“Xbox games on a phone?” In fact, yes! Complete with gamerscore and achievements. That’s one thing I love about Windows Phone: It may not have the latest addictive cash shop free-to-play title on iPhone and Android, but it’s got a whole slew of Microsoft Studios exclusives, plus top-tier games from third-party publishers.
Here’s a look at my favorites, after having tried out a lot of them. They all work even on low-end Windows phones, like my Lumia 520. Leave a comment with your favorites!
What do you get when you cross an endless runner with a side-scroller, and mix in a dash of parkour? Mirror’s Edge is a surprisingly fast-paced exercise in jumping, brawling, and hidden item collecting. The story (told through quotes on the loading screens) isn’t quite as coherent as the one in the PC / console version, but it does do a good job of conveying the city’s dystopia.
WHO IS THE CUTEST KITTY EVER!? You are, yes you are! And I will give your soft fur a scrub and play jump rope with you and teach you new tricks, because kittens are well-known for being obedient and easy to train! This is one of those titles that grows on you, if you can look past the Uncanny Valley expressiveness of the tiger cub in the icon. And if you already have the Xbox 360 version, this game will let you unlock different cubs for it!
Final Fantasy III
There are a lot of different versions of this classic role-playing game, and Windows Phone got one of the best. It doesn’t have the dual-screen gimmick of the original Nintendo DS version (which was a remake of a Japanese Famicom title), but it has much more polished, higher-res graphics.
The price may seem unreasonable, but it’s about what you would expect to pay for a used or downloadable copy for modern game consoles. And frankly, you get what you pay for! The lack of a controller doesn’t even hurt it, since the battles are turn-based and tapping on menu buttons works just as well. (If you’re new to the Final Fantasy series, don’t worry; you don’t have to have played the first two.)
Crimson Dragon: Side Story
Say what you will about how grindy the game is on Xbox One, but Panzer Dragoon-style lock-on controls were made for a touchscreen. You can’t unlock new dragons, but you can rename and recolor the one that you have; and while there’s a cash shop to buy more “jewels” to unlock skills with, it also ties into your phone’s GPS and gives you bonus jewels just for traveling in-person. It’s like a built-in Pokewalker!
My favorite part, though, is the story. The writing and artwork are evocative and otherworldly.