How do you Shield? Best games or uses for Nvidia's handheld?


— 10:51 AM on November 11, 2013

I came away from Nvidia's Montreal press event recently with a goodie bag that included an Nvidia Shield portable Android game console and a Nyko PlayPad Pro bluetooth game controller. We didn't review the Shield when it first came out, so this was my first real exposure to it.  I figured I'd play with it, get to know it, and eventually write it up. Seemed like a good time to get started, since the Shield was due for a major update to Android 4.3 that included improved PC game streaming (now out of beta) and a "game console" mode where you can attach the Shield to your TV via HDMI and control games via the Nyko gamepad.

I've been working long hours lately, but messing with the Shield has been a nice outlet during my down time. I've installed a selection of Nvidia's suggested Android games with gamepad and Tegra support. I've tuned up my home Wi-Fi network to remove potential interference at 5GHz and get the speed up to par for streaming. I've installed the Shield update 63, which bricked the device, and gone through the recovery process in Ubuntu. And I've finally gotten update 64, which doesn't fail, and I've tried PC streaming and game console mode.

Although getting some of these things going requires more effort and patience than I'd like, they do work. Streaming Arkham Origins from a dual-GTX 780 Ti rig onto a 52" TV in your living room will make you a believer in local game streaming. Seeing the Tegra 4 run Epic Citadel at 1080p on the same display will give you a bit of future shock.

What I'm missing, though, is a really solid game or two that's well suited for the Shield platform. Lots of Android touch-based games are better on the Nexus 7. In PC games, well, I'm mostly pathetic without a mouse and keyboard. Usually, I just think my time would be better spent playing on a tablet or PC, instead.

Also, I have to admit, I'm also a bit of a n00b when it comes to Android gaming. Until the Nexus 7 converted me into a helpless, mewling Android fanboy, I was mostly an iOS user. I'm lost in a land without Infinity Blade.

So, I'm wondering: do any of you have recommendations for Android games that would work well on a system like this one with a really nice gamepad? You don't have to be a Shield owner to answer; any recommendations for decent Android games that would benefit from gamepad-style controls are welcome.

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