When Windows Phone was first introduced, the promise of Xbox LIVE gaming was one of the platforms biggest selling points and great, immersive 3D gaming was at the forefront of many gamers minds. To date, we’ve had a few really good 3D titles, like ilomilo and Need for Speed and I’m sure many more 3D titles are on their way.The Xbox for Windows Phone “Must Have Games” month kicks off with a very popular racing genre port, Hydro Thunder GO. The object is simple: race your futuristic-like speed boat through the nine different tracks and try to place first in each race.
The visuals in Hydro Thunder GO are very well done and contain reflections, dynamic lighting and animations which look great on a phone screen. Some users have experienced frame rate drops and some choppiness when many boats or action is on the screen at once, however, I did not experience this on my Samsung Focus.
The controls are excellent and not too difficult to pick-up. You have the option of recalibrating the accelerometer for more sensitive steering and can even choose between different steering modes. The menus are smooth and transition well and the music and sound effects are top-notch.
Actual gameplay is very good and consist of varied vehicle and level options. Nine different levels and 12 different thunder boats gives the game a nice bit of staying power and I found myself able to play for long periods of time without feeling bored.
At $4.99, Hydro Thunder GO is at the middle of the Xbox game price scale and in this case is well worth the money spent. There is also a free trial for those who would like to try before they buy. There are only a few Xbox LIVE games for Windows Phones that I can recommend at their current price and this title is one of them. You can pick up this Microsoft Game Studios title by searching for “Hydro Thunder GO” on the Zune PC software or on your Windows Phone.