Best Windows 8 apps this week

windows store growth week 30

Thirtieth in a series. Several stock apps were updated this week. The Xbox Music app supports the import of iTunes playlists in its latest version, and users of the video app benefit from the improved accessibility of actor and director information.

The official Major League Soccer app for Windows 8, MLS MatchDay, has been improved as well featuring "exclusive content and this season’s schedule, standings, highlights, play-by-play, roster lineups, game stats, goals, cards and substitutions" as Alan notes.

The overall app count in the US Windows 8 app store is now 52,521 apps, an increase of 2365 apps in the last seven days and a big jump in growth from last week's 1639 new apps.

Free apps crossed the 40,000 app mark for the first time in store. Currently, 40,683 apps are listed as free to download in the store, an increase of 1686 apps this week.

As far as paid apps are concerned, they increased by 700 apps this week to a total of 11,859 apps.

App of the Week

Adobe Photoshop Express

The official Adobe Photoshop Express app is a basic photo editing application for Windows 8. You can load local photos into the app, photos stored by Adobe's Revel service, or directly transfer a photo from a camera.

The available editing options are displayed at the bottom of the screen:

  • Crop the photo.
  • Correct the pictures contrast, exposure or white balance.
  • Apply filters to the image.
  • Correct Red Eyes.
  • Use the one-click auto-fix feature.
One excellent feature the app makes available is the option to switch between the original image and the changed image while you are working on it. It helps you find differences based on the changes that you have made so far.
Essential features, like the ability to resize images, are missing. While you can crop photos, it is not the same and it is puzzling why Adobe did not add resize options to the app.
Some contents, including the noise reduction tool and some of the filters, are only available after you purchase them. All paid features are indicated by a Dollar sign in the application.
Photos can be saved to the local device, uploaded to Adobe Revel, or shared on Facebook.

Other Apps

Distinct 9

The objective in this game is to fill rows, columns or grids with distinct numbers. If you place the last number you are awarded points and the tiles are filled with your color.

The player with the most played chips on the board is the winner in the end.

You can score double and triple points in the game if a placed digit completes two or three grids, rows or columns at the same time.

It is an interesting game that shares similarities with Sudoku.

NeroKwik

NeroKwik provides you with access to photos on all of your devices, and on the social networking sites Facebook, Google+ and SugarSync storage,

It can take quite some time before photos are displayed. All of your photos, or at least those that the app found, are then displayed in the apps' interface.

You can browse the photos here, or use the photo collage and sharing feature the app provides you with instead. Collages, called tapestries in the app can be shared via email or publicly on Facebook or Google+.

Crossword Fun

Crossword Fun offers an endless supply of crossword puzzles for you to solve.  You can use the cursor keys or the mouse to navigate, and the keyboard to enter your solutions.

The game jumps to the right across and down positions as soon as you change the location on the board which is a nice feature that makes the app more comfortable to use as you do not have to locate the entries manually anymore.

Make sure you switch the skill from regular to master in the options to disable the hint system that is in place automatically. If you don't, the game will indicate wrong letters with a red font color automatically.

Gas Buddy

A free application displaying the cheapest gas prices near your location, or a location of your choice. You can set a manual location in the apps' preferences by entering a zip code in the location field there.

Note that the app is only tracking gas prices across the US and no other countries.

It displays a selection of stations, their current gas price and location, based on the zip code that you have entered on the frontpage.

A click on a station displays the stations' features, regular, midgrade, premium and diesel pricing, as well as when the current prices where recorded by users of the app.

Sudoku for Free

Sudoku for Free displays random Sudoku puzzles for you to solve. Your tasks in Sudoku is to fill a 9x9 grid with numbers from 1 to 9 in a way that all 3x3 sub-grids, columns and rows contain each number only once.

You add numbers to the board by tapping on a digit on the left and then on the location on the board that you want to place it on. A tap on notations enables you to add possible solutions to a field of the board which may help you solve the puzzle.

You can enable hints in the options that help you solve the puzzle. The game looks really nice but does not offer difficulty levels. If you played Sudoku before, you may find the puzzles too far on the easy side of things.

Pathos

You play the role of an evil spirit in this puzzle game aiming to drive two lovers apart on the map. This is done by placing rocks on the map that block the path the two lovers can take to reach each other.

The goal of the each map is to increase the shortest route between both characters to exceed a distance displayed to you by the game in the lower half of the screen.

The game keeps you entertained for a short while. You can load different levels and since the characters start in random locations on the map, it is sometimes easier and at other times harder to reach the goal.

Wizard's Choice Chapter 1 (link is broken currently)

This is the first chapter of a series of text adventures that you can play through. The first chapter is free while all remaining chapters are not. It works similar to books of the Lone Wolf series where you are always presented with a set of choices of which you have to pick one.

The app keeps track of your character's health, mana and gold, and it is up to you to make the best out of every situation described to you.

Beautiful images are sometimes added to the textual descriptions which may help you imagine the situation your character is in at that point in time.

If you like Lone Wolf or do not mind playing text-based adventures, this one may definitely be worth checking out.

Pacman

Pacman is a faithful conversion of the popular arcade game. Eat all dots on the map and avoid being touched by enemies that roam it. When you are touched by an enemy, a life is lost. When all lives are lost, the game ends.

Power dots are located in the four corners of each level that turn the enemies into ghosts that you can now touch to remove them temporarily from the map.

If you manage to eat all dots of a stage you are taken to the next where the game begins from anew.

Now You

Have you discovered an app or game in Windows Store this week that you really like? Feel free to mention it in the comments so that we all can take a look at it.

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