A review of n64oid, an app that lets you play old Nintendo 64 games on your Android device.
What is it?
From the same developer as many other Android emulators, n64oid ($5.99) is the latest emulator to hit the market and brings a new range of classic games to your Android phone.
First things first, you're going to need a couple of extra things if you want to run n64oid. Number one is a pretty high-end device to actually run any games, and number two, the games themselves, and I'm afraid you're on your own finding them.
Once you've found some games, transfer them to your SD card, and fire up n64oid, choose your game and off you go.
Before looking at how n64oid runs, let's take a quick look at the options. You can disable the sound to try and make the games run a bit faster, and you can choose between manual or automatic frameskip (skipping more frames will make the game run faster, but if you skip too many then you'll find that most games become too choppy to control accurately).
As you'll see from the screenshots, n64oid uses a similar virtual keypad overlay to the developer's previous emulators, and the Input Settings section allows you to switch between the analog stick and d-pad layout, you can map buttons to your phone's keyboard (if it has one), and choose to use your phone's accelerometer as the analog stick (so you can tilt the screen to move). There are also a few other options, covering the size, position and transparency of the virtual keypad.
Finally, in Other settings, you can set full screen mode (hides the notification bar) and set up a Bluetooth controller if you have one.
So, Does it Actually Work?
Right, enough of all that, how well does it play games? Well, I started at the beginning, and it plays Super Mario 64 very well indeed. The on-screen analog stick works better than the d-pad as it's easier to work out exactly where you're touching it, and therefore easier to work out where you need to move your thumb. The relatively simple controls of Mario games make this very easy to play.
Mario Kart 64 was a slightly different story though. As the game starts and the camera pans down to the track, everything is reduced to a couple of frames per second, and things don't improve much once you get off the start line. However, disable the sound, and things start to fly along in a much more playable fashion, although depending on the size of your phone and the size of your hands, you might struggle to reach the shoulder buttons (located in the very top corners of the screen) when you need them (Mario Kart update - I've been playing these games on a Samsung Galaxy S, but I had the chance to try Mario Kart on a Desire HD and it ran perfectly well with the sound enabled). Other games I tried, included Wave Race 64 (seemed to run ok), Legend of Zelda:Ocarina of Time (a bit jerky until you turn the sound off) and Yoshi's Story (unplayable due to missing graphics). Results may vary across different phones, and hopefully compatibility will improve with newer versions of the emulator, but as a first Nintendo 64 emulator for Android, this will do very nicely indeed and is a welcome addition to the range of emulators available for Android phones.
References and Images
Android Market, https://market.android.com/details?id=com.androidemu.n64