June 8, 2015 4:59 pm

The Windows Phone games of summer

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, summer vacation is almost here! While you’re relaxing, these new games can keep you entertained no matter how much time you have.

I play games on my Lumia almost everywhere I go. Whether it’s taking the subway to work, flying on a plane (in airplane mode, of course), or eating lunch, my Lumia 1520 is usually close at hand for a round of gaming.

Now that summer is finally here, our gaming opportunities may vary even more. I’ve heard folklore about people “reading” while at the beach. But for me, that’s an hour or so I can invest in shooting aliens.

The problem I usually run into is: Which game should I play? It may only take three minutes to reach my next stop. That’s not enough time to start a strategy-game match, but it could be a perfect amount to complete a puzzle-game level.

Several new games have hit the Windows Phone app store lately, just in time for these relaxing and/or hectic summer months. See which ones can fit into your busy schedule.

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Jewel Tree: Match It ($1.99 with a free trial)

What it is: A match-three puzzle game in which you string together chains of chips vertically, horizontally, or diagonally to clear them from a board. It has more than 90 different levels to clear, with numerous modes and challenges.

When to play: Expect to spend about one to three minutes on each level, making “Jewel Tree” a good fit for waiting in line for airport security.

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Panda Pop (free)

What it is: A bubble-bursting puzzle game in which you strategically burst bubbles that have trapped Panda’s kidnapped cubs. (Don’t worry, the game is adorable.) “Panda Pop” boasts more than 550 levels with challenging obstacles.

When to play: Each level can take less than two minutes to complete, so play this between bus or train stops.

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Smash Champs (free)

What it is: An action game in which you train a fighter to challenge opponents. What’s different about “Smash Champs” is that you don’t actually control your fighter during matches; instead, your job is to train him beforehand by swiping the screen to toss balls that he blocks.

When to play: “Smash Champs” is mostly played online against other players, so an Internet connection is a must. Training sessions and accompanying matches can be relatively short (two to four minutes) so it’s best played while waiting for your latte at a café with free Wi-Fi.

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Monster GO! (free)

What it is: A platform-style roleplaying/endless runner hybrid game in which you pick a monster, then fight your way through a quest filled with enemies.

When to play: “Monster GO!” Is endless, so it’ll eat up as much time as you’ll allow. With its focus on hacking and slashing, play it to quell your nerves while standing in a long line at a theme park.

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Bloons TD 5 ($2.99)

What it is: A tower-defense game in which you build awesome towers and then defend them from the invading Bloons. It has more than 250 random missions and 10 special missions to work through.

When to play:  Missions run around five minutes to complete, but it depends on how much time it takes you to configure your towers and upgrades. Try playing “Bloons TD 5” at the beach or wherever you have a few minutes to focus on strategy.

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Jungle Heat (free)

What it is: “Jungle Heat” is a cross-platform war game in which you battle over riches like oil and gold in a tropical landscape. Build your military base and then attack other players and take the loot for yourself.

When to play: Since it’s a strategy game, matches are variable depending on your opponent. Count on spending at least 10 minutes per match–this is a good game to play on a long car trip or lounging at home–as long as you have a good Internet connection.

Which games are you looking forward to playing this summer? Tell us about them in the comments below.

Updated September 30, 2015 6:20 pm