‘Spartan Assault’ is a great new Halo, but Microsoft is playing a risky game with Windows Phone users

spartan

Finally! A great new, exclusive game for my Windows Phone!

Ugh, I guess not. At least not for another month.

spartanassaultThat’s the emotional roller-coaster created by Microsoft’s newly released Halo: Spartan Assault.

It is, in fact, a great game. I’ve been playing the Windows 8 version all weekend on my Surface tablet, and I’m having a hard time putting it down. It’s definitely worth the $7 price tag.

But I’m out of luck on my Windows Phone, because I’m on AT&T. In the U.S., the game is only available on Windows Phones from Verizon until Aug. 16.

I’m sure there’s a good business reason for this strategy, but Windows Phone users really shouldn’t have to put up with this type of thing at this point. It’s hard enough to find the top apps in the Windows Phone marketplace. This is a rare reward for being a Windows Phone user. None of us should have to wait another month.

Yes, I’m still using Windows Phone as my primary device, more than seven months after starting my experiment, but I’m starting to lose patience with stuff like this.

The game on Windows 8 is extremely engaging. The touch-screen controls are easy to master. (I haven’t yet tried keyboard and mouse.) The gameplay is challenging and fun. The top-down, third-person view makes it less spine-tingling than classic first-person Halo games, but longtime fans will get a kick out of playing a Halo shooter from a different angle.

Microsoft’s higher-performance Surface Pro plays the game very smoothly, but be forewarned, the game drains the battery quickly. Spartan Assault is also very playable on the lower-grade Surface RT. I’ve noticed a few dropped frames at times on that device, but not enough to make any major difference in the gameplay.

Hopefully the game is just as good on Windows Phone, but I’ll have to wait to find out. If you’re one of the anointed ones on Verizon, please let the rest of us know what the experience is like.

Previously: ‘Halo: Spartan Assault’ for Windows 8, Windows Phone out today for $6.99

  • Robert Wampler

    The biggest problem with this game is you pay for it and if you wa t different weapons to use to have to have “credits” a d that cost more money and that’s kind of a joke I fee I mean come on. Halo fans have ape t 1000′s of $$$$$ on halo and now we have to pay money to use guns?

    • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

      But that’s optional. There are plenty of default guns and weapons to use, and I’ve been making it through the levels just fine with them. I’d be more frustrated if you truly needed to spend more money, but so far that’s not the case, at least not for me.

      • guest

        Well, a good paymium game design will eventually put the “time vs. money” question to you; you may have not gotten there yet. How many hours have you put in so far?

  • guest

    When you’re the #3 (or #4, depending on who’s counting) mobile OS, you don’t get to call the shots the way Apple or Google do. Thus these sorts of consumer confusing (if not unfriendly) deals to curry favor with operators. It’s a small step from here to allowing pre-installs and bloatware.

  • KRM

    My guess is that Microsoft is trying to make nice with Verizon after the Kin debacle by giving them an exclusive for a while.

  • Hyjack55

    The fact that they never let on that it would be available only to Verizon customers really has me mad. I got a windows 8 phone because I use xbox and have pre ordered 2 Xbox ones. I went to the store and downloaded only to find out I can only play it on my pc. I don’t play pc games. This is a very bad business practice. If they intend on this I will just go back to my galaxy. All that they had to do was to let other network customers know that Verizon customers were able to play in July and other networks would have to wait till August. I hope they don’t do this in the future even if AT&T is the first. It just is wrong.