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If you recently made the switch to Windows 8, you should definitely check out the games store – it’s the tile with the Xbox controller on it. Within lies a multitude of games, most for sale, but a surprising number of titles are completely free. Even in this regard Windows 8 exceeds its predecessors. You now get proper games gratis with your new operating system, not just Mine Sweeper and Solitaire. Although those are still there but this time in HD with updated graphics and achievements!

Let’s take a quick look at two games I’ve taken a particular liking to. Both are Xbox Windows games, and therefore also have achievements that will go towards your gamerscore if you’re an existing Xbox/Windows Phone user.

Adera by HitPoint Studios

Image copyright HitPoint Studios/Microsoft Studios

This is a puzzle-adventure game with surprisingly good graphics presented in an episodic format, as currently only one episode is available for free, with at least two more planned and coming soon. Adera is by far my favourite here, as it offers very high production values. Graphics are gorgeously detailed, voice acting is good, and the music is memorable. In terms of gameplay think Myst, Uncharted (minus the constant gunplay), and pretty much every point and click adventure you’ve ever played!

You take on the mantle of explorer Jane Sinclair who’s flying into the Atacama desert in Chile, searching for clues to her grandfather’s legacy. When her chopper crashes, she and friend Hawk are left to explore the area. Well, Jane actually does all the exploring, being the playable character. Her quest takes her to all sorts of beautiful locations, replete with collectibles and puzzles to solve, not to mention a whole lot of mystery. I find Adera heaps of fun, and can’t wait for the next episodes to post. It’s nominally developed for touch and gesture interfaces, but works great with just your mouse. Adera is also extremely user-friendly and forgiving, as puzzles can be skipped if you find them too hard, and there’s a hint function that basically gives everything away. These are totally optional, if you want to go hardcore, just ignore them and play normally. Highly recommended!

Taptiles by Microsoft Studios

Image copyright Microsoft Studios

This take on the taptiles concept that you’ve seen on Google devices is really interesting, and once more brings very high production values with it. The tiles are now in the form of a 3D Rubiks cube-like arrangement, which can be rotated in order to match identical tiles. Taptiles as it’s presented here is very challenging, even in the supposedly easier Origins mode. Time is of the essence, and as you progress more and more tiles (or symbols) appear, making matching them a challenge. If you’re a fan of puzzlers and so-called casual gaming, this one is definitely for you.

So, get these installed pronto and start having fun. I guarantee you’ll be hooked!

 

 

 

 

 

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