The Windows Phone Store does a nice job of giving customers the ability of sorting the various games and apps by category and rankings. Rankings range from the Top Free, New+Rising, Top Paid and Best Rated.
This week's Windows Phone Central roundup focuses on the top five Best Rated games in the Windows Phone Store. These are five star rated games that should appeal to just about everyone and include a gambling and a racing game along with a few puzzle titles. All are enjoyable time wasters and you won't get much argument from us that they belong amongst the top rated Windows Phone games.
Please note that each game in this week's roundup is compatible with 512MB devices.
Poker can be a fun game to pass the time with. A real life sit-down game with friends can fill a night and the video version isn't a bad option for short periods of time. Texas Holdem Poker from GeaxGame, Inc. tries to mesh the real life gaming experience with the video experience.
Texas Holdem Poker is a free, online game of poker that has live chat, personal avatars, tournaments and more. You can create an independent account or simply log in through a Facebook account (both are freebies). You even start the game with a small sum of chips and can earn daily bonuses to build up you chip count. Should you go bust, in-app purchases are available to buy chips and opportunities to earn free chips (tied into ad-support).
Game play is your typical game of Texas Hold 'em. You can chat with other players or sit back and quietly run the table. You can even send virtual gifts to other players.
The game pace is fairly quick with each player having a set time to make their play. This is a nice touch to avoid games dragging on forever while a player runs to the kitchen or otherwise gets distracted and forgets to play.
There doesn't appear to be a lack of players to fill the poker tables (each time I logged in over 40K players were online) and Texas Holdem Poker does a nice job of combining real world poker with video gaming.
AE Roundy Pop is a connect-three styled game that plays a lot like the bubble burst games. You are tasked with finding groups of two or more blocks of the same color.
The pace of the game qualifies as casual with no time limit and the goal being to reach a target point value so you can proceed to the next stage. Game mechanics are simple, just tap a grouping of blocks to highlight them and tap the same group a second time to remove them from play. The larger the grouping of blocks, the more points earned.
You do have a bomb block you can place on the gaming board to remove a single block to open the way for a larger grouping and an undo button that serves as a mulligan should you realize your last move was rather boneheaded.
Once you reach your target point goal, you can continue to clear the board of blocks to try to remove all the remaining blocks. When you run out of groups of two or more of the same blocks, your points are tallied and you will move on to the next stage. If you fail to reach the points goal, you can use coins to replay the level without losing your progress along the stages. Otherwise you'll have to start the game over at the first stage.
Should you leave the game, your stage progress is saved, which is a nice touch.
Roundy Pop is an entertaining and challenging game for your Windows Phone that should appeal to many as a great time waster of a game.
If you are in the hunt for a challenging racing game with fantastic graphics, a healthy inventory of cars to race and plenty of customizations, Asphalt 8: Airborne is the game for you.
Asphalt 8: Airborne offers:
The career races includes your traditional racing styles along with elimination races, drift gate challenges, knockdown challenges and infected challenges. Each of these styles will add to the existing challenge of controlling your car throughout the racetrack and staying one step ahead of your competition.
As you race, ramps will be strategically placed along the race courses to let you send your car airborne to take advantage of shortcuts or to simply try your hand at airborne stunts.
Asphalt 8: Airborne plays out nicely from the small screen of your Windows Phone. The game really shines when played from a Windows 8 tablet and from either device; don't be surprised if you find yourself leaning into the turns and raising up in your chair as you send your car airborne.
Asphalt 8: Airborne is available for Windows Phone (including low-memory devices) and Windows 8 devices.
Piano Tiles - Don't Tap the White Tile is a collection of puzzle games that are based on the same core rule, don't tap the white tile.
The games are played to a variety of piano tunes, some of which you can choose, and you are tasked with tapping only the black tiles. Piano Tiles includes the following gaming modes:
You also have a Colors and 50 Step game mode that is available when you upgrade to the deluxe version ($4.99).
Game mechanics are simple, tap the black tile and don't tap the white tile. With the exception of the Arcade mode, the game screen will scroll forward as you tap the black tiles. With the Arcade mode the game screen will scroll automatically.
Along with upgrading to the Deluxe Version, Piano Tiles also has in-app purchase opportunities for additional song packs that range in price from $.99 to $1.99.
The game has an online leaderboard for bragging rights and overall, Piano Tiles - Don't Tap the White Tile comes across as a challenging Windows Phone game and a great time waster.
Catch is a simple puzzle game where you are challenged to connect groups of stars together without crossing your connecting lines. Game play is scattered across forty levels of play with the free version and the opportunity to buy an additional 120 levels via in-app purchases ($.99 per expansion pack).
Game play is accomplished by tapping and holding on a star then dragging your finger to other stars of the same color. The goal is to connect all like colored stars without crossing lines.
The first few levels of Catch are almost too easy but will give you a good feel for the game's mechanics. As you progress through the levels the difficulty increases with bridges, tunnels and other obstacles coming into play. You will also see an increase in the number of stars on the gaming board as you advance through the game.
The main game has no time limits but you will be graded on the number of moves it takes to connect all the stars. If you need more challenge, Catch now has a Time Attack mode where you have to complete a series of puzzles as quickly as you can.
Catch is an entertaining, casual puzzle game for your Windows Phone. It's only downside is that there's a limit on the number of puzzles you can tackle.
Before we sum everything up, keep in mind that the Best Rated rankings change daily if not more frequently. We took a snap shot of the Best Rated screen a few days ago to work on this week's roundup. If the current rankings are different, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. The Store just updated the rankings based on new reviews and ratings from Windows Phone users.
Now back to the roundup.
So, which is the best of the best? Poker may not be everyone's cup of tea but if it is, Texas Holdem Poker is a nice option to consider. It offers a nice online gaming experience for a game that is part skill and part luck. Roundy Pop is one of those puzzle games that grows on you the more you play it. The mechanics are rather simple to pick up on but game play requires a strategic touch to succeed.
Asphalt 8: Airborne is a staff favorite and every time I return to play the game after letting it sit idle for a while, I'm reminded how much fun it is to play. Graphics are stellar, the racing is challenging and the customizations help make the game your own. The only reason I can see passing on this game is that you don't like racing games from the get go. And even then, if you give the game a chance, Asphalt 8: Airborne is strong enough that it could change your mind on racing games.
Piano Tiles â€" Don't Tap the White Tile is an addictive puzzle game that has a nice variety of puzzle games that are built around the same premise of avoiding contact with the white tiles. While it may sound like an easy concept to master, don't let the simplicity fool you. It's a great time waster.
Catch fell out of the top five over the past few days but by no means should that reflect on the appeal of this Windows Phone puzzle game. The mechanics of play are simple but the task at hand (connecting the stars) will require a little thought. The game starts out on the simple side but quickly increases in challenge and is a fun way to pass the time.
We think all five titles would make a nice addition to your Windows Phone gaming library which leads us to the point in the roundup where we ask for your input. Do you agree with the top five rated Windows Phone games? If you can't believe your favorite game made the list, sound off below in the comments. Just remember this list is based off Store rankings, not some random draw from a hat.