Best Windows 8 apps this week
Sixty-fourth in a series. A total of 1,107 new apps were released to the US Windows Store this week, which is more than double last week's abysmal performance of 476 apps.
The growth is even higher than that -- without options to find out exactly how high -- as Microsoft removed apps from the Food & Dining, and Travel category this week.
The Windows 8.1 store hosts 105,216 apps in total, divided into 82,857 free apps and 22,359 paid apps and desktop programs.
Free apps increased by 1,200 applications in total, while paid apps fell in the same week by 91 apps.
This week's Red Stripe Deals are the following:
- Big Buck Hunter for $2.49
- Dragon Portals for $1.49
- Fantastic Farm for $1.49
- Nightmares from the Deep: The cursed heart for $3.49
- Little Red Riding Hood HD for $1.49
- Green Jelly for $2.49
Disney is also having a promotion right now as seven company games are currently available for free (for a limited time):
- Wreck-It Ralph
- Toy Story: Smash It!
- Where's My Water
- Where'y My Mickey? XL
- Monsters University
- Where's My Perry?
- Avengers Initiative
App of the week
Orcs Must Survive ($2.99, free trial available)
The game plays similar to the popular Plants vs. Zombies game, only that you place orcs on the field to fight against humans.
You need meat to place orcs, which you earn by defeating the attacking humans and by removing orcs again from the battlefield.
You start the game with one infantry unit but gain access to additional unit types, archers for example, as well as special abilities quickly.
You can place mud on the field, for example, to slow down the attackers, or place meat poles on it that increase the meat that you can from defeated enemies.
The game starts off rather slowly but you will notice that the pace increases gradually thanks to an increase in numbers but also in the quality of the attacking army.
Once attacking bow men and cavalry are introduced, it gets really hectic but that is a good thing as it will keep you challenged.
The official Zara app for Windows 8. It brings Zara's online contents to the operating system. You can browse the store or lookbooks, and view pictures or recent campaigns.
The game plays a lot like the classic arcade game Asteroids, only you control a stationary planet instead of a moving spaceship.
The goal in each of the 72 levels of the game is to defend the planet against objects crashing into it.
Two volcanoes are available on either side of the rotating planet that you use for that task. You can fire multiple shots at once, but need to time the shots due to rotation and gravitational force.
The free application taps right into the vast archives of some of the world's most popular Manga sites. When you first start the app, you can select one or multiple manga sources based on language filters.
Once you have made the selection, you are taken to the overview page that is sorted alphabetically. Only some of the available manga series are displayed here directly, with the rest available with a click on the More link displayed at the top of each group.
Manga comics can be added to the favorites or pinned to the start, which may help you keep track of where you stopped reading the last time.
The official ElanSports application offers a ski selector which helps you find the right ski based on terrain, ability, speed, height and gender, activity tracking, weather reports, resort information and more.
Some of the features, like snow reports or activity tracking, are only available to members of the service, while others are free for all users.
This is the demonstration version of the full version of the game. What is interesting about it is that it aims to teach you how to play real musical instruments.
In this case, you need a flute and a microphone that is connected to the PC the app is running on.
All that you need to do then is to use your flute to play the notes as symbolized on the screen. Instead of notes, you see vampires flying towards a tower. Each tower window symbolizes an opening of the flute, so that it is easier to follow.
The first thing you may need to do when you start Gridd 2 for the first time is to switch from tilt controls to keyboard, touch or gamepad controls.
If you select keyboard, you control your ship with the WASD keys and shoot with the mouse.
Your main task in the game is to survive for as long as you can. You lose shields when you hit objects, and can collect power ups to become stronger.
A word learning game for children. Your task in the game is to form words by driving over the right letters.
Once a word has been created, a visual representation of it is shown on the screen. Letters that you drive over are pronounced in the process, and the word is displayed in the end as well.
The free version of the game offers 2 levels and 4 stages, while the remaining 5 levels, themes, and 120 stages become only available when you purchase the full game.
Things start off easy. Only the right letter is displayed at all times. Eventually, multiple letters are displayed on the screen which increases the difficulty of the game.
Eerie is a fun little game with interesting game mechanics. Your task in the game is to reach the exit of each level.
What's interesting here is that you cannot control your character directly. Instead you use a similar mechanic to that used in Angry Birds and catapult the character to another location.
Lots of obstacles lie in your way. From moving creatures that mean game over when you hit them, to dead ends and portals that teleport you to another location on the map.
The on-demand video service is only available for customers of select providers (from the US). Listed on the sign in page are AT&T U-verse, Optimum, Suddenlink and WOW! only.
Available are movies from FX, FXX and FXM,and original series. Other features include setting reminders for shows so that you do not miss any, and on-demand options.
This week saw the release of several good looking games that I was not able to test because there was no trial available.