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8 of the Best Free Games in the Windows Store

Plenty to Choose From...Good and Bad

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There are plenty of modern Windows 8 apps in the Windows Store for users searching for tools, productivity aids, social networking and so on, but nothing is better represented than games. Whether you want puzzles, action games, racing games or classic remakes there are thousands of titles to choose from. Unfortunately, not all Windows 8 games are created equally and there are plenty of titles that aren't worth the time it takes to install them. So rather than forcing you to clutter up your Start screen with subpar titles, I've put in the effort to find gems among the piles of coal.

1. Jetpack Joyride

Image courtesy of Halfbrick Studios.
Halfbrick Studios

Jetpack Joyride is about as crazy a trip as it sounds. You control the game's protagonist, Barry, as he steals a jetpack and tears his way through a secret facility. You'll have to collect coins along the way to purchase upgrades while taking advantage of helpful vehicles you come across. Unfortunately, the scientists have a killer security system to hinder Barry on his joyride. You'll have to avoid electrical beams, dodge missiles and keep away from laser beams as you try for your longest run possible.

2. Robotek

Image courtesy of Hexage.
Hexage

Robotek is a game that blends strategy and luck with a unique combat system. You play a robot and you fight against a robot. On each turn you can choose whether to call support bots, play defense or play offense. You pick what you want to do and press a button which runs a slot machine style roller. What shows up on the three spinning wheels is what you get for your turn. A big part is the luck of the wheel, but equally important is your ability to strategize and calculate your risks.

3. Zombie HQ

Image courtesy of Rebellion.
Rebellion

Zombie HQ is a top-down run and gun action game in which you hop around a city mowing through hordes of zombies. The premise is simple, yet satisfying. You kill zombies to earn cash and spend cash to get better at killing zombies. Your missions take place all across the city but you always return to your base camp to upgrade and get new missions. The upgrade system provides new guns, melee weapons and equipment and offers an addicting pull to keep you coming back.

4. The Gunstringer

Image courtesy of Other Ocean Interactive.
Other Ocean Interactive

The Gunstringer puts you in control of an undead marionette cowboy - seriously - who returns from death for vengeance. The members of his former posse put him in his too shallow grave and they'll have to pay for it. The Gunstringer sounds simple to play; all you have to do is move the cowboy around various obstacles while shooting enemies and treasure chests along the side of the road. However - as these games all tend to do - it gets pretty tough, pretty quick. Unlike Jetpack Joyride, The Gunstringer has various levels you can strive to achieve. This serves as a rewarding reason to keep coming back for one more run.

5. Royal Revolt

Image courtesy of Flaregames.
Flaregames

Royal Revolt flips classic tower defense games on their head as you control the invading force busting through obstacles trying to take the enemy base while the computer fights to keep you at bay. You play as a young prince sent away to boarding school only to have his detestable relatives take over the kingdom. Your job is to return and lead a revolt, taking back castle after castle to take the thrown that is rightfully yours. The gameplay is simple enough to learn, but playing well requires strategy as you have to spawn the right units to combat enemy soldiers and installations. The animation style is - dare I say - cute, but the game definitely has appeal for all ages.

6. Radiant

Image courtesy of Hexage.
Hexage

Radiant manages to capture the simple fun of the classic arcade game Space Invaders in the modern revamp. You control a ship as you gun your way through asteroids, aliens and big bosses to fight on an alien invasion. As you destroy enemies you earn cash that you can spend to buy new weapons. Each weapon has different strengths that you can use to your advantage as you fight through waves of enemies. It starts off slow, but as you upgrade, so too do your enemies and you'll find frenetic fun as the levels progress.

7. Flow Free

Image courtesy of Big Duck Games.
Big Duck Games

Flow Free is a simple sounding puzzle game that can deliver a satisfying mental workout. You start on a grid with a series of colored dots. It's your job to connect each colored dot to its pair with a pipe. Your various pipes cannot intersect and you must use every square of the grid to finish the level. When you start out, the necessary paths are obvious and the game is deceptively simple, but as you progress and the grids expand, you'll need to think carefully about every move you make.

8. Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart

Image Courtesy of Artifex Mundi.
Artifex Mundi

Nightmares of the Deep: The Cursed Heart is a hidden item adventure game that has you exploring levels and solving puzzles to progress through the game. You control a museum curator who receives the dredged up corpse of a famed pirate captain. While preparing it for exhibition, the curator will find that strange things are going on with this particular pirate. This horror game can be delightfully cheesy and the puzzling levels will keep you busy for hours.

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