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Best Android tablet games of 2011

by Andrew Koziara

What could be better than playing great games anywhere you go? Playing them in the glorious splendor that is high definition, of course! Tablet gaming hasn't quite caught up to its older yet smaller brother, but this year saw the release of some heavy hitting titles. These might not be the best games on the market right now, but they're all excellent gaming experiences that really put the extra hardware and screen resolution of a tablet to good use in one way or another. Here are my picks for best tablet games of 2011.

Guerrilla Bob THD ($3.99)

Guerrilla Bob is a dual-stick shooter that takes you on a manly adventure wrought with action movie clichés and over the top humor and characters. Blast away a nice variety of baddies and unlock an arsenal of awesome weapons as you guide Bob through each mission.

The gameplay can be deemed a bit simplistic, but there's a good amount of content to enjoy, and the HD upgrade to the game is well done and welcome. You can mix things up with the alternate 'Survival' and 'Mercenary' game modes as well as cross-platform Wi-Fi multiplayer, and you can even play split screen on the same device with a friend thanks to the extra screen space. This game will definitely scratch that run'n'gun itch of yours.

Samurai II: Vengeance THD ($2.84)

If you love hack and slash action accompanied by buckets of digital blood, you'll love Samurai II from MadFinger Games. It's pure unadulterated combat awesomeness. Cut down massive groups of foolish foes with the same unifying death wish as you try to stop a demon emperor from wreaking havoc on the world.

Aside from the simple yet polished combat and combo system, this game boasts amazing stylized visuals. I thought they were amazing on my smartphone, but I was wrong. Everything from the luscious, colorful environments to the comic book cut scenes and even the music are perfectly matched. Add to that a decent story, several difficulty modes, plus a special challenge mode, and you've got a gorgeous game built to last.

Shadowgun ($4.99)

Yep. MadFinger games makes this list twice with their excellent third person shooter, Shadowgun. The game puts you in the space boots of a mercenary/bounty hunter named John Slade. You're tasked with hunting down a mad scientist while fighting through his personally created army of mutant cyborgs.

Ok, so the plot isn't that original, and to be perfectly honest, the simplistic gun-play can feel repetitive and leaves something to be desired for hardcore shooter fans. It's not the best shooter on the market, but it may well be the best looking yet. Hyper-realistic graphics with plenty of Samurai II's stylistic elements tossed into the mix makes me a happy gamer. Add hidden secrets strewn about each level and the promise of multiplayer somewhere down the line, and you've got a powerhouse mobile game.

Galaxy on Fire 2 THD (Free)

If you're looking for a jaw-droppingly beautiful game about space combat and exploration, than look no further. Galaxy on Fire 2 has you covered. Along with all the space battles in the several hour story mode, you have the freedom to head off on your own trek through the stars. There is no shortage of variety and content here as you purchase and customize your own ships and trade commodities with different factions.

This may be the best looking Android game out there right now. Nearly all the graphics were re-done from scratch to make proper use of the high definition tablet, and it's definitely noticeable. The gameplay can be a bit clunky at times, but I still had a blast with it. Also, the game isn't exactly free. You'll eventually have to purchase more content in-app, and it will eventually clock in at fifteen dollars, but you should definitely check out this free demo and see if it tickles your fancy.

Sentinel 3: Homeworld ($2.99)

What mobile games list would be complete without a tower defense game? Sentinel 3 is easily my favorite tower defense from this year, with its stunning visuals and innovative gameplay. Not only will you set up various towers, but you'll also have control over a special commander unit with various offensive and defensive capabilities.

The game has you jumping between gates as the commander in your completely awesome mech-suit, strategically using your abilities to help turn the tide of each wave. Currency earned can be used to upgrade your towers, and the commander even levels-up, letting you customize his stats. You can also mix things up with Endless mode and extra challenging Classic mode, and this is honestly the best looking tower defense game I've ever seen.