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Halo: Spartan Assault Hands-on

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Halo is finally available on Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 as a top-down two-stick shooter that’s a lot of fun in short bursts.

We were able to play a preview build of the new Halo: Spartan Assault earlier this week on both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 (using a Nokia Lumia 928 and a Microsoft Surface). The preview only contained a few missions from the final game, but they were enough to get a good feel for the rest of the new Halo game.

On both platforms Halo: Spartan Assault relies on touch controls, users move and shoot with virtual joysticks and perform other actions such as switching guns and throwing grenades by tapping icons. The controls are responsive on both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8, though the game really benefits from the larger screen of the Surface.

Halo- Spartan Assault

With the larger screen there’s more room for icons on the sides of the screen, and there’s less of a chance that your thumbs will obscure enemy Covenant aliens.

Halo: Spartan Assault serves as a bridge between Halo 3 and Halo 4, but the levels we played focused mainly on the Covenant with no hints of the Prometheans of Halo 4. A lot of the missions we played involved shooting at wave after wave of Grunts with the occasional Elite thrown in to add a bit of variety.

Missions included protecting a human stronghold, defending a drop-off point and mowing through a Covenant base with a Wraith tank. There’s just enough variety to make it not seem too repetitive. Blasting through Covenant in a giant purple Wraith, in particular, was a lot of fun.

Halo: Spartan Assault isn’t a typical Halo game, but it still seems just a fun as any other title in the series. It’s one of the few great games available exclusively on Windows Phone 8, and an easy game to recommend to anyone with a Windows 8 or Windows RT tablet.

The two versions of the game feature cloud sync, so gamers who buy it twice can use the same save game between multiple devices. Sometime after release the Windows 8 version will receive an update to add Xbox 360 controller support, which should make the game even better.

Halo: Spartan Assault is available now for WIndows Phone 8 and Windows 8 for $6.99.

Shawn is a tech junkie who spends most of his time reading and writing about it. You can follow him on Twitter, @shawn_i.

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