As NVIDIA proclaims in every piece of marketing, the Shield Android TV box is "the streamer for gamers." It also happens to be the best TV streaming box for playing games developed for Android TV from the Google Play Store. Want to start playing? Here are some games to try.
If you're wanting some more games to play on the go, then be sure to check out our best Android games list!
Note: The NVIDIA Shield TV (2019) is not quite as gamer-ready as its predecessors and the Shield TV Pro (2019). NVIDIA went with a 32-bit version of Android TV and also downgraded the RAM on its tube-shaped streaming dongle to just 2GB. This has affected the base model's compatibility with some 64-bit games from the Play Store including several on this list (Metal Gear Solid 2, Half-Life 2, The Witness, and Portal). Meanwhile, the NVIDIA Shield TV Pro (2019) is still fully compatible to play all games developed for the Shield lineup.
Death Road to Canada
We've talked a lot about Death Road to Canada here on AC, and for good reason. It's one of those games that offers a unique gaming experience every time you play and is full of unexpected surprises. It offers nearly limitless replayability and plays great on your phone or your Shield TV.
Death Road to Canada is 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.
Morphite 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.
It's truly a remarkable game, featuring a simplistic art style and calming soundtrack. It leans heavily into the No Man's Sky vibe and that's totally cool. While it plays pretty well on a smartphone, it really reaches new heights on a big TV screen with a controller in your hand.
Metal Gear Solid 2 HD
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty is arguably the best game in Hideo Kojima's legendary series, and you can relive it all in the HD remastered version 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 play as 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!
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.
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 and wacky physics-based gameplay.
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. You wander around a mysterious island solving grid puzzles all the livelong day, but things become quite layered as you start to unravel the true nature of the island and just how deep the puzzle theme extends.
There are over 500 puzzles to solve and the developer claims that none of them are filler. Each puzzle you solve unlocks more of the story and more of who you are as a character. It's really quite a good game and worth the high cost of entry.
Bridge Constructor Portal
Bridge Constructor is a great physics-based puzzle game in its own right, but the Portal spin-off takes the concept and adds in all the wacky elements from Aperture Laboratories. Through 60 test chambers, your goal is to get the test vehicles to the end of the course any way you can using portals, along with propulsion and repulsion gels while avoiding deadly lasers, pits of acid, and sentient turrets.
It's an outstanding cross-over title that provides a challenge that will delight fans of Bridge Constructor and Portal alike. It's the best of the series by far to this day.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Right off the top 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.
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.
Half-Life 2 is a masterpiece of a game. It's the sequel to 1998's groundbreaking first-person shooter Half-Life. 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, but if you need a bit of the backstory: You play as Gordon Freeman, a 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 that has implemented a brutal worldwide police state to control the human race.
Skateboard Party 3
Fans of the classic Tony Hawk Pro Skater games from back in the day who lament the storied franchise's state in the past few years should check out Skateboard Party 3. It's a throwback game to those classic skateboarding games we loved from the late 90s and early 00s before things went awry.
The game physics and controls feel very familiar and you're given a couple of 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.
When you're making a list of best games, and Portal is one of the options to include, you know it's going to be in there. It is 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 times. It's been ported beautifully over to the NVIDIA Shield TV via the Google Play Store.
Doom is a legendary franchise, both in its classic and modern forms. The original, aka the granddaddy of the first-person shooter, and its direct sequel are available as high-quality ports courtesy of Bethesda. But the third game of the franchise, aptly named Doom 3, is available for the NVIDIA Shield TV.
The BFG Edition features some visual upgrades, achievements, a checkpoint system, and some control tuning. There's also a new mission that was cut from the original game. While we think Half-Life 2 is the shooter to play on your Shield TV, Doom 3 is another good option if you're looking for something more aggressive.
The Final Station
On its surface, The Final Station reminds me of Death Road to Canada, mentioned at the top of this list. You're thrown into a zombie apocalypse and you have to make due. But the similarities end there as The Final Station sees you on a train, in control of the few remaining human lives as you travel from station to station.
You're in charge of making sure the train remains functional, plus seeing to passenger needs. You'll pass through swarms of infected to make it to that next station, often seeking supplies and reprieve. There are choices to be made, some of which define who your character is as a person.
Super Meat Boy
Super Meat Boy is, quite frankly, brutal. The name is quite fitting, as you'll feel like you've been through the meat grinder after playing it. Super Meat Boy follows a long tradition of 2D side-scrolling platformers that dare players to try and beat their sadistic gauntlets of misery and pain.
On a quest to save his girlfriend from a tuxedo-clad fetus in a jar (yes, it's icky), you'll guide Meat Boy as he runs, jumps, and dies again and again through caverns, hospitals, and increasingly dangerous terrain.
With a mininal pixelated graphic style, Super Meat Boy is a no-frills platformer harkening back to the difficulty that many older games are now known for. Precise inputs are crucial here, there is absolutely no room for error. The punishing gameplay may scare some gamers off, but there's something to be said for the rush of elation you get from finally making it through a difficult area.
Do you think you're up to the task of conquering Super Meat Boy? Well here's your chance to try!
Never Alone and Super Meat Boy are both platformers, but that is precisely where the similarities end. Where Super Meat Boy is all about crushing difficulty, fast action, and precision controls, Never Alone wants to take you on a much more spiritual, reflective, and perhaps even enlightening journey.
Never Alone follows the adventures of Nuna, a young Iñupiat girl, and her trusty friend the fox as they battle against the elements to try and get to bottom of an eternal blizzard that threatens their lives and everything they know and love. If you play in single-player mode, you'll swap back and forth between controlling both Nuna and the fox, but if you play in co-op mode each players controls one of them.
Never Alone does what I wish more platformers, and games in general, would do — it teaches you about a peoples' culture in an engaging and fun way. With a beautiful art style, incredible narration by an Iñupiat master storyteller (in the Iñupiaq language, no less!), and optional co-op mode, Never Alone is as good of a single-player experience as it is a co-op one for parents to share with their children. For just $4.99, this delightful story-driven platformer is worth your time and money.
Jackbox Party Pack 3
Perhaps you've just emerged from a hundred years of cryo-sleep and you're culturally out of the loop on the cool, hip games that young people are playing these days. This is really the only scenario I can think of that would explain how someone could have possibly missed Jackbox games and its many iterations. Here's the gist: Jackbox games are party games that you can play with up to 8 people. Each Party Pack has a handful of mini-games that run the gamut from things like designing t-shirts and voting on the best one, deadly quiz shows, guessing games, and more.
The real appeal of Jackbox is that the games are wacky, hilarious, easy enough for anyone to participate in, and do a great job of pitting you against your friends in a fun, low-salt way. At a whopping $24.99, Party Pack 3 is a pretty pricey addition to the list, but believe me, you'll get a LOT of use out of this game.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch
You can sum up Octodad: Dadliest Catch is just about one word: WEIRD. It's a weird concept for a very weird, yet very fun game. An oldie but goodie, Octodad puts you in the proverbial shoes of an octopus pretending to be a loving human family man. You wear a slick suit, have a beautiful wife, two lovely kids, a sweet house in the burbs, and all the while you're somehow fooling the whole world into thinking you're not an octopus.
Octodad is a barrel of laughs by virtue of the hilarious physics associated with controlling a "man" with no bones and eight unwieldy tentacles. This turns ordinary tasks, like going grocery shopping for your family, into bizarre, herculean efforts. This game isn't complex and the charm and appeal really lie in the novelty of the experience. There may not be much replay value here, but you'll get one heck of a kick out of it while it lasts!
There's even more on GeForce Now
Beyond the offerings from the Google Play Store, NVIDIA offers its 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 other 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 setup uses an NVIDIA graphics card.
Update August 2021: Added Jackbox Party Pack 3 and Octodad: Dadliest Catch to our list!
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