Branching out from the usual write-ups about video games themselves, I took it upon myself to review the Wikipad, a piece of kit that can turn an Android tablet into an effective time-killing video game machine.
Before I start; no, this isn’t a piece of kit that allows you to seamlessly surf Wikipedia for hours on end (although you could if you really wanted to). Instead, it turns an Android tablet into a much more enjoyable gaming experience. Through-out my time with the Wikipad, I tried a variety of different games to see how well these titles played with the tablet, how responsive the tablet was and if playing with the tablet was easier.
The specs of the Wikipad itself are actually very impressive, with a Nvidia Tegra Quad Core CPU Chipset, 1GB of Ram and a 12 core GPU it ran all the games we tried very smoothly. It has a good amount of internal storage space (16GB), plus a Micro SD Slot in order to expand its size even more. It can be charged whether attached to the gamepad or not, allowing easy charging, even when you’re playing it. The gamepad does not require any batteries, instead it is powered by the tablet itself.
The Wikipad comes with several stores that each offer you games that utilise the potential of the Wikipad. It has access to the standard Android Play Store, but it also has the NVIDIA TegraZone and PlayStation Mobile available. You can also download apps that allow you to download more games to play with the Wikipad, such as OnLive. With OnLive, it could shed a whole new light on the Wikipad; you can play Batman: Arkham Origins from your Wikipad through OnLive if you so wished.
The Wikipad is actually two components: the tablet and the gamepad. The tablet can used entirely separately from the gamepad, however, the device benefits greatly from being used in tandem with each other. The games available here were reasonably priced and the variety on offer was enough to satiate a fan of any genre or playstyle.
The Wikipad itself was easily portable, and I found carrying it round in a bag to be no issue at all. Even if it’s size did become a problem, you could just take the tablet out of the gamepad and carry them separately like that.
The first game I tried was an FPS called Dead Trigger. The gist of Dead Trigger is that a zombie virus has spread through the city and you’re a survivor. Pretty basic, but that’s not what this review is about. With the regular touchscreen controls, you use the left side of the screen to look, and the right side of the screen to move and shoot. This caused a lot of difficulty and meant I had to stop moving to shoot. With the gamepad however, I was able to move, shoot and even use the zoom function all at the same time. I had very little problems with responsiveness and overall, it made playing the game a lot more fun and easy
The second game I tried was a Water Ski game called Riptide GX2. Again, the controls of the Wikipad controller allowed easy movement; without it I couldn’t even win the first race. The controller allowed for much more complex movements that, with the touchscreen would have been next to impossible for someone as inadequate at racing games as I am.
Another game I played was Telltale’s Walking Dead. I found that using the gamepad to make vocal decisions was fun and easy, as was moving with it, but Quick Time Events in which you had to press certain areas were slightly difficult: the cursor (controlled by the right analog stick) would often overshoot the intended area, causing me to die on multiple occasions.
Overall, the Wikipad was an excellent tool for gaming. The only real downside I can think of is that the analogue sticks can sometimes misread what you’re trying to do, but this didn’t tend to happen too often and doesn’t ruin the experience that much. The battery life is also a tad short, with it lasting just over 3 hours in constant use, but with a 12 core GPU and a gamepad attached to it, the tablet is bound to run out of charge fast. But overall, the Wikipad is a compact device that allows for easy gaming with a very reasonable price, it’s well worth picking one up.