After launching out of the starting gate with an impressive collection of titles the release of quality Xbox Live-enabled games for the Windows Phone 7 slowed to a trickle. Now Microsoft speeds things up a bit with six weeks of "Must-Have" Windows Phone games, and what better way to increase velocity than with the action-packed boat racing of Hydro Thunder Go?
Now this is more like it. After fumbling through several re-releases of games iPhone gamers have been playing for years, it's nice to play something different, even if it is based off of a 1999 arcade game that I've played on the Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Xbox and Gamecube.
A pocket-sized spin-off of Hydro Thunder Hurricane for the Xbox 360, Hydro Thunder Go manages to pack quite a lot of arcade racing action into its tiny package. It's got an ambitious little engine for a Windows Phone title, deftly handling the wacky water physics of the franchise while juggling several speeding boat and the large animated 3D set pieces that define the game's courses. The frame rate may be low, but it's a relatively steady low.
Hydro Thunder Go makes excellent use of my LG Quantum's tilt functions, responsive enough to handle the tightest turns. If tilting's not your thing you can always swap the controls out for an on-screen steering wheel. You miss out on some of the action, but you don't look quite as silly.
Nine tracks, 12 rides, and three game modes adds up to quite a lot of arcade entertainment for only $4.99, and an excellent kick-off to Microsoft's six weeks of Must-Have Windows Phone 7 games.
Hydro Thunder Go [Zune Marketplace]