The HP TouchPad is a pretty powerful tablet with a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual core processor and a 9.7 inch, 1024 x 768 pixel display. Games look great on the tablet — but unfortunately there aren’t really all that many high quality games available for the webOS operating system that comes with the TouchPad.
That’s where Android comes in. This week the CyanogenMod team released the first public build of Android for the TouchPad, and while it’s still a little rough around the edges, the CyanogenMod software lets you use the Google Android Market to install thousands of games on HP’s tablets.
Some games work better than others.
I took 11 games for a test drive this afternoon, and while some perform flawlessly on the TouchPad, others refuse to run at all, or look funny on the tablet’s 1024 x 768 pixel screen. The display may be the same size and resolution as the screens on the Apple iPad and iPad 2, but it’s an unusual shape and size for an Android device.
These are the 10 games I tested, by grabbing some popular free apps and a few of my favorite Android games.
- Angry Birds – This game plays perfectly and looks great on the TouchPad.
- Asphalt 5 Free - Once you get past the splash screen for this racing game, a message tells you the game’s not supported.
- Destinia – This RPG looks pretty good, but the graphics are more pixelated on the TouchPad’s large display than on a smartphone.
- Dungeon Defenders - The graphics look amazing and gameplay is very smooth on this action/RPG game, but the edge of the screen is cut off a bit.
- Fieldrunners HD - The graphics look great in this tower defense game, and the frame rate is excellent.
- Guitar Hero 5 Demo - This music/rhythm game plays… but only in a small window that doesn’t fill the screen.
- Pinball Deluxe – This pinball game works nicely in portrait mode, but shows black bars along the sides.
- Robo Defense – Robo Defense plays well in full screen mode, but it’s not quite as pretty as Fieldrunners HD.
- TurboFly 3D – The accelerometer doesn’t currently work, but if you use on-screen controls this racing game looks great.
- Wixel Lite - This Boggle-like word search game is playable, but the word grid is confined to a tiny, phone-sized window.
- Zenonia 3 – This game looks at least as good on the TouchPad’s large screen as on a smartphone display — although the RPG’s graphics have an 8-bit look and feel that can’t match Dungeon Defenders or some other games.
There are many more games available for Android which are capable of running on the HP TouchPad. But I was impressed that of the first 11 games I downloaded, only one title simply wouldn’t run on the tablet.
I was able to get Asphalt 5 to run on the TouchPad by running the “Spare Parts” app on the tablet, unchecking the “compatibility mode” option and rebooting. But there was a problem that caused the game to only display on a portion of the screen — and the game thought I was pressing the touchscreen about 3 or 4 inches higher than I was actually tapping — so the game was still pretty much unplayable.
Most of the other games were playable — even if a few had graphics quirks. Not a single game felt slow, and some looked absolutely stellar on the HP TouchPad.
I also found that ScummVM works, as do several classic game console emulators.
Update: The folks at the RootzWiki forum have started to compile a much longer list of Android games that work on the HP TouchPad. For the most part the list of games that work appears to be much longer than the list of incompatible games.