The Windows Store is not exactly bursting at the seams with great games, but you should be able to find a few titles to satisfy that gaming urge. In this roundup we run through our picks for the best Windows 8 games in different genres. We already picked out the ten best mobile games on any platform (including Windows 8), so we’ll cover a different line-up here. You may also be interested in our guide to the best Windows 8 apps.
Skulls of the Shogun ($10)
You’ll find fast and focused turn-based strategy in a stylized Japanese afterlife packed with samurais, monks, and generals in Skulls of the Shogun. The thickly outlined, retro-anime art style is enticing, the touch screen controls are easy to master, and the distilled tactical gameplay runs deeper than you might imagine at first play. With an absorbing 20-level campaign to beat and a solid multiplayer mode for four, it’s very easy to recommend.
The Gunstringer (Free)
Forget about Temple Run because The Gunstringer is free and it casts you as a skeleton cowboy instead of an Indiana Jones clone. It’s a typical endless runner game where you have to avoid deadly obstacles and collect as many coins and diamonds as possible in the process. It’s well-made and instantly accessible no matter what your tastes are like.
This top-down action shooter is set in the Halo universe and features a unique story about the origin of the Spartan Ops program, which takes place just before the events of Halo 4. It challenges you to battle the Covenant over 30 levels with the usual array of weaponry and vehicles. The presence of in-app purchases in a game you already paid for is always irritating, but this is still a solid game, and a must-buy for Halo fans.
Game Dev Tycoon ($8)
If it were available on Windows 8 we’d point you at Game Dev Story, but alas you’ll have to make do with this. It’s still a fun sim that challenges you to start your own game development studio and grow it from your bedroom confines to multi-million dollar stardom. The gameplay is simple, but it has that addictive hook, and it’s educational, too. You’ll learn about the history of gaming as you play through.
Toy Story: Smash It! ($5)
Casual physics-based games dominate all the app stores and this one is squarely aimed at kids, although it’s fun no matter what your age. You play as Buzz Lightyear, and have to throw bouncy balls at various toy structures to bring them tumbling down. The fewer balls you need, the higher your score will be, and there’s some replay value in trying to get three stars on all 75 levels. The fact that it’s 3D and it features characters and tunes from the Toy Story universe helps it stand out from the crowd.
Royal Revolt! (Free)
Here’s a twist on the tower defense genre with an RPG veneer. In this game, you find out what it’s like to be on the other side and send invading forces in to destroy your opponents and reclaim your castle. Use your limited energy to recruit the right blend of troops for victory across 58 levels. It’s cute, accessible, and fun. As you’d expect with a free title, you can beat the grind with in-app purchases.
Doom and Destiny ($3)
There’s a wealth of old-school RPG fun to be had in Doom and Destiny. The top down view on super-cute 16-bit visuals induces nostalgia, but the witty script pokes fun respectfully at the genre. It’s turn-based and has a gentle learning curve. The sheer variety and scope of the content on offer makes it worth more than the $3 cost of admission.
This word game will put your vocabulary to the test, and it’s fun to battle it out against up to three of your friends. The basic premise is like a twist on Scrabble. Letters are all assigned a points value and you are given two that any word you come up with must start and end with. You also get two bonus letters that will boost your score if you can fit them in.
Ilomilo plus ($5)
It may bear more than a passing resemblance to Little Big Planet, but ilomilo is a worthy puzzle game that’s really challenging. The two, cute titular characters Ilo and Milo have to work together to beat each 3D block-filled level. This is actually a beefed up version of the original ilomilo release with some additional content. Try playing co-op with a friend if you really want to have some fun.
Hydro Thunder Hurricane ($10)
Does it matter if you remember the original arcade Hydro Thunder series? Of course not. All that matters is your desire to race boats at breakneck speeds around crazy environments. Think F-Zero on the water. This has loads of high-powered speedboats, courses with secret shortcuts, four game modes, and plenty of power-ups; what’s not to like? This Xbox 360 game works well on Windows 8.
That’s it for our best Windows 8 games roundup, but if you want to suggest a title then please post a comment and share it.