Date: January 2, 2011
App type: Game
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Release date: October 15, 2010
Price: FREE for a limited time only; $4.99 soon
Requirements: Access to your data connection, sensors, media library, and Xbox LIVE

Some of the past games I've recommended--including Need for Speed: Undercover and Monopoly--are great games, sure, but also games that were ported from previous smart phone platforms like iPhone. This was partially by design, as I wanted to implicitly point out that, if it's possible on the iPhone (or Android), it's possible on Windows Phone too. (Meanwhile, there are of course innovative and unique features in Windows Phone that neither other platform has yet copied. They will.)

Ilomilo is a little different than those other games. It's unique to the Windows Phone platform. And it's even exclusive to AT&T customers, for now at least. (I've been told that it will be opened up to other Windows Phone users soon, and that an Xbox 360 port is on the way as well.)

First shown off at the Windows Phone 7 launch last October, it was immediately obvious that Ilomilo was something special. It's essentially a puzzle game, but one that is set in a beautiful 3D world that requires you to control two characters, Ilo and Milo, as they try to reunite. The game somewhat resembles the excellent Tinker that Microsoft made available free to Windows users via Games for Windows - LIVE.

Microsoft corporate VP Joe Belfiore described Ilomilo as an XNA title that was originally scheduled for release on the Xbox 360. But when the developers found out about Windows Phone, it was a simple matter to port it over due to the cross-platform nature of XNA, and the game's natural user interface, which works well on the phone. And it's a delight, taking advantage of the phone's accelerometer and pinch to zoom features for user interaction.

Since it's free, Ilomilo is a no-brainer for AT&T customers, but it's worth grabbing regardless because of the great graphics, finger-friendly gameplay, and the lighthearted presentation. Note that Ilomilo will cost $4.99 when it's released to other Windows Phone users, so if you are on AT&T, grab it now. The offer could end any day now.

Check out Ilomilo. It's a great little game for Windows Phone.