Microsoft truly made a splash last month, after announcing a massive 63 game line-up of killer titles promised to hit its upcoming smartphone platform, Windows Phone 7.
Truth be told, it was more of a meteoric tidal-wave-creating blast than a splash, if you ask all the mobile gamers now anxiously champing at the bit to get their thumbs on the new hardware.
Offering up a collection of Xbox Live classics, indie favourites, smartly curated iPhone winners, and unique incarnations of the Xbox’s best franchises, this list is a winner.
But if we had to narrow it down a bit, and pick out some choice cuts, here’s a run-down of the ten most exciting and anticipated games from the super line-up.
Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst
Project Sunburst isn’t quite what you expect. It isn’t about leaping between skyscrapers, or chucking cars at ambiguously-ethnic baddies. It’s not about agility orbs or hidden orbs or even renegade orbs.
Instead, it focuses on the second game’s mutant infestation, and has you fending them off with turrets and other such defences. The backdrops, interestingly enough, are piped in from Bing Maps, so your back garden suddenly becomes the stage for some exciting tower defence.
You can also team up with a couple of friends, making triangular patterns across the globe and nuking all the mutants inside your newly erected geometry. If you live in New Zealand or the Falkland Islands, hit me up. We’ve got freaks to fry.
OMG (Our Manic Game)
French developer Arkedo is responsible for some of the most awesome-looking games around. From Xbox Indies titles Jump and Pixel, DS fireworks shmup Big Bang Mini or iPhone time-sink Pix’n Love Rush, these guys just have a way with pixels.
Same goes for frantic Windows Phone shooter OMG, which mixes neon lighting with ancient Vetrex machines for a psychedelic retro style.
The game has you tapping enemies to unleash their manic modes. They’ll fire loads more bullets, but will net you way more points where they’re downed. Is it worth the risk?
I Dig It
A veritable classic over on iPhone, it’s great to see that other mobile-owners will be able to sample its super addictive flavour.
The game has you drilling deep down into the earth, finding hidden loot, and selling it back on the surface. Profits go to juicing up your fuel tank and kitting your digger out with sweet upgrades like higher quality drills, more storage space, and better coolants.
Its carrot-on-a-stick mentality will have you relentlessly chasing the next upgrade and the next bundle of cash, even playing through the entire four-or-so hours it gives you to complete the task.
We haven’t got a clue which Castlevania game Konami is planning on bringing to the platform. It could be anything from retro NES debut Castlevania to cult classic PS1 epic Symphony of the Night.
Whatever the case, the name ‘Castlevania’ alone is enough for us to drop the rope-swinging, castle-exploring, Dracula-duking adventure series directly on this list of most anticipated games.
Another game that cut its teeth on iPhone, Fruit Ninja is addictive, joyously physical and juicy - so, so juicy.
Already selling millions of copies on iPhone and iPad, this food-slicer from Halfbrick has you slashing up strawberries and coconuts in a dojo for high scores and unlockable extras.
It’s probably the most simple, basic and elementary idea in the world - here’s a banana, decimate it - but boy is it addictive.
Back when the Xbox Live Indies service (a series of home-made titles created by bedroom programmers for Xbox 360) was first launching, we pretty much wrote it off as a collection of buggy garbage, unplayable junk, and massage simulators.
But then Carneyvale Showtime - a clown-flinging puzzler - appeared: a game evidently made with such care and a serious attention to detail that you’d swear it was a professionally built XBLA title.
Gamers stood up and took notice, and evidently so did Microsoft. Redmond’s big gaming hub has now taken the indie darling and is publishing it on Windows Phone 7. Get it on Xbox Indies if you can’t wait another second.
OneClickDog’s flash adventure Little Wheel is a seriously cool point-and-click adventure. It doesn’t have an inventory system or conversation trees. It’s not particularly hard, either, and it’s also not very long.
But it’s stylish and smart and packed with atmosphere. From the silhouetted backdrops to the funky jazz soundtrack, it’s just a brilliant world to explore.
We'd hope the developer plans to expand the game a little, especially if it hopes to charge for the game, but it’s certainly one to check out the moment the service drops.
Guitar Hero 5
Every portable platform needs a good rhythm game. Something with a good selection of top tunes, responsive touch controls, and a way to grab more tracks online.
Guitar Hero 5 looks like the best bet until the now Disney-owned developer Tapulous brings its best-selling range of thumb-tapping games to Windows Phone 7.
No, not THAT Milo. This cute puzzle platformer has nothing to do with Microsoft’s upcoming young-British-scamp simulator, Milo & Kate, for the 360’s motion sensing Kinect peripheral.
From Swedish dev house Southend Interactive, and coming to both Xbox Live Arcade and Windows Phone 7, ilomilo has cutesy, cartoony ruffians milling about in 3D worlds, solving block based puzzles.
It’s all a bit Super Mario Galaxy, with a smidgen of LittleBigPlanet’s patchwork design and a kazoo-based soundtrack. Kazoos make everything sound better, and that’s a fact.
Jet Car Stunts
True Axis’s adrenaline rush 3D driving game is something of a Pocket Gamer staff favourite. One of the best arcade-racers on iPhone, it’s exciting to see it hit another mobile device.
The game has you bouncing a rocket car around geometrically simple stages, hitting jumps, sailing through hoops, and performing ridiculously outlandish manoeuvres.
The game rightfully ended up on loads of Best of 2009 lists, so those anticipating a new Windows Phone 7 gadget later this year should move Jet Car Stunts to the top of their shopping list.