Top Five Graphically Awesome Games of 2011 for Android

2011 was a big year for Android. NVDIA’s Dual Core processor, Tegra 2 was introduced, Honeycomb Tablets flooded the market and Ice Cream Sandwich brought phone and tablets together under one roof. However this wasn’t the only thing that made this year memorable.

2011 ushered in high caliber titles that are quickly building the bridge to console and pc gaming. While we are still a long ways off, Android games have come a long way. Aside from casual gamers, flicking birds will soon pass, and we may find ourselves playing deep games such as Skyrim or partaking in large multiplayer games as robust  Call of Duty (oh sorry, didn’t see you there Modern Combat 3).

With gasp filled screens like Super Amoled Plus and Retina Display and quad core processors, mobile gaming has nowhere to go but up.

Emissary of War

Most Android gamers are used to the cute or cartoon-y casual games that litter the Android Market. Games such as Angry Birds, or Cut the Ropes are charming and fun in their own way, and despite being addictive, never truly engages you in with their story and graphics. While I’m sure Angry Birds were crafted for the casual audience, gamers looking for a quality title that includes gameplay, story and specially graphics can look no further that Cedar Hill Games Emissary of War.

Emissary of War is simply a dungeon game. Fans of Dungeon Hunter rejoice, as you’ll find yourself constantly leveling up, discovering new powers and equipping new weapons.  You’ll traverse across a number of environments from Rocky Mountains to the mandatory lava stage. The graphics are no slouch either, with details given on each environment to ensure you never really feels like completing a dungeon. Steams hiss up from the ground and leaves fall from decaying trees.

Presented in an isometric view, it may be quite easy for many gamers to miss the bright and detailed characters. It’s a shame as you’ll be following the two likeable characters in a number of interesting levels. Emissary of War, despite being pretty, is a story driven game, complete with voice acting that fits both main characters. You’ll find yourself the same addicting “one more level” disease as you find out what’s next. What keeps the game fresh is the number of detailed enemies assaulting you in each different environment. It never feels like grinding just to level up.

Emissary of War is one of the few games that come with as a complete package. Despite this article focusing on graphics alone, Emissary of War is one of few games that one quality compliments the others.

Dead Space

EA games recently released their popular space themed horror game, Dead Space, for mobile devices. While not a port of the original game or its sequel, Dead Space for Android contains the same dark and depressing atmosphere along with everyone favorite, the Necromorphs. EA spared no expenses in bringing their triple A title to your favorite device (if available). Those familiar with the console games will not be surprised (or will be) to find that every corner may harbor a Slasher, and every ceiling crawling with Lurkers. You’ll constantly find yourself low on ammo and health, with you back against the wall as you try to out run the Necromorphs.

What are the Necromorphs?  Well you’ll find that EA leaves nothing to the imagination as they gave these creatures the same blood and gore quality as their bigger console brothers. The Necromorphs dismembered faces and bodies will leave many uneasy as they quickly try to shoot and remove creatures limbs with the few ammos they are given. Along with the attention to detail given to the creatures, the dark hallways and rooms becomes an obstacle itself. You’ll notice light flickering and fans swirling effectively blocking lights- perfect for these creatures to hide in, grabbing you at the least expected moment.

The lack of sound as you explore to struggle for survival creates a terrifying experience. You’ll find that the minor scuttles and movements can be as powerful and haunting as an orchestrated music from a horror film. Along with a beautiful yet dark presentation, and detailed environment, Dead Space continues the tradition of scaring the hell out of you.


Upon startup you’ll quickly notice how 9mm is a pretty game. On the menu stands the avatar of your main character, John “Loose” Kannon, his detailed sneer inviting players to play. You can spin the avatar 360 degrees and inspect the surrounding environment. Spin to the right and you can easily read the name of the stores, spin to the left and you’ll find that the storage company is under new management. All these and more, and we haven’t even pressed “New Game” yet.

Warning: Not Safe for Work 9mm Trailer

9mm is incredibly detailed, and you’ll find yourself amazed at the black magic the folks Gameloft casted. You’ll play the typical anti-hero cop, John Kannon, whose hell bent on destroying anyone determined to commit a crime. You’ll take down an army of gangsters as you bend the law to clean up the streets. Yes you’ve seen this before.

Aside from the story, you’ll be playing in a fashion similar to Rockstar’s Max Payne, bullet time included. No complaints here however as the slow motion gun play lets you appreciate the detailed environment. From a drug house on the suburbs to the a sleazy strip club, 9mm is a red bulled induced gameplay that never lets up, even when you’re out of ammo ( which there is plenty).


You’ll find that Madfinger Games has a knack of making gorgeous games that takes advantage of your device. Shadowgun, recently released this summer, developed a third person shooter that took advantage of NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 processor. Proving that Android can go toe to toe with iOS and consoles games, Shadowgun blew away many gamers with its ‘Gears of War’ like gameplay and detailed graphics that would make any console faithful blush. Yet the Madfinger doesn’t stop there, along with optimizing Shadowgun for Tegra 2, the developers ups the ante by increasing small details for the upcoming Tegra 3. Waters effects are even more stunning as bullets create jaw dropping ripples that must be seen to believe.

Shadowgun is simply remarkable. Not content to just providing a pretty cover, Shadogun presents an number of ways to blow, dismember and scatter you enemies into a tiny pieces thanks to the number of weapons. Favorites such as machine guns and shotguns make their appearance, but you’ll know absolute power when you acquire the grenade launcher. Shooting through a crowd of enemies never gets old as they are propelled through the air in different directions. Shadowgun’s action never let up.

Samurai Vengeance 2

Making its debut on 2009 for the iOS, Samurai: Way of the Warrior by Madfinger Games, made many Android gamers green with envy. With unique artistic style and gameplay, Samurai: Way of the Warrior was a hit with critics and gamers alike. The following year, Madfinger Games released the anticipated sequel, Samurai II: Vengeance, again exclusively for the iOS. Samurai II: Vengeance gained additional traction with the release of the iPad in 2010. The gorgeous design work shined in HD and coupled with the iPad’s IPS screen and large 9.7 inch real estate, Madfinger Games became one of the few developers to pioneer console/pc quality titles on mobile devices. However, Android gamers continued to sit in the dark, hoping a port would quickly follow. Sadly, it never arrived.

With the announcement and release of NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 and the Honeycomb tablets, a slew of games were announced. Madfinger Games saw fit to finally release the long awaited hack and slash game with the sequel, Samurai II: Vengeance.  New controls and combat mechanics were introduced. Features such as survival mode added replay value, and along with the newly introduced joystick made it a larger update that gamers were content on missing the first game.

The biggest draw here however is the graphics. NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 and along with Madfinger Games unique visuals makes Samurai II: Vengeance an utterly unique experience. The manga, anime, cel shaded and water color inspired visuals running at a fluid 60 frames per second is a sight to behold. Running and battling across the water colored backdrop of feudal Japan, Samurai gives gamers the impression of playing an artistic graphic novel.

Slashing enemies to gory pieces as their blood splatters and smears against your screen while in the background, sakura petals slightly sway from trees, Madfinger Games has nailed the cinematic feel of samurai battles. While not being entirely too deep, the story is presented in a comic book panel style creating a whole package you can easily sink your hours into. Samurai II: Vengeance is genuinely a beautiful and bloody game that should not be ignored.

Special Recognition:


With the release of the app, Onlive hopes to bring true console graphics to your device, and it works, sort of. Onlive’s streaming requires gamers to have a high speed connection. While their generous 5mps requirement should allow most to play, lags, and fuzzy graphics do make their regular appearance from time to time. However with 4g networks and the increasing speed provided by ISP, it’s not an ‘if portable devices will replace consoles’, but ‘when’.

So there you have it. With the upcoming Transformer Prime (possible name change due to Hasbro lawsuit) and the powerful Tegra 3, 2012 looks to be a good year to be a gamer, an Android gamer. While the games listed induce mouth watering graphics, there are still many we could add to the list which would make this rather massive in size. Share your comments with us below!

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