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2014 was the first complete year where Windows 8.1 has been around and the Windows Store clearly shows that. During this time numerous apps appeared – some of them are even popular apps you’ll find on your smartphone.

In this blog post I’ll be giving a quick overview on the Windows 8.1 apps I’ve installed on my PC and find useful.

Please read the drop-down section below if you are not living in the US.
[expand title=”Please Note: Regarding Region” alt=”Click to expand this notice” swaptitle =”Please Note: Regarding Region” swapalt=”Click to hide this notice” trigclass=”bluehighlight”]

Some of the apps below are restricted to the US. It is very easy to overcome this problem. In PC Settings (Windows + I > Change PC Settings) go to Time and Language > Region and Language and set the region to United States. Please note that you may not see the US store immediately. It is advisable to run WSReset.exe to clear the store's cache first. Do this by pressing Windows + R on your keyboard. In the Run dialog, type WSReset.exe and hit enter.

Apps are sorted alphabetically. Without further ado – the apps:

2048 2048

My rating: [usr 3 text=”false” size=20]

“2048 is a fun and addictive game where you have to move the tiles to get to the goal 2048-sized tile by merging similar tiles. But that’s not all – you can even try to play as long as you can.”

Almost everyone with a smartphone know about this little game. Basically you move blocks with the same number into each other and they add up. Do this until you have a tile with the number 2048 on it. You can, however, continue playing if you’ve reached the goal.

View in Windows Store

Adobe Photoshop Express Adobe Photoshop Express

My rating: [usr 3.2 text=”false” size=20]

“On-the-go photo editing was never so fun, fast, and cool. Touch your way to better-looking pictures with automatic fixes and filters. Get your pictures to pop! And after sharing, you’ll be the talk of your friends.”

Everyone knows Photoshop – it’s that program used to make celebrities look slimmer… Now this is a downscale version of that software. It is quite a handy tool to have around when working with images a lot.

View in Windows Store

Advanced English Dictionary Advanced English Dictionary

My rating: [usr 3.6 text=”false” size=20]

“AED is a comprehensive English dictionary app that comes with more than 400,000 entries. Crafted with Windows 8 design language, it has a clean and modern user interface. We endeavor to make AED the most pleasant dictionary app to use in Windows 8.”

After trying quite a few dictionary apps, I have found this one to be the most satisfying. It has just about every word you can think of – it even has the word supercalifragilisticexpealidotious in its database! You can also have words pronounced in US English, as well as UK English.

View in Windows Store

Another Case Solved Another Case Solved

My rating: [usr 4 text=”false” size=20]

“Run your own detective business in this hard-boiled game
of mind-bending puzzles and forbidden candies. The city is clamping down on candy cravings by outlawing sweet snacks! Solve a series of quirky cases by gathering clues, tracking down witnesses, and questioning suspects to reveal the truth behind this city’s sugarcoated secret.”

Another Case Solved is a really cool game as it is a collection of mini games to solve crimes. A while ago I was playing this game everyday! The plot is quite weird – everything revolves around candy and candy being stolen. Despite this little bit of weirdness it is still cool!

View in Windows Store

Asphalt 8: Airborne Asphalt 8: Airborne

My rating: [usr 4.8 text=”false” size=20]

“The best arcade racing game series reaches a new turning point! Perform dynamic, high-speed aerial stunts in an intense driving experience powered by a brand-new physics engine!”

This is the best game in the entire app store according to me. The gameplay is awesome, the graphics are wow and it’s free! You can play single-race mode, career mode or against other players via the Internet or locally via WiFi. If you like racing games, this game should be #1 on your list!

View in Windows Store

Beach Buggy Racing Beach Buggy Racing

My rating: [usr 4.7 text=”false” size=20]

“Beach Buggy is back with an explosive sequel! Drive into an action-packed, surprise-filled world of off-road kart racing mayhem. Race against a field of rival drivers, each with unique personalities and special abilities. Build a collection of crazy powerups, like Dodgeball Frenzy, Fireball, and Oil Slick. Unlock and upgrade a variety of cars, from dune buggies to monster trucks. Test your skills in 6 different game modes on 15 imaginative 3D race tracks, against a pack of tropical-loving rivals with a serious case of road rage!”

I’ve only recently discovered this game in the Windows Store. I used to play this on my Android device, and it was quite fun! This game is way more fun than it was when I played on my phone, as it has added features. Basically you race to win! With different modes and challenges it keeps you interested to keep playing.

View in Windows Store

Bible Bible

My rating: [usr 4 text=”false” size=20]

“Get the #1 rated and ranked Bible App for FREE. The Bible App makes it easy to read and share God’s Word, with almost 300 free Bible versions and 200+ reading plans that help you read the Bible and track your progress. The Bible App even reads to you with audio Bibles! No in-app purchases – everything is free.”

I really love this app! It has numerous versions of the Bible in a variety of languages. There are five versions available in my native language, Afrikaans. You can easily highlight and bookmark your favorite verses and subscribe to plans with specific topics. This is by far the best Bible app out there.

View in Windows Store

Cut The Rope Cut The Rope

My rating: [usr 4.6 text=”false” size=20]

“Cut the rope to feed candy to little monster Om Nom®! 250 million downloads around the world of this phenomenal puzzle game. Try this TRIAL version for FREE. All 275 game levels are available for playing in the Full Game (purchase is required). A mysterious package has arrived, and the little monster inside has only one request… CANDY! Collect gold stars, discover hidden prizes and unlock exciting new levels in this addictively fun, award-winning, physics-based game!”

As stated above this app is a trial. The full game can be purchased to unlock all levels. This is a great game to prevent boredom on Sunday afternoons. The gameplay is simple – you need to feed the little monster – Om Nom. There are obstacles preventing you from simply feeding him (and powerups to help you through levels, if needed).

View in Windows Store

Despicable Me: Minion Rush Despicable Me: Minion Rush

My rating: [usr 4.6 text=”false” size=20]

“Gru’s loyal yellow gibberish-speaking Minions are ready for their toughest challenge in Despicable Me: Minion Rush. Play as a Minion and compete with others in hilarious, fast-paced challenges in order to impress your boss, (former?) super-villain Gru! Jump, fly, dodge obstacles, collect bananas, be mischievous, and defeat villains to earn the title of Minion of the Year! “

If you like games like Subway Surfers and Temple Run, you’ll probably love this one too! You can play as various Minions with character-specific abilities. The aim is to run as far as you can and collect as much bananas as possible. There are different locations to keep things interesting. Definitely another cool game!

View in Windows Store

Facebook Facebook

My rating: [usr 4 text=”false” size=20]

“Keeping up with your friends is easier than ever with the official Facebook app.”

This app needs no introduction. The cool thing about having the Facebook app is notifications. Whenever something happens on Facebook the app shows a notification – even when it’s closed. It is also handy to have the app’s tile in the start menu, as it shows some of the latest posts in your news feed.

View in Windows Store

Farm Up Farm Up

My rating: [usr 4.2 text=”false” size=20]

“Meet young Jennifer. She’s just bought a small farm. It’s 1930s crisis but Jennifer is ready to do everything to become successful. This is where you join in. Learn about different types of plants. Take care of poultry and cattle. Harvest fruit and vegetables. With the help of Jennifer’s husband and grandparents you’ll be able to run a profitable farming business in no time. “

There are a lot of farming apps available, but this one is the best one, for me at least. You can plant, harvest, produce, upgrade, expand, sell and even catch butterflies. There are daily rewards, so it can keep you quite busy in the long run.

View in Windows Store

Flipboard Flipboard

My rating: [usr 3.4 text=”false” size=20]

“Flipboard is your personal magazine. It is the most popular way to catch up on the news you care about, read stories from around the world and browse the articles, videos and photos friends are sharing. To begin, pick a few topics and tap any of the tiles to begin flipping through your personal magazine.”

One of the very first posts I did on my blog was about Flipboard – the personalized magazine app. This wonderful app is still a the top of its league and keeps millions of users up to date with news they are interested in.

View in Windows Store

Foursquare Foursquare

My rating: [usr 3.5 text=”false” size=20]

“The new Foursquare for Windows 8.1 learns what you like and leads you to places you’ll love. With a design custom built for larger screens, discovering great places wherever you are in the world has never been easier.”

Foursquare is a very nice location based social network. You can use it to log all the places you visit and share some memories with your friends. The Windows 8.1 app is very handy and offers the same functions as you’ll find in the mobile versions of the app.

View in Windows Store

Hill Climb Racing Hill Climb Racing

My rating: [usr 4.4 text=”false” size=20]

“One of the most addictive and entertaining physics based driving game ever made! And it’s free! Meet Newton Bill, the young aspiring uphill racer. He is about to embark on a journey that takes him to where no ride has ever been before. With little respect to the laws of physics, Newton Bill will not rest until he has conquered the highest hills up on the moon! Face the challenges of unique hill climbing environments with many different cars. Gain bonuses from daring tricks and collect coins to upgrade your car and reach even higher distances. Watch out though – Bill’s stout neck is not what it used to be when he was a kid! And his good ol’ gasoline crematorium will easily run out of fuel.”

This is another classic game – even my father plays it! With different cars, stages and engine configurations, this game is addictive! I love to play it every now and then. My computer doesn’t have a touch screen, but that is no problem – the left and right arrow keys handle the vehicles just fine. It’s just the operator who’s messing up sometimes! 😉

View in Windows Store

Riptide GP2 Riptide GP2

My rating: [usr 4 text=”false” size=20]

“Riptide GP™2 kicks everything into overdrive, with intense dynamic water racing, upgradeable hydro jets and riders, improved graphics, an all-new career mode, and a whole new stunt system with dozens of new tricks! Featuring rocket-powered hydro jets racing around futuristic tracks across a dynamic and interactive water surface, Riptide GP2 delivers a fast, fun, and visually stunning racing experience.”

This app isn’t free, but I won’t mind to buy the full game! “Visually stunning” is a great description. Add a few jet ski’s, stunts and awesome background music and – voila! This is what this game is all about. Definitely worth the small price!

View in Windows Store

Robotek Robotek

My rating: [usr 3.7 text=”false” size=20]

“The humanity had fallen. In the great robot uprising machines took the planet over. Empire of Machine is the new world order. It’s time to take it back! One node at a time. Rip through your enemies with lasers, electrocute them or fry them with microwaves. Deploy your own robots to fight for you or steal them from your enemy. Protect and upgrade your forces or throw them away in a ruthless wave of destruction.”

Robotek is a game of chance. You don’t have much control over what happens. It is, however, fun to destroy an enemy robot! 😛

View in Windows Store

Shazam Shazam

My rating: [usr 4.2 text=”false” size=20]

“Shazam is the quickest and easiest way to discover more about music, TV and ads. Hold your phone up to the music or TV to identify a track, buy it, share it, watch the video, get the lyrics and more!”

Shazam is one of the best apps to identify music and it is great to have it on your PC! You can Shazam a song which is playing on your PC, which is pretty handy. And don’t forget that you’ll need a microphone to use Shazam!

View in Windows Store

Sonic Dash Sonic Dash

My rating: [usr 4.5 text=”false” size=20]

“How far can the world’s fastest hedgehog run? Play as Sonic the Hedgehog as you dash, jump and spin your way across stunning 3D environments. Swipe your way over and under challenging obstacles in this fast and frenzied endless running game.”

Sonic the Hedgehog – the game character a lot of us grew up with, is here to stay! Sonic Dash made its appearance in other app stores earlier this year and it also made its way to the Windows Store very recently. This is an endless running game with great graphics, cool sound and some familiar faces from previous Sonic the Hedgehog games. If you are a Sonic fan like me, you should definitely check this game out!

View in Windows Store

TuneIn Radio TuneIn Radio

My rating: [usr 3 text=”false” size=20]

“TuneIn Radio is a new way to listen to music, sports, and news from every corner
of the earth, with over 60,000 radio stations and 2 million on-demand programs.”

If you are a music lover this app is for you. And let’s not forget that there are thousands of radio stations to listen to on TuneIn as well! I love it to listen to Top 40 music stations while blogging or surfing the web. No matter where you are or what language you speak – there will definitely be something for you to listen to!

View in Windows Store

Twitter Twitter

My rating: [usr 3.2 text=”false” size=20]

“With Twitter, you can watch the world unfold like never before. Get real-time stories, pictures, videos, conversations, ideas, and inspiration all in your timeline. Follow people and your interests to get unfiltered access and unique behind-the-scenes perspectives. Express yourself with photos, videos and comments. Twitter for Windows 8 brings you all the design, features and functionality of Twitter combined with the fast and fluid technology of Windows 8.”

The Twitter app works great on Windows 8.1. Like Facebook I use it mostly for notifications about follows, tweets and retweets. It has served me well so far and I definitely recommend it if you have a Twitter account.

View in Windows Store

Where's My Water? 2 Where’s My Water? 2

My rating: [usr 3.5 text=”false” size=20]

“Get ready to join Swampy, Allie, and Cranky on their NEXT exciting adventure! The sequel to the most addicting physics-based puzzler from Disney has finally arrived. Where’s My Water? 2 launches with three brand new locations including the Sewer, the Soap Factory, the Beach. Best of all, the puzzles are all free! Cut through dirt, and guide fresh water, purple water, and steam to help Swampy and his friends!”

I know this game isn’t really intended for adults, but how on earth is a child supposed to master the tricky levels in this game?? The main goal is to get water to Swampy. That is quite a job in some cases!

View in Windows Store

And that’s it! Now you know what my fave apps are. Remember that Microsoft also has a great selection of their own apps which comes pre-installed with Windows 8.1.

Default Windows Apps

Pre-installed Windows 8.1 apps

There are tonnes of other useful apps and games out there! Does your favorite apps differ from mine? Let me know which apps you use in the comments section below.

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© 2020 Jano Barnard