Date: October 29, 2010
App type: Game, Xbox LIVE
Publisher: Microsoft Games Studios
Release date: October 16, 2010
Price: $6.99
Requirements: Access to your data connection, sensors, media library, Xbox LIVE

At the MIX'10 trade show back in March, Microsoft showed off the first-ever Xbox LIVE game for Windows Phone 7, called The Harvest. At the time, the game--which was to be made available in versions for the phone, Windows PCs, and the Xbox 360--seemed more like a proof-of-concept than an actual product. The demo showed off the title's gorgeous 3D graphics, featured the first-ever look at a Windows Phone-based Xbox LIVE achievement, and arcade quality sound.

Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: The Harvest

"This world is actually 3D," Microsoft corporate vice president Joe Belfiore said as he did the demo. "And you can tell as I move around the environment, my guy goes behind stuff and the creatures here are going behind stuff. And not only does it give me a really nice 3D experience, but this is an Xbox LIVE game. And what that means is I can do things like get achievements, so boom, when I blast out a bunch of those guys, I can unlock the killing machine achievement, and I just earned 10 gamer score points by doing that. And when I come over here, you'll see, again, an example that this is a real 3D environment. It's a destructible environment, in fact. I can crush that bridge. I better get over here before I fall, and in fact, I just unlocked another achievement there by being a destructive force."

It was a good demo, but I honestly never expected to see the game. So imagine my surprise when The Harvest showed up on the Windows Phone Marketplace earlier this month. It costs a whopping $6.99--the highest cost I've seen yet for a Windows Phone game--but it's quite worth it: The Harvest is good looking, as promised. But it's also a good game.

Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: The Harvest

According to the promotional materials, and some in-game plot points, The Harvest is set in a universe where an evil alien race has all but enslaved humanity and is mopping up the remnants with a group of alien-human hybrids known as harvesters. As part of the Global Defense Force (GDF) army charged with vanquishing these harvesters and putting an end to their human harvest, you can take the form of three different fighters, each with unique capabilities.

Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: The Harvest

But honestly, the plot doesn't matter much. The Harvest is a gorgeous and fun 3D action RPG (and not a straight-up shooter as it first appeared to be). It's immersive, and beautiful to look at, and even a bit challenging. Highly recommend.

Achievements

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

Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: The HarvestAnti-Venom
You have destroyed the first Boss – Amelatu.
Points: 10
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: The HarvestArachnocide
You have destroyed the second Boss - Enki.
Points: 10
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: The HarvestAsp Wind
Your stealth skills are unsurpassed.
Points: 5
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: The HarvestCompletionist
If you want something done right, get the GDF to do it.
Points: 15
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: The HarvestDestructive Force
You are a destructive force of nature.
Points: 15
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: The HarvestFalcon EMP
You left them speechless, and dead.
Points: 5
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: The HarvestGreat Explorer
The Harvesters can run, but they can not hide from you.
Points: 15
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: The HarvestJuggernaut
You are untouchable.
Points: 15
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: The HarvestJuiced Up
It's all or nothing for you!
Points: 5
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: The HarvestKitted Out
You have got style!
Points: 10
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: The HarvestLevel UP
You are our GDF's most decorated hero.
Points: 10
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: The HarvestLoyalty
You have earned our army's complete trust.
Points: 15
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: The HarvestMultitool
You know how to use your special abilities under pressure!
Points: 5
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: The HarvestScarab Express
They better get out of the way of "The Scarab Express"!
Points: 5
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: The HarvestShutdown
You destroyed the final Boss – Marduk.
Points: 10
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: The HarvestSpecialist
You know your talents.
Points: 10
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: The HarvestSpeed Run
You are like greased lightning.
Points: 15
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: The HarvestSurvivor
No prison can hold you.
Points: 5
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: The HarvestTrashman
You have destroyed the third Boss - Kingu.
Points: 10
Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: The HarvestWar Journal
This one is for all our fallen soldiers.
Points: 10