Everytime NVIDIA asks me what type of games I'd like to see running on Android I always seem to answer the same way: I want good FPSes. I want mindless fun and FPSes are pretty good at delivering that, although admittedly I wouldn't mind having a Zelda or Skyrim-esque option on smartphones/tablets as well. 

Shadowgun is the latest attempt at bringing a modern first person shooter to the smartphone and tablet space. Already available on the iOS App Store, Shadowgun is headed to the Android Market as well as Tegra Zone next month. NVIDIA provided us with a preview build of the game, courtesy of developer Madfinger.

The story is pretty simple. In the future megacorporations are the governments and dirty work is done by mercenaries. That's pretty much where the story ends and the shooting begins. There's not a whole lot of depth to the Shadowgun story but the gameplay is fun. 

Shadowgun takes a lot of cues from the Gears of War franchise. There is a cover system (simply approach any barrier to cover behind it), which makes combat much easier on a touchscreen. Some of the enemies are also very GoW-inspired, including something that's very much like a Ticker. Level design is mostly linear, but not uncommon for a FPS.

There are three difficulty settings (easy, normal and hard). The normal difficulty setting provides enough of a challenging that you won't just breeze through the game (you actually have to take cover and pick enemies off one by one). The developer claims the single player campaign is good for around 5 - 6 hours of gameplay. There is no multiplayer support.

Controls are surprisingly decent on a touchscreen. I've been playing Shadowgun on a Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9, which actually ends up being a great form factor for this type of game. There's a virtual left thumbstick that can be activated almost anywhere on the left hand side of the screen, as well as a fixed position virtual right thumbstick for aiming (tap-to-shoot). The usual tap-to-reload and tap-to-activate gestures apply here as well. The cover system really helps avoid a lot of face-to-face combat, which in turn makes for less frustrating gameplay compared to your typical touchscreen FPS. While I'd still prefer a physical controller, I had no problems playing Shadowgun on a touchscreen.

The sounds are decent. Nothing amazing but a step above what you'd expect from your run-of-the-mill smarpthone shooter.

The game looks great and runs very smoothly on the Tegra 2. If I had to guess I'd say we're right around 30 fps, but not much higher if at all. Check out some screenshots in the gallery below. These are all in-game, I took them myself. Depending on the price, if I wanted some mindless shooting fun on my Android device, Shadowgun might just be a good option.

Expect to find Shadowgun in Tegra Zone and the Android Market in October. NVIDIA tells us there's also a quad-core optimized version of Shadowgun coming for Kal-El.

Update: Shadowgun will be priced at $4.99.

Gallery: Shadowgun

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  • xcomvic - Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - link

    Considering this is meant for tablets, we've come a long ways from the 386 days, that's for sure. I am very surprised there aren't any decent RPGs for tablets or even a dumbed down version of WoW or some other MMO. You'd think they would be able to run on tablets with the graphics on really low, an alternate means for those addicts on the go...
  • ltcommanderdata - Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - link

    Gameloft has Order & Chaos which is a WoW clone.
  • B3an - Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - link

    Theres also Pocket Legends.

    And Shadowgun isn't another Tegra 2 only game is it? The article dont say but makes it sound this way.
  • SleepyFE - Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - link

    It does not soud like it is a Tegra 2 only game. It says that it will come to Tegra Zone AND Android Market.
  • RMSe17 - Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - link

    I'd think it would be great to have games like Ultima series, or X-com series, Zelda, or Civ. Something where the small form factor and weird touch controls will not really adversely affect the game. It seems to me that most phone games now require 0 brain cells to run, and while some FPS's are good, it would be nice to see something other than angry birds/minecraft/retarded looking kindergarten stuff.
  • pSupaNova - Thursday, October 6, 2011 - link

    Most of the games you have listed can be played via Emulators or have Clones.
    I have a N64, Amiga, Sega Mega Drive, PSX, Atari VCS, ZX Spectrum, Game Boy Advanced, SNES, MAME & PC Dos emulators running on my Xperia Play.
  • ltcommanderdata - Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - link

    Seeing your GLBenchmark 2.1 results show the iPad 2's SGX543MP2 to be 4 times faster than the Tegra 2, I'm wondering if it'll be possible to do a visual comparison between the Galaxy Tab and iPad 2 versions once the Android version is released to see what type graphics differences there are.
  • swaaye - Thursday, October 6, 2011 - link

    In my time with my modded Nook, I've found that controls need to be kept very simple with touch screens. Too many buttons and it becomes horribly frustrating. Trying to mouselook with your finger is a pain too if fast paced action is involved.

    That doesn't necessarily mean simple games though as I have played Master of Orion through Dosbox and it worked very well. 2D top downs and sidescrollers are fine too.

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