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Docks are a hard commodity to come by for almost any portable device; even top of the line popular smartphones.  Even when you do find one, it is usually a piece of crap that still requires you navigate your device onto a plug of some sort.  It seems there is always something to dislike about any dock you find – if nothing else, the price.

Nyko is a leading manufacturer of third party accessories.  They make everything from controllers to charging stations to oddball peripherals.  I love their Playpad Pro controller (reviewed here) and I’ve purchased tons of their stuff in the past.  When I found out that Nyko produced a Shield Portable TV Dock, I jumped on it immediately.

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Despite the world believing that single tap games were invented by Flappy Bird, truth be told?  There are hundreds if not thousands of single tap games out there – most of them some sort of “endless runners” (possibly the most over-saturated game genre out there).

Still, game play is king and controls are queen.  Not every game needs 12 buttons, 2 analog sticks and a d-pad to be fun.  Sometimes one button is all you need; especially on a mobile device.

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The Verdict

6.8Fair

The Good: Ridiculously Addictive | Very Accessible | Oddly Zen

The Bad: Doesn’t get more mature as you play | Difficulty level is brutal | Needs more powerups

Space shooters have a long standing history in video gaming.  Space Invaders (1978), the granddaddy of all space shooters has been cloned, knocked-off, remade, rehashed and otherwise butchered hundreds if not thousands of times in the last 35+ years.  Even the more “golden age” venerable shooters like Galaga (1982) and Gyruss (1983) owe their heritage to the almighty Space Invaders.

The game reviewed below, Kosmik Revenge, also owes a debt to the might alien blaster of old. But being “first” doesn’t mean being “best”.

Space Invaders nearly enslaved a generation of Baby Boomers and GenXers, but time moves on and games evolve. (more…)

The Verdict

8.3Great

The Good: Gorgeous Graphics | Fun, Fast Arcade Action | No IAP/Good pricing | Real Physical Controls | Good Dev Response

The Bad: Collision detection is a bit iffy at times | Has far more potential than is executed | Confusing multiple social network connectivity

With a pretty big initial sticker price of $300, the NVidia Shield handheld entertainment system was pretty much outside the hands of mere mortals. I remember being against the device when it initially came out; citing a small screen, price and other issues as prohibitive factors. However, I did go on record as saying that when the price dropped enough, I’d be interested.

The price dropped. I was interested – and yes, I even purchased. Now that I’ve had the unit long enough to put it through its paces, I’m ready to review it proper for you.

In part 3, we’re going to look at the system’s heralded feature; the ability to stream PC games from either the cloud or your own PC. (more…)

The Verdict

7.9Good

The Good: If you have the hardware already and you don’t mind Steam or a little work? You’re covered.

The Bad: Entry price could get spendy and you seemingly can’t get away from Steam

“Trap is Teleporter. Contents is Full Party Heal.” You stare at the screen, contemplating your next move. Things haven’t gone well up to this point. That skeleton a few fights back got in some lucky hits and did your strongest Fighter in and the chest you came across that was trapped with a Priest Blaster ended up turning your healer into stone. Hit points are low across the party and it’s a long way back to the maze entrance. Oh, and don’t forget: the area you’re currently in is cast in pitch darkness and your Wizard is fresh out of magic points for her mapping and direction spells. That full party heal is looking mighty tempting right about now and you don’t know how else you’re going to make it back so you go ahead and have your Thief try to disarm that teleport trap. He’s usually good at these things, right? Well one unlucky dice roll later and your entire party ends up teleported into a wall of solid rock. Game over. Welcome to the old school, kids. Welcome to Wandroid. (more…)

The Verdict

8.0Great

The Good: Faithful recreation of a classic series|Challenging and rewarding gameplay|Excellent value

The Bad: Sub-par translation makes an already obtuse game even more challenging for newcomers|Important systems not fully explained|Does not lend itself well to on-the-go play

With a pretty big initial sticker price of $300, the NVidia Shield handheld entertainment system was pretty much outside the hands of mere mortals.  I remember being against the device when it initially came out; citing a small screen, price and other issues as  prohibitive factors.  However, I did go on record as saying that when the price dropped enough, I’d be interested.

The price dropped.  I was interested – and yes, I even purchased.  Now that I’ve had the unit long enough to put it through its paces, I’m ready to review it proper for you.

In part 2, we’re going to look at the system software and what does or does not set it apart from other Android type gaming devices.
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The Verdict

9.7Amazing

The Good: Insane Touch Mapping | Full Google Play and Apps | Near Pure Android KitKat OS | Console Mode flawlessly executed

The Bad: Some Google and NVidia “bloatware” | KitKat makes some waves using MIcroSD Cards

With a pretty big initial sticker price of $300, the NVidia Shield handheld entertainment system was pretty much outside the hands of mere mortals.  I remember being against the device when it initially came out; citing a small screen, price and other issues as  prohibitive factors.  However, I did go on record as saying that when the price dropped enough, I’d be interested.

The price dropped.  I was interested – and yes, I even purchased.  Now that I’ve had the unit long enough to put it through its paces, I’m ready to review it proper for you.

Strap in – this is going to be a wild ride…
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The Verdict

9.2Amazing

The Good: Amazing hardware | Great controller | Gorgeous Screen

The Bad: Shoulder buttons aren’t super great | D-Pad Diagonals Feel A Little Funny

I’ve talked extensively about emulation in the .EMU emulators article and subsequently even looked at other emulators like reicast, the Dreamcast emulator and C64.EMU, the Commodore 64 emulator.  Thanks to top quality physical controllers like the Nyko Playpad – we are no longer forced to play our classic favorites with horrid touch screen D-Pads.

The great thing about emulation is that it doesn’t matter what retro system you loved or what classic era of gaming you were born into; there are emulators for just about every console, handheld and computer out there (within reason of course).  I was personally around when home console gaming was all about chasing the games at the local arcade.  The  accuracy of the ports made all the difference; in graphics, sound and implementation.  Without a doubt, the game console that was first able to really capture the arcade experience at home was Colecovision. (more…)

The Verdict

9.1Amazing

The Good: Fast | Compatible | Frequent Updates | Full Paid Version Available | Fast Developer Response | Supports Wide Range Of Physical Controllers | Save States | External BIOS Support | Net Play($)

The Bad: UI might not rub everyone right | Initial issues may plague certain users until ironed out | Nags and Reduced Functionality in the Free Version

Threes

Sometimes you run across a game that is so simple sounding that you don’t even want to install it.  Easy to dismiss by looking at screenshots, Threes is a game about – well, making threes … and multiples of threes.  Could there really be anything fun about sliding numbered blocks around a screen and making them into pairs of multiples of threes?  Sounds like work … and math.  Who wants to do math when they are gaming?

Fortunately, Threes isn’t a mindless box shuffle but rather a tight, well-designed game that has “greed” (the good kind) written all over it.  And that works for me. (more…)

The Verdict

9.5Amazing

The Good: Insanely addictive | Fantastic score chaser | Simple and clean but polished | Heavy time eater but in small chunks | No Smurfberries or IAP

The Bad: Won’t click with everyone | May appear too simple | Score Attack Puzzler “High” drops off when your friends stop playing it | People will complain that it isn’t free

Let’s start this off by saying I’m not an “endless runner” fan.  I tend to prefer games where I can better control my destiny than with a single button click.  Mediocre’s Smash Hit er .. smashes the mold of endless runners by making it gorgeous, enveloping and occasionally frighteningly difficult.

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The Verdict

9.6Amazing

The Good: Extremely addictive | Simple, Elegant Graphics | Fantastic polished presentation | Incredibly Fair IAP | Leaderboards & Clever Achievements

The Bad: Difficulty ramps up quickly | Endless running isn’t for everyone | Can’t restart from checkpoints without unlocking