7 Windows Phone indie games that play like the pros

Every month (give or take), we comb through the flood of games arriving in the Windows Phone Store from indie developers to shine a spotlight on the best of what’s being developed in garages and bedrooms and coffee shops around the world.

The July 2013 installment showcases seven diverse titles I think you’ll like—the perfect antidote to the lazy days of summer. You’ll find even more options in the Store’s Next Big Thing Collection. Meanwhile, I’d love to know which one of the bunch you think is best. Enjoy!

Mini Dash

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This fast-paced platformer presents a trap-filled world where you’ve gotta always be ready to go left, right, or jump ahead—but it’s a world turned upside-down. As your little yellow hero zips along, your fast fingers move him through level after challenging level in search of the elusive exit. Features more than 150 levels plus retro-themed bonus worlds. ($1.99; Windows Phone 8 only). Buy it

Royal Revolt

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You’re a young prince who’s all grown up, ready to use the magic you learned in school to take back the castles and countryside your aunts and uncles carved up and gave away after your father’s death. In this reverse tower defense game, you lead your soldiers into battle to defend your father’s name and recapture his throne. (Free; Windows Phone 8 only). Download it

Zombie HQ

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Zombies have infested your city, and you’re doing everything you can to stop them—finding bigger guns, badder explosives, and anything else that will kill them. When you’re ready for a break, you can head back to zombie headquarters and spend some downtime tricking out the place with pool tables, hot tubs, TVs and more. Hey, a zombie apocalypse is no reason to abandon other priorities, like one’s man cave. (Free; Windows Phone 8 only). Download it

Rufus and the Magic Mushrooms

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Some games are high-concept, others are deliciously simple. This one’s the latter. The adorable Rufus only has eyes (or, well, an eye) for mushrooms—he simply loves them—and your job is to help him devour as many of them as possible. Get ready for a feast of fun. ($2.99; Windows Phone 7.5 or 8). Buy it

Sparkle 2

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In this sequel to the original, super-popular Sparkle (which was itself a featured indie game on the blog), you’re searching for five enchanted keys lost long ago. Match gorgeous orbs to advance through beautiful terrain, and use magical enhancements to bring you closer to your goal. With an action puzzle game this spectacular, you really don’t need stunning visuals, but Sparkle 2 has them anyway. ($4.99; Windows Phone 8 only). Buy it

Eyez

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Two dimensions are all you need in this incredible puzzle platformer. As Mint, a girl who has lost her memory, you explore a mysterious, seemingly empty land, with the Blue Eye and the Red Eye close by to help you explore and stay safe. Features more than 20 mind-bending levels. ($1.99; Windows Phone 7.5 or 8). Buy it

Nun Attack

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In a shoot-em-up game of good versus evil that brings new meaning to the expression old habits die hard, it’s easy to spot the bad guy (or gal)—her name is Fallen Nun, and she’s got lots of firepower hidden under her black veil. Lead your squad to defeat her and bring light back to a darkened world in this epic tactical action game. ($1.99; Windows Phone 8 only). Buy it