After years of being, well, a joke, the Microsoft Store for Windows 10 has actually started to become a pretty respectable place for PC games. Thanks to Xbox Game Pass for PC (opens in new tab), you can grab many of these titles as part of a low-cost monthly subscription, or purchase them outright with special discounts once they leave the library. Here are our picks for the best core PC games on the Windows 10 Microsoft Store as of April 2020. Microsoft also now has a separate dedicated Xbox app just for PC games (opens in new tab), so you don't have to browse through the nightmare mixture of weird and broken abandonware in the main Microsoft Store. Cool!
Mutant Year Zero (opens in new tab)
Mutant Year Zero is an excellent turn-based tactics title with an RPG slant. Set in an apocalyptic future, a group of mutants carves out an existence in a radioactive Swedish wasteland, based on a popular 80s tabletop RPG. With some great dialogue and writing, Mutant Year Zero is a slick and satisfying strategy RPG well-worth your time.
Take to the skies
Microsoft Flight Simulator is a landmark experience that puts players in the cockpit of a variety of real-world aerospace vehicles within an unprecedented full-world 1:1 scale planetary simulation. Real-time weather effects based on live data, laser-scanned topography, and detailed landmark locations make Flight Sim one of the best games on the store by a mile.
Dragon Quest XI is the latest installment in the epic turn-based JRPG franchise, and it arrived on the Microsoft Store as part of Xbox Game Pass. Dragon Quest XI is an epic 40-60+ hour journey filled with great characters, huge boss battles, and engaging combat.
Build a hospital
If you want something a little bit more laid back, check out Two Point Hospital. This quirky business sim has you set up and maintain your very own private hospital, tasked with curing all sorts of quirky illnesses and infections as you expand your pharmacological empire. Gorgeous, addictive, and fun, Two Point Hospital is a warm nostalgia trip for those who loved Theme Hospital and Theme Park.
Conquer the wild
Taking place in the frozen climbs of Canada, The Long Dark is set during the events of a freak ecological disaster, which has seen arctic temperatures blanket the continent in endless snow. After crashlanding in the abandoned wilds of the great North, you must scavenge, hunt, and ultimately survive in one of the most gritty and enduring survival games ever made.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a tight, deep, stunning, and evocative platformer from Moon Studios. Representing one of this generation's most excellent titles, Ori and the Will of the Wisps upends the very idea of a "side-scrolling platformer" with staggeringly deep art, music, and beautiful story-telling. This is a must-play game.
An RTS for the ages
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition polishes up and revamps the classic strategy game for the modern era. With gorgeous remastered visuals, a boosted music score, refined A.I. complete with hours and hours of historically-inspired campaigns, Age of Empires II remains a timeless classic.
An instant classic
Obsidian has ascended back to the top of the AAA RPG pile with one of the best first-person RPGs of the generation with The Outer Worlds. Taking inspiration from the likes of Firefly, Cowboy Bebop, and other self-styled space Westerns, The Outer Worlds thrills with tight shooting, fantastic writing, set in a stunning sci-fi world.
Forza Horizon 4 is a masterful racing game that is the culmination of everything Playground Games has been working towards with the series. Complete with seasonal changes, this gorgeous recreation of iconic British landscapes is the ultimate open-world arcade racing experience, and it's available on Windows 10.
Halo Wars 2 is a criminally underrated sci-fi strategy game set in the popular Halo universe. Take on one of the galaxy's biggest threats yet in Atriox and his banished covenant military junta, both in co-op play with competitive player-versus-player modes; Halo Wars 2 is an Xbox Play Anywhere title well worth a look.
Life of a pirate
Sea of Thieves is a massive connected sandbox wrapped in a vibrant pirate adventure. Join up to three friends, take on the high seas, battle it out with leviathans, hunt for buried treasure, and customize your gear and ship. Sea of Thieves is all about navigating the danger of a persistent open world, where every player could be your enemy.
Zombie apocalypse simulator
State of Decay 2 is an open-world zombie apocalypse simulator, where you're in control of an entire crew of survivors. Manage resources, craft weapons, and build up your base, because the zombie hordes won't give you a break. State of Decay 2 is an aggressively addictive action game playable with up to three friends.
Astroneer is a procedurally-generated survival game set in an infinite cosmos, where your only tasks are to survive and flourish. Research the local flora and fauna, learn increasingly complex machines and tools and build large settlements in a co-op journey to colonize space.
Cuphead is a masterful hand-drawn side-scrolling platform shooter with old-school leanings. Taking inspiration from games like Contra and Gunstar Heroes, Cuphead is set in a vintage-style world full of anthropomorphic creatures working for your enemy, The Devil himself. Either solo or in two-player local co-op, Cuphead is a blast.
Sunset Overdrive is a madcap open-world action game set in a vibrant, mutant-infested apocalypse. A contaminated soft drink has turned the local population into crazed freaks, and it's on you to get to the bottom of the corporate conspiracy. Grind your way Tony Hawk-style across an action-filled playground in one of the most underrated romps of the generation.
Craft all the things
Naturally, arguably the best and most popular game on the Microsoft Store is none other than Minecraft itself. This is the Bedrock Edition of the game, meaning you can play with friends across any other compatible platform (namely PC, Xbox, PS4, Switch, mobile, and even VR). Timeless creativity and exploration await.
Classic horror reborn
Resident Evil 7 marked the beginning of a bit of a renaissance for Capcom, revisiting the classic survival horror format it largely abandoned with Resident Evil 5 and 6. The result is one of the best entries in the series, wrapped in a slick first-person shooter with harrowing visuals and satisfying combat.
Shop keep 'em up
Moonlighter is a fun, light-hearted hack n' slash game with inspirations ranging from classic Zelda to Harvest Moon. In Moonlighter, your goal is to delve into dangerous dungeons to recover precious relics and reagents to sell in your very own shop. Upgrading your shop will grow your business, allowing you to upgrade your gear and take on stronger enemies. It's addictive, fun, and awesome.
Frostpunk is a survival simulator set in a climatological apocalypse, where a new ice age has obliterated civilization. You and a small troupe of survivors must rebuild, heat your homes, forage for food, and ultimately survive the increasingly blistering cold while managing the fears and potential rebellion of your own citizens. Frostpunk is a masterpiece.
Starting to grow
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The Microsoft Store has effectively been a bit of a joke for the longest time, but thanks to increased investment from Microsoft and Xbox Game Pass for PC, it's starting to become a respectable place to buy your games.
There's still not a massive amount of core games available on the Microsoft Store, but the ones that are there are must-own games that often come with cross-play or cross-buy capabilities with Xbox One. The Long Dark (opens in new tab) is a personal top-5 game of the gen, with some of the most panic-inducing thrills I've experienced in a game. The randomly-generated loot and threats keep you firmly on your frost-bitten toes as you navigate an increasingly harsh wilderness, and the story elements the studio recently introduced are top-tier.
Mutant Year Zero (opens in new tab) is another personal favorite. The setting is suitably apocalyptic but uniquely set in a distant future where the relics of the past have become the object of hearsay and conjecture. Some of the item descriptions are hilarious, as the apocalypse's future denizens try to figure out what basic household objects were for back in the golden era. The writing is killer, and the gameplay is satisfying, too, with huge potential as a franchise.
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!
Why isn't Halo on this list?
I will fix that in the next update! I also want to get Prey in there.
And Fallout 76 now too!
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