A gamer's introduction to Windows Phone 7

Microsoft just got in the smartphone world, should you join them?

Tetris

Ah, nothing like good old Tetris. Much like pizza, the perfect formula for it exists and is hard to get wrong, and EA ably recreates the formula for WP7. It may be a little stripped down, but for $4.99 it’s a pretty good package. There’s the classic Marathon mode and then the Variant mode where you can only clear a board after a set amount of things are completed. The only issue is the slightly floaty controls take some time to get acquainted with. It may not be an inventive new title, but it scratches that certain itch in your brain that only Tetris can.

Bejeweled Live

Much like Tetris, Bejeweled is such an established commodity it’s hard to get it wrong. As long as the touch screen can shift a jewel’s position with another jewel, we’re all good, something WP7 handled pretty well. Even in the speedier rounds of play it quickly and accurately kept up with our commands. On top of that, it’s a great looking version of the addicting time sink, and not too pricey at $4.99, even if it lacks some of the features the sequels added.

ilomilo

The fullest game of any we played, ilomilo is an adorable puzzle game that we really loved on 360. The puzzles are just as brain-bending in this pocket-sized version, where you alternate between two different guys on the map (ilo and milo) and try to bring them together. Often the answer isn’t obvious and many of the later levels can be pretty obtuse in their solutions. The on-screen d-pad wasn’t the greatest, but it got the job done, so long as we made sure to keep shifting the camera to the best possible angle. The must get out of all the ones we played.


For Achievement whores

Already you can see Windows Phone 7 has a good slate of games that, if this support continues, could one day give the libraries of its competitors a run for their money. Those looking for a new smartphone would be good with WP7, but the only thing that makes it a must have for a certain percentage of gamers is the inclusion of Achievement pointson every XBL app.

Just like with Xbox Live Arcade games, each title has 200 possible GS available. Of the ones we played, the difficulty in collecting Achievements was pretty random. Tetris and de Blob were some of the stingiest, with some really time consuming requirements. Flowerz, Bejeweled Live, and OMG weren’t easy, but almost all seemed gettable. The games that will be big hits with Achievement whores are Monopoly, Butterfly and Fruit Ninja, as 150-200 GS will be yours in no more than two hours.

That’s really the only question for dedicated gamers with Windows Phone 7 versus its competitors: do you want a huge selection of games, or a smaller group that have Achievements? 95 percent (totally made-up number) of mobile games are cute distractions at best, made to kill time waiting in lines or riding the bus. If you’re going to occupy yourself with such simple distractions, wouldn’t you want to be increasing your Gamerscore at the same time? If you answered yes and are in the market for a new phone, then we probably just made your choice a lot simpler.

Jan 13, 2011


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Henry moved from the suburbs of northern Florida to work at GR+, and hasn't looked back once in seven years. When not collecting Mario toys, you can find him constantly checking his Twitter.
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