The Windows Store has many games to download and play, both paid and free. But you don’t need a pile of cash to play the best ones, as many of the paid games also come with “trials” that let you play for free for 30 days or so. Here are five games we highly recommend trying out on your Windows 8 machine. All games here either have free trials, or are free altogether.

Halo: Spartan Assault

Halo Spartan Wars

Spartan Assault puts players in the battle armour of a female Spartan, and tasks them with repelling the Covenant invasion of a hotly-contested planet. The game is played from a top-down isometric perspective, and employs twin-stick shooter controls. It’s incredibly easy to pick up, and offers 25 missions to play through. Each one takes but a few minutes, but the game’s scoring system makes it fun to re-play each to either beat your old score, or those of your mates. In all, a fun little game.

Rating: 4/5

 “Simple twin-stick shooter

Rayman Jungle Run

Rayman Jungle Run

If you love bite-sized platforming levels, beautiful art and enjoyable music, you’re going to love Rayman Jungle Run. It’s been cleverly designed to control using just one finger, and has you guiding Rayman through various jungle scenes, collecting lums. Controlling him literally couldn’t be simpler, and the 40-odd levels look amazing and are fun to play, but they’re also not too long. Classic platforming action is here for the enjoying, and the creative art style makes the game kid-friendly to boot.

Rating: 5/5

 “Pure platforming pleasure.

Hydro Thunder Hurricane

Hydro Thunder Hurricane

Hydro Thunder Hurricane is as bombastic as its name suggests. It’s a racing game set on watery tracks, and players must guide their boats around the various courses, picking up power-ups, dodging obstacles and skilfully navigating their way to the finish line before the game’s AI competitors do. The graphics and sound are fantastic, and the sensation of speed will hook you in, race after race. It’s not the most complicated game in the world, but it sure is a lot of fun.

Rating: 4/5

 “Enjoyable aquatic acrobatics

Toy Soldiers: Cold War – Touch Edition

Toy Soldiers Cold War

Playing with toy soldiers was fun when you were a kid, right? Well, now you can play as toy soldiers come to life, to scale, fighting a war that takes place in tabletop settings placed in all kinds of regular, everyday environments like bedrooms, kitchens and the yards of middle-class houses. You basically pit your forces against incoming waves of enemies, taking direct control of tanks, planes and more, and you must survive at all costs. It’s a fun little arcade strategy game that’ll eat up a few hours of boredom for sure.

Rating: 4/5

 “War toys, made real.

FIFA 14

FIFA 14 For Windows

This iteration of EA’s popular FIFA franchise has been designed specifically for touch controls, which EA has absolutely nailed. Moving players around the pitch is simple and intuitive thanks to smooth, intelligent controls, and while the game runs beautifully regardless of platform, it works best on tablets. You can build your team from over 16 000 players from more than 34 leagues and 600 licensed teams, and even make up your own international Ultimate Team with players from all over, and then play game after game of glorious, gratifying soccer.

Rating: 5/5

 “Great touchscreen controls.