30
Jul
shieldthumb

NVIDIA's Android-powered SHIELD gaming device launches tomorrow, after a shaky start with a month-long delay. But the boys in green have put the time to good use, wooing a huge list of developers to create an impressive library of titles compatible with SHIELD from day one. Here are our picks for the best SHIELD-compatible games, and the full list of 127 free and paid games available at launch.

shield top view

A lot of the games in the official NVIDIA list are a bit off: there are duplicates for free and paid games, Tegra versions and non-Tegra versions, and "free" games that require in-app purchases for access to the full title. But with so many available on launch day, it's safe to say that SHIELD pre-order customers and early adopters will have plenty to choose from. And of course, there's nothing stopping them from downloading standard Android games as well.

Shooters

Dead Trigger

Android Police Review: [Game Review] Dead Trigger: The Most Fun I've Ever Had Playing An Android Game

It's been a year since Madfinger's zombie magnum opus released on Android, but thanks to a collection of new content packs and an enthusiastic player base, it's just as popular as ever. SHIELD's controls and graphical capabilities make this survival shooter shine. There's an even more graphically impressive sequel on the way, but for now, this free is a must-try on SHIELD.

--

The world has collapsed. In 2012 modern civilization is coming to an end. Global economics have been disrupted, money has lost its value. People have risen against the ignorant politicians who were just lining their pockets – and they didn't spare any of them. However, those who really ruled the world were prepared - and escaped. Suddenly billions of people died from a strange virus, while others turned into butcherly beasts with just one thought: TO KILL!

unnamed (1) unnamed (2) unnamed (3) unnamed (4)

SHADOWGUN THD and SHADOWGUN: DeadZone

Android Police Review: Game Review: Shadowgun Is The Most Advanced Shooter On Android To Date, And It's Out Now

They might be some not-so-subtle riffs on Gears of War, but Shadowgun and its Deadzone multiplayer expansion are the best over-the-shoulder shooters available on Android. The games have always fared well when paired with a controller, but with SHIELD's on-board controls, you might have an unfair advantage in multiplayer bouts. Shadowgun THD is $5, but the Deadzone multiplayer version is free to play.

--

SHADOWGUN puts you into the role of John Slade, the galaxy’s most infamous bounty hunter. Your mission: hunt down Dr. Edgar Simon, maniacal genius and leader of his own mutant army. Infiltrate Dr. Simon’s mountain fortress and fight his personal guard of cyborgs, battle droids, and genetically-enhanced humanoids. Using state-of-the-art weaponry, ships, and the assistance of S.A.R.A.—Slade’s personal android assistant—SHADOWGUN combines intense tactical combat with 3rd person action.

unnamed (5) unnamed (6) unnamed (7)

unnamed (8) unnamed (9) unnamed (10)

The Conduit HD

Android Police Review: The Conduit HD Review: Automatic Shooting Is Not Automatically Fun

Our review wasn't overly kind to The Conduit - it's a Wii game doing its best with mobile controls, which are ill-suited to the task, and performance on the Tegra 3 was poor. But with more powerful hardware and proper physical controls, the game is worth another look, if only for its console-style depth. The Conduit is free to download, but you'll need to pony up $4.99 to access the full 9-level game. The woeful automatic aiming can be disabled in the settings.

--

As Washington D.C. is embroiled in chaos, Secret Service agent Michael Ford finds himself recruited by a mysterious organization known as The Trust, and is quickly caught up in a national crisis, an alien invasion and a web of conspiracies that date back hundreds of years. Now you must help him learn to use bizarre new weapons, battle deadly aliens, discover ancient secrets, and save the world… if you can figure out who you can trust…

unnamed (11) unnamed (12) unnamed (13)

unnamed (15) unnamed (16) unnamed (17)


Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Android Police Review: Grand Theft Auto Vice City Review: A Classic Never Goes Out Of Style

GTA3 and Vice City might just represent the best bang for your gaming buck on Android: enormous cities to explore, dozens of hours of gameplay, and enough missions and side-quests to keep a compulsively homicidal criminal happy for months. Vice City is still the best in the series, in my opinion: it manages to keep the slightly goofy feel without loading you down with extraneous add-ons. These games could fit in the racing category as well, but shooting and moving on foot really benefit from a full-sized controller.

--

Rockstar Games celebrates the 10th anniversary of one of the most influential games of all time. The critically acclaimed blockbuster Grand Theft Auto III comes to mobile devices, bringing to life the dark and seedy underworld of Liberty City. With a massive and diverse open world, a wild cast of characters from every walk of life and the freedom to explore at will, Grand Theft Auto III puts the dark, intriguing and ruthless world of crime at your fingertips.

unnamed (21) unnamed (22) unnamed (23)

unnamed (18) unnamed (19) unnamed (20)

Racing And Driving

Riptide GP2

Android Police Review: [New Game Review] Riptide GP 2: Taking Jet Ski Racing To The Next Level, And The One After That

Vector Unit's jet ski sequel is, hands-down, the most graphically intense game available for Android at the moment. The racing mechanics feel a lot like that old classic Hydro Thunder, plus an SSX-style trick-boost system. Riptide GP2 looks best on Tegra 4, along with the rest of the developer's apps, but it's the tricks that make it worthwhile in SHEILD: those twin sticks make it easy to pull off the difficult maneuvers before landing. 

--

Riptide GP2 kicks everything into overdrive, with intense online multi-player races, upgradeable hydro jets and riders, improved graphics, an all-new career mode, and a whole new stunt system with dozens of new tricks! Featuring rocket-powered hydro jets racing around futuristic tracks across a dynamic and interactive water surface, Riptide GP2 delivers a fast, fun, and visually stunning racing experience.

unnamed (24) unnamed (25) unnamed (26) unnamed (27)

Zombie Driver THD

Android Police Review: Zombie Driver THD Review: You Got Your Shooter In My Racing Game

If you need a bit of variety in your zombie-killing game (and who doesn't?) then this PC pilgrim is for you. Zombie Driver was one of the first high-end driving games to get mobile controls right, but it's a lot easier to get around the maps and especially to get past the bosses with physical controls. Extra-purdy lighting and textures on Tegra-powered devices, as demonstrated in the screenshots below, don't hurt.

--

Insane mix of cars, speed, explosions, blood and zombies! Fight through an epic narrative campaign or test yourself in the Slaughter and Blood Race modes. Engage huge bosses, save survivors, drive crazy vehicles such as a bulldozer, fire truck or even a tank and smash everything in your way. Take part in the Blood Race tournament - chase other cars and take them down without mercy on brutal racing tracks. Jump into the Slaughter mode and survive as long as possible on specially crafted arenas.

unnamed (30) unnamed (31) unnamed (32)

unnamed (33) unnamed (34) unnamed (35)

Reckless Racing 2 and Reckless Getaway

Android Police Review: [Review] Reckless Racing 2 Power Slides Past Original, Brings Dynamic, Versatile Racing Action To Your Mobile Device

The original Reckless Racing was one of the first highly-anticipated iOS gaming crossovers, and the top-down, fixed-perspective racing was only improved in the sequel. It mixes some old-school elements with impressive production values, with multiplayer thrown in for good measure. If you're more of a single player, Steve McQueen-style gamer, give the spinoff Reckless Getaway a try - it's more or less the chasing elements of Grand Theft Auto mixed with an endless runner. 

--

Strap down and prepare for the ride of your life... Reckless Racing is back with more! Including a selection of 18 highly detailed cars, ranging from small dirt buggies to fast supercars, and 24 routes in a variety of flavors make this a racer for all tastes - both dirt and tarmac. Compete in the Career mode to earn money for new cars and car upgrades. Have a quick race in the Arcade mode with 40 pre-defined challenges.

unnamed unnamed (1) unnamed (2)

unnamed (3) unnamed (4) unnamed (5)

Platformers

Sonic CD

Yes, I realize there are roughly half a dozen Sonic games down there that support SHIELD, and this is neither the newest nor the oldest. And NVIDIA even gives you Sonic 4 Episode II, which looks pretty great on the shiny new hardware. But if you play one Sonic game on Android, make it Sonic CD. It's arguably the best of Sonic's truly 2D outings, and the combination of tight controls, enormous stages, and great music will stick in your mind like a toad in a stone.

--

Fight the past to save the future in this enhanced recreation of Sonic CD! In order to put an end to Dr. Eggman’s nefarious schemes, Sonic must use the power of Little Planet to travel through time; breaking Dr. Eggman’s hold over the future by destroying his machines in the past and recovering the missing Time Stones! Featuring 16:9 widescreen and both the US and Japanese soundtracks, experience the adventure through time that introduced the world to Amy Rose and Eggman’s most evil creation, Metal Sonic.

unnamed (6) unnamed (7) unnamed (8)

Cordy 2

Android Police coverage: [New Game] Everyone's Favorite Sentient CRT Is Back In SilverTree Media's Cordy 2

SilverTree has made a name for itself based on ingratiatingly cute and surprisingly hardcore games. The Cordy series feels like a platformer that fell through a time loop in 1998 and somehow acquired fantastic graphics and audio before landing here. Cordy 2 already had great touchscreen controls, but those can always be improved by the real thing. The game is free to download, but you'll need to pay $4.99 to unlock the whole thing.

--

After a long and harrowing journey, Cordy and Volt finally arrive at World 2, only to find it besieged by the evil Boogaloo. Help Cordy and Volt as they set off to save the Zap Drops from Boogaloo's evil minions, the Boogie Bots! Guide Cordy through 3 action packed and beautiful worlds! Fun filled Carnival world, serene Harmony Harbor and epic Sky Factory! Meet New Friends: As Cordy and Volt battle their way through World 2, they meet many new friends to help them along in their journey! Team up with Magnet Bot, Smash Bot, Copter Bot and more!

unnamed (37) unnamed (40) unnamed (38) unnamed (39)

Inertia: Escape Velocity HD

Intertia is a 3D, HD re-release of a 2D indie game that turns conventional platforming on its head by letting the player shift the gravity of the mechanical suit that serves as a player character. "Twitch game" doesn't even begin to cover it: the little guy flies around the levels like Mario after eating mushrooms laced with PCP. This game might just benefit the most from SHIELD's tight controls.

--

Gravity is Going Down! You are Hermes, a high-tech scavenger who can turn his personal gravity on and off at will. Utilize your power to control Inertia to leap, hover, bounce, float, and zoom through intriguing challenges and deadly obstacles in this beautiful 3D platform game. Inertia: Escape Velocity builds on the award-winning gameplay that won Best Non-Professional Game, Achievement in Gameplay, Technical Achievement, and Gamers’ Choice Awards at DICE’s Indie Game Challenge 2011.

unnamed (42) unnamed (43) unnamed (44) unnamed (45)

Canabalt HD

This one's technically an endless runner, though that's a bit of a misnomer: you game will end, often and in spectacularly painful fashion. The monochromatic style of Canabalt is one of its most charming features (check out the John Woo-inspired doves in the trailer) but it will take no small amount of skill to guide the acrobatic player character past the increasingly difficult jumps between buildings.

--

The simple and fast-paced platform action game that pioneered a genre arrives on Android devices, remastered with new 3D backgrounds and smooth animation! Select between classic 2D artwork or new 3D artwork, track your performance on online high score boards, and more! Select between multiple game modes or play two players on the same screen!

unnamed (46) unnamed (47) unnamed (48)

unnamed (50) unnamed (10) unnamed (11)

Role-Playing Games

The Bard's Tale

Android Police Review: The Bard's Tale Review: 3.5GB Of Awesome Quests, Laughs, And Cleavage

This version of The Bard's Tale was originally released as a PS2 and Xbox remastering of a series of classic role-playing games, and was then ported to Android. The gameplay itself is your basic western dungeon-crawler, but what's really appealing is that it lampoons the conventions of RPGs as a whole, in much the same way that The Princess Bride held a mirror up to 80s fantasy movies. The subject matter is most definitely not for kids, and if your SHIELD doesn't have at least 3.5GB(!) of free space, it's not for you, either.

--

You are the Bard, a selfish rogue weary of pointless sub-quests and rat-infested cellars. Through magical song you summon characters to join you in battle, heal your party, and take damage on your behalf. Ready your weapon as you embark on a quest for coin and cleavage! Play The Bard’s Tale today on your favorite compatible Android device. Prepare to immerse yourself in over 20-30 hours of adventure.

unnamed (52) unnamed (53) unnamed (54)

unnamed (55) unnamed (56) unnamed (57)

Another World

Android Police Review: [Review] Another World For Android Comes With Updated Graphics And Controls, Remains Just As Haunting As The Original

OK, so Another World is not technically an RPG, but this deeply atmospheric and cerebral action game has enough personality and story to fit broadly in the genre. You're dumped into a strange alternate dimension, and you'll have to defeat baddies, solve puzzles, and do no small amount of exploring to get back to your home. The remastered mobile version features improved graphics, but you can get the 1991 pixelated look as well, if you really must.

--

The actor plays the part of Lester Knight Chaykin, a young physics researcher. While he is right in the middle of doing experiments, his laboratory is struck by lighting and completely destroyed, hurling him into another world, a world populated by humanoid creatures, where danger can spring at any moment. You must escape from this strange civilization. You will nonetheless meet a companion who will soon become your ally and help you in this merciless fight!

unnamed (13) unnamed (14) unnamed (15) unnamed (16)

Symphony of Eternity

Unfortunately, none of Square's impressive collection of classic RPGs is compatible with SHIELD controls at launch (and given how infrequently they update the !@#$ things, might never be). But Kemco's Android version of Symphony of Eternity is an acceptable substitute if you need to scratch that JRPG itch. A sweeping story, turn-based strategic combat, upgradeable heroes, and a laughably poor English localization: all the classic game elements are here.

--

The hero Kreist is the cool guy who're willing to get the weapon and take the happy golden years, rescuing his concerned people with the power of Regratlute. His friend Dauturu is the hot-hearted ancient golem who agrees Kreist's dream. Another factor is the coup d'etat of Eashtend kingdom. Honesty and kind king, queen, ladies and gentlemen in the royal family are totally killed by the traitor, lady Safario with the dark desire to conquer whole the world.

unnamed (59) unnamed (60) unnamed (61)

Retro

R-Type

R-Type is seriously old-school, which means that it doesn't hold your hand like modern games. No, this side-scrolling shoot-em-up beats you over the head with the manual and tells you to try again, without all the sucking and the dying. Physical controls will help, but even so, it's a rare gamer who will be able to see the final screen-filling boss, and even that will take a while.

--

Let's go back in the 80's with this classic old-school shoot'em up! One of the biggest arcade game will make you travel back in the day. Be ready to have fun with this old-school side-shooter game! The game is the challenging R-Type you used to play before. And we kept all its specifics, just the way you remember it! Fly through 8 levels with 3 different control options. Play in two difficulty levels. Upgrade with new weapons, power-ups, and attachments. Defeat 8 unique bosses and waves of various enemies.

unnamed (18) unnamed (19) unnamed (20) unnamed (21)


Gunslugs

OrangePixel specializes in catering to the bits and chips crowd, and my favorite among their offerings is Gunslugs. While pretty much all of the developer's games are compatible with SHIELD's controls, the frantic run-and-gun platforming of Gunslugs benefits the most: it's like Metal Slug reduced and refined to its delicious, twitchy core. Graphics aren't going to get any better on SHIELD, but that's not really the point, is it?

--

Gunslugs is the most chaotic, fun, arcade action game you'll find on any platform! Non-stop action from the guys behind Meganoid, Meganoid 2 and Stardash! We grabbed a bunch of expendable action hero's from the 80s and we made them team up as the Gunslugs to fight the war against the always evil Black Duck Army. Can you save the planet? maybe even the universe?

unnamed (31) unnamed (32) unnamed (33) unnamed (34)

Meganoid

If you prefer your punishingly difficult old-school platforming to have more running and less gunning, then Meganoid is the game for you. Levels are presented in bite-sized, Wario Ware fashion, so it's the perfect game for getting in three or four levels while you're waiting in a medium-sized line at the ATM. OrangePixel's games have always had good controls, but on some of Meganoid's later levels you're going to want every possible edge you can get, so SHIELD support is much appreciated.

--

Meganoid gets most of it’s inspiration from 80s and 90s games, the pixel-art graphic style is on purpose! ** THIS GAME IS NOT EASY! Each challenging level can be completed within a minute of gaming, making the pace of the game pretty fast, but many levels require multiply tries to complete. New levels will be added in updates! Meganoid comes in full 8bit retro pixelart style, complete with chiptune and sound effects, we love this style, and it fits the genre!

unnamed (22) unnamed (23) unnamed (24) unnamed (25)

Other Games

Here's the full list of SHIELD-friendly games, current as of the hardware's release and as cataloged by NVIDIA. There may be more games that work with SHIELD than are shown here, especially those that work with HID controllers - I know for a fact that F-Zero-ish racer Repulze (from the same development team as the Reckless series) works, and it's not on the list.

Tegra-enhanced, free

Tegra-enhanced, paid

Other free games

Other paid games

The following games are included on NVIDIA's list, but I don't see them in the Play Store. I assume that they're still under development.

  • Blood Sword
  • Choplifter
  • Chucks Challenge
  • Tainted Keep

NVIDIA SHIELD has a retail price of $299, and it will be available from Gamestop, Newegg.com, Microcenter, and Canada Computers. Unfortunately, there's no news on a release outside of the United States and Canada at the moment.

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Matthew

    Nice list you've put together. Thanks.

  • Luis Peña

    I don't see the benefit of a Nvidia Shield. Basically you can stream a game being rendered in a ~$1500 home computer, into a $150 device? As longest you are in the same WiFi network?

    • hurrpancakes

      You can get a computer with the prerequisite gen video card for about half of that, but yeah, it does that as well. It's also a stock Android device with a Tegra 4 processor for Android games.

    • PortableGamingRegion

      It's not really revolutionary, yeah, but few will argue that it's not a super cool gadget.

      • Daniel

        It isn't trying to be. It is just trying to be a dedicated android gaming device with a cool optimized streaming feature.

  • Himmat Singh

    Nice, the last four games should be launching tomorrow then as launch titles! :)

    PS: As you mention, Repulze works with it, so yeah most controller enabled games should work with the Shield with not much trouble. I believe this official list on lists those games where nVidia has been in contact with the devs.

  • jmlares

    Yeah, Chuck's Challenge is launching tomorrow for the Shield, and then afterwards the Ouya.

  • Kenny O

    This is what I wanted the Ouya to be.

  • Eric Pesch

    Mine shipped today! Any gameloft titles gonna be controller compatible?

  • PortableGamingRegion

    Fantastic list, big props to the authors!

  • Captcaveman

    Great list. And I already own A Bard's Tale. But I just could not get used to playing on my phone or tablet. And since I got shipping confirmation for my shield today I should have it by this weekend.

  • Pinookbookbook

    peeps don't realize when streaming pc games to the shield, you can be a lazy azzz and lay on your back to play the game and not hunched over at at your computer desk. so stop whinning about peeps should just play it on their pc. I am a lazy azzz, so I game while laying in bed. peeps should stop talking crap about shield. if you don't like it then don't buy it! I like it, so I buy it! and it is serving me well. if you don't like what you read then close your eyes, if you don't like what you hear then stuff cotton balls in your ears! enough said, i will now go and see my psychiatrist for evaluation after hearing all the cry babies.