GC '10: Bejeweled Live coming exclusively to Windows Phone 7, details and impressions

Will it Xbox Live up to the hype?

GC '10: Bejeweled Live coming exclusively to Windows Phone 7, details and impressions

Since Microsoft dropped its 63 megaton news bomb yesterday morning, details of the service have been trickling out. We're now aware, for example, that it's going to have a split marketplace, and we know some of the gameplay details for titles like Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst and Halo Waypoint.

Here's another detail to add to the pile. Microsoft has revealed to Pocket Gamer at GamesCom that PopCap is creating a 10th anniversary edition of Bejeweled exclusively for Windows Phone 7.

Bejeweled Live will contain features exclusive to the Windows Phone 7 version, including extra jewels and the ability to make matches while jewels are falling from the top of the screen – an improvement Microsoft claims is requested frequently.

Microsoft also showed off two other Windows Phone 7 games. The Harvest, which we first saw when Microsoft announced Windows Phone 7 at WWDC, is a 3D action game with preposterously crisp graphics and touchscreen controls. ilomilo is a 3D puzzler along the lines of Lost Vikings, in which you guide two sprites, ilo and milo, across floating structures. It's set against a lush, painterly backdrop, and it looks beautiful. See it in action in the trailer below.

The Harvest and ilomilo reflect Microsoft's internal development efforts and its fostering of independent talent respectively.

We also got a look at the Xbox Live integration, which is considerable. The games hub on a Windows Phone 7 device is similar to the Xbox 360's dashboard environment, complete with customisable avatar. Changes you make on your phone – clothes, for example – show up on your 360 dashboard, and vice versa.

You can view your friends' avatars in a Wii-like group, and the hub lets you know who's playing what, when everybody was last logged in, what they were playing, and even – best of all – how you compare with them in terms of achievements and scores at games you've both played.

As on the 360, you can interact with your avatar, poking him or shaking the phone to make him laugh, frown, or fall over.

It all seems to work, but the proof as ever is in the eating of the pudding. We'll be tucking in before the end of the year.

Microsoft wouldn't be drawn on price.

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Rob Hearn
Rob Hearn
Having obtained a distinguished education, Rob became Steel Media's managing editor, now he's no longer here though, following a departure in late December 2015.