Date: October 16, 2010
App type: Game, Xbox LIVE
Publisher: Microsoft Games Studios
Release date: September 30, 2010
Price: FREE
Requirements: Access to your data connection, Xbox LIVE

I've been using a Windows Phone since July, and while the experience has been excellent since day one, the one piece of the puzzle I really missed over the summer was app availability. Sure, Microsoft offered a handful of lame sample apps, but what I really wanted was the production stuff, especially the games. And especially, even more, the Xbox LIVE games.

Finally, in late September, Microsoft delivered its first two Xbox LIVE titles for Windows Phone, well ahead of the system launch so that the Marketplace delivery and update services could be tested within a wide audience. Among these two launch titles was Flowerz, a free Xbox LIVE title offering 200 Achievement points (which is the limit for Windows Phone titles, as it is for Xbox LIVE Arcade games on the 360).

Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: FlowerzWindows Phone 7 App of the Week: Flowerz

Flowerz is addicting, and a great game for a touch-screen-based system like Windows Phone. It's also a great game for those tiny time slices you may have, standing in line perhaps, or waiting to pick someone up at the train station. You can jump into a game, drop out, and then pick up again whenever you like. The game's smart about "tombstoning"--that is, it saves the game state when you exit to do something else, or just turn off the phone--making this capability possible.

As with many puzzle games, the goal of Flowerz is to connect a number of like-colored objects together in a row on a grid. In this case, those objects are of course flowers. There are several colors, with more being added over the lifetime of a game, two-color flowers that leave behind another flower when removed, colored butterflies for changing any flower's color, spades for moving flowers, and more. There are two game modes, Standard and Expert, the primary difference being that Expert starts off with mostly two-colored flowers, which is a bit trickier.

Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: FlowerzWindows Phone 7 App of the Week: Flowerz

I've purchased or downloaded every Xbox LIVE game that's available for Windows Phone so far (and there are 8), but only Flowerz has earned a spot on my Start screen. It's just a fun little game, and you certainly can't beat the price.

Achievements

Because Flowerz is an Xbox LIVE title, it offers the following Achievements:

Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: FlowerzFirst Bloom
Complete the first level in a game of Flowerz.
Points: 5
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: FlowerzBouquet
Create 100 total flower matches in games of Flowerz.
Points: 5
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: FlowerzRotating Crops
Play a single game of Standard and Expert modes.
Points: 5
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: FlowerzPlan Ahead
Create a 3 level cascade of flowers.
Points: 10
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: FlowerzLeisure Garden
Play 25 games of Flowerz.
Points: 25
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: FlowerzFlorist
Clear 1,000 total flowers in games of Flowerz.
Points: 10
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: FlowerzWindow Garden
Earn 100,000 total points in games of Flowerz.
Points: 10
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: FlowerzPetal Power
Match 5 flowers in a single row.
Points: 10
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: FlowerzPlan Far Ahead
Clear 12 flowers with a single flower placement.
Points: 15
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: FlowerzFlowerz Addict
Play 100 games of Flowerz.
Points: 15
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: FlowerzButterfly Luck
Use 100 total butterflies in games of Flowerz.
Points: 15
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: FlowerzFlowerz Zen
Earn 250,000 total points in games of Flowerz.
Points: 20
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: FlowerzGreen Thumb
Reach level 20 in a single game of Standard or Expert mode.
Points: 20
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: FlowerzClean Slate
Clear the board of flowers in Standard and Expert modes.
Points: 25
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: FlowerzMaster Florist
Score 9,000 points during a single Standard game.
Points: 25