Not content with making a stylish Android set-top box, Razer is also planning on attacking the Android gaming market on its home turf. The Serval is a full-sized, console-style Bluetooth game controller that's compatible with both Razer's Forge TV and direct connection with Android phones and tablets. It's far from the first controller made with Android in mind, but it's the first to come from perhaps the most high-profile game peripheral company out there, and is thus worthy of examination.
We've known that Razer was working on its own branded version of an Android TV set-top box for more than half a year, but at CES 2015 the well-known gaming peripheral company has given the gadget its coming out party. The Razer Forge TV hopes to be the go-to choice for gamers, with support for up to four simultaneous players, keyboard and mouse input, and (eventually) streaming high-end games from a local gaming PC.
What's this? A licensed Star Wars game on Android that people actually want? Believe it or not, the fan-favorite Knights of the Old Republic just crash-landed into the Play Store out of nowhere. You can grab it for your Android 4.1+ device for five bucks right now. That's a 50% discounted price, at least according to the app description. Compatibility seems a little spotty, too: it's downloadable with most of my Nexus and SHIELD devices, but not my G Pad 8.3 GPE tablet.
Update 11/17/14: The NES30 has been restocked after quickly selling out back in September.
Last weekend we published an exhaustive review of the 8BitDo NES30, a Bluetooth controller designed for phones and tablets with the looks of the original Nintendo Entertainment System but the extra buttons from the Super NES. The reviewer came away impressed thanks to solid functionality, a smart button layout, and a slavish dedication to the classic NES aesthetics.
Nostalgia has the peculiar tendency to improve things with age. Despite the fact that a new luxury sedan might be objectively better in every way than, say, a '69 Chevelle, a collector might expend hundreds of hours and twice as much money restoring the original Chevy. Nowhere is this phenomenon more apparent than in the gaming world, where players seem to venerate the games, systems, and companies that they grew up with.
Update: the developers released another quick update on September 19th, explicitly supporting the MOGA family of controllers. The NES30 mentioned below, a generic Bluetooth HID controller, is also working. Well done, Noodlecake and RocketCat!
I've been playing the heck out of Noodlecake and RocketCat's Wayward Souls RPG-roguelike ever since it landed on Android. While the top-down action game does have some excellent touchscreen controls, there's just no substitute for a real gamepad.
Remember those awesome mini-drones that Parrot showed off at CES way back in January? It looks like the Rolling Spider and Jumping Sumo are on sale now, at Brookstone and the Apple Store at least, for $100 and $160 respectively. And if you bought the drone, you'll want something to control it with. Enter the FreeFlight 3 app, made specifically for controlling Parrot's new toys. It's a free download, though you'll need an Android 4.0 device to install it.
Kids these days with their fancy smart homes, their smartphone-controlled lights, Bluetooth-connected door locks, and their mind-reading kettles. Back in the day, people manually flipped switches, turned keys, and pressed buttons. Appliances didn't control themselves, and that was a-okay. But sprinklers, yes, those should be automated, and using your smartphone to monitor them just makes plain sense! Tell me more about Rachio's newfangled Iro smart sprinkler controller.
Okay, not all homeowners are grumpy old men (get off my lawn!), so I'll drop the impression and just tell you what Rachio's smart sprinkler controller can do.
Crescent Moon has been one of the more reliable developers on the Play Store as of late, and their newest game is definitely worth a look from anyone who enjoys a good old-fashioned beat-em-up. Nakama evokes the spirit of 2D side-scrolling fighters like Streets Of Rage or Double Dragon. At least, it's like Double Dragon might have been if you played it at 200 frames per second.
You play as an inexplicably blocky ninja on a quest to save his friends.
Zombie games are more played out than Star Wars at this point, but combining them with new and interesting genres is a way to get my attention. Thus we have Zombie Tycoon 2, the latest game to jump from the PlayStation 3/Vita to Android. But this one is unique: in keeping with its console gaming roots, Zombie Tycoon 2 requires a controller to play. That officially makes this the first SHIELD-exclusive title for the time being.