Okay, I subtly panned this in the review for a reliance on either the freemium purchases in the game, or for the slow timer resets that meant you could only dip in two or three times a day before you had to start paying money to the developers... but here I am, months later, still dipping in to the game late every evening to check my settlement, battle the monsters, and take on the quests and challenges that are still being offered to me.
Most freemium games have a moment where I realise what the timers are doing, and I pass on the game. I've passed that moment on Adventure Town but I'm still playing. To my surprise this is definitely a game with staying power on my handset.
Move is a puzzle game where you have to roll balls around the many game grids to have them reach the target squares. With over one thousand levels spaced over thirteen level packs, the short nature of each level is counterpointed by the ridiculous number of levels on offer. I don't dip in regularly to the game, but when I feel like some logo/puzzle fun, Move is there and is ready to deliver, with stylish and modern graphics coupled with smart game play and a good UI.
Steve and I never quite saw eye to eye on this app. I've been using it on my iPad for absolutely ages, and was really happy when it arrived on Windows Phone. Steve perhaps never saw the value in cultivating your own digital flowers, feeding and watering them, and then cutting them into bouquets to share and email to your friends and family.
It mightn't fit the traditional definition of a game, but it's a leisure activity on my Windows Phone, there are goals to achieve, tools to reach them, and ultimately a reward that is worth having and sharing.
Originally an indie game on Windows Phone, it not only picked up the Xbox Live branding, but is now available over multiple platforms including iOS, Android, and Windows 8. The sixty-second word game that challenges you to find as many words in a 4x4 grid of letters as possible has refused to grow tired and stale. The challenge remains in every single round and while it's not a 'random' game in any sense of the word, there are more than enough grids on the central server that repetition has never felt like an issue.
The addition of the timed game taking place over everyone playing Wordament at that point in time is inspired. Not only do you have your own high score challenge to beat, but you get an instant comparison to everyone else in the world. Couple that idea with a smooth UI and compelling gameplay, and Wordament remains a hit for me.
The Windows Phone adaption of the classic German board game introduced me to an amazing game. It had already made a strong appearance on Xbox Live for the console, as well as variants for the other mobile platforms, so I was waiting expectantly for it to arrive on Microsoft's mobile platform. When it did, the user interface, the skill levels on offer by the computer AI, and the multi-player games available online made for a challenging experience and a smart replication of a board game as a mobile game.
How much do I like it? Apart from the fact I am still playing it, it was last Christmas' family board game under the tree.
Farm Frenzy 2
An intense round of clicking on the screen to get the farm produce you need to pass each level makes up Farm Frenzy 2. Each level is actually a little self-contained logic puzzle based around time and process and the calling is not only working out how to beat the restrictive 'gold' time the developers have set you, but implementing it when you have the pesky bears continually trying to get in the way. It's addictive, simple to play, and the balance has me hooked.
Perhaps it takes a little bit too long to go from launch to playing the first game in a session, but second and subsequent attempts, as well as moving to the next round, take very little time. Once you are in, you are not leaving.
Farm Frenzy Pizza Party is also available, but the reworked graphics feel a touch too sterile for me. While it's labelled '2', I'll stick with the Windows Phone original (and the occasional deliberate resetting of my progress every three months so I can play through all the levels once more).
The Treasures of Montezuma
And finally, my pick of the match three games. While so many games in this genre in the last twelve months have adopted a freemium model with boosters to alter the gameplay and timers that force you to wait or pay to play, the Treasures of Montezuma is a welcome return to a time when you paid for a game once, everything was there, and you could just get on with playing it, and working through the difficulty curve of the game with your skill and not your wallet.
The UI is clear, the grafting of an archaeology theme allows the graphics to have a consistency with the menus without overpowering the design, and the in-game power-ups are balanced both in execution and in how you obtain them. It's a shame that a hit game in the future is unlikely to follow this model, so enjoy it while you can.
So there you go, the seven games on my Windows Phone that have stood the test of time. Did they get the highest review scores? No. Did they get a glowing 'recommended' as I wrote them up? Not all of them. But would I suggest you take a look at them now? Most definitely. And then let us at AAWP know in the comments your own geriatric games!