New year, new list of great games from our expanding universe of independent developers. This month I’m spotlighting five free titles (for those who resolved to save more in 2014). All are new or updated in the last few weeks.
You’ll find even more options in the Store’s always evolving Next Big Thing collection.
Quibbles? Kudos? Questions? Drop me a comment.
Terrifying monsters have leveled this hamlet, and it’s your mission to return it to its former, picturesque charm. Add shops and houses that attract heroes to settle down here, then customize their homes so they can stay to fight and defend the town from the forces of evil. (WP8; free). Download it
Parking cars is a lot more fun when smashing them up is okay. That’s the idea behind this simple little game. You’ve got 10 cars, a gorgeous fall or winter day, and multiple options for testing your parking prowess. The driving physics are realistic, and the virtual steering wheel will prove challenging even if you already know your way around a parking lot. (WP8; free). Download it
Hop on your bike and get ready for some riding thrills. Avoid the mines, water pipes, and hundreds of other obstacles on 112 completely original courses. And with a new, advanced physics engine, you’ll feel every bump as you play alone or head-to-head with other riders. (WP8; free with in-app purchases). Download it
Sometimes it’s the simplest games that prove to be the most fun. In this word-of-mouth Store favorite, gameplay can be relaxed or frenzied as you connect dots of matching colors to create pipes and start a flow. Pair all the colors to cover the entire board—and use new bridges to let pipes cross. Play for free through hundreds of levels, and up the tension in Time Trial mode. (WP8; free). Download it
What better way to spend some time than as lord of a gladiator empire? In this 3D action strategy game, pick your gladiator, train your combatants, scramble to gather your equipment, then refine your skills before heading into battle. And as you move through history, face off with Leonidas, Spartacus, Joan of Arc and others—or just demolish your friends to become a god of the arena. (WP8; free). Download it