By JR Raphael
Ready to get your game on? As more Android tablets make their way to the market, more and more game developers are scurrying to take advantage of the high-end ecosystem Honeycomb provides. For Android tablet users, that means some pretty sweet selections are about to become available.
Some of the most exciting innovations are happening on Android tablets powered by Nvidia's Tegra 2 dual-core processors. These tablets -- including the Motorola Xoom, the soon-to-launch LG G-Slate, and the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 8.9 -- have specially optimized graphic systems built to deliver console-like quality without draining too much power. It's no surprise, then, that developers are increasingly turning to these devices to show off their highest-performance creations.
Here's a sneak peek at four new eye-grabbing games coming soon to a Tegra 2 tablet near you.
(Note: The games will also be accessible from Tegra 2-powered phones like the Motorola Atrix and T-Mobile G2X.)
1. Riptide GP
I first got a glimpse at Riptide GP while demoing the G-Slate at the CTIA mobile tech show back in March. I've had a chance to play with the game in much more depth since then, and let me tell you: Whether you're a hardcore gamer or not, this thing is bound to impress you.
Put simply, Riptide GP is made to show off what a Tegra 2 Honeycomb tablet can do. The game, adapted from Hydro Thunder Hurricane on the Xbox, puts you in the driver's seat of a high-intensity Jet Ski race. I'm not a huge gamer myself, but I've been having a blast zipping through the water courses and trying (though frequently failing) to pull off advanced tricks and turns.
The real trick of Riptide GP, though, is what it's able to accomplish graphically. The game renders its water effects in real-time, using the Tegra 2 chip's second processor to make actual physics calculations as you move through the various water channels. That means every wave, every splash is ridiculously realistic. Even the reflections of buildings in the water are detailed to an awesomely lifelike degree.
Riptide GP will be available exclusively in the Android Market on the week of May 16.
2. Galaxy on Fire 2
This next game isn't an Android-exclusive title, but the experience you'll get playing it on a Honeycomb device is definitely something you won't find on any other tablet platform.
Galaxy on Fire 2 takes you deep into space to explore 20 different solar systems and more than a hundred 3D space stations. It's up to you to get the best gear and weapons and then fight for your galaxy's survival.
To be clear, Galaxy on Fire 2 is available on iOS devices -- but not like this. On Android, the game's graphic quality is four times greater than what you'll get on any iGizmo, thanks to the processing power packed inside the Tegra 2 tablets. The game's developers say the Android version has higher quality geometry, textures, and character models, too, and is also noticeably more responsive than its iOS sibling.
Galaxy on Fire 2 is expected to launch within the next few weeks.
3. Pinball HD
Not into the whole high-speed racing and life-and-death space exploration scene? Gameprom's new Pinball HD might be more your speed.
Pinball HD is a specially enhanced arcade game made exclusively for Tegra 2 Android tablets. The game gives you three pinball tables to choose from: "Wild West," a cowboy-style scene; "The Deep," an underway pinball adventure; and "Jungle Style," a safari-themed setup destined to unleash your inner Tommy.
Pinball HD is about as realistic as you can get. I've found myself frequently pulling it up and playing a round while lounging on my couch (much to my ladyfriend's dismay). Aside from the missing pocketful of quarters, it really makes you feel like you're in a high-tech version of a vintage mall arcade.
Pinball HD is set to go on sale in the next few weeks.
4. Bang Bang Racing
The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 hit Bang Bang Racing is zooming into the Android Market any day now. Playbox, the developer behind the title, is finishing up a Tegra-optimized edition of the game that'll put an action-ready race track right on your touchscreen.
Bang Bang Racing for Android uses the same type of real-time physics calculations we saw in Riptide to provide realistic graphics and precise control. And Playbox says the game is only the first in a series of premium Android-exclusive titles it's preparing to offer.
Gentlemen, start your engines: Some very cool stuff is on the way.
Article copyright 2011 JR Raphael. All rights reserved.