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

Princess Punt And Shadowgun: DeadZone

Princess Punt

Like Punt The Dog? Princess Punt is a similar game, but with a princess who punts knights at evil giant acorns. Fair enough. There’s a bit of strategy involved, and aside from the asinine plot and obviously poor translation, it’s actually a pretty amusing game. Like with Fruit Ninja, there are separate THD and standard versions of Princess Punt in Google Play.

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iPhone 5

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Galaxy S3

We could only spot two discernable differences on the Tegra version: the rare weather effect on certain levels, and a flickering effect surrounding the characters. These Tegra-only additions serve no real purpose, nor add anything significant to the visual experience. Meanwhile, the game is visually identical on the iPhone 5, Google Nexus 4, and Samsung Galaxy S III.

Shadowgun: DeadZone

Next up is the recently-released Shadowgun: DeadZone. This multiplayer-only third-person shooter is powered by the cross-platform Unity engine. While optimized for Tegra 3, there is no separate THD version. Instead, a single Android version automatically detects and adapts to the GPU of the installed device.

According to Google Play, this game’s minimum system requirements are Android 3.0 and 512 MB RAM. Even though all of our test devices meet these requirements, DeadZone is only stable on the HTC One X+ and iPhone 5. The game regularly crashes on the Galaxy S III, and doesn’t run at all on the Nexus 4.

Shadowgun: DeadZone is visually identical on the HTC One X+ and the iPhone 5, but tremendously inferior on the Samsung Galaxy S III. While the game’s multiplayer-only operation makes it impossible to recreate the exact same game sequence, the difference in character models, textures, and lighting effects are flagrantly obvious.