Pixel Blocked is fantastic. You can go and read the rest of the review if you want (and I bet most of you will) but I know I've found the first puzzle game on Windows Phone that I really connect with. It may already be available for the Xbox Console and on the PC, but I've found it on Windows Phone, so it's Windows Phone Puzzle Game #1 in my mind! Here's why.
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Word games seem to be under-appreciated in the gaming genre. Notwithstanding the huge amount of praise they get from reviewers and the general public, it's tough to think of a gaming title that has had success outside of the Scrabble-sequel Words By Post/Words With Friends style of gaming. Unfortunately, Text Twist 2 is not going to change that.
I have to confess that I'm something of a connoisseur of pool games on handhelds and smartphones, running firstly on my Palm Tungsten T3 early in the last decade and then on my Symbian smartphones. I've played more frames of virtual pool on handheld devices than you've had hot dinners. Discarding any prejudice about the cartoon 'look' of Doodle Pool, what really matters is whether it's a great pool game or not.
For all the shiny Metro squares, flowing graphics and sleek presentation, your Windows Phone still needs to get on the Internet and find the information you want. If that's browsing websites to get the latest news, you'll be wanting an RSS reader that fits in with the UI, but still gets you all the text you need. Have you considered Weave?
The "running" game genre has a number of variants for Windows Phone (we've looked at one recently in Tsotsi), but Running Dude is a step above others that I have seen. Why? Because it manages to be impressive in three different areas... control, game-play, and presentation.
Using the Metro design language as much as possible, the Sky News application brings you, errr... the latest news from Sky. It joins a number of news centre applications (including The Guardian and The Metro Newspaper), it's great to have a choice of publishers - it's rather like selecting a paper in the newsagent each morning. Sky News matches up in quality to the other apps so let's take a closer look at what you get.
Battlewagon is a frustrating Xbox Live title. It looks fantastic, with clear cartoon graphics, maps and cut-scenes reminiscent of the Amiga and Atari ST days, and it all feels consistent and right. Yet at the same time the game is stunningly simple in terms of complexity and level construction. There is a good game here, but it's not one that you can find without the developers working at another level.
What is it about the London Underground that's so attractive? Admittedly this attraction is mostly from people outside of London, but why do they have this romantic notion of the mass transit system? I've no idea either, but it's wonderful territory for a mobile application to explore. MX Data have the licence from London Transport to work with the data from the Underground, so how useful have they made this app for the commuter?
This surely is an application that doesn't really need to exist. Something to photograph documents? What's wrong with the built in Camera function in your Windows Phone? In theory, nothing, and many people will opt to use this low-tech approach. Yet, despite myself, I warmed to Handyscan's all-encompassing system of handholding through the snapping/editing/uploading process. It really does seem as if the developers have thought of everything!
Now this is a pretty modern slice of style in the Xbox Live arcade. Bug Village, from Glu Mobile, is another free game to download, but unlike some of the other titles, I'd be happy to show this one off as a sample of what Windows Phone can do. Neither are there any unsightly adverts on show - Glu Mobile are going to make their money out of you. Yes, Bug Village is one of the first freemium games for our phone platform.