When mobile games are mentioned most people think of Angry Birds, Brickbreaker and Clash of the Clans. Most games get lost in the shuffle and don’t ever crack the front page of the Play Store. Buried deep within the store, hidden under the hundreds of Flappy Bird rip-offs and Tetris-like games are a shocking number of amazing Android ports that do their console versions justice. If you want to transport yourself back to your youth without dusting off an old console you’re in luck.
Not all ports are created equal but some games really do translate well on mobile. I don’t have the time or energy to play Baldur’s Gate on my PC but the fact I can take it on the road and play it on my Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 tablet makes it very attractive. The same goes for many of these games. Some of the games I’ve played for hundreds of hours as a kid. Some of the games I want to reexperience on my next trip and some I missed out on ever playing.
Most of these games end up costing around $12.99 and are well worth the price of admission. These are top quality games that come from some amazing studios with hours of gameplay. These aren’t titles you can just play while waiting for your bagel in the toaster. These are sprawling adventures meant to suck you in for hours at a time.
As I’ve mentioned in the past the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3’s added a new feature called Game Launcher that makes finding and organizing your games that much easier. I like to keep the “Game Tools” option on to maximize my experience and switch on “Save Power” when my battery is getting low. Without “Save Power” turned on, games are played in Normal Resolution with the frame rate locked at 60fps. With “Save Power” on, I can keep the resolution low but lock the frame rate at 60FPS which is pretty incredible. For when I need some extra juice, I hit “Save Maximum Power” and the games will run on an extremely low resolution and with a frame rate of 30FPS. This is good for side scrollers and games that don’t require quick movement and precision.
The other feature “Game Tools” hides a small red circle in the bottom right of the screen (You can place it wherever) that doesn’t get in the way of your game but is easy enough to access. In it I have several options including, “No Alerts During Game” which is handy during the day when I’m getting emails and twitter notifications. I have to say that my favorite button is, “Record”. By hitting record, I can instantly record my game footage to have it uploaded to YouTube (or wherever you host your videos). There is also an option to take a quick “Screenshot” which has always been clumsy on large tablets but not the Galaxy S3. Other options include “Lock Recents and Back Keys” and “Screen Touch Lock” which locks your screen if say someone bumps into you while playing or if you need a bathroom break.
Finally, if you hit “Settings” you can turn on some other cool features to tailor your recording. This is really neat. From here you can even add an image to your profile for recording. Think of it like a watermark or a friendly face to show your growing gaming community who you are. You can also turn on your front facing camera to record your reactions just like the pros do on YouTube. You can adjust the audio source if you want to use an external microphone or if you want to record right from your tablet. You can set the resolution of the export up to 1080p and adjust the Bitrate if you feel so inclined. Honestly this is an incredible feature for creators as it’s always been a pain in the ass to record mobile screens. If this feature was available back when I obsessed over Simpsons Tapped Out you know I’d be using this like crazy.
Now that you know how to work your device, here are some amazing games that you can check out and record yourself playing. I’ll be watching!
I grew up playing RPGS and it’s amazing the amount of classic titles that exist on the Play Store. I spent many Friday nights disappointed that Chrono Trigger was rented out at Blockbuster and never got to play the game in its entirety. Now I can wherever I am. Other great RPGS worth checking out include Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Dragon Quest VIII, Chaos Rings III, Baldur’s Gate I and II and Jade Empire. All are available and play surprisingly well. Star Wars: KOTOR is one of the best games of all time and it’s quite good on my tablet. I chip away at it every once and while and hold on hope that one day soon we will get a Kotor 3.
In the mood for some award winning indie titles then check out Downwell, Limbo, The Banner Saga, World of Goo, and Crashlands. Indies such as this don’t depend on very many controls so their mobile ports are easy to get a grasp off. I own Limbo on 5 different consoles and on every Android device I’ve ever had. It’s a phenomenal experience you can play with just one hand if you feel so inclined.
The TellTale series translates really well on mobile as they are basically visual novels. I’d recommend Wolf Among Us, Tales From The Borderlands, and The Walking Dead season 1 and 2 (which I’m currently playing). These are fun games that let you decide the fate of the characters around you. Have tissues on hand if you play The Walking Dead series as it gets pretty depressing. It’s also worth noting that the games take inspiration and characters from the comic and not the TV show, making it 100 times better.
Finally, for the grown up gamer there are some mature options including Max Payne Mobile, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Xcom: Enemy Within, and Hearthstone. It’s hard to believe that I can play a large chunk of the Grand Theft Auto series anywhere I go. It will obviously never be as good as the console experience but it is a good stress reliever on the go.
I’m not much of an app hog but I do keep hundreds of game’s on my tablet. I never know what I’m in the mood for and thanks to the Galaxy Tab S3’s 32 GB built-in memory card with optional microSD memory support of up to 256GB I never have to worry about running out of space.
Pair this with a Snapdragon 820 processor and a Vulkan graphics card and I’m set for any adventure I end up on. Bigger games like Star Wars: Kotor, Jade Empire, and Grand Theft Auto depend on a solid CPU and GPU and that Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 delivers. What games did I miss? Let me know on Twitter @brockmclaughlin.
Review Disclaimer: This coverage was carried out using a tablet provided by Samsung Canada.