First Xbox Live game for both Windows Phone and Windows 8 quietly released

galactic_reign2When Windows Phone 8 was released way back in October last year, much was made of the relationship prospective Windows Phone 8 purchasers would have between their mobile and their PCs. Since then, nothing much to that side of things has materialised, but yesterday that all changed.

Galactic Reign was teased by Microsoft last October, but there was no mention of platforms, nor was there a release date, but yesterday the game quietly slipped into both the Windows 8 Store and the Windows Phone Store as an Xbox Live title. Microsoft used to always announce upcoming Windows Phone games well in advance, but they haven’t done so much of that recently, and it seems crazy that such a huge milestone for the OS was released with so little fanfare, but hey, at least it’s here now.

galactic_reign3As you might have guessed from its name, the game is a sci-fi strategy number. You have to find the right balance between spaceships and weapons and hope your fleet is good enough to beat your opponents, and we won’t go into too much detail here, but there’s a single player mode with 60 challenges and a multiplayer side of things where you battle people online. There a bunch of Xbox achievements to aim for as well.

It’s great to finally see a game which bridges the Windows Phone 8/ Windows 8 divide. With the multiplayer game, you can play with different hardware to your opponent, i.e. it doesn’t matter whether you use a PC, Windows Phone or Surface. Galactic reign will cost $4.99 for Windows 8 or for Windows Phone 7 and 8. The best bit of all? You only need to purchase one version to have access to it on both platforms.

Source: Windows Phone Central

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Windows Phone App of the Week: Ilomilo

This week’s Windows Phone app of the week is Ilomilo by SouthEnd Interactive and Microsoft Game Studios.

In this game you play as two cute little creatures called Ilo and Milo. The story says that these two are best friends and as such they love to spend time together in the park, however they are always getting lost and as such they are constantly separated. It is your job to help them find their way back to each other. As you probably guessed, this is a puzzle game but, trying not to sound too clichéd, it is the most original puzzle game I have ever played. To get the two back together you have to use a combination of skill, teamwork and the help of very noisy box creatures to brave your way through the park and reunite probably the two cutest game characters I have ever had the pleasure to control. The game looks great, with simple yet good-looking graphics, that do nothing but add to the cuteness of Ilo and Milo. The gameplay itself is great, detailed, well thought out and incredibly simple to get the hang of, even if the controls can be a bit fiddly at times. Ilomilo is now my favourite game, not just on Windows Phone but across all mobile platforms, and although it is a pricey Xbox Live title, I thoroughly recommend it to all Windows Phone owners as it is £4 well spent.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V27IKgVKxM8]

Ilomilo, Windows Phone, £3.99
Download from the Marketplace or visit the website

WP7 AOTW: Gerbil Physics

This week’s Windows Phone app of the week is Gerbil Physics by Pencel Games. This great game is one of my favourite games on the Windows Phone platform. It may sound weird, but you play as an apprentice to a gerbil wizard who has to save the other gerbils from the toad king and his army of flying penguins. The toad king has imprisoned the other gerbils inside indestructible blocks and he has made them into monuments to himself. You have to destroy them in order to save your fellow fur balls.

Gerbil Physics

As you can see from the picture above, you do this through a mixture of bombs, explosives and other demolition equipment to get all the gerbils below the magical yellow line. This simple game, with an excellent back-story, comes with 200G of fairly challenging achievements, which is a nice change from games such as Collapse which it took me about 10 mins to get all the achievements.

Gerbil Physics, Windows Phone, £2.29
Download from the Marketplace or visit the website

PS3 vs. Xbox 360: The final battle

Now, before you can say that I am biased towards one console I just want to point something out. I have BOTH consoles. I will obviously include my opinion where necessary. The way this will be working is that I will be using a scoring system out of 10 on each category as follows:

  • Controller
  • Game quality
  • Online play
  • Online features
  • Durability
  • Costs
  • Size/power comsumption
  • Units sold
  • Technical problems


Controller

To be honest, you can’t really say which controller is better, as you can easily get used to either one. For example, I had a PlayStation for about 10 years before I got an Xbox, and, within about 2 weeks, I was easily able to pick up the Xbox controller and use it and vice versa. After using the Xbox for 2 years, I went and got a PS3 and I was easily able to switch between the two.

Xbox 8/10
PS3 8/10

Game quality

Without boring you with all the techy stuff (sorry), the Xbox and the PS3 have virtually the same graphics card. The processor on the PS3 is better, but it is extremely hard to make a good game for it (from what I’ve heard) while the Xbox has a slightly worse processor, but it is much easier to program for (again, from what I’ve heard). That would explain the higher game count on Xbox.

Xbox 9/10
PS3 7/10

Online play

Let’s start on a bad point for both consoles. Xbox has this stupidly annoying feature called region lock, which is literally what it says. You can’t play some games hosted in other countries. I have come across countless hackers on the PS3 as in, one in every 20 games will be hacked or modded in some way. Now this thing with the PS3 might just be me getting unlucky, but I truly doubt it. Now on to the good stuff. PSN/SEN is FREE! I love it. I can make countless accounts, go and use the first gun and go and pwn some of what I consider the ‘easier’ opponents or ‘n00bz’. On the Xbox, however, you have to pay, but it is a measly £39.99 per year. For actual connectivity I would say that it is the PS3, but for security I would say that without a doubt the Xbox.

Xbox 7/10
PS3 8/10

Online features

I’m going to make this clear. By online features I actually mean chat and the online store ie. the Xbox Marketplace and the PlayStation Store. Regarding chat, Xbox is definitely the winner. With cross game and single player chat it is superior. When you do get to finally talk to people on PS3, I don’t think it is of as good a quality. That is my own opinion, but don’t say anything unless you have actually experienced both consoles. Now onto the Xbox Marketplace and the PlayStation Store. I find that downloading from Xbox is significantly quicker than PS3. However, trying to find things on the Xbox is a nightmare. Do you want the DLC? No. The demo? No. How about the trailer? NO! Then you will – eventually – find the game. On the PS3, I think that the Store has a significantly better layout, but poorer download speeds.

Xbox 7/10
PS3 7/10

Durability

I know this may sound like a stupid category, but I think it is important. I am not going to give this one a rating however, because the two consoles were designed for a different audience. The Xbox, with its tougher design, means that it is more suited to a family environment. The PS3, with its sleek design, is more designed for the careful gamer. Sounds stupid, but it’s true. I have dropped both my Xbox and PS3 (like a boss) and the Xbox definitely fared better. Anyways, enough of this stupid topic on to the next.

Costs

I’m going to do this in a HDD capacity to Amazon cost ratio. I will take the highest capacity of each that is currently available, and not include the prices of motion controllers ie. Move and Kinect.

Xbox = £160 ÷ 250GB = 64p per GB
PS3 = £229 ÷ 320GB = 71p per GB

As you can see, the PS3 is marginally more expensive per gigabyte, which is probably due to the Blu-ray, but what can you do about it?

Xbox 8/10
PS3 7/10

Size/power Usage.

The PS3 is definitely the bigger model and this is because of the massive power brick that sits outside the Xbox is actually inside the PS3 which essentially makes it sort of portable. Microsoft decided that the Xbox’s power brick outside. This makes the model smaller than its counterpart. All of this said, you may be surprised to hear that the PS3 uses 30W less energy than the Xbox.

Xbox 7/10
PS3 9/10

Units sold

Simply put, the Xbox has sold 65.8 million units and the PS3 has sold 62 million. This may be down to games, or availability.

Xbox 9/10
PS3 8/10

Technical problems

Many people say that the Xbox has the red ring of death, but what they don’t know is that the PS3 has the yellow light of death, which means exactly the same thing on both consoles. They’re screwed. It does have to be said, however, that the PS3 has significantly less reported incidents of the YLOD than the Xbox’s RROD.

Xbox 7/10
PS3 8/10

Conclusion

To conclude, I will count up the points of each console and total them below.

Xbox 62/80
PS3 62/80

Please note: I did not go back and change any of the results, I left them how I thought they should be.

As you can probably see, there really is no clear winner. So you can go and have your petty comment wars, but as Rowan Dinwoodie says:

I don’t give a fuck

Technophobia: PS3 vs. Xbox 360 and why I don’t care

Technophobia is a column by James Hardy. Views expressed are not necessarily those of Digixav.

Before I start this article, I’d just like to point out that I’m writing this from the point of view of a neutral. I don’t own a PS3 or an Xbox. I have a Wii.

Yes, a Wii. Shut up.

So now it is time to face the age old question: PS3 or Xbox 360?

Well no, it’s not. Because frankly, I couldn’t care less.

The truth is, Xbox owners will pick Xbox, and PS3 owners will pick PS3.

Sure, you might get the occasional Xbox owner who thinks a PS3 is better, or vice versa, but these people are few and far between. They are outliers in the gaming world.

In general, people want what they have to be better than others. And they probably won’t admit it if they think it isn’t true. That is a fact of life.

And the arguments that these people use just get tedious. They are always the same ones. A typical argument goes something like this:

‘Xbox Live is better than PlayStation Network Sony Entertainment Network.’

‘PS3 has a Blu-ray.’

‘Xbox is cheaper.’

‘So? It’s better.’

‘Xbox is more popular.’

‘And? PS3 has better graphics.’

‘No it doesn’t.’

‘Yes it does.’

‘No it doesn’t.’

‘It does. And what’s up with that stupid Xbox controller?’

That last point is fair enough. Seriously Microsoft, I want my thumbs level with each other. Not a hard concept.

I can hear you trolling already.

‘OMG ur so biased u deffo have a ps3 really!’

The 360 is better value for money though. There we go, impartiality is resumed.

So, er, yeah. These arguments are pointless. And stupid.

Why bother?

Digixav Gaming!

Hello there,

Chris, having endlessly been telling me about Skyrim for 2 weeks, expressed an interest into bringing gaming news, reviews and biased opinions to Digixav.

Needing some sleep having been forced to wake up at 5am today for the Lord Mayor’s Show, I said yes.

And therefore a new gaming section has launched here, with the editorial talents of Bada-man Steinberg, the occasional review thing from me and a NEW member of staff in the form of serial commenter and PS3 fanatic Euan McGinty. Please welcome him with open arms.

Enjoy the posts to come,

Xavier