Mobile Gaming on the Samsung Galaxy Tab

With the iPhone and Android platforms rapidly encroaching on the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP in a battle for portable videogame market share, tablet based gaming adds another element to this multi-faceted mobile gaming competition.
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab is an Android-powered tablet computer with a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen that places it somewhere between the iPad and smartphones from a screen real-estate standpoint.

Two games from Gameloft come bundled with the Galaxy Tab courtesy of Verizon Wireless. Both Let’s Golf and N.O.V.A prove the Galaxy Tab’s worth as a gaming device with sharp graphics and smooth control.

Let’s Golf for the Samsung Galaxy Tab

Let’s Golf is a cartoon-like golf game reminiscent of the Hot Shots series popular on videogame consoles. The Galaxy Tab version of the game is essentially identical to the iPhone version with graphics scaled up for the Tab’s 7-inch screen.

The game features four fictional courses each set in a different locale. The player can choose between either a male or female character at the beginning of the game, with two additional characters to be unlocked during gameplay. Additionally, different equipment and clothing is earned as well, with each item improving various skill attributes, providing a light RPG flavor.

The graphics in Let’s Golf are excellent and really shine on the Galaxy Tab, especially on the hole flyovers. Virtual controls are used for club selection and to zoom in when aiming a shot. The venerable “three button press” provides the golf swing mechanism. Putting features a grid display to assist in reading the green contours and slope.

While Let’s Golf has four different game modes, the Tournament mode is the most fun as more courses, characters and items are unlocked as the gamer advances. The game keeps track of stats and any trophies earned by the player.

N.O.V.A. on the Samsung Galaxy Tab

N.O.V.A., which stands for Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance, is a sci-fi themed first person shooter by Gameloft that is highly inspired by the Halo series for the Xbox. Like Let’s Golf, the game is essentially identical to the iOS version but with graphics scaled to the 7-inch screen of the Galaxy Tab.

The 3D graphics on N.O.V.A. are especially excellent, both in resolution and frame rate. The game features a virtual control scheme to move, fire, and jump, while finger swiping is used to move the view. Various special weapons are also triggered by tapping virtual buttons when they appear.

A standard science fiction storyline provides some context for all the destruction, and there is also a multiplayer mode available for head-to-head action.

Let’s Golf and N.O.V.A. provide compelling evidence of the Galaxy Tab’s quality as a mobile gaming machine. Android fans may want to consider the Motorola Xoom or upcoming versions of the Galaxy Tab that run Android Honeycomb, which is the first version of Android certified by Google as “tablet ready.” The current Galaxy Tab runs Android 2.2.

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