Poker, Fable Coin Golf will let you earn currency on the go to transfer to your character on your console. Also being released soon are Super Monkey Ball and Harbor Master, whatever that is.

I think Harbor Master is a Flight Control rip-off.

necroyeti wrote:

I think Harbor Master is a Flight Control rip-off.

That's disappointing considering that one of the first Live-enabled games on the platform was Flight Control HD.

This week's deal is on Hexic Rush for $1.99.

Releasing this week is Fable Coin Golf. It's surprisingly good. The graphics are beautiful, the writing sharp, and, most importantly, the gameplay is fun and engaging. It turns out that coin golf is a bit like golf mixed with air hockey. You slide a puck through an obstacle course to reach an end goal, bouncing the coin off walls to get around turns and pick up items (so far, just gold coins that you can cash in in Fable 3). I was afraid that you'd have to do some kind of awkward flicking to control the puck, but you just pull back on it to adjust the angle and power of your shot, then either release or push a "fire" button depending on how you have the controls set up.

I've downloaded the demo and will likely pick up the full game.

This week's deal is on Glow Artisan for $1.99. It's a color-based puzzle game ported over from the DS. I really enjoyed my time with it, although I found the later puzzles to be less fun than the earlier ones.

In other news, the March update greatly improves load times in some games. I've complained here and elsewhere about the loading times in The Harvest. They were sixty seconds from selecting the save game to being able to play; that's been knocked down to 20 to 30 seconds. If you've been avoiding the game because of that, please be aware that it's gotten much better.

Also of note is that the first non-Live game has cracked the top sellers list. It's an Angry Birds clone called Chicks'n'Vixens. Personally, I don't understand the appeal of Angry Birds, but it's funny that the only platform without a version of the game has enthusiastically embraced an imposter rather than waiting for the real thing.

Clever bit I just noticed in Fable Coin Golf: in the report you get at the end of each round, there's a second telling you what your total gold haul for Fable III is, offers a suggestion for what you could buy with that amount of money, and lets you know what you could buy with X more gold. Good job tying the games together.

The Harvest is the WP7 game of the week until, well, tomorrow. It is an excellent RPG. The ONLY rpg I've ever played all the way through on a phone. It is down to 4.99 this week which is a good price for a game of this quality. I very much enjoyed it and highly recommend it.

I picked up the demo for Carneyvale and it wasn't for me. It's not really something I'd purchase for myself but can be fun for short periods.

I have been playing a lot of Rocket Riot lately. It's got early 90's style pixelated graphics and is a twin stick shooter. The controls work well but get your screen really covered with fingerprints. So far the premise is quite simple. Shoot as many rockets as you can. Sound is pretty good and graphics are of the cute throwback pixel variety. Really, the fun here is destroying everything. Pretty much everything on the screen can be destroyed (it grows back) and you get power-ups for destroying things.

I picked up free versions of Hearts and Spades. Both are by Jake Poznanski ( and are free. The AI isn't the greatest but I don't think it is any worse than you see on most card games. Graphics are pretty good but somewhat basic. Solid card games but not spectacular. He's got several other games as well. I'm downloading Mars Runner now.

Finally, I tried the demo for Square Off. It is a twin stick shooter (very much like Rocket Riot) where you have to kill a bunch of alien heads (think of the brains from Futurama). It's fun but I did not enjoy it as much as rocket riot. There's a lot more gibs (none in RR) and blood. I think what makes RR more fun is the ability to destroy everything. RR is about blowing everything up while you have to be more selective in Square Off. I like the graphics better in SO but the gameplay in RR. They both have demos so they are worth a look whether you prefer one over the other.

The lineup, dates, and prices for the Must Have Games summer event has been announced.

  • Hydro Thunder Go - 5/25 - $4.99
  • Doodle Jump - 6/1 - $2.99
  • geoDefense - 6/8 - $2.99
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 - 6/15 - $6.99
  • Plants vs. Zombies - 6/22 - $4.99
  • Angry Birds - 6/29 - $2.99

Looking at comments elsewhere online, people seem to be annoyed that Angry Birds is coming out at the end and that Plants vs. Zombies is $4.99 instead of $2.99. I don't really care about the former and won't quibble over $2 for a game. Mostly I'm a bit sad that their Must Have Games all seem to be day-late iOS ports.

Same here. I don't consider Doodle Jump a "must have". Plants vs Zombies was one of the reasons I was excited about switching to WP7 (from Android) and I think it may show up on Android first. Hydro Thunder Go is intriguing. I think Sonic is overpriced at $6.99. There are several solid Angry Birds and Doodle Jump type games already. Overall, this has been hyped for months and now it's a bit of a let down. I think had it started in April like it was rumored it would have been much more exciting.

So Hydro Thunder Go is out. I wasn't crazy about the demo, but I don't really go for the tilt-controlled racing games as it is. Second opinions?

ClockworkHouse wrote:

So Hydro Thunder Go is out. I wasn't crazy about the demo, but I don't really go for the tilt-controlled racing games as it is. Second opinions?

I tried the demo out and found it to be pretty good. The graphics looked pretty good for a phone game. The tilt controls don't bother me so much as there really isn't any other way to do it. I may pick up the full version sometime down the line.

I think the tilt controls work well and I like the throttle contoll and the boost. The graphics are pretty nice. The water looks good. It has some realistic motion and transparency. Some of the effects from the water seem to cover the boat at times. The boat could use a bit of shine. There don't seem to be any reflections on the boat. I do like the little bits of fire from the engine and the back burner as well as the shield effect on there when you are boosting. You can change the control setup to a virtual wheel. I didn't like that as much as the tilt controls. If you lose your touch on the screen it resets to 0 and you have to adjust your touch back to the center. Other than that the virtual wheel was solid and allowed for finer control.

I rarely buy this type of game. I just don't play them enough to justify it. I think the price point is also a bit high for me. I do like the game and the controlls are pretty good. If it were on sale for $3 I'm sure I'd pick it up. I just don't think I'll play it enough to justify the current price.

So, Doodle Jump is out. I haven't played a game like it, but it's slick and cute enough to be worth trying out the demo. The problem is that it didn't sell me on more than the demo. So far, the Must Have Games promotion is 0/2 with me.

Also, this week's deal is for the original Pac-Man. This is not Pac-Man DX but the first port on the system with the really crappy controls.

Doodle Jump is fine but I already got Monster Jump and I only need one of that type of game. Monster Jump was free. Yeah, the original pac-man isn't worth even a demo for me. What's worse is that Plants vs Zombies came out on Android. I switched to WP7 in part for Plants vs Zombies.


GeoDefense is out this week. I haven't had a chance to play it, yet, but I'll post some impressions when I do.

This week's deal of the week is Glyder for $1.99.

This week's deal of the week is Rise of Glory for $1.99. I didn't like the controls, but that's sort of become a constant refrain of my comments, hasn't it? "I hate tilt controls"?

Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 is also out for $6.99. It's interesting that I'd have thought $7 was a fairer price for it when it was released on XBLA but that it feels outrageous on a phone. See what $0.99 pieces of crap have done to me?

I quite like RoG. I think the tilt controls work very well (don't mind them at all in most games). They are fairly precise and smooth. One issue is that turning the rudder and pushing the throttle at the same time is a bit awkward.

I bought RoG last week and have been playing the campaign mode. It's pretty fun and the missions are (thus far) varied. All, of course, require dog fighting to win. So far I've had to pick up a package and drop it off elsewhere, destroy a train, and drop a bomb on a target (in addition to the previously mentioned dog fighting).

One issue is that it doesn't save your game in place if you exit. It goes back to the previous check point. I wish it could save anywhere as sometimes the check points are pretty far between. I also wish there was a time accelerator as some missions have you flying to a way point for a few minutes at a time.

For a fairly simple arcade-style WWI air combat game it's fun to play and, at least so far, somewhat varied in the missions. You could do a lot worse for $1.99.

I'm still spending more time than I should on Spades. The AI is still pretty dumb (trumping cards with an Ace or not trumping when they really should) but for some reason really enjoy it. The guy who put out Spades (and Hearts) just released Solitaire as well. I downloaded it but haven't played it.

If Sonic were $2.99 I'd have already purchased it. $7 is a bit high for me. I'm not a big platformer fan (most of them I find frustrating and annoying) but Sonic is about the only one I will actually play for any length of time. Maybe it will be cheaper later.

I've been putting a lot of time into Puzzle Quest 2, lately. If you haven't played a Puzzle Quest game before, this is a decent port. It only has two niggling issues. The first is that to get detailed information on spells and items requires you to hold your finger over the icon, however your finger often ends up obscuring some of the information in the pop-up. It can be annoying, but it's not game-breaking. The other issue is that you can't save mid-battle. If you exit the game or the phone suspends during a battle, you'll have to start over from the beginning. Again, it's not a big deal, but it does make it a little harder to pick up and play as some of the battles can be quite long.

I might have to take another look at Rise of Glory. I played the demo and couldn't get the hang of flying. I ran into the ground over and over again before simply giving up.

One thing to note on the controls for RoG. It resets the controls at the start of each mission. Make sure you have the phone at the right angle before the mission starts or they'll be messed up for the whole mission.