Home / Features / The 25 best Windows Phone games right now

The 25 best Windows Phone games right now

UPDATED: Ready for great gaming on your Windows Phone? The selection's better than ever

The main problem with gaming on Windows Phone devices isn’t the hardware (which is generally very good) or the choice (fair, but improving all the time), but actually finding the good stuff.

We’d go so far as to say that discovering anything worthwhile is a nightmare. Just take a look at the top charts, which are loaded with obvious knock-offs – unless Nintendo has suddenly ported its catalogue to Windows Phone – that linger and obscure the actual good stuff buried in the depths. And there is good stuff. Not as much as on iOS or Android, but enough to keep you happily entertained throughout the day.

Fortunately for you, we dug through the mess and created this list of the best overall games (paid and free alike) available on the platform today. And we’ve just gone through and expanded the list to add some of the more recent worthwhile releases.

READ MORE: 15 incredible Windows Phone apps that don’t cost a penny

1. Plants vs. Zombies

1. Plants vs. Zombies

Traditional tower defense games often star fantasy knights, sci-fi warriors, or military men. How about some cartoon foliage and their undead opponents instead? Plants vs. Zombies is a casual classic and one of the best genre entries around, putting an accessible spin on the action by leaving you in charge of powered-up plants trying to protect a suburban home. It’s silly, but serious fun for sure.

Stuff says ✭✭✭✭ Price £1.99

Download Plants vs. Zombies here

2. Asphalt 8: Airborne

2. Asphalt 8: Airborne

For insane speed, impressive graphics, and no entry fee whatsoever, there’s no better mobile option than Gameloft’s Asphalt 8: Airborne, easily the most accomplished entry in what had previously been a serviceable series.

By amping up the action and excitement, not to mention adding a whole lot of graphical polish, Asphalt 8 makes it possible to enjoy arcade-style racing thrills wherever you are.

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price: £free

Download Asphalt 8: Airborne here

3. Rayman Fiesta Run

3. Rayman Fiesta Run

The recent Rayman console side-scrollers are superb, but they wouldn’t be a good fit for mobile. So rather than tarnish a great thing, Ubisoft built a touch-centric affair using the same stunning graphics but with influence from the auto-runner genre. Rayman Jungle Run was a good start, but follow-up Fiesta Run is truly excellent, delivering tense action, real challenge, and an extensive array of stages to clear.

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price £1.69

Download Rayman Fiesta Run here

4. Halo Spartan Assault

4. Halo Spartan Assault

No, this isn’t the same first-person experience that’s been selling Xbox consoles for more than a decade, but the series’ trademark aesthetic transfers surprisingly well to this top-down shooter.

Across a couple of dozen bite-sized stages, you’ll blast familiar Covenant creatures, command an array of vehicles, and soak in the great sci-fi universe, albeit in a different kind of format. It’s surprisingly strong.

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price £3.49

Download Halo Spartan Assault here

5. Minecraft: Pocket Edition

5. Minecraft: Pocket Edition

It arrived years after the iPhone and Android versions, but ignore all of that: now that Microsoft owns Mojang, Minecraft: Pocket Edition is finally on Windows Phone.

The massively popular cube-based exploration game holds up on well on mobile, letting you try to survive on your own in a randomly generated world (that features exploding zombies at night) or have free rein to mold the terrain around you without threats. Either way, it’s a brilliant time sink.

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price £5.39

Download Minecraft: Pocket Edition here

6. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

6. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

One of the greatest and most expansive open-world action games of all time is available on Windows Phone, and even a decade later, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is still a blast. Set in the early ’90s in Los Angeles, San Andreas finds you navigating a world of gang wars and strife as you cruise the city, explore CJ’s story, and cause mayhem. It’s not perfect with touch controls, but still plenty of fun.

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price £3.99

Download Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas here

7. Jetpack Joyride

7. Jetpack Joyride

Among endless time-wasters, Jetpack Joyride remains one of our absolute favourites. You control a man who’s just stolen a jetpack, which rains down machine gun fire as it soars through the air, and your task is to escape the research facility as missiles and laser traps aim to take you down. There’s no actual way out, of course, but the endless pursuit of a lengthier distance and leaderboard supremacy is irresistible.

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price £free

Download Jetpack Joyride here

8. Threes!

8. Threes!

Easily one of the best puzzle games ever devised for a touch screen, Threes! is a simple game of addition that proves mind-bogglingly challenging before long. The basic task is to combine specific tiles in order to build larger and larger numbers, but every tile shifts when you swipe (if there’s room to move), plus another tile is added. In other words, you’ll need to constantly add to subtract, if you get our drift. It’s brilliant.

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price £free

Download Threes! here

9. Monument Valley

9. Monument Valley

One of the most astounding games ever designed for small screens, Monument Valley is a puzzler that messes with your mind. You walk along walls and across paths that only connect via optical illusions, and explore stages that aren’t physically possible yet make sense in this digital world.

It’s terribly gorgeous and memorable too, and although bite-sized in nature, it’s absolutely worth the asking price. (Pay a little extra within for the expansion pack, too!)

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price £3.09

Download Monument Valley here

10. FIFA 14

10. FIFA 14

While not as deep as its console counterpart, FIFA 14 delivers a strong football experience on the go, with touch controls that let you tap and swipe to dominate the pitch.

It’s mainly focused on the Ultimate Team mode, wherein you collect player cards to build a squad, and there’s a lot of fun here for free. FIFA 15 has some performance issues on Windows Phone, so stick with last year’s game for now.

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price £free

Download FIFA 14 here

11. Crossy Road

11. Crossy Road

Crossy Road puts a new spin on the endless runner: it’s an endless tapper, in which you repeatedly tap – and occasionally swipe to go left and right to dodge obstacles – to make your blocky character cross streets and streams alike.

This wonderfully tense game is a free-to-play gem, never pressuring you into spending money, but more importantly it’s an amazing little game that’ll have you gleefully badmouthing friends as you hop past their high scores.

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price £free

Download Crossy Road here

12. Angry Birds Space

12. Angry Birds Space

While the original Angry Birds is still the series’ best starting point, not to mention packed with fowl-flinging content, we’re rather fond of the sci-fi spinoff, Angry Birds Space.

Instead of flat, earthbound terrain, you’re whipping birds around planets and asteroids, and the puzzles that result are largely smart and entertaining. Although if you want a good mix of the series’ styles, Angry Birds Star Wars has a bit of each.

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price £0.79

Download Angry Birds Space here

13. Machinarium

13. Machinarium

Point-and-click adventures transfer well to touch devices, so it’s no surprise that the wonderful indie quest Machinarium is a treat on Windows Phone. It’s largely traditional in style, finding you investigating items in the world to solve brainy puzzles, but the stunning visual design is unlike any other genre entry out there.

Grim, funny, and utterly gorgeous, this robot’s journey is a memorable one indeed.

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price £3.49

Download Machinarium here

14. Fruit Ninja

14. Fruit Ninja

One of the earliest examples of the simple, satisfying thrills of touch screens remains one of the best on Windows Phone, as Fruit Ninja still entertains in small bursts.

As ever, you watch as colorful apples, oranges, and other fruit are tossed into view, giving you a moment to slash them and boost your score. Dodging bombs is the key to a successful run, and multiple game modes shake up the action and add longevity.

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price £0.79

Download Fruit Ninja here

15. Hitman GO

15. Hitman GO

Square Enix’s Hitman series on consoles and PC is all about stealth action and freedom of choice as you carry out assassination missions. By contrast, Hitman GO sets you on fixed paths on board game-inspired, quick-hit stages.

Amazingly, it’s a superb transition, as this strategic action affair captures enough of the essence of the series while charting a new approach that’s perfect for mobile. And the faux-plastic aesthetic is ace.

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price £0.79

Download Hitman GO here

16. Into the Dead

16. Into the Dead

Boarding a helicopter probably seems as good an idea as any when the zombie uprising begins, but what happens when it crash-lands in a field in the middle of nowhere? You run, obviously, and that’s the premise of Into The Dead.

It puts a tense first-person spin on the endless runner genre, challenging you to dodge undead attackers for as long as you can, with weapons and other perks helping your cause.

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price £0.79

Download Into the Dead here

17. Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour

17. Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour

While an unabashed "tribute" to Call Of Duty, Gameloft’s Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour nonetheless offers terrific online multiplayer fun with sterling production values – well, for a mobile game, at least. The campaign offers solid enjoyment too, but it’s in the online showdowns that the game really shines. Zero Hour is the better overall package, but the newer Modern Combat 5 is a solid substitute.

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price £4.49

Download Modern Combat 4 here

18. Temple Run 2

18. Temple Run 2

With more than a billion downloads under its belt, chances are that you’ve played the Temple Run series at some point. If not, well, there’s a rather good reason why it’s so popular: it’s a lot of fun, and it’s totally free. This behind-the-back endless runner channels Indiana Jones as it sends you scurrying away from monsters along winding paths. Swipes help you survive, but the pace picks up very quickly.

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price £free

Download Temple Run 2 here

19. Terraria

19. Terraria

Yes, Minecraft: Pocket Edition is finally available on Windows Phone, but Terraria remains a very good alternative. It’s basically the 2D version of Minecraft, letting you dig into the earth to find resources and treasure – but also quite a bit more. Wild bosses and weird locales are found underground, plus you can build elaborate structures on the surface. Either way, it’s engrossing.

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price £3.49

Download Terraria here

20. Leo’s Fortune

20. Leo

Unlike console side-scrollers awkwardly ported to mobile, Leo’s Fortune began life on a touch screen, and as such plays very well with taps and swipes. The fuzzy hero can slide down slopes, inflate to float and stay put in tight gaps, and smash down to earth and break through barriers.

That combination of skills works well in these attractive platform stages, delivering a standout adventure that plays excellently on your phone or tablet.

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price £3.89

Download Leo’s Fortune here

21. Badland

21. Badland

Richer and more satisfying than Flappy Bird, but with a similar kind of harsh edge to its flap-based platform action, Badland sees your fuzzy creature try to get through brutal, hazard-filled obstacle courses by cloning itself, snagging power-ups, and expanding and contracting in size.

It’s a marvelous game to look at – even on a small screen – with gorgeous artwork and bold colouring, but the gameplay is quite stellar to match.

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price £3.09

Download Badland here

22. Snake Rewind

22. Snake Rewind

One of the most-played mobile games of all time – Nokia’s Snake – is back in a modernised sequel from the original creator, letting you chomp up digital fruit while trying not to bash into barriers (or yourself). It comes with some new flourishes, including various themed levels and the titular rewind ability, but the free-to-play model isn’t aggressive and the simple fun remains enjoyable.

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price £free

Download Snake Rewind here

23. Skulls of the Shogun

23. Skulls of the Shogun

While no longer exclusive to Windows Phone on the mobile side of things, Skulls Of The Shogun remains an enthralling turn-based tactical strategy affair which sees you pit bands of undead samurai against each other in the afterlife.

It’s a rich, complex affair that you can sink a lot of time into, but be prepared for a serious challenge along the way. Also, sadly, it hasn’t been updated in a while, so it looks a bit fuzzy.

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price £3.49

Download Skulls Of The Shogun here

24. Candy Crush Saga

24. Candy Crush Saga

Candy Crush Saga may be the poster child for aggressive free-to-play design, but once you dig in, this icon-matching puzzler becomes incredibly difficult to resist. It’s finally available on Windows Phone, packing in several hundred stages and varying play mechanics along the way. Granted, if you’re rubbed raw by in-app purchase prompts and social prodding, steer clear. But if you can patiently tolerate such annoyances, Candy Crush is quite amusing.

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price £free

Download Candy Crush Saga here

25. Contre Jour

25. Contre Jour

It’s a few years old, so Contre Jour may have faded from the minds of some mobile gamers, but this is one still well worth experiencing – whether it’s a repeat trip or your very first voyage.

This physics puzzler has you navigating stages to collect glowing orbs by manipulating the ground, using slingshots and portals, and finding other crafty ways to get around. Moreover, the art style is eye-catching and the soundtrack is absolutely stunning.

Stuff says ✭✭✭ Price £2.29

Download Contre Jour here