Windows 8 gaming has come a long way in the last year. Have you played these 25 greats?

It’s been over a year now since Microsoft launched the Surface line of tablets with Windows 8 and, with the new hardware and new OS, a new age of Windows gaming.

The platform got off to a slow start, but by now a crop of fun games have popped up in the Windows 8 app store. Licensed titles and Microsoft’s first-party offerings share the virtual shelves with indies, RPGs, and a huge variety of other games from a wide swathe of developers.

Check out these 25 great Windows 8 games for tablets and drop us a line to let us know what you’re playing on Windows 8.

Rayman Jungle Run

rayman (1)

Ubisoft brings that one-of-a-kind Rayman platforming action to Windows tablets. Like the other Rayman tablet games, Jungle Run does a great job preserving what’s great about the console games Origins and Legends while adjusting it for touch screens.

Halo: Spartan Assault


Twin-stick shooters, in which you move with your left thumb and aim/shoot with your right, have always been a good fit on touch screens—and Halo: Spartan Assault is no exception. Yet even in this portable format it still feels something like Halo. The classic enemies, weapons and vehicles help, as does the glittery production. Plus you can sync progress with the Xbox One version if you have it.

Skulls of the Shogun

skulls of the shogun

This well-loved strategy game is available on other platforms, but the touch screen version found on Windows tablets may be the best version available. Play as a recently deceased Samurai general and command your equally dead followers to take over the underworld.

Jetpack Joyride


Jetpack Joyride is a tablet and mobile classic, and Halfbrick’s bite-sized masterpiece is as great as ever on Windows 8 tablets. It’s the perfect casual gameplay experience: easy enough for literally anyone to play, but deep enough that you’ll keep coming back. And the in-app purchases are tempting, but not at all required to enjoy it.

Asphalt 8: Airborne


With eight entries, Asphalt is one of the most prolific tablet and mobile racing series. Airborne is free-to-play on some platforms, and although it costs $1.99 on Windows 8, the high-quality racing action is well worth it.


Fruit Ninja

fruit ninja

Does anything really need to be said about Fruit Ninja? It’s about as classic as touch screen games get. Slice the fruit, aim for combos, and avoid the bombs—and try not to waste too many hours at a time.



The adorable Xbox 360 puzzle game comes to Windows 8 touch screens. There are a number of control options, and keyboard controls work great. Don’t let the cute art distract you, though, because ilomilo is a challenge. Play through with a friend, alternating between characters, for extra fun.

Pinball FX2


For the pinball fans out there, Pinball FX2 is certainly the best option on Windows 8 tablets. Be prepared to shell out some cash, though, as it only comes with one free table and you’ll have to buy the rest individually—even if you’ve already purchased them on Xbox 360.



Robotek is an odd little turn-based combat game. It seems at first as though there’s more chance involved than strategy, but if you take the time to learn how to use its slots-based system you’ll realize there’s plenty of skill involved as well.


Star Wars: Tiny Death Star

tiny death star

The Tiny series marches on with the licensed title Tiny Death Star. If you’ve played Tiny Tower, Pocket Planes, Pocket Trains, or even Pocket Frogs, then you know that Tiny Death Star is extremely simple—and sickeningly difficult to put down. Plus, Star Wars!



Boggle for the internet age. You play not against one or a few specific opponents, but against hundreds. The better you do, the higher your rank. And as an Xbox-connected title on Windows 8 tablets, your achievements go straight to your gamer score.

Dragons Adventure

dragons adventure

This licensed How to Train Your Dragon game is the product of a collaboration between Dreamworks and Nokia, and it’s exclusive to the Lumia 2520 tablet. Although few are able to play it, the concept of a game built to entertain kids on car rides by creating virtual levels based on real-world GPS data is interesting.



EVAC is like Pac-Man combined with that old pack-in PC puzzle game Chip’s Challenge. If you remember that game well enough to remember it fondly, then do yourself a favor and give the colorful EVAC a try. It’s worth it.


Hydro Thunder

hydro thunder

If you remember playing Hydro Thunder in arcades with big, rumbling plastic seats and a huge screen in front of you, don’t expect the same experience here. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a worthy addition to your Windows tablet. The touch screen controls work surprisingly well, and Hydro Thunder is still tons of fun. Plus this one’s a Windows tablet exclusive.

Major Mayhem

major mayhem

Adult Swim’s Major Mayhem features a mix of gameplay from arcade light gun shooters and mobile running-type games. Being an action hero, its eponymous protagonist has to shoot a lot of ninjas while dodging incoming fire, then hurdle over obstacles as he runs to meet the next skirmish. The mission-based gameplay works great and the tone is light and fun.

Microsoft Mahjong


Come on—it’s Mahjong! Who doesn’t like Mahjong? And a surprisingly robust version of it, considering it comes pre-installed free on many Windows 8 devices.

Microsoft Solitaire


You absolutely can’t go wrong with Solitaire. It’s a must for Windows machines, and thankfully that’s the one tradition Microsoft didn’t change with Windows 8. The Windows 8 version features five different types of solitaire, customizable themes, and even achievements.


Microsoft Minesweeper


Amazingly, Microsoft has added an adventure mode to the classic game of Minesweeper. It looks like Spelunky, and there are some new twists. But at its core it’s still Minesweeper—and that’s definitely a good thing.



Radiant is Space Invaders on ecstacy at a rave—minus the lame house music, thankfully. Its neon visuals and addictive weapon upgrades system are well worth checking out, and on Windows 8 tablets the game is free. Try its related cousin, the tower defense game Radiant Defense, as well.



If casual hidden object games are your thing then you’ll probably enjoy Adera. Microsoft’s take one the genre attempts to do things a little differently, though at its heart it’s still a game for moms. Nothing wrong with that, of course. Just be aware that you’ll have to pay to play beyond the first episode.

Babel Rising 3D


Being a god isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially when your powers amount to just a few elements. But Babel Rising works better on touch screens than it does with motion controls on consoles, and this Ubisoft title is fun enough.


Reckless Racing Ultimate

real racing

There’s nothing wrong with being reckless now and then. Yes, there are two racing games on this list, but Reckless Racing shares little with Asphalt 8. The top-down perspective and difficult-to-master controls make it a surprisingly deep experience.

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+


Most attempts to breathe new life into classic games result only in more stale hot air, but Pac-Man Championship Edition is definitely the exception. The action ramps up the longer you play, and there are a ton of modes to this re-imagining.



Reaper – Tale of a Pale Swordsman is not an easy game to classify. It has elements of classic role-playing games, but the combat is all side-scrolling touch screen action. The writing is surprisingly decent, and it even has multiplayer. Check it out if you’re curious at all—there’s a charm here that defies explanation. Just be aware that there’s a level cap before you have to start paying.

The Harvest


Windows Phone gamers loved The Harvest when it debuted on Windows Phone 7, and though it’s yet to hit WP8, it has arrived in the Windows 8 app store. Think of it as something like a high-quality blend of Diablo and MechWarrior.

What are your favorite Windows games?

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