December is shaping up to be a great month for Gameloft fans. Last week, the mobile publishing giant released Dungeon Hunter 4 for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. Mobile Windows platforms need all the action-RPGs they can get. Dungeon Hunter is also one of 15 titles that Gameloft announced back in August.

Another one of those titles – perhaps the most highly anticipated one – is Despicable Me: Minion Rush. 3D endless runners are crazy popular, to say nothing of people’s love for the Despicable Me movies. Those folks’ hearts should be a flutter today because Minion Rush is finally available on Windows Phone 8!

This release coincides with the Despicable Me 2 Blu-ray and DVD, which just came out today. The promised Windows 8 version of Minion Rush should hopefully arrive later this month. Neither Windows version has Xbox support, which should come as no surprise after Dungeon Hunter 4 and Asphalt 8released without it.

Strive to be the best

Minion Rush opens with a short cinematic starring the Despicable Me films’ adorable minions. These guys (who closely resemble Cheetos) live for nothing else than to please their employer Gru. One day they discover Gru has implemented a Minion of the Week program, complete with shiny trophy for the star minion. Soon the minions set out to win the award – by outrunning their peers in a series of obstacle courses.

If you’ve played the Temple Run games, you should have a pretty good idea of how Minion Rush plays. Swipe left or right on screen to move around, dodging obstacles and collecting bananas (this game’s high-Potassium currency). Swiping up dodges, whereas downward swipes slide. Spiral-shaped sections of the level require tilting in order to keep your minion balanced and on-track.

Windows Phone specifics

Minion Rush features some beautiful 3D graphics. The art style matches the looks of the movies quite well, with bright and welcoming colors and lots of minion cuteness. The actual frame rate could be a little better on Windows Phone – a common problem with Gameloft titles. But the game still plays quite smoothly, so frame rate hardly becomes an issue.

The Windows Phone version includes content from the first Minion Rush update that appeared on iOS and Android. This includes the unlockable “El Macho’s Lair” environment. Subsequent updates added Mall and Beach levels, but those haven’t made it to Windows Phone yet. Our version will get those levels eventually, though Gameloft doesn’t plan to release other platforms’ minor seasonal updates on Windows platforms.

Gameloft’s press release suggested that Minion Rush would have an exclusive landscape orientation mode on Windows platforms. Normally, the game is played in a portrait orientation. However, I haven’t been able to get landscape to kick in. It could be that only the Windows 8 version will have it and the signal got a little crossed on Gameloft’s end. Our contact at the publisher is investigating, and we’ll update when we hear back.

Minion Rush is free to play and supported by optional In-App Purchases. It runs on devices with 512 MB of RAM or more, so all Windows Phone 8 owners can enjoy it. We’ll have more Minion Rush coverage soon!

  • Despicable Me: Minion Rush – Windows Phone 8 – 46 MB – Free – Store Link