Windows 10 is designed as both a tablet and PC operating system. As such, the Windows Store offers a fairly robust assortment of mobile-style games: endless runners, city builders, and many more. Those games are fun to play on the go, but sometimes you want a more old-school experience.
Arcade games have always been known for their quick play sessions, precise and intuitive controls, and plenty of challenge. I wouldn't say the Windows Store offers a ton of true arcade-style games right now, but there are several good ones if you know where to look. We're talking about games that would be found in an arcade: Pac-Man, racing, fighting, and shooting. Several even offer Xbox Achievements to boot.
Which arcade games do you enjoy from the Windows 10 Store, and which would you like to see show up there? Let us know in the comments below.
1. Asphalt 8: Airborne
Free to play games are hard to get right. They often pester the player to make in-app purchases too much or prevent gamers from playing as much as they want unless they spend real money on energy refills. There are some standout free to play games though, and one of the very best is Asphalt 8: Airborne.
The latest game in the mainline Asphalt racing series ( Asphalt: Overdrive is a simplified spin-off aimed at casual audiences). Asphalt 8 lets players drive more than 100 gorgeous licensed cars on a vast array of tracks. The career mode spans 8+ seasons and over 180 events. Special time-limited events and online multiplayer ensure that players will have plenty to do between career races.
Besides offering tons of content for free, Asphalt 8 excels in part thanks to its eye-popping graphics. Ample car detail (complete with damage modeling) and vibrant colors really bring the racing to life. Playing on sufficiently powerful Windows devices, you could mistake this one for an Xbox console game.
Even more importantly, Asphalt 8 just controls great. Being an arcade-style racer, steering is intuitive and buttery smooth. Just be sure to use either touch steering or an Xbox controller for maximum precision. Collecting power-ups and pulling off stunts will fill up your Nitro meter. Jam on the nitro button to accelerate to blistering fast speeds.
Factor in Xbox Live Achievements, and Asphalt 8 is the racing game to beat on mobile Windows platforms.
2. Big Buck Hunter Pro Adventure
The Big Buck Hunter series is a mainstay of American pizza restaurants and places with arcade cabinets even to this day. In the arcade, one or two players pick up a fancy shotgun and plug away at a variety of defenseless animals, all while marveling at the inaccuracy of said guns. Rigged guns and hunting theme aside, the series has a certain goofy charm that keeps players coming back.
The Windows tablet and PC adaptation of Big Buck Hunter Pro doesn't have a lightgun, but it does offer players the choice of touch screen or mouse and keyboard controls. The touch screen controls work just fine. One finger can tap anywhere on the screen to shoot while tapping the bottom of the screen with another finger reloads.
I actually prefer the mouse and keyboard controls. Left mouse button fires and the right button reloads. The spacebar also reloads, which I find easiest for rapidly firing and reloading.
Big Buck Hunter Pro offers two main game modes: Classic and Adventure. Classic is the original arcade mode, where you can jump into short stages or minigames of your choice. The game doesn't take itself too seriously, as evidenced by some amusing minigames like shooting gofers and cow pies.
The new Adventure mode is a longer and slightly less linear than the traditional arcade mode. By default, it consists of two large campaigns: Whitetail Deer and Elk. Each of these offers Easy, Medium, and Hard mini-campaigns with 25 levels (20 hunting and 5 bonus levels) a piece. Additional campaigns based around other animals are available separately or in a bundle for $5.99.
The goal in each level (as always) is to kill all three defenseless male animals with your superior weaponry. Hitting the beasts' heads or hearts will kill them instantly, but otherwise they take exactly three shots to kill. Shoot a marginally more defenseless female animal and the level immediately ends. Hunters can, however, kill smaller critters like raccoons and birds for extra points.
Even if you're not into hunting for sport, Big Buck Hunter Pro Adventure offers a good, simple shooting gallery experience with lots of levels and minigames to keep you busy. 200 Gamerscore worth of Xbox Achievements sweeten the deal as well. See our full review for more details.
3. BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger
If you like one-on-one fighting games, BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger from Arc System Works is the only game in town for mobile Windows platforms. Plus it has Xbox Achievements! Calamity Trigger is actually the first game in the series, with a manageable cast of 12 fighters to battle and master.
The BlazBlue (pronounced "Blaze Blue") series is renowned for its beautifully-drawn anime-style characters and elaborate backgrounds. The mobile Windows version of Calamity Trigger doesn't disappoint in graphics or sound. Despite the arcade game originating in 2008, it still looks great even now.
Speaking of sound, we can choose between English and Japanese voices – a nice touch. The downside menu-wise is you have to use the Windows-style charm bar to reach the game settings rather than navigating to them naturally with a controller. You probably won't change settings very often, so it's not a massive inconvenience.
The mobile version of Calamity Trigger rings up at a very fair eight bucks. However, it's quite stripped down compared to console and regular PC versions. This one includes the standard Arcade mode, Time Attack, and 2-player local Versus – and that's it. Story and Training modes are sorely missed.
If you want to really get into BlazBlue and become a competitive player, I would recommend grabbing Calamity Trigger or the sequel BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend from Steam over the Windows Store version. But anyone who doesn't need bells and whistles and just wants a solid fighting game on the go will have plenty of fun with BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger for Windows.
4. Crossy Road
Back in 1981, the arcade game Frogger took the world by storm. Although far less popular today than some of its contemporaries like Pac-Man (for which we can blame current rights-holder Konami), Frogger still has a simple appealing theme: help a hapless animal cross a road and rivers without getting squished or eaten.
Australian developer Hipster Whale has its own take on the Frogger concept called Crossy Road. The basic gameplay is the same. Players control a chicken or other characters and must hop across a road and other terrain while avoiding cars, trains, and various obstacles. Hit an object, fall in the water, or get scrolled off the screen (a danger not found in Frogger) and you lose.
Crossy Road does a few things that make it different (and better overall) than Frogger. As a modern mobile game, it's designed like an endless runner. The road never ends, so players can always strive to get a little farther. They can also pick up coins to spend in the gumball machine between runs. The gumball machine awards random characters such as people, frogs, a koala, a unicorn, and more.
The game currently has a limited-time DLC package themed after Korean performer Psy, best known for his song 'Gangnam Style.' For three bucks, you get Psy, a new mode, several extra characters, and a thousand coins. To play the new mode, you have to select Psy, which is appropriate but a bit of a drag. The mode adds a dance floor path along your route. The longer you stick to the path, the more points you get.
Crossy Road's one-finger touch controls work okay, but they're a bit imprecise for my tastes. On Windows 10 devices you can play with a keyboard for more precise controls. Also note that in-app purchases can be restored, but the game unfortunately doesn't support proper cloud saves. Still, Crossy Road is one of the more intuitive and fun "endless" games on Windows devices.
5. Hydro Thunder Hurricane
If you like water racing, California developer Vector Unit has you covered. They offer several aquatic racers for mobile Windows platforms, including Riptide GP 1 and 2 and Shine Runner. But the best of the genre is undoubtedly Hydro Thunder Hurricane, which Vector Unit developed for Microsoft as an Xbox Windows game.
Based on the classic arcade game from Midway, Hydro Thunder Hurricane features a stunning array of realistic and fantasy-themed aquatic tracks. Racers will dash through caves, over ramps, through breakable walls, and survive huge leaps off of cliffs as they seek the finish line buoys. Grabbing boost icons fills your boost meter, allowing for higher speeds, bigger jumps, and more control in water and air.
Hurricane gives players plenty to do. The main single-race mode consists of 11 tracks against tough AI racers. Each track has collectable Hydro Thunder logos to encourage replay value. In Ring Master mode, you'll have to steer through a series of rings while striving for a fast completion time. Gauntlet consists of single timed races without AI competitors. 13 Championships (series of races) round out the single-player modes.
The only thing missing from the Xbox 360 version of Hydro Thunder is true multiplayer. But this Hurricane does at least support ghost races against Xbox Live friends. Beat a friend once to get an Achievement.
With smooth gameplay, excellent water effects, and lots of tracks and boats to unlock, Hydro Thunder Hurricane is one of the most exciting games you'll find for your Windows tablet. Play with touch or plug in a controller for non-stop thrills and challenge.
6. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+
When you think arcade games, there's a good chance you think of the original Pac-Man or Ms. Pac-Man. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+ is the second in a series of modern sequels heralded by the original creator of Pac-Man. If you ask me, it's also the single best Pac-Man game ever made.
Pac-Man still eats dots, fruits, power pellets, and ghosts in Championship Edition DX+, but the formula has been tweaked a bit. The maze does not start out entirely filled with dots – each of its sides contains a smaller matching set. Eat all of the dots on either side and a fruit appears on the opposite side. Chomping the fruit triggers the formation of a new, different pattern of dots.
The game goes back and forth like that, with new paths constantly being created as Pac-Man clears sides of the screen. Instead of going on forever, though, each of DX's game play modes is timed. It's all about getting as many points as possible while you can by finding the best paths between the dots.
The ghosts remain as determined as ever to stop Pac-Man from completing his mission – but this time there are way more than four of them. As each set of dots appears, so do one or more sleeping ghosts. Pass by them and they wake up and give chase.
Instead of wandering randomly, awakened ghosts line up behind Pac-Man. You can usually avoid them easily enough since they trail behind like that. The train of ghosts gets larger and larger as the game goes on, often consisting of 20 or more ghosts. When the yellow hero finally eats a power pellet, the player can take the ghosts down for huge points.
Championship Edition DX+ includes 10 varied mazes by default, each with multiple unlockable game modes. Players can also switch between several art styles and musical themes. If you really like the game you can buy four extra courses for $2 each, but the ones included with the base game already offer plenty of fun. Pac-Man fans, don't miss this game.