MSFTY’s top 14 Windows Phone games of 2014
This year’s been a cracker for Windows Phone games, but which of the huge amount released have scored top with gamers?
To find out, we asked Jez C, a.k.a MSFTY on Twitter, founder of the fantastic games site XboxMad, to share his top picks of 2014. And, boy, did he deliver. So, without further ado, here’s the man himself sharing his thoughts. Get your Lumias at the ready! Over to you, Jez.
As 2014 draws to a close, once again, game awards season is upon us. 2014 has proven a stellar year for gamers. Xbox One goes from strength to strength, achieving new sales accolades, persistent user-feedback inspired updates, and of course, an unprecedented abundance of high quality games the likes of which haven’t been seen in years. The industry is in resurgence as a whole, and Windows Phone users haven’t been left behind.
We’re seeing more and more popular titles from other platforms released on WP8 in addition to some completely original titles. It’s been a prolific year for Windows Phone apps across the board, and mobile gamers have never had it better!
Without further a-do, here are my picks for Windows Phone Games of the Year 2014!
Hailing from Steam, iOS and Android is the cutesy Cannon Fodder-esque Tiny Troopers. Tiny Troopers is special not just for its intuitive tap-centric controls, addictive shooter-strategy gameplay and lenient micro transactions, but because it’s the first game published by Game Troopers – a brand new outfit dedicated to Xbox certified Windows Phone games. If you’re a game developer, regardless of platform, I urge you to check out Game Troopers and see if they can help you integrate Xbox certified features into your game. If you’re a gamer, I urge you to check out Tiny Troopers. It’s free, NO EXCUSES!
Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtag! Shoggoth Rising pays homage to the great H.P. Lovecraft and his literary pantheon of nasties from the deep. Shoggoth Rising tasks players to defeat waves of encroaching enemies from the top of a storm-battered lighthouse. Advancing through Shoggoth’s abundant levels grants access to improved weaponry, upgrades and increasingly abominable monster types, all whilst maintaining its addictive gameplay and immersing you in a world where dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.
Windows Phone received another high profile iOS/Android game earlier this year in the form of Total Defense 3D. As the game’s humble title implies, this is indeed a tower defence game, but with one important caveat. It is the best tower defence game available on the platform right now. A wealth of varied terrains, waves of murderous machines and a deadly array of weapons towers, Total Defense 3D will sap your free (and work) time with extreme prejudice.
Now Microsoft’s recently purchased Minecraft has just arrived on Windows Phone, Terraria will have some very stiff competition. However, it’s still very much worth a look. Similar to Minecraft in the sense you extract materials from the environment and can build, craft and survive in the game’s beautifully retro world. Terraria also enjoys a heavy emphasis on combat, and features various monsters and bosses. Although the game was designed for PC and consoles, Terraria has ported well to touch screens, offering intuitive controls and visual aids to help targeting and digging. This is a must-buy for fans of of old school Metroidvania type games.
Ubisoft have been admirable for their support of Windows Phone. Not content with bringing Rayman and Hungry Shark Evolution to the platform, Ubisoft have also ported Assassin’s Creed: Pirates, based on their flagship IP. The game takes its cue from the naval combat introduced in Assassin’s Creed 3, and perfected in Assassin’s Creed 4, and works surprisingly well on all Windows 8 touch devices. Gameplay aside, the graphics are gorgeous, and are a testament to how powerful our phones have become. Sink ships, plunder the spoils and master the 7 seas, all from the comfort of your palm!
Hungry Shark Evolution is an award winning free to play game which appeared out of nowhere onto the Windows Phone store earlier this year. I challenge anyone to not become instantly addicted to this quirky shark simulator, which tasks players to munch their way through shoals of fish and cute crustaceans, all the way to giant crab monsters and oblivious swimmers. Devilishly satisfying and graphically beautiful to boot, Hungry Shark Evolution is a free to play title done properly, and should get a look in from everyone.
It would be downright ignorant of me to not include this. GTA:SA is the full port of the legendary PS2 title from the record-breaking Grand Theft Auto series. As usual, GTA tasks players to rise through the ranks of San Andreas’ criminal underworld, stealing cars, gunning down rivals, and being an all-purpose ‘G’. Disclaimer: I discovered, unfortunately, that the game won’t bestow upon you any sense of real street credibility.
Badland is an award winning, and captivating side-scrolling puzzle adventure game. BADLAND puts you in control of a cute flying fuzzball, and tasks you to guide him with Flappy Bird-like taps through increasingly deranged hazards and obstacles. Don’t let the comparison to Flappy Bird fool you however, there are no simplistic graphics here. BADLAND features gorgeously rendered and meticulously detailed environments that join the likes of Limbo and Ori and the Blind Forest for pure majesty.
For what Gameloft lack in originality, they make up for in technical prowess. Modern Combat 5 is quintessential proof that FPS can work on touch screens, and work extremely well. Featuring exhilarating gunplay, blockbuster set pieces and incredible graphics, Modern Combat 5 sets a new benchmark for quality mobile gaming.
Age of Empires: Castle Siege combines the legendary IP with the runaway popularity of games like Clash of Clans to bring us a strategy game that not only demands attention, but commands it. Featuring full Xbox Live integration, Castle Siege allows you to build alliances with your Xbox Live friends to share replays of your greatest victories or most embarrassing defeats. Build your city, establish your armies and invade your enemies, Age of Empires: Castle Siege reminds us that the franchise still has life, and hasn’t yet been condemned to history.
GT Racing 2 is the second Gameloft title that makes the cut. Regarded by many outlets as the quintessential hand-held sim style racing game, GT Racing 2 pulls no punches for visual fidelity. The game also features real-world licensed brands such as Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz, amongst others. GT Racing 2 is free to play, but unlike other titles it doesn’t charge you to unlock gameplay. If you’re a fan of racing games, GT Racing 2 demands your attention.
Lost Echo is an award winning point and click adventure game with crisp 3d graphics and intuitive controls. You assume the role of Greg, tasked with unravelling the disappearance of his girlfriend. In similar vein to games like Broken Sword and Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy, you advance by solving puzzles, combining items and using logic and observational skills.
Machinarium is an award winning hidden object puzzle adventure game that initially arrived on Steam. Players are tasked to guide Josef to the location of his long lost childhood robot friend, through a beautifully rendered industro-alien world. Machinarium is often lauded for its scope and emotional depth, and is a cross-buy title between Windows Phone and Windows 8. This is an experience that shouldn’t be missed.
My Windows Phone Game of the Year 2014: Tentacles: Enter the Mind
Tentacles: Enter the Mind is the sequel to the utterly crazed Windows Phone 7’s Tentacles: Enter the Dolphin. PressPlay Games have been on a roll this past year, enjoying critical acclaim on Xbox One with Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, and are readying their next Xbox One launch with platform-puzzler Kalimba. Despite their successes on Xbox One, they’ve found time to ship Tentacles: Enter the Mind on Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8, and honestly, I think it’s possibly the greatest touch orientated game I’ve ever played.
Tentacles: Enter the Mind is fundamentally a puzzle game, but also features intermittently blistering combat, a deep upgrade system and uniquely gorgeous 3D graphics. Each concurrent tap of the screen attaches a tentacle to a new surface, essentially pulling yourself through the level. You have a separate attack tentacle for clawing out the eyes of your enemies, who bite, snipe and kamikaze themselves to prevent your advance. Tentacles should be lauded for its originality, intuitive controls and razor-sharp optimisation. This is my Windows Phone 8 Game of the Year for 2014.
A fantastic round up from a man who has been there and played that. We’re looking forward to spending the festive season going gamingtastic with each and every one of these, but what about you? Which of this top 14 most rocks your boat. Let us know down below.