Best Windows 8 apps this week

windows store growth week 39

Thirty-ninth in a series. The total number of new apps in Windows Store still lingers at around the 2,000 mark. While that may not sound that bad on first glance, much of it was fuelled by apps being released to a single store category.

The Music & Video section saw an increase of more than 1,200 apps this week, which means that more than half of this week's new selection have been published to that category.

Even more problematic than that is this can be solely attributed to "fan" apps that are produced in bulk.

A total of 2,215 new apps were published this week increasing the total number of applications in the US Windows Store to 76,768.

Free apps rose to 59,229, up 1,560 from last week, and paid apps to 17,376, up 492 apps this week.

App of the week

Halo Spartan Assault

halo spartan assault

Halo Spartan Assault is a top down action game for Windows 8 and Windows Phone that plays in the Halo universe.  It is a story-driven single player game with great cutscenes and fast paced action. This is especially great if you know your way around the Halo universe as you find out more about the origins of the Spartan Ops program and the Halo 4 Spartan Commander, Sarah Palmer.

The game has been optimized for touch controls but can be played with the mouse and keyboard as well. You move around with the WASD keys on your keyboard, use E to interact with the environment, Space for melee, and the Shift and Ctrl keys to switch between different weapons. The mouse is used to fire weapons and to throw grenades.

The campaign is divided into 25 levels that you need to play in order. You can however, go back to replay a level, for instance to get the coveted gold star rating which is based on the score that you achieve in it.

Before you dive into action, you may change your character's equipment, buy new stuff in the built-in store (for experience that you earn or credits you buy), and change the difficulty level to bump up the score further.

You can play a tutorial before you start to play the campaign. This is highly recommended as you learn about all the ins and outs of the game here.

If there is one thing to criticize, it is the missing trial version. There is no way to take the game for a test drive before you buy it.

Other apps

Kaka

kaka

Singing has never been one of my talents, but that has not kept me from playing Singstar with friends in the past.

Kaka is like that, only for Windows 8. According to its developer, it is making available 20,000 songs to choose from with new ones being added regularly.

Here is how it works. You either pick one of the top or most recent songs displayed on the apps' frontpage, or use the search to hunt for artists or song names.

The game downloads the song to your system, which may take some time even on fast connections.

Hills of Glory 3D

hills of glory 3d

You defend a bunker in Hills of Glory 3D against hordes of enemies trying to destroy it. The game is a tower defense game of sorts, only that you defend your position actively in the game and not passively by building towers on the map.

You got an arsenal of weapons at your disposal to defend your position. This includes rifle and mortar shots, as well as air and helicopter support that you desperately need in later stages of the game.

The game is controlled with the mouse or touch, with both working well.

You earn money in each level that you play which you can spend on improving your weapons in the armory. While you can buy some from the money that you earn during levels, it appears to be not enough to buy all the upgrades. This means that you will either have to grind levels, or use the built-in store to purchase in-game coins with real money.

The Slunchies

slunchies

This game works best with a touch screen, but you can play it as well with the keyboard. Your task in the game is to heal as many slunchies as possible. This is done by tapping on the screen or pressing the A and L buttons at the right time.

What makes this game interesting is that you compete on a world ladder against other players. While it may not be the most varied game of all times, it is certainly fun to play, especially if you want to get all achievements or beat your friends in the world ladder.

Battle Bears Gold

battle bears gold

This is a lot like Quake or Unreal Tournament, only with bears, if that makes any sense. It is a 3D action game in which you can play team deathmatch or bomb planting missions with and against other online players.

It is using in-game monitization features that may give players who spend money an unfair advantage over players who do not.

The game features eight distinct character classes and various weapons and items that you can equip in the game.

Some players may experience motion sickness when playing the game as it is not possible to change the game's field of view in the options.

Planetoid Defense

planetoid defense

You control the defense systems of a planet in this tower defense game. Your task is to protect the planet against asteroids that will collide with it if not shot down before that happens.

An assortment of towers is at your disposal to prevent that, from the classic railgun to orbital turrets and explosive missile turrets.

Each turret costs resources that you have to spend to build it. You can alternatively upgrade existing turrents, to make them more powerful or increase their range.

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