Nvidia's Tegra 3 Optimizations: THD Android Games, Tested

Fruit Ninja And Galaxy On Fire 2

Fruit Ninja

Fruit Ninja is an easy-to-learn and rather addictive touchscreen classic. Fruits are tossed up from the bottom of the screen and the player has to slice them up using swiping gestures. Fruit Ninja is available in both free and paid versions; there are simply fewer modes in the free build. A specially-optimized THD version is offered on Google Play alongside the standard version. Unfortunately, the paid version of Fruit Ninja THD costs $2 more than the standard Android version.

Can a game consisting entirely of fruit really look any better on a device it was optimized for? Yes and no. The modeling is more precise, and details are a little more visible if you look closely at the fruits in the THD version. But, given the type of game this is, those differences aren’t significant to the overall experience. After all, when your task is to slice up fruit that pop up from the bottom of your screen, the level of detail in the pineapple doesn’t change the fun factor all that much. It's a plus on paper, but imperceptible during play.

Download Fruit Ninja from Tom’s Guide

Galaxy On Fire 2

The next game on our list is the great-looking space shooter Galaxy On Fire 2. The game is available for Android on Google Play in two versions: the THD version for Tegra 3-based devices, and another for the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play. The latter operates on the Nexus 4, no doubt because Qualcomm's Adreno GPU is the same one you'd find in the Sony phone The Galaxy S III, however, cannot run the game at all.

While the three versions of Galaxy On Fire 2 don’t have the same exact missions and environments, there’s still no contest: the Tegra 3-optimized version is much better-looking. There’s a higher level of detail in the textures and effects, making the game significantly more attractive. The Xperia Play version on the Nexus 4 is visually identical to the iOS version.

  • aicom
    Interesting comparison. Maybe you could test if there are any differences in effects between models of the Tegra 3?
  • darkavenger123
    Err...why bother compare with iOS?? No big deal. They should start comparing with PS VITA for some real games....hardware is useless without software....so sick of casual gaming...Angry birds runs just fine with Androids 2 years ago, doesn't need a hardware upgrade. They need to get developers to makes some real games for it or it's just pointless expensive sillicone.
  • I own both the Nexus 4 and a Tegra 3 equiped Asus Transformer Prime. The Nexus 4 is quite a bit faster in a lot of games, especially GTA3 and Vice City. But also Dead Trigger which is supposedly optimized for Tegra runs quite badly on the Transformer Prime, the framerate is much better on the Nexus 4.
  • gomerpile
    WTF is going on, jeez if it keep it up with the rat race of title games that have no graphics, pc gamers are all doomed. Why waste time and money on the next version of Battlefield 4 when we can develop monkey ball andriod shooters.
  • abbadon_34
    Nvidia continues to encourage game developers to add Tegra-only details to their Android titles.

    Exactly what is wrong with tech today, for 30 years companies learned to embrace compatibility after the Sony Betamax failure (technically better, but priced beyond comsumer appreciation). Now everyone wants to follow Apple forgetting they too suffered from a "closed shop" for 20 years.
  • blubbey
    Are these phones now more powerful than gen 6 consoles? Dreamcast/PS2/Gamecube/Xbox. I would assume so.
  • darkchazz
    I've got a Nexus 7 OCed (1.5ghz CPU, 520mhz GPU) and a stock Galaxy Note II, and I have to say that every single game you can think of in the play store runs miles better on the Note II, even the so called optimized-for-tegra titles.

    What's bothersome for me though is that some tegra optimized titles actually run on a low resolution by default on the N7 (to compensate for low memory bandwidth???) yet still play on a 30-40ish frame rate, luckily the devs have put resolution option in the setting (see Riptide, beach buggy blitz), but you'll be playing at 20-30fps if you bump it up to the max/native res.

    Another title, Horn, which is actually a Tegra exclusive using UE3, actually runs on a low res but does not provide any option to change that, and even with the low resolution, it is extremely choppy at times I can easily notice 15-20fps.

    One dev that I like is MADFINGER Games (dead trigger, shadowgun), their titles are so heavily optimized that they run at a consistent 35-45fps on my N7 and I do not notice lag nor inconsistent frame rate. still runs at constant 60fps on my Note II though...

    Meanwhile I can't think of anything that doesn't run at 60fps on my Note II, So much that wonder how much better the gpu performance is on Snapdragon S4 pro and apple A6 devices.
  • natoco
    blubbeyAre these phones now more powerful than gen 6 consoles? Dreamcast/PS2/Gamecube/Xbox. I would assume so.Yes, but tiny screens u put u fingers on ruin the experience of gaming, i get my old megadrive out and play or niintendo 64 for some funny simple old school games. Phones look the 'tiny' part like it but its just not the same. I bought a whole heap of games on my iphone only to put them down and never play again since the format in which u play is just not 'fun' and thats the whole point of games is it not. Oh well, consoles or pc's FTW
  • gilgamex101
    Did anyone else notice that the Heroes Call screen shots are the EXACT same as the Soulcraft screenshots??
  • blubbeyAre these phones now more powerful than gen 6 consoles? Dreamcast/PS2/Gamecube/Xbox. I would assume so.
    definitely, GTAIII and Vice City were both PS2 games and the new mobile versions have upgraded textures