Best Windows 8 apps this week
Ninety-fourth in a series. Welcome to this week's episode of the best new apps and games for Microsoft's Windows 8.x operating system.
Microsoft released the August Update for Windows 8.1 this week which offered minor improvements and fixes only.
The quality of releases has picked up again. This week saw the release of several new Microsoft games, Hungry Shark Revolution and Microsoft Jackpot, as well as the release of the excellent podcasting app EzPodder and the strategy game Plight of the Zombies.
As always, if I missed an app or game that has been released this week that you believe is particularly good, let me know in the comments below or notify me via email instead.
Here is this week's selection of apps and games
Red Stripe Deals
Up to six apps and games are discounted by 50 percent or more each week. This is this week's selection:
- Cold Alley, an air-combat game for $3.49
- Castle Raid 2, a strategy game, free for the next 7 days
- Machinarium, an adventure game for $2.49
- InspirARTion, a paint application for $1.49
- Space Weather, modify conditions in space, for $0.99
- The Treasures of Montezuma 3 Premium, a puzzle game for $1.99
Best Windows app of the week
Plight of the Zombie ($4.99, free trial available)
Plight of the Zombie is a great looking strategy game in which you guide a zombie using the mouse or touch.
Your task in each level is to collect as many brains as possible and infect all humans at the same time to complete it.
To do this, you draw a line from the zombie's position to another visible location. You don't have to draw the whole path at once and can stop the zombie at any time as well.
In addition to that, you may use power ups that assist you in levels.
The game itself is great looking and fairly addictive if you like strategy games that involve planning before taking action.
Ah, the life of a shark.Evolve your shark from a tiny being to the most impressive jaw dropping specimen that makes the great white shark look like a tiddler.
You start the game controlling a reef shark but can unlock other sharks including a great white. Some of these are only available as premium currency though which you can earn in the game but also purchase in-app.
Your first task in the game is to eat nearly everything that is in the water. As soon as you start hunting and eating fish, your will gain experience which in turn will increase the size of the shark.
While you can eat nearly anything, including divers and swimmers, you will encounter objects such as mines or rival sharks that you better avoid as they will drain health and if you run out of that, it is game over.
Coins are earned while playing the game and they can be invested in improving attributes such as speed or bite.
All in all a fun game that plays very well both with a mouse and touch.
The math learning game has been designed for the first five school grades. You start by selecting a grade and entering a name and parent email as well.
Once that is out of the way you can select a topic, for instance Addition, Subtraction and Multiplication, or Numbers, Time and Money from the selection menu.
Four answers are displayed for each question and it is your task to pick the right one. If you do so, you climb up the mountain and may even be entered in the hall of fame if you do it well enough.
In addition to all of this, you are also competing against other players at the same time as they are displayed on your screen climbing the same mountain that you are climbing.
Plan, analyze and discuss sport tactics with the application. TacticTab supports more than a dozen games from soccer and basketball to American Football, Tennis and even Waterpolo.
You can place players on the pitch and move them around using the app. What you cannot do right now, and that is unfortunate, is draw on the field.
Still, if you just want to discuss the strategy for an upcoming game, or analyze a game that has been played already, you may find the app useful for that.
Stitch is a free application that brings your Ravelry stash, queue and project information to the Windows 8 operating system.
Ravelry is a free community of knitters and crocheters, and you can use the app to keep track of your designs and upload new photos as well.
There is however no option to add new projects or other information to your account using the app.
EzPodder ($2.49, free trial available)
The video and audio podcast application for Windows 8.1 ships with a huge selection of podcasts that you can subscribe to.
Podcasts are divided into categories such as business or technology which you can browse individually.
Podcasts can be downloaded for offline viewing or listening, and favorited for easier access. It is possible to stream podcasts as well if you prefer that.
Podcasts that are not available yet can be added manually or by loading an opml file into the application.
This is probably the best podcast app for Windows right now.
The game combines exploration of the Ice Age world with mini-games such as match-3 puzzles or sled rides.
In addition to this, you are also trying to rescue animals, creating new homes and structures, and improving the base of operation by other means as well.
The game offers great looking graphics and an interesting story line to follow.
Apps that look promising but could not be tested
Games and apps that don't offer a free trial version cannot be tested. This week saw the release of several promising looking apps that don't offer a trial.