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June 20, 2017

Best Android Games for the NVIDIA Shield TV

by John_A

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What are the best games to play on the NVIDIA Shield TV from the Google Play Store?

As NVIDIA proclaims in every ad, their new Shield Android TV box is “the streamer for gamers”. So which games are worth checking out?

Well, for starters we’re not going to dive into NVIDIA’s GeForce Now subscription service, or NVIDIA Gamestream. We’ll touch on those services later.

For now, we’re just going to highlight some of the best games available via the Google Play Store, specifically adapted to play on the NVIDIA Shield TV. So let’s dive right in!

  • The Witness
  • Borderlands: The Sequel
  • Ultimate Chicken Horse
  • GoNNER
  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
  • Telltale Games
  • Half-Life 2
  • Skateboard Party 3

The Witness

If you consider yourself a hardcore puzzle gamer, you owe it to yourself to check out The Witness, one of the most beautifully crafted and challenging puzzle games ever conceived. At first glance, this appears to be a rather standard puzzle adventure game, where you wander around a mysterious island solving grid puzzles all the live long day, things become quite layered as you start to unravel the true nature of the island and just how deep the puzzle theme extends.

I’ll keep the description vague and cryptic because it’s really one of those games you want to experience for yourself.

Download: The Witness ($19.99)

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

The Borderlands franchise is a gloriously unique first-person shooter, mixing genre elements from action, RPG, and FPS into an addictive experience, topped off with the beautiful cel-shaded graphics and a storyline featuring razor-sharp wit.

The Pre-Sequel was originally released in 2014 for the major consoles, and fits in story wise between the first and second Borderland games. As such, it largely uses the game mechanics from Borderlands 2, while adding in some new weapons and elements. The game also supports co-op play, though sadly no split-screen co-op is available at this time.

Still, Borderlands: TPS plays like a dream on the NVIDIA Shield and should provide hours of fun.

Download: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel ($14.99)

Ultimate Chicken Horse

Ultimate Chicken Horse is a rather unique party platformer that’ll have you and your friends gathering around the TV like it was 1998 again. The concept is that up to four friends collaborate to build out a challenging level — based on the different platforms and traps, made available to the group. Then, everyone simultaneously tries to complete the level.

Equal parts strategic and stupid, this game is great fun to get a few friends together and have at it (if you’ve got the right number of Shield controllers to accommodate the crew — third-party Bluetooth controller support is lacking). The goal is to set enough traps to sabotage your opponents while leaving a clean route for yourself to make it through the level and reach the goal. Everything is packaged in a fun, cartoony art style, with a host of farm animals as your disposal as playable characters.

Download: Ultimate Chicken Horse ($11.99)

GoNNER

GoNNER was my personal favorite game I played on the NVIDIA Shield TV in 2016, and it’s a real treat for folks looking for a challenging shooter-platformer. Levels are generated procedurally, meaning that you’ll never play the exact same level twice. The game seems to adapt the level difficulty to your skill and playing ability as you work your way through the multiple worlds.

But it’s worth noting that this game is tough. Like really tough. Before you head out to play, you choose your head and gun — you unlock more of both as you explore levels throughout the game — and then you’re tasked with dispatching the enemies as fast and efficiently as possible to continue to collect ammo for your weapons, and purple tiles which are used to heal up and upgrade weapons before boss battles, or save them to “delay” a game over screen.

I specifically chose the word delay because, again, this game is really hard. Are you up for the challenge?

Download: GoNNER ($9.99)

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Right off the hop, for those wondering this game is nothing like the stealth action found in Metal Gear Solid, the crown jewel of the Metal Gear franchise. Instead, this is a slick-looking hack-and-slash action spin-off title starring Raiden, whom fans will remember best from Metal Gear Solid 2.

In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, players assume control of Raiden, a katana-wielding cyborg. Set in the far-off year of… 2018… the story revolves around conflicts between rival Private Military Companies, with some corporations actively looking to court chaos to keep the war economy chugging along. We won’t dive too much into the plot specifics, but just want to reiterate that this is nothing like the gameplay found in Metal Gear Solid games. Another thing worth noting is the file size — a whopping 5.5GB! If you just have the 16GB console, you’ll definitely want to look into expandable storage options for your Shield TV, or start clearing out some room before installing.

Download: Metal Gear Rising Revengeance ($14.99)

Telltale Games (The Walking Dead, Batman, Guardians of the Galaxy)

Telltale Games has carved out a nice niche for itself by delivering narrative-driven games based on our favorite comics, movies, and TV shows. You can play its games on your phone or on your NVIDIA Shield, and thanks to the cloud save, you can bounce between your devices.

The games play really well on the NVIDIA Shield TV. If you’ve never played a game made by Telltale Games before, you help progress the story by making choices for the characters and quicktime events where you must match the direction or button on the screen. It actually works better with a controller rather than a touch screen, so if you play things well enoug,h it should feel like you’re controlling a movie.

There are a number of franchises available on the Google Play Store, with the latest game being Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s a great example to mention, actually, because if you’re a fan of the movies, you’ll want to know that it’s not a direct tie-in to the movie franchise, although it is stylized after the movies. Star Lord looks more Stephen Baldwin than Chris Pratt, but the story is fresh and completely separate from the ongoing Marvel Universe storyline, so it’s a nice break.

Here’s a quick rundown of the other franchises available:

  • The Walking Dead
  • Tales from the Boarderlands
  • Game of Thrones
  • Batman

Note that while many of these games are free, each game is broken up into seasons and episodes, which you can either buy individually or via season passes.

Half-Life 2

Half-Life 2 is a masterpiece of a game. Developed by Valve, it’s the sequel to 1998’s groundbreaking first-person shooter Half-Life and was developed alongside Steam and the Source engine platforms.

If you own an NVIDIA Shield and have never played Half-Life 2, you owe it to yourself to check this game out. You don’t have to have played the first one to jump into this one, but if you need a bit of the backstory, you play as Gordon Freeman, a very quiet scientist who previously worked for Black Mesa Research Facility and accidentally opened a Portal to another dimension.

Half-Life 2 picks up with Freeman being awoken from stasis, learning that the world has fallen under the control of the Combine, an inter-dimensional empire who have implemented a brutal world-wide police state to control the human race. You must evade the Combine soldiers and meet up with a band of freedom fighters to help save the world.

It’s a bloody, epic game that’s been celebrated for years and is still worth playing in 2017 due to its brilliant visual and audio design, fantastic storytelling, and outstanding gameplay. If you’ve played it all before, you may as well play it again as we wait for Half-Life 3 (any day now, right?).

Download: Half-Life 2 ($9.99)

Skateboard Party 3 ft. Greg Lutzka

Fans of the classic Tony Hawk Pro Skater games from back in the day who lament the storied franchise’s current state should check out Skateboard Party 3. It’s a throwback game to those classic games we loved from the late 90s and early 00s before things went… sideways.

The game physics and controls feel very familiar and you’re given a couple couple game modes to choose from. In Career mode, you get four minutes to explore the eight different locations and rack up a huge score, collect P-A-R-T-Y scattered around as floating letters, and find other hidden items. Things are unlocked by spending experience points, which you collect by completing challenges and landing tricks.

Now is this as polished as the classic THPS games? No. Who is Greg Lutkzka? No idea. Is it the best thing you can get on the Shield for just $2? Yes. And it’s worth checking out for that reason alone, until Activision gets their act together and re-releases THPS 2 and 3 on Android.

Download: Skateboard Party 3 ($1.99 w/IAPs)

Portal

When making a list of best games, and Portal is one of the options, you always got to plug arguably one of the most fun and inventive games of all time. If you’ve never played Portal before, I’m actually jealous because it means you get to experience this outstanding game fresh for the first time.

This game is celebrated justly for its brilliantly subtle storyline, mind bending puzzles, and one of the most celebrated video game villains of recent time. And it’s been ported beautifully over to the NVIDIA Shield TV via the Google Play Store.

Anyone who’s played this knows exactly why this game deserves every award it’s ever won. If you haven’t played it yet, spend the $10 and enjoy.

Download: Portal ($9.99)

Real Racing 3

So far every game on this list has been a paid title. Real Racing 3 bucks that trend. It’s already arguably the best looking racing game available for Android phones, and it looks just as pretty on the big screen playing through the NVIDIA Shield TV.

Jump behind the wheel of one of over 140 intensely detailed vehicles based on real cars, and hit the track in over 4,000 events including Cup races, Eliminations and Endurance challenges on 17 race tracks based off of iconic circuits from around the world, including Silverstone, Hockenheimring, Le Mans, Dubai Autodrome and many more.

If you’re a racing fan and looking for a good title for your Shield TV, give Real Racing 3 a try.

Real Racing 3 (Free)

What are your favorite titles for the NVIDIA Shield TV?

These are the games that piqued our interest, but what are your favorite games for the NVIDIA Shield TV? Got any opinions on the games that made our list? Let us know in the comments!

Update June 2017: Added Half-Life 2, Skateboard Party 3, and the Telltale Games series to our list!

NVIDIA Shield Android TV

  • Read our Shield Android TV review
  • The latest Shield Android TV news
  • Shield vs. Shield Pro: Which should I buy?
  • Join the forum discussion
  • Complete Shield Android TV specs

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