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A gamer's introduction to Windows Phone 7

The games we played

Flowerz

As offensive as that “z” is, the first XBL game we downloaded was Flowerz, mostly because it was free. It’s not surprising based on the price that the interface is extremely paired down and for a puzzle game it’s about as barebones as can be. The hook for this match-three puzzler is that as you put similarly colored flowers together, the cleared blossoms will sometimes turn into the color of what’s at its center instead of vanishing, making for some interesting strategy in later levels as more and more colors are added. It’s’ a worthy distraction, but there are more than enough better puzzle games on Live, they just aren’t free.

Butterfly

Our first paid app, Butterfly was a good introduction to touch controls. The game is all about guiding a fragile butterfly through a garden, making flowers bloom as you glide over them. At the same time you have to avoid frogs, venus flytraps, fish and insects on your way to floral happiness. When your finger is moving the butterfly it hangs over the screen and it’s a little too easy to lose sight of the tiny white insect, but hitting an enemy has such a tiny negative impact on your flight path that it barely matters. If you’re looking for a light distraction this is good, but Butterfly is such an easy game it barely feels worth completing. We were able to get the highest rating on all the levels without really trying.

Fruit Ninja

Out of all the first slate of games, Fruit Ninja is one of the most familiar apps to smartphone fans. Fruit Ninja is addictive in its simplicity; just flick your finger across the screen to cut as much floating fruit to pieces as you can. Soon enough it reveals a surprising depth with combos, special items, and customizable options to keep you occupied. It has a really fine balance between straightforwardness, style, humor and gameplay. If you haven’t played it to death already, it’s a definite download when you start up your Windows phone.

de Blob Revolution

Another touch screen favorite of the last year, this spin-off of the popular de Blob series makes it more of a puzzle game this time around. You start with a room and you need to draw a path for you blob to travel to make it to the exit. The skill comes from having to avoid going over a square you’ve already gone over while freeing as many fellow blobs as fast as you can. This one can get tricky real fast, but the challenge is more often fun than frustrating.

OMG (Our Manic Game)

A top down shooter that stylistically owes much to titles like Rez and Space Invaders Extreme, this one is probably the most hardcore of what we’ve played. You control the constantly shooting spaceship as the screen scrolls and enemy spacecrafts appear to start blasting at you. Their shooting patterns are pretty easy to avoid, but you’ll never get a high score that way. The big points come from tapping an enemy to put it in “manic” mode, which makes it more challenging but it pays off points-wise. Moving the ship around was a little spotty at times, which really sucks when you need some precise movements to avoid many of the attacks, but when the controls do work we had a good time.

Monopoly

You know that board game Monopoly? This is it on a phone. Still, since EA produced this portable version of the Parker Bros classic it at least has good production values. After choosing your player piece (we’re partial to the elegance of the top hat) you can pass around the phone with other human players, or just take on the AI in the real estate adventure. It’s good for what it is, but if you own digital Monopoly in any other form, this won’t do much for you.

16 comments

  • 435 - January 16, 2011 10:23 a.m.

    @Snowyjoe Microsoft intends to launch worldwide soon. And, man, if I could afford it, I'd jump ship to a WP7 device -now-. I've fiddled with a coworker's phone, and it is delish. Actually makes me hate my Android phone a little.
  • Snowyjoe - January 15, 2011 8:12 a.m.

    @Hydrohs Ok fine, outside of the US and EU. Microsoft need to learn that Kinect will never sell in Japan, but everything else would >.<
  • Spybreak8 - January 15, 2011 5:49 a.m.

    Ilomilo is fun to play on the 360 but I would like to just take it to the phone instead of buying the mobile version. I wish the publishers would allow you a universal license so you can buy Tetris once for all your platforms.^^
  • Conboy - January 14, 2011 11:30 p.m.

    I've had the Samsung Focus since Thanksgiving weekend and have thoroughly enjoyed it. It's my first true smartphone, so I cannot make any comparisons to the iphone or any Android phone. Over 6,000 apps since since it's launch, additional good games are Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst and Need for Speed Undercover. Thanks for the article Henry.
  • Urbundave - January 14, 2011 2:22 p.m.

    I just picked up the HTC7 Mozart (On Orange in the UK) and it's fantastic. The OS works brilliantly and I have yet to have 1 problem or annoyance. The app store seems to be growing rapidly but obviously is no way close to the Apple app store. I've tried most of these games and they are fun. Once january is paid for Fruit Ninja will definately be purchased.
  • Hydrohs - January 14, 2011 12:14 p.m.

    @Snowyjoe They are selling it outside the States. I've been debating between a Windows Phone or an Android phone for some time now. I'm leaning towards the Windows Phone, the games seem to be of higher calibre.
  • Snowyjoe - January 14, 2011 11:04 a.m.

    I'm a PS3 owner, but I'm looking to buy a new smart phone, and ilomilo has just got me sold!!!! I also like the interface of it as well Too bad they don't sell it outside of the United States
  • Tomsta666 - January 14, 2011 8:43 a.m.

    XBLA on-the-go sounds like a very interesting proposition. When the time comes to renew my phone, I will definately be looking into Windows Phone 7, for sure!
  • Modroneman - January 14, 2011 6:54 a.m.

    I'm very tempted to get the windows phone 7. Just for the achievements! :) ReCaptcha: staraing oxytropus
  • KnightDehumidifier - January 14, 2011 3:35 a.m.

    As hopeful as it seems, I kind of want Microsoft to just revamp the Zune to run with Windows Phone 7 in mind. I really hope.
  • Baron164 - January 14, 2011 2:02 a.m.

    I got a Samsung Focus and I've been loving it. The games have been great and as a platform its a solid start.
  • Deutero - January 14, 2011 1:21 a.m.

    nice feature, thanks master Gilbert
  • EricBratcher - January 14, 2011 12:49 a.m.

    I know what you mean. Given that Hank is a points maven who has played some seriously craptacular games just for the cheevos, I expect he'll do everything he can to keep the phone we got to write this article. I'm gonna have to cut off his arm to get it back.
  • santaclouse37 - January 14, 2011 12:12 a.m.

    Well, now we know what Batman5273's next phone is going to be.
  • Daver123 - January 13, 2011 11:53 p.m.

    Interesting article; Apple's offensive DRM policy has convinced me to jump ship and I will probably wind up switching to a Windows phone. Does anybody know if you appear as "online" to your Xbox Live friends while playing games on a Windows phone?
  • Phazon117 - January 13, 2011 11:44 p.m.

    Lol Windows Phone 7.

Showing 1-16 of 16 comments

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