With its full-HD screen, upgraded processor, and Open GL ES 3.0 support, the new Nexus 7 tablet is a beast when it comes to running games, specifically those with rich graphics. It handles lens flares, shadows, and other shader effects with ease, and its blacks and colors show up significantly deeper than those on the previous Nexus 7. With these things in mind, I've put together a list of graphics-heavy games to showcase the new tablet's impressive capabilities. Of course, games with such high-level visuals often come at premium, but in my opinion, these are all worth their price tags. In any case, if you're not willing to shell out the cash, there is one title on this list that's free to download.
Finally, it's worth noting that the extremely sharp-looking Asphalt 8 racing game deserves a spot on this list, but alas it doesn't come out for another week or so.
For anyone who watched the recent Nexus 7 announcement, this one shouldn't come as a surprise. It was on display at the event, in all its high-octane, water-racing glory, and now you can have it for yourself.
Riptide GP2 is a jet-ski racing game with eight worlds, all of which include uniquely styled racetracks with a high degree of detail. Some of the worlds have tracks suspended high in the air, while others include ice and waterfalls. Conceptually, the tracks are original and beautiful, but what really make them come to life are the lens flares, reflections, textures, and other details. What's more, the realistic wave physics put all of these visuals together into a completely immersive racing experience. An excellent sequel to the original, Riptide GP2 offers smooth tilt controls, different game types, and an online multiplayer mode.
Wild Blood ($6.99)
This one is a few months old now, but its beautiful 3D graphics are still something to behold, especially on a shiny new Nexus 7 tablet.
Wild Blood is a single-player action RPG that puts you in the shoes of Sir Lancelot, as you try to save Guinevere from a magically corrupted King Arthur. It features hack and slash action with a virtual joypad on the left and buttons, which let you attack, dodge, and call on special abilities. Built with the Unreal Engine, Wild Blood's 3D graphics look almost console-quality. Characters, clothing, and weapons are all detailed, and the backgrounds and buildings look like colorful photographs.
Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour ($6.99)
The latest installment of Gameloft's popular Modern Combat franchise isn't exactly new, but it is still one of the best first-person shooters for the touch screen. The game challenges you to fight in countries around the world, and use a number of different weapons -- including a remote-controlled drone -- to complete objectives. Adding another dimension to the FPS action, Zero Hour also lets you play as the villain. Visually, the game is stunning, with its beautifully designed beach settings and military bunkers, weapons, vehicles, and enemies. Things like smoke and fire from explosions also add reality to the experience.
Prince of Persia: The Shadow and the Flame ($2.99)
Also demoed briefly at Google's 2013 Nexus 7 event, Prince of Persia: The Shadow and the Flame is the newest of Ubisoft's series of Prince of Persia reboots for mobile devices. As the title character, you can run, jump, roll, and climb your way across cities in this action-platformer. But of course, you'll have to dodge arrows and engage in sword fights with baddies along the way. With its epic storyline and 14 levels of beautifully rendered 3D settings, The Shadow and the Flame is one of the best new games to come to Google Play.
Real Soccer 2013 (free)
While some might argue that the FIFA franchise rules futbol on mobile, the trouble is that the latest of its Android titles -- FIFA 2012 -- isn't compatible with the new Nexus 7 tablet. Thus, I'd like to offer up an alternative in Real Soccer 2013. From the different shades of grass to the wrinkles on players' shorts, your new tablet should render the game's details beautifully. Also, your device will bring the necessary sharpness and color to the players, fans, and surrounding scenery.
More than just good graphics, though, Real Soccer's gameplay is not to be ignored. With a campaign mode that challenges you to lead your rookie club to a championship, Real Soccer 2013 will keep you coming back to sharpen your skills. Also, it's worth mentioning that this game is the only one on this list that's free to download.
Bounty Arms ($4.99)
While it may not be as popular as some of the other titles on this list, Bounty Arms can definitely hold its own. In fact, with its console-quality graphics running atop the Unreal Engine, this platform-adventure game might even be the most visually appealing title here. The vibrant colors are unbelievable, and you'll notice the depth of detail in everything from tiny sparks flying out of firing mechanisms to shimmering leafy plants, which line some levels' gravel roads. With robotic pets, flying pigs, and even a weaponized fly swatter, the game's storyline may seem silly and convoluted. But that shouldn't be an issue, as the gameplay more than makes up for it.