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27 BEST Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 apps

Barry Collins
10 Oct 2014
Best Windows 8 apps
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No decent apps for Windows 8? Think again! Here are 27 great Windows 8 apps

What are the best Windows 8 apps? It's become something of a truism that there are decent Windows 8 apps, but that's not true. Since Windows 8 launched the Windows Store has been steadily filling with a great selection and variety of apps.

Here, we round up 27 of the best Windows 8 apps, grouped into a selection of different categories. Many of the apps are designed with touchscreen devices in mind, but most will work fine on a conventional laptop or desktop, too. To download the apps click on the individual links to go straight to the Windows 8 Store.

The Windows Store works in a different way to other app stores when it comes to trying free samples of paid-for apps. On Android or iOS, developers have to release a separate free or lite version of their apps. On Windows 8, developers can offer a limited time or feature trial of a paid-for app without having to submit two different apps to the store.

Before paying for an app in the Windows Store, look for the little Try button, next to Buy, in the app's listing. Often, developers will let you try the full version of the app for a few days. Sometimes, they will give you a feature-stripped version with premium features or later game levels locked until you pay. Many of the paid-for apps we review here offer trial versions, and we mention this next to the price where applicable, s(o you can judge an app's quality for yourself before paying. 

Best Windows 8 apps - Games

Snap Attack (Free) - A recently released sequel to Wordament – a thinly veiled rip-off of the word game Boggle – Snap Attack provides another opportunity to impress (or otherwise) the world with your vocabulary. Like its predecessor, the game is played live over the internet against hundreds or thousands of opponents using the same game board as you. The objective this time is to form as many words as you can, against the clock, using the seven tiles in your rack and the letters already on the board. Yes, that noise you can hear is the tutting of Scrabble's legal team; but the writ hasn't landed yet, maybe because like the rest of us, they are having just one more go.

Snap Attack

Star Wars Assault Team (Free) - The Star Wars franchise has been flogged more often than a horse on the home straight of the Grand National, but Assault Team can hardly be accused of cashing-in, as it's free. This turn-based strategy game requires you to build a team of Jedi sympathisers – starting with Chewbecca and Han Solo – and crush waves of Stormtroopers et al in a series of missions. Stumping up for in-app purchases will help you overcome the Dark Side, but if you're clever enough with your team selection and how you use your squad's various strengths, you can succeed without reaching for the credit card.

Star Wars Assault Team

Project Spark (Free) - Writing a 3D game is a doddle: all you need is a studio of computer science graduates, two years and a few million quid on your overdraft. OK, it's hideously complicated and expensive, but Project Spark genuinely turns that on its head. This magnificent project is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) games editor: you drop your characters into place, mould the landscape, set the challenges, and all without writing a line of code. A sharp brain and some imagination is required to program the characters using the graphical interface, but there's a terrific tutorial to get you started and other players' games to take inspiration from, such as the Game of Thrones title pictured. Give this to a teenager and prepare to be gobsmacked.

Project Spark

Asphalt 8: Airborne (Free) - Not so very long ago, the slick 3D graphics of Asphalt 8 would have required a PC graphics card the size of a bungalow. Now it's playable on ultraslim tablets. One of those racing games where the brakes are merely an accessory, Asphalt 8 has you blasting through glistening cityscapes at terrifying speed, until you inevitably write-off the car with a head-on collision and respawn. The tilt-the-tablet to steer controls are soon mastered, as is timing your nitro boosts, and although the single-player mode is engaging, the hairs on the back of your neck only stand to attention when you're racing online with others. In-app purchases are given the hard sell, but casual racers need not bother.

Asphalt 8

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