You’ve just got a shiny new smartphone, brimming with power, full of RAM, and with a top-end GPU to boot. There is only one thing on your mind – games, games and more games. You want to smash records, destroy enemies and of course, hunt deer, all from the comfort of your handheld gaming paradise.
Let’s look at eight games that will push your device to its limits.
Real Racing 3 is a fast paced racing game like Forza or Gran Turismo, and it certainly lives up to the esteem heaped upon those titles. A full complement of licensed cars, as well as twelve real circuits mean your racing experience is realistic, fast-paced and packed with action.
Despite the game being nearly two years old – 28th February is the anniversary – it is still a racing force to be reckoned with across many devices. The computations for the AI, premium textures for car models, circuits and surroundings, and the calculations required to continually provide an enjoyable racing experience still push newer smartphones and tablets.
The latest iteration of the massively successful Modern Combat series comes in the form of Blackout. The FPS has been lauded by critics for its fast, Call-of Duty inspired gameplay, immersive multiplayer, short missions and notable lack of in-app purchasing.
The graphics are polished. Well-polished, in fact, and do well to push the latest Nvidia SHIELD Tablet featuring a Tegra K1 processor – but pushing it is worth it. The game looks sublime on the 8” screen. It also stands up extremely well across some slightly older flagship devices, performing notably well on the LG G3.
It has to be noted the iPhone 5S doesn’t have as far to go as its Android counterparts, maxing out FPS on its 64-bit A7 ARM CPU/PowerVR G6430 Quad-Core GPU, albeit on an 1136×640 display, with retina support. Don’t let that deter you. It will push any device capable of playing it, your reward coming in the form of splatters of blood and whistling cross-fire.
Just have a look at its iPhone6 Plus performance. Almost makes me want an iPhone.
I’ve always been a fan of the Deer Hunter series. Deer Hunter 2014 is exactly how it sounds: you hunt digital deer and other animals with powerful weaponry. You shoot, you win. Shoot a protected species, you lose.
As for performance, it is HD, and best experienced on anything featuring a Snapdragon 800 and upwards, whilst the A7 ARM chip also makes for an immersive gun-toting time in the wilderness of your office cubicle.
The very latest processors will lap it up. The Tegra K1, Snapdragon 805 and Exynos 5433 will give constant 1080p gaming without any stutters, as will the A8 ARM chip featured in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus – but remember to watch your battery, it can be a deceptive power guzzler.
FIFA15 Ultimate Team [Free Android]
The world’s most popular football-sim comes to iOS and Android in the form of the money spinning FIFA15 Ultimate Team. It is free and there is no “pay-wall” as such, but the allure of those pretty, sparkly gold packs can be too much. For this writer, anyway.
EA have done well to make this backward compatible with previous iOS and Android generations, but on flagship devices it really comes alive as the graphics, player and stadium textures, and passing and movement becoming more fluid. Even the commentary sounds better.
The latest and greatest have pure computing power on their side when it comes to the high-performance simulation required by FIFA. Yes, you can play it on an older device, but it’s probably not worth the lag that comes with.
A small side note: many of the features from previous FIFA mobile iterations are gone, replaced by the Ultimate Team mode. EA, well known for their extremely charitable nature, have probably forgotten to include them. Worth noting if you were expecting to play who you want across the digital sphere.
Multiplayer, HD tank-warfare comes to your pocket via World of Tanks: Blitz. For anyone not familiar with World of Tanks, here’s a quick run-down: you “own” a tank and take it to battle with other tank owners. You all fire at each other across relatively large battlefields. You can purchase larger, more powerful tanks or upgrade your existing vehicle with armour, weapons and drivetrain boosts.
The big simulation requires some proper computational power to keep it running smoothly. You can zoom in on enemy tanks to take sniper-style shots, disabling armour or turrets, or rapidly speed (if your tank can actually do that) across the terrain to assist embattled allies. These features, amongst others, require more power than you might eke out of an iPhone 4S or similar Android model.
GTA: San Andreas [$6.99 iOS/Android]
Back to Grove Street, back to CJ, and back to arguably the best Grand Theft Auto game in the long-running series. The vast San Andreas can now travel with you, enabling you to form a gang, fly planes and hit the gym wherever you want. It is a direct port, as was GTA III and Vice City.
The PS2 graphics do look a little dated, especially given the HD gaming we are accustomed too, even on our mobile devices, but the game does push the performance of all comers, particularly squeezing the lower end of the mobile market.
Saying that, it does feature native support for larger resolutions which really brings home the effort Rockstar put into the port: enhanced shadows, greater draw-distance, richer depth of colour, and a nice range of character and vehicle tweaks make it a GTA you want to return to.
Just as the original was worth dropping $40 on, the mobile port is also worth parting with your cash. Your device and your eyes will thank you.
Anomaly 2 [$4.99 iOS/Android]
Tower-offence with “Jaw-dropping visuals!” One of the most popular takes on the tower defense genre also offers you a chance to sample the best your device can give with explosions, in-play vehicle-morphing, dynamic routing and more throughout the dystopian future.
It looks great across top-end devices. My OnePlus One loved the graphics upgrade from the original Anomaly, and my iPad2 also handled it admirably. As many reviewers have noted, it doesn’t rewrite the rule book on tower defense, but it certainly turns a few pages. Well worth some playtime on the current generation of flagships.
Bonus: Also available on Steam for desktop gaming, complete with Steam trading cards.
Dead Space [$4.99 iOS/$6.99 Android]
Yes, it arrived on our devices over 3 years ago. Yes, it can run on as little as 800MB RAM, looking pretty good on the now ancient Galaxy S3. But man-oh-man, it looks fantastic with 2GB RAM and a Snapdragon 801, running at full HD.
It looks fantastic on the iPhone 6, too, and the contemporaries of this generation of devices will have no problem maximising the potential of Dead Space, complete with the fantastic voice-acting, blood-spattering aliens and immersive narrative that made the original desktop release such a hit.
Bonus for Android Users
If you believe your device can handle more, and is rooted, you can use GLTools from the Play Store to load a GPU profile on your device, effectively telling your GPU to be better than it is, squeezing every last ounce of performance from its millions of transistors. There are numerous profiles included in the download, though you might have to experiment to find a match between device, game and profile.
What is the standout game for your device? What pushes its performance past its limits? Let us know your favourites below!