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New Galaxy Tab 10.1? Download these games first

by Phil Hornshaw

Statistically, the majority of tablet owners use their devices to do one thing more than any other: play games. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a powerful gaming machine, given the hardware it is packing. The only trouble is, right now, the tab is a bit lacking in titles that make use of its Tegra2 processor and wide-screen format. Trolling through the Android Market trying to find compatible games can be tough.

So we’ve taken the guesswork out and created this list. If you’re new to the Galaxy Tab 10.1, these are the games you should download right out of the box. Read up on eight titles you should have on your Galaxy Tab to get started; hopefully it won’t be long before more great games make their way to Samsung’s powerful device.

Angry Birds Rio ($0.99)

As if there was ever any doubt, this list couldn’t be considered complete without the app market juggernaut Angry Birds. The Rio version, Rovio Mobile’s latest Angry Birds offering, makes the cut here for two reasons: First, it has a great, low price, and second, it’s sharp on the Galaxy Tab’s 10.1-inch screen and plays extremely well. The big screen lends itself beautifully to Angry Birds’ style of play, and Rio has a whole lot of content packed into the game. Being able to see everything in big, sharp detail is a really heightens the Angry Birds experience above what it’s like on Android smartphones, so if you’re a fan of the small-scale version, you should really give it a go on a bigger screen.

Words With Friends (Free)

There really isn’t a mobile device out there that should be without Words With Friends. The turn-based Scrabble-like multiplayer game is great for casual games with friends, because it can be played at any pace: you take your turn, then your opponent takes his or hers, whenever they have a minute to do so. Words With Friends plays over the Internet, and you can run as many as 20 games at a time with lots of different opponents. It doesn’t exactly push the hardware of the Galaxy Tab, but Words With Friends does have the very cool benefit of being able to play against opponents on Android as well as Apple’s iOS platform.

Cordy (Free with in-app purchases)

Cordy is optimized for Sony Ericsson’s Xperia PLAY, but it looks and runs great on the Galaxy Tab 10.1, too. A fun platformer in the vein of games like Super Mario Bros., your job in each level is to run around, gathering power to open the passages to each next level. That means lots of jumping around and solving environmental puzzles in order to get to where you need to be. Cordy looks good on the big screen thanks to its Unity Engine 3-D graphics, although it’s a 2-D side-scrolling game. It comes with four levels for free, and more are available through in-app purchase.

Robotek ($2.99)

Robots have taken over the world, and you’re among the last humans on the planet. In order to take back Earth and make it safe for humankind again, you need to retake cities, one at a time. So you’ll attack each city’s robot overlord with your own robot, engaging in a turn-based battle of strategy in which you’ll have to choose whether to go on the offensive, rally your forces or play defense. Each turn lets you choose a kind of action and then spin a three-wheeled slot machine. What your slots land on determines the action your robots take against the enemy, forcing you to weigh the risks of any action you take against what could happen. With an understated but beautiful art style and addictive, somewhat brainy gameplay, Robotek is an easy one to get wrapped up in.

Related: New Galaxy Tab 10.1? Download these apps first

Samurai II: Vengeance THD ($2.83)

Optimized for the Galaxy Tab’s Tegra 2 chip and using a beautiful comic-like art style, Samurai II is the kind of game that’s good for showing off your tab’s hardware. You play this 3-D action game as a samurai out for revenge, and you’ll hack through a whole bunch of sword-wielding enemies to get it – complete with blood spraying everywhere, so be sure you’re down with the gore before starting your download. Samurai II looks great, and being made for the Galaxy Tab’s hardware, it always clips along at an extremely solid 60 frames per second.

Cyberlords: Arcology ($1.41)

An old-school cyberpunk role-playing game with a 16-bit art style, Cyberlords is a throwback to sci-fi RPGs of the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis age. The game uses lots of little taps to guide your team of resistance fighters around its top-down environments, where they’ll fight soldiers working for the evil Arcology company as well as talk to the game’s citizens, buy and upgrade new weapons and add implants to characters’ bodies to give them different abilities. Cyberlords isn’t quite as action-oriented as more modern games – it’s about strategy and effectively using your team to address situations – but role-playing fans will get a kick out of Cyberlords, which is well-made and has a great old art style.

Gun Bros (Free)

Glu’s big, burly two-stick shooter is free to play and puts you alongside another soldier to battle wave after wave of enemies coming from all sides. The longer you survive, the more money you earn to upgrade your weapons and armor to fight the next time. Gun Bros supports multiplayer, which really does add a lot of fun to it, and looks and runs great on the Galaxy Tab. Add in the benefit of the game being free, and Gun Bros makes a very nice addition to your games lineup.

Fruit Ninja THD ($1.24)

There’s a reason Fruit Ninja is so popular – it’s simple, addictive fun, in which your only task is to quickly use your finger to “slice” through fruit that goes flying across the screen. The more fruits you slice, the higher your score, and if you can manage to nail multiple fruits in one blast, you’ll get a bonus for your trouble. Fruit Ninja has a couple of game modes on offer, and it really works great on the Galaxy Tab’s big screen. You have lots of real estate to make your slices, and that extra space means it’s easier to back off when you need to avoid a game-ending bomb. Best of all, Fruit Ninja is great for killing five minutes or busying yourself while doing something else, like watching TV.

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