What are the best games to play on the NVIDIA Shield TV from the Google Play Store?
As NVIDIA proclaims in every piece of marketing, the Shield Android TV box is “the streamer for gamers”. So which games are worth checking out?
To start, NVIDIA offers it’s own GeForce Now service which lets you stream a whole bunch of great PC games from the cloud, including the insanely popular Fortnite. You’ll find many games available to play for free, while others AAA titles are available for purchase. NVIDIA Gamestream also lets you stream your favorite PC games from your gaming rig to your NVIDIA Shield TV — assuming your set up uses an NVIDIA’s graphics card.
For our purposes, we’re going to highlight some of the best games available via the Google Play Store that have been specifically adapted to play on Android TV. So let’s dive right in!
Death Road To Canada
Death Road to Canada is one of those incredible games that offers a unique gaming experience every time you play and is full of unexpected surprises. It’s a survival game where your goal is to outrun a zombie apocalypse by driving to Canada. Featuring randomly generated locations, characters, and events, it’s a game that’s chock-full of surprises that will keep you coming back for more.
This was one of my absolute favorite games released for Android in 2017, and it’s a blast to play on a small touchscreen — but fortunately, with the way the Google Play Store works, if you bought it to play on your phone you can also download the Android TV version to your Shield.
Playing with a controller just makes the game’s controls that much tighter, and I made it to the Canadian border on my first try playing the Shield version (quite the accomplishment, I know). One of the best benefits of playing it on the Shield is that it opens up the option for two-player co-op if you’ve got a second Shield controller kicking around. A great Android game just keeps gets better thanks to Android TV and the Nvidia Shield.
Download: Death Road To Canada ($9.99)
Were you disappointed when No Man’s Sky failed to live up to its incredible hype? Still want to explore colorful planetscapes in a free-forming indie game? You gotta check out Morphite. It’s got a beautiful art direction and soundtrack that will instantly hook you in.
Originally released through the Steam Greenlight program, it made its way to Android late last year and is also available on the Shield. This is sort of a mix between No Man’s Sky and something like Metroid Prime, wherein there’s a whole universe of procedurally generated planets to explore like the former alongside a full-fledged campaign mode with missions that require space combat, puzzle-solving and platforming. While it played pretty well on a smartphone, it really reaches new heights playing it on a big TV screen with a controller in your hand.
The game is free to download and play, but you’ll need to pay an in-app purchase of $5 to unlock the rest of the story mode. Otherwise, you’re free to fly around in your ship exploring planets and collecting resources as you like.
Download: Morphite (Free w/Ads, $4.99 to unlock full game)
Metal Gear Solid 2 HD
Hideo Kojima is an absolutely legendary video game developer, responsible for creating one of the greatest video game franchises of all time: Metal Gear Solid.
The sequel, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, is arguably the best title in the series — and the HD remastered version is now available for the NVIDIA Shield. Step into the role of Solid Snake as he sneaks through a heavily-defended tanker to gather intel on a new Metal Gear weapon in development, and then Raiden, a rookie Spec Ops agent who’s on a mission to infiltrate an evil corporation’s compound to save the President… and the world! This game, initially released in 2001 on the PlayStation 2, was a huge inspiration for the stealth-action genre and is still celebrated by many as one of the best games ever made.
If you loved playing MGS2 back in the day, you’ll love the nostalgic trip down memory lane. If you’ve never played Metal Gear Solid 2 before, you’re in for a real treat.
Download: Metal Gear Solid 2 HD ($9.99)
ClusterTruck is a frantic physics-based first-person platformer where your goal is to leap between semi trucks that are just barrelling down roads and getting blown up by falling rocks, laser beams, and all other sorts of crazy obstacles. You want to go as fast as possible, but if you touch the ground you lose.
You may have seen this game streamed by popular YouTubers because it’s just so ridiculous to watch. This is a great game to take turns playing with friends, as it’s basically like playing “the floor is lava” with super-human jumping powers. There are nine sets of 10 levels, so there’s a ton of content to play through here.
Download: ClusterTruck ($14.99)
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 ($13.60)
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 unique party platformer that’ll have you and your friends gather 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 is one of my favorite games for the NVIDIA Shield TV, 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 the aforementioned 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)
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 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)
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.
Download: 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!