The 12 Best Android TV Games to Play with a Gamepad

BY GreenBot Staff

Published 7 Apr 2016

   Game on!

If you have an Android TV device and you’re not using it for console-style gaming, you’re really missing out. Whether it’s a set-top box or a TV powered by Nintendo’s platform, Android TV lets you experience great big-screen games. Revitalized console classics, stout indie games, and even mobile originals enhanced by the living room setting.But you’ll need a proper game controller, which is where the Gamepad comes in. While some games are playable with a remote, many of the best Android TV titles require a gamepad and are dramatically better with one. Don’t have an Android gamepad yet? Here are 12 awesome games that might convince you to grab one. It’s just the tip of the iceberg for Android TV fun. Keep an eye out; it may let you use your phone as an Android TV gamepad in the future, which could save some cash.
Note: The Nvidia Shield TV has a whole batch of other games, including Half-Life 2, Mortal Kombat, and Borderlands. The Pre-Sequels are available but aren’t playable on other Android TV boxes, so we’ve excluded them from this list.

Fighting games don’t feel the same without a real gamepad’s rapid-fire precision physical response. However, some fighters are still fun with virtual touchscreen buttons. That’s the case with Soulcalibur on phones and tablets. Still, this beloved 3D fighter is significantly elevated on Android TV with an actual controller on hand.

While there have been newer, prettier versions of the series on the console. The original Soulcalibur from arcade Dreamcast is still a blast, letting you battle an array of weapon-wielding combatants against each other. The game runs smooth and sharp on your TV, and the button controls are fluid and responsive. It’s a classic that still holds up, even at that slightly bulging price point.


Implosion – Never Lose Hope

On mobile devices, Implosion – Never Lose Hope does a startlingly great job of taking the hack-and-slash console genre and making it work well with touch controls. It’s little surprise, then, that adding a gamepad makes this mobile original seem just like it came from a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360.
Implosion is like Capcom’s Devil May Cry series, blending combo-heavy sword slashing with special gunplay attacks. Here you’re coming as a mech suit powering through mutant-filled corridors. It looks excellent on a TV, plays just as well with an analog stick in the fray, and offers a meaty campaign and bonus challenges to tackle.

Implosion – Never Lose Hope (Free; $10 full game unlock)

Zen Pinball

You might not have the cash or space to own a real pinball table, but you can toss a pretty convincing smile on your TV thanks to Zen Pinball. As on touch devices, Zen Pinball lets you tap into a library full of the original digital tables. Each is priced at a couple bucks apiece for unlimited play; no quarters are needed! Acting much like a physical table.
Clicking triggers or shoulder buttons to control the flippers feels more like the real thing than tapping the sides of a touch screen; Zen Pinball has dozens of tables available to purchase. Licensed tables include some from Star Wars, Marvel Comics, South Park, and even Valve’s physical puzzler Portal. There are many others in the mix too.

Zen Pinball (Free)

The Walking Dead

Whatever your remaining interest in The Walking Dead TV series after its controversial twists and turns. Here’s another franchise experience you can enjoy on your television. How ya know the episodic series of The Walking Dead game. It’s a separate story from the show comics. Still, it delivers a seriously gripping, powerful story where you have to make all of the tough decisions.
You’ll make life-or-death calls to shape your relationships via dialogue choices along the way. Every little bit tweaks the narrative all the way through to the ending. It’s an absolute gut punch at times, but in a way, that’ll keep you coming back. And there’s plenty to play: two complete five-episode seasons, along with a side series based on the TV comic favorite, Michonne.

The Walking Dead: Season One (Free; $15 full game unlock)
The Walking Dead: Season Two (Free; $15 full game unlock)
The Walking Dead: Michonne ($5)


EA Sports revitalized one of the greatest sports franchises of all time for mobile, but toss it back on your TV with a gamepad. NBA JAM will surely bring back a flood of memories from the early ‘90s. The updated graphics are a lot better these days. Still, the arcade-style fun of this two-on-two hoops favorite remains fully intact in the modern revision.
All 30 teams are here with current and classic players; your super-deformed two-man crew must dunk and deflect their way to victory. NBA JAM has a campaign mode, online action, and even a local multiplayer mode where your opponent plays on a phone or tablet while you battle from the TV. At just $5, it’s a steal.

NBA JAM ($5)

Star Wars™: KOTOR

It’s been 13 years since Star Wars: KOTOR was released on Xbox, but to many fans, there hasn’t been a better Star Wars game since, or before, for that matter. This sprawling role-playing quest lets you create your own hero and make decisions that push you toward the Force’s light or dark side.
Will you be a Jedi or Sith? That’s your path to forge across dozens of hours of combat, dialogue, and exploration. Beloved developer Biore Mass Effect designed Knights of the Old Republic back then. Aspyr’s sharp Android port keeps the entire epic intact. It was built for a gamepad back then, and no surprise it still plays best on one now. While the game shows its age in some respects, it remains a must-play for Star Wars die-hards.

Star Wars™: KOTOR ($10)

Octodad: Dadliest Catch
You won’t find a wackier game on the Play Store than Octodad: Dadliest Catch–yes, “Dadliest.” It’s the tale of a suburban human father who is an octopus in disguise. Still, his carefully constructed façade is starting to crumble. His human wife’s kids are suspicious; worst of all, there’s a knife-wielding chef out to get him.
As the octopus father, you must blend in during everyday human events; getting married, grocery shopping, and even visiting the aquarium. Octodad’s controls are appropriately slippery, making it awkward to walk, precisely hold items, and perform human tasks with bright yellow tentacles. But that’s exactly why it’s so hilarious and memorable.

Octodad: Dadliest Catch ($5)

More than two decades and several entries in the series later, Final Fantasy VI is still considered by many to be the best of the legendary role-playing games. The Super Nintendo classic has been tweaked and updated for Android, with refreshed graphics and added content. However, you can still experience it much like the old days, with a gamepad in hand for Android TV. Thankfully, Final Fantasy VI is a stand-alone tale that requires no knowledge of the series. The emotional narrative, steampunk world, and large cast of characters have helped it endure after all this time. It’s a vast, fascinating single-player adventure. You don’t have to fumble through awkward touchscreen menus when playing on TV with a controller. It’s still well worth savoring.


GTA: Liberty City Stories
If you’ve enjoyed Grand Theft Auto games in the past, you probably don’t need much convincing to download a full-fledged entry on your Android TV for seven bucks. The Liberty City Stories might not be one of the best-known games in the series. However, it’s an enhanced port of the sequel to GTA III, but it’s still plenty of fun even a decade later.
Take the other GTA games of the era; Liberty City Stories is about establishing your character in the criminal underground, which you’ll do by completing a wide array of missions. However, it’s just as fun, if not more, to spend hours and hours causing chaos in the open city, whether stealing cars, picking fights, or taking on side jobs.

GTA: Liberty City Stories ($7)