Leading up the launch of Windows Phone 7, Microsoft made some interesting claims about gaming on the new operating system.
Several sneak peeks showed brilliant graphics, gameplay that seems borrowed more from the console realm than the small screen, and a full range of character motion.
Now, post-launch, the truth is coming out: there are a handful of amazing games, including The Harvest, which was shown in demo form at a Microsoft Mix event.
However, these top ten Windows Phone 7 games are really the only ones worth owning, unless you need another Bejeweled clone.
1. De Blob Revolution - £2.49
Puzzle games rarely find that balance between serious challenge and mindless fun. De Blob Revolution uses quirky animated characters called Graydians that block the path of the blob, who leaves a slimy residue in his wake.
The game is a blast because the characters talk in this goofy gibberish and jump around on the screen (in later levels, they also chase you), and the action can get intense, yet you still have to think about how to finish each level by planning your route and avoiding traps.
2. Our Manic Game £2.49
A vertical shooter – think Galaga or Space Invaders – that uses lasers and power-ups to help you zap incoming enemies, Our Manic Game is addictive because of the fantastic exploding visuals, sci-fi soundtrack, and a good balance between being hard enough for most gamers but not annoyingly difficult.
3. Stars Wars: Battle for Hoth £3.99
This tower defence game has one major advantage over similar offerings: the Star Wars universe. Blasters sound like they did in the original series, and the snow covered landscapes are a throwback to the Empire movie.
Baddies creep from the left to the right; you set up defenses to take them out as they walk past. Explosions look realistic – for a smartphone game – and levels quickly get more challenging.
4. The Harvest - £5.49
Truth in advertising: The Harvest is a great looking game. The main reason we don't rank it as number one is simply because the game can be slightly repetitive.
However, it's fantastic that you have so much control over the mech warrior as he stomps around on each level, collecting power-ups and blasting enemies. The sound is also superior to other games, especially on the HTC Surround we used.
5. Twin Blades £2.49
As the name implies, Twin Blades is a side-scroller where you hack stumbling zombies with a blade or shoot them with a pistol. The game has some blood-spattering action and you can swiftly chop off the heads or upper torso of zombies.
Some of the levels look similar and are rather short, but you can upgrade the pistol if you like. Twin Blades is fun for a quick diversion on the morning bus.
6. CarneyVale Showtime £2.49
Like Angry Birds but with clowns, CarneyVale is also a pinball game where you shoot a character and try to propel him up higher and higher using rotating claws. The higher you go, the more points you accumulate to clear the level. The game also awards points for your time to completion and for how many extras you nab.
7. The Revenants £2.49
This strange mixture of puzzle and action game is a welcome surprise.
Bugs, rats, and other critters crawl around the screen. Your job is to draw circles around them so they fall into a void - and you get points.
The action gets intense as more bugs appear on screen, similar to Flight Control. The physics and gesturing make for a good mind-bender, though, because you have to quickly plan your strategy.
8. Max and the Magic Marker £5.49
This award-winning game is similar to Crayon Physics in that you have a character that must find their way across a level, and you can draw objects on the screen. It's mostly a platformer, and you draw squiggles and ramps only to get past hurdles in the game.
The action can get fast and furious because you only have a small window to make some key movements (similar to the Xbox 360 game Braid).
9. Flight Control £2.49
No smartphone is complete unless you have Flight Control installed. The puzzle game has you guiding planes and helicopters onto runways before they crash.
On the HTC Surround we used for testing, Flight Control ran incredibly smoothly with bright and colorful graphics. The game is getting a bit long in the tooth, but still creates a sense of thrill and excitement, especially in later levels.
10. The Sims 3 £5.49
Dumbed down for the small screen, but still worth the (smaller) price, The Sims 3 is an addictive plot-driven game where you control the actions of simulated people and follow a distinct storyline.
On Windows Phone 7, the game looks crisp and runs fast and the controls are responsive for directing the character and clicking on dialogue boxes that appear to instruct you on what to do next.
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