Microsoft releases a trio of time wasters for Windows Phone 8

Photo 12-27-2013, 2 16 05 PMMicrosoft has given its Windows Phone 8 users some Xbox Live treats today, adding three new puzzle titles, for free, to its canon.

Specifically, Microsoft Studios has made available Mahjong, Minesweeper and Solitaire Collection, a trio of games that help to fill the gap in the casual game space on the platform.

Solitaire Collection includes Klondike, Spider, FreeCell and Pyramid modes in a number of themes, and provide leaderboards, medals and achievements to fulfill its Xbox Live promise. The graphics are lively and animations smooth, and though ad-supported, they’re not intrusive and stick to text.

Minesweeper similarly offers an experience that will be immediately familiar to Windows users, though updated for the touchscreen-friendly times. Available in Easy 9×9, Medium 16×16 and Expert 30×16 formats, Minesweeper supports pinch-to-zoom but otherwise maintains its former simplicity.

Finally, Mahjong is the Chinese match-two game that, similar to solitaire, requires patience and a keen eye. The Microsoft-built version is prettier and smoother than the ancient Windows versions, and offers a number of themes, leaderboards and achievements.

All three games are nice additions to Windows Phone, but unfortunately take too long to load and don’t resume immediately after leaving the app. While this is not unique to these titles, it does irritate when trying to continue a game after answering a text or email. Still, they’re free, pretty and a lot of fun, so download them.

[source]Minesweeper, Solitaire, Mahjong[/source][via]Windows Phone Central (2)[/via]