Free can be fun
You always hear the phrase "you get what you pay for," but that doesn't have to be a bad thing.
Free is an up-and-coming strategy for game makers—and they are getting some good results with it.
Check out these free games straight from the Windows 8 store, starting with an old-school fantasy RPG! Final Fantasy, anyone?
Venture back to the glory days of RPGs, before expansive environments and collecting cheese wheels became a hobby. Back when all that mattered was your little party and math. When taking turns was the polite way to kill monsters. Dragon's Blade takes you there.
It's pretty dense, especially for a free game. You'll find tons of classes to choose from and items galore to equip.
Venture through the 2D sprite world and fight monsters as a team to accomplish some cliché fantasy-based task—you know the one.
Judge Dredd vs. Zombies
As the notorious judge of the title, you are the law—and it's about time the undead shambled into your court of last resort and experienced some swift, violent due process.
Judge Dredd vs. Zombies was made with touchscreens in mind, but keyboard and mouse controls work just as well. Choose an area, gear up, and eradicate the surprisingly limber zombies that emerge from the ground. Collect coins to buy new gear and upgrades. Rinse, repeat, but with more firepower.
4 Pics 1 Word
This game takes some sleuthing and a keen eye. What do the four pictures have in common?
The example shown is pretty obvious, especially with the first two letters revealed (it's 'pair,' by the way), but the challenges that 4 Pics 1 Word poses are usually much tougher. I was stumped in the second round.
For occasions when you're slow to catch on, you can reveal hints by spending coins that you earn by completing puzzles quickly. Show the first letter, or remove the unused ones. Even then, it's not an easy game.
We hate to admit it, but we know logos. Corporations pour millions of dollars into advertising just so you'll think of them when you see an odd symbol or shape. Now Logos Quiz lets you test just how well they've succeeded.
You get only snippets of a logo—shapes and letters that, out of context, convey very little meaning. But turn them a certain color and angle them in a weird way, and you'll immediately know what the company behind them is trying to sell you. There's something deep-rooted in the human psyche about knowing a logo and needing to prove it.
You'll be hard-pressed to run out of logos here—there are eight levels containing 80 logos each, and the levels get tough quickly.
Ah, it's good to stick with a classic—even if the game has changed a bit.
Minesweeper doesn't come standard in Windows 8, but it's free in the store—and it received a makeover.
The classic style is still available, with grids of different size and with boring mine-clearing assignments. But there's also an Indiana Jones–style adventure mode, where you avoid traps and monsters to collect gold and venture deeper into the temple. Collect items, break walls, and escape!
The robot apocalypse seems less discouraging when you have your own to control, and can fight back in a slot machine-like battle.
Build a defensive robot force, hack the enemy, or take the offensive with special attacks aimed at destroying the enemy mainframe.
In Robotek, different symbols produce different units and buffs, and matching them on the wheel boosts their power. After the roll, each team attacks the other in a violent barrage of lasers, missiles, and fireballs.
The game goes deep, with a complete campaign and a multiplayer aspect. Fun for the kids—or for the evil vacuum cleaner hiding in your closet.
When you start a game of Doodle God, there is only darkness. Then the basic Aristotelian elements appear: water, air, earth, and fire. Combine them two at a time to create more than 300 items.
Start with such basic compounds as steam and sand, and then work up to advanced stuff like computers and weaponry—all by combining two items at a time. Become a god of creativity and doodle away!
Simple puzzle platformers have always been a staple of app stores, but few of them leave your head spinning, as Gravistation does.
Gravistation puts you on simple little platforms that float in space—and have a tendency to flip and change their gravitational pull when you shoot the arrows. Then the entire platform flips, and your little robot hero will plunge to...the bottom? the top? It's hard to tell.
Collect rings for points, collect green keys to unlock doors and progress as far as possible.
If you think you can get away with some simple, brain-numbing fun here, you're wrong! NumberTap puts your math skills to the test, in overdrive.
The interface is very simple (and perfect for a math game). Choose the correct number for the equation in green from the four answers listed at the bottom.
A preview of the next equations appear below, so you can prepare your mind for the next bit of math you're about to attempt to do. It doesn't always work out.
The game scores and ranks you compared to everyone else who's playing at the moment—perfect for competitive smarties. Top the leader boards for free!
It's a classic game of "telephone": Someone starts with a statement that must be drawn. The next person describes the picture—which then goes to someone else who draws the second person's description. The picture/verbal description sequence repeats over and over in Interference (sometimes for 45 to 50 steps!).
Once a game is over, you can review the complete sequence of interpretations—and observe the total breakdown of communication as something simple devolves into something insane.
My favorite started as drawing Zelda and ended with a picture of a giant spider eating a man. It doesn't make sense when you jump directly from step 1 to step 33. But when you look at all of the steps in between, you can see where things went hilariously wrong.
What's the Pic?
It sounds like a simple question, but it's pretty tough to answer when the "pic" is veiled behind a rainbow screen. Still, What's the Pic? is a great way to test your skills of perception.
Start with a limited number of tiles that you can reveal, and click away a box to expose a fragment of the image. Use the provided letters to guess what it is. If you guess correctly while revealing fewer squares, you collect more points.
The delightful dozen: 12 fantastic and free Windows 8 apps
Tired of games? Maybe you need to spend your time on something a little more productive.
If you're strapped for cash, check out this list of the best free Windows 8 apps!