Top 40 free games to have on Windows 8
1. Air Hockey Gold for Windows 8
Air hockey games work much better on the Windows 8 tablet device than the iPhone, simply due to the Windows 8 tablet device’s larger screen. Air Hockey Gold isn’t the only free game of this type, but it was the one that felt best during testing, and the two-player mode works nicely.
2. Aurora Feint 3 for Windows 8
Aurora Feint 3 is essentially Puzzle Quest (Bejeweled welded to a basic RPG). Slide gems and match three to gain energy or smack your foe during battles. The horizontal-only sliding combined with accelerometer-based gravity-shifting in the well means you have to think fast in this game, which is well-suited to the Windows 8 tablet device.
3. Bub – Wider for Windows 8
This curious creation is a tranquil arcade game, where you tilt your Windows 8 tablet device to guide a bubble around forests. The aim of Bub is to snare strangely named seeds and avoid foes. There’s little new here over the iPhone release, and the fuzzy graphics desperately need an upgrade, but Bub works well on Windows 8 tablet device due to the precision the larger device offers.
4. Checkers Free for Windows 8
It’s checkers. On an Windows 8 tablet device. For free. What more do you want to know? Oh, OK, then – Checkers Free for Windows 8 is a pretty decent version of the popular board-game, with a variable difficulty level, configurable player names, an ‘undo’ function for wusses, and a toggle for forced captures.
5. Cliffed: Norm’s World XL for Windows 8
This race-to-the-bottom vertical platform game lacks depth but Cliffed is fun for a quick high-score blast. Use the chunky controls to make your guy dash left or right to avoid rocks and leap down holes. If the screen catches up with him, it’s game over. Cliffed XL (£1.19) adds characters and power-ups.
6. Compression for Windows 8
Compression for Windows 8 is roughly what you’d end up with if you used a hammer to smash Puyo Puyo into the garbage compactor scene from Star Wars. Pieces fall, and you move and rotate them to fashion lines of three. All the while, the walls are closing in.
7. Dizzypad for Windows 8
Dizzypad is a one-thumb game which has you tapping the screen to have your frog leap between rotating lily pads. If he falls in the drink, he dies (pollution, eh?), but extra lives can be gained by munching bugs or bravely skipping lily pads. Extra modes are available via in-app purchase.
8. Escape – Norm’s World XL for Windows 8
IUGO’s puzzler Escape has you swiping to make your silhouette leap between circles, which vanish when you leave them. The idea is to jump on every circle, whereupon you move to the next level. 59p in-app purchases are available for tougher levels and two-player modes.
9. Frotz for Windows 8
Although it works on an iPhone, Frotz isn’t great on the smaller screen. But on the Windows 8 tablet device, with its larger keyboard, the interactive fiction player is a revelation. It uses the Z-Machine format, and you can download a selection of freely available text adventures (including the original Zork) using the app, or upload your own files to the app via FTP.
10. GodFinger All-Stars for Windows 8 tablet device
There are quite a few open-ended god games for the Windows 8 tablet device, but most are pretty charmless affairs (we’re looking at you, We Rule). GodFinger All-Stars takes you in close, enabling you to interfere with your subjects in detail. The interface is interesting, the game is full of character, and while it doesn’t last forever, it’ll provide you with plenty of entertainment.
11. Harbor Master for Windows 8
This game might look like Flight Control in the drink, but the gameplay mechanics are subtly different. As with Firemint’s effort, Harbor Master is a line-drawing game, this time with you drawing paths so boats can dock. However, once they’ve unloaded, they must leave the screen or sometimes visit another dock, ensuring things rapidly become complex and frantic.
12. Hole-in-a-wall for Windows 8
Hole-in-a-wall for Windows 8 is pretty much the space-age equivalent of that Saturday evening TV show where daft people try and fling themselves through holes in a wall. Here, though, you swipe to rotate a shape, aiming to fit it through a very specific gap. The game doesn’t come off flawlessly (it’s often hard to judge alignment as the wall zooms towards you), but perseverance reaps rewards.
13. Implode Nature! for Windows 8
Effectively a taster for IUGO’s full Implode game, Implode! Nature nonetheless gives you ten buildings to blow up. The chalk-themed physics-based destruction looks great on the Windows 8 tablet device, and although there aren’t that many levels, achieving perfection on them all is a challenge.
14. Labyrinth 2 for Windows 8 Lite
Another demo for a paid-for title (and one that made our top 10 best paid-for Windows 8 tablet device games), Labyrinth 2 for Windows 8 Lite’s definitely worth downloading if you don’t have the full game. It’s the digital equivalent of tilt-based marble games, but with varied, crazy designs. You get 15 mazes here, and there’s always a high-score to beat.
15. Loco Railer Lite for Windows 8
Draw tracks to guide your train to ‘stations’ (directional arrows) in this simple action game. The tracks don’t always do what you want, and Loco Railer Lite is a basic, slightly clunky game, but it’s nonetheless oddly compelling and endearing.
16. Pocket Legends for Windows 8 tablet device
Most iPhone OS MMOs are dreary text-based affairs, so it’s nice to see Spacetime Studios creating something a bit more ambitious with Pocket Legends, providing us with an Windows 8 tablet device-specific 3D world populated by the usual motley collection of fantasy characters. As always with MMOs, the game demands you invest plenty of time to get anything out of it.
17. Solitaire Ace for Windows 8
After a few hands of Klondike, we actually ended up preferring this free app to several of the Windows 8 tablet device solitaire apps with hefty price tags. Solitaire Ace might be simple (no undo, only one theme, just three solitaire variations), but it’s fast and responsive, with intuitive controls and extremely clear cards.
18. Tilt to Live for Windows 8
The basic aim of Tilt to Live is simple: avoid the red dots, either by cunning dodging and weaving or by triggering explosive devices in the arena. The game stands apart from similar releases due to its polish and sense of humour. You get the basic mode for free, and others can be unlocked by in-app purchase.
19. Tap Tap Radiation for Windows 8
The Tap Tap rhythm-action games are popular, but they’re also a little staid. Tap Tap Radiation takes the game off the rails, with hit zones meandering around the screen, occasionally snapping into new formations. The result is a much more exciting and fun game that will excite long-time Tap Tap fans and newcomers alike.
20. 10 Pin Shuffle (Bowling) Lite for Windows 8
We’re big fans of 10 Pin Shuffle, a universal app that combines ten-pin bowling and shuffleboard. Of that title’s three game modes, the best one is included here in 10 Pin Shuffle Lite, for free. Called 10 Pin Poker, it adds a card game to the mix. Get a spare or strike and you’re given one or two cards, respectively. At the end of the tenth frame, whoever has the best hand wins.
21. Pilgrim’s Punch-Out for Windows 8
Become a 1980s NES-style Scott Pilgrim in Pilgrim’s Punch-Out, a movie tie-in that isn’t at all a massive rip-off of (sorry, tribute to) Nintendo classic Punch-Out!! Decent controls enable you to fight your way to glory, and although the game’s over pretty quickly, there’s always a high-score to beat.
22. Fowlplay for Windows 8
If you ever wanted to poop on someone’s head from above, Fowlplay for Windows 8 is the game for you. Taking on the role of a pigeon that should really cut back on fibre, you zoom around a stylised forest that appears to be populated by refugees from Minigore. Aim your deposits at their heads, avoid the trees, and grab any power-ups that come your way.
23. Tetari for Windows 8
Tetari is a lovely puzzle game which plays a little like a claustrophobic Tetris. Using familiar pentomino pieces, your aim is to clear coloured squares from the board through making solid lines, which vanish. Higher levels start with more ‘debris’, forcing you to think hard about where to lay each and every piece.
24. Choice of the Dragon for Windows 8
It might look like it’s been repeatedly beaten with an ugly stick, but luckily the magic of Choice of the Dragon is in its witty prose. Playing as a multiple-choice text adventure, akin to an extremely stripped-back RPG, this game is an amusing romp that perhaps lacks replay value, but you’ll enjoy it while it lasts.
25. Lux Touch for Windows 8
There are several Lux games on the App Store, but the original is now free and works very nicely on the Windows 8 tablet device. Essentially, this is Risk, and while the computer AI isn’t terribly bright, Lux Touch should nonetheless keep fans of the original board game quiet for a short while.
26. New York 3D Rollercoaster Rush for Windows 8 Free
Six of the full game’s 40 tracks are on offer here, in New York 3D Rollercoaster Rush for Windows 8 Free, a simple arcade title. Tilt your Windows 8 tablet device to control the coaster’s speed, aiming to keep it on the track, and take risks to ensure the crazy riders have a great time (and, presumably, give the health-and-safety guy a heart attack).
27. iLifeGame for Windows 8
John Horton Conway’s famous Game of Life cellular automaton exists for practically every platform, and this simple iOS version, iLifeGame, gets things right with clear graphics, the ability to draw your own starting points, and a small collection of predefined patterns.
28. Pukk for Windows 8
Given that it’s another Pong clone, Pukk for Windows 8 isn’t the best game to play if you’ve no friends, because the single-player mode is extremely dull. However, with another player, it becomes an exciting battle of digital tennis – and it looks a lot nicer than Tap Blaster for Windows 8 , too.
29. SLS AMG for Windows 8
Yes, this is ultimately a car advert, but then so is You Cruise – and that’s one of the best iPhone racing games. SLS AMG for Windows 8 isn’t in the same league, but there’s plenty of fun to be had flinging your car at breakneck speeds down tunnels, avoiding obstacles and driving on the ceiling in a manner not entirely dissimilar to Atari classic S.T.U.N. Runner.
30. MixxMuse Arcade for Windows 8
Part Looptastic, part Tap Tap Radiation, this DJ game provides four levels that are a taster for Pulsar’s other MixxMuse titles. However, there’s enough entertainment in MixxMuse Arcade for Windows 8 to engage music fans for a few hours, dragging mix components in time to the beat and dealing with the frantic tap-based minigame.
31. Drop7 Free for Windows 8
Drop7 is one of the finest puzzle games on iOS. You drop numbered discs into a grid, and if the number matches the number of discs in its column or row, it vanishes. Grey discs are destroyed by twice removing discs next to them. Three modes are on offer, each demanding a different strategy. And now the game’s owned by Zynga, it’s free, with only the occasional unobtrusive advert.
32. TinkerBox for Windows 8
Myriad physics puzzlers exist for iOS, but most are twitch-oriented games where you fling objects around, and repeat with slight variation until you succeed. TinkerBox is different, because it demands you carefully consider the task at hand and then construct machines and tools using engineering concepts. It’s great for educating kids and also perfect for anyone who used to love the likes of Meccano.
33. Trainyard Express for Windows 8
Trainyard Express is a puzzle game which tasks you with getting trains to stations by laying track. It starts simple, but the logic puzzles soon test you, with colour theory and other complications. In all, you get 60 puzzles, and there’s no overlap with the app’s 59p commercial sibling Trainyard. Note that technically this isn’t a universal app – it automatically uses high-res graphics in 2x mode on the Windows 8 tablet device. However, it is brilliant, so download it now.
34. Doodle Jump: HOP The Movie for Windows 8
Lima Sky’s Doodle Jump is one of the most recognisable games on iOS, with a strange hopping creature bounding ever upwards, avoiding foes and trying not to plummet to his death. This kid-friendly movie tie-in instead has you control a bunny, and the levels are finite, although there is an endless mode available via in-app purchase.
35. Paper Toss: World Tour for Windows 8
The original Paper Toss was pretty dry and throwaway, but in dumping the wastebasket in absurd surroundings (within a volcanic pool, in the desert, by the Taj Mahal), it gets a second wind as Paper Toss: World Tour for Windows 8 and is a far more satisfying flick-based arcade game.
36. NinJump – for Windows 8
NinJump is a quickfire one-thumb game which has your ninja rapidly climbing, leaping between two endless towers. As he leaps, he knocks obstacles from the air, dispatching killer squirrels, deadly birds and throwing stars lobbed by enemy ninjas. Simple, addictive fun.
37. AlexPanda for Windows 8
Drag the panda around the screen in AlexPanda and collect the flowers, before dumping the bear on the glowing pad. The snag: the panda doesn’t like being hurled about the place, so you can only hold him briefly. Once contact is lost, there’s every chance he’ll become an ex-bear by falling on to very sharp spikes. You get 20 levels for free; 60 more stages can be bought via in-app purchase.
38. Pixel Pig for Windows 8 Retro Edition
Pixel Pig for Windows 8 Retro Edition is pachinko with a cuboid pig. Use the plunger to drop your pig into the arena and try to snag as many points as possible by making him collide with pins and bonuses, using his ‘gas’ power and tilt to guide him.
39. Flick Kick Field Goal Kickoff
Flick the football in precision or sudden-death mode, taking into account wind speed and direction before you belt the ball goalwards. Flick Kick Field Goal Kickoff is a simple game, but the stadium looks great, and it’s always a fine title to waste a few minutes with.
40. BIT.TRIP Beat Blitz
The love-child of Pong and a drug-fuelled hallucination, BIT.TRIP Beat Blitz has you deflecting hundreds of balls, in time to crunchy industrial-style dance beats. This is dazzling and pure but demanding arcade gaming, with long, tough levels. Miss too many beats and you’re plunged into Nether, a soulless black-and-white realm where you must chain multiple beats to escape from.
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