The app store for Samsung’s latest Tizen-powered Smart TVs has a lot of stuff on it. It’s got Netflix. It’s got Stan. It’s got Amazon Prime Video. It’s even got an app for Apple’s TV+ streaming service.
Something else you’ll find on the Samsung TV app store is games.
A fair amount of them actually. Going into writing this article, I found that the library here is certainly larger than I expected. While Samsung’s smart TV ecosystem doesn’t have the depth of a Steam or Epic Games Store, it does feature a frankly surprising number of titles - all of which are free to download.
But are any of them actually worth downloading? That’s another question entirely.
In pursuit of the answer to this and other questions, I pressed start on almost every game on Samsung’s Tizen app store. Here’s what I found:
Play! Las Vegas
This certainly is a stereotypical slot machine game with all the bright colours, cheery noises and exploitative microtransactions you’d expect.
There are a few different styles of slot machine you can play on here but, then again, these things basically play themselves after a spin or two. After winning two jackpots on my first two spins, I was inundated with prompts to spend real money on some virtual coins - which felt a little forced.
I’m not really a gambling person at the best of times, so I wouldn’t really recommend this one. What’s here is more functional than anything else.
Little did I know that by the time I reached the conclusion of my journey through Smart TV-based video gaming that Play! Las Vegas would hold up as one of the more. It might be manipulative and predatory in the way that most digital gambling experiences are but, then again, it’s competently made in a way that most of what’s on the Tizen app store isn’t.
Again, I’m not endorsing this game but I do want to give credit where it’s due.
An okay-looking side scroller from TVGamesManiac (the Czech-based developer behind roughly half of the Smart TV games on the Samsung app store), Urban Ninja challenges you to help an assassin jump from building to building in abject silence by hitting the jump button at the right time. The art style here is pretty unpolished and the absence of any audio fast drains the experience of any potential personality or novelty.
Urban Ninja is regrettably lackluster to look at and appropriately amateurish to play. After your first three jumps, the game also prompts you to watch an ad to continue. This proved a great cue to check out, hit play on the next title and move on with my life.
Short for Walrus Adventure, this top-down platformer game sees you guide a walrus from iceberg to iceberg to reach the exit. As with Urban Ninja, there’s no sound here.
What’s more, the animation in Wal Venture occurs slowly enough that you could easily mistake the game for some kind of Arctic turn-based affair. Instead, what you get here is a real-time platformer played to the pace of a high school PowerPoint.
My instinct here is that Wal Venture is probably better than Play! Last Vegas and Urban Ninja but that’s not saying much.
The Berlin Wall
Ooh, TVGamesManiac is getting political now.
Finally, one of the 20th century’s most politically significant moments amid the decline and collapse of the Soviet Union has been captured in the form of an extremely generic brick-breaker clone.
Tear down that wall (in deeply awkward silence)!
I’m almost more disappointed that this is so boring than anything else. What a missed opportunity.
Look, all things considered, this is definitely a step in the right direction. It’s just not a very big step in that direction. K-141 Kursk is essentially a riff on the Space Invaders formula where you control a submarine.
Honestly, if this had any music or quirky sound effects, I could envision a version of K-141 Kursk that’s actually kind of okay. In reality, this game is only marginally less tiresome than what’s come before it.
Not quite sure what to make of this one. Store Keeper is a somewhat-banal side scroller where you play as a nameless warehouse employee trying to catch boxes as they fall from the sky. The mechanics are as vague as the premise here and there’s not much in the way of on-boarding. Almost immediately, I found myself crushed to death by a falling crate and asked to watch an ad to continue.
Lunar Lander is a physics-based action game where you’re tasked with landing a lunar probe on the surface of various planets by controlling the various thrusters on the spaceborne vessel. It was easy enough to pick up but also maybe a little too easy?
I appreciate that someone involved with the dev-team for this one wanted to get ambitious around physics-simulation but, unfortunately, the final results of this endeavor end up feeling pretty hollow.
This is one of those puzzle games where you’re expected to slide a set of eight tiles around a grid to make a sequence. However, instead of the pattern here being prescribed by some sort of art, the game just asks you to order the numbers from one to eight in as few moves as possible.
N-Slide is a tad dull for my tastes but it is what it is.
TVGamesManiac, you’ve done it again. You even remembered to include a How To Play screen.
Diamond Mine is a combination of your stock-standard match-3 with a hint of Tetris. Taping on a symbol will explode that symbol and any connected symbols of the same shape. Your goal is to stop the on-screen pile from reaching the top of the screen while avoiding deadly bomb tiles.
Even if it has no music and relies on an overwhelmingly forgettable aesthetic, I appreciate that Diamond Mine is at least trying to do something with the conventions of the genre it’s pulling from.
This is that sliding puzzle game that everyone had on their iPhones in 2008 but with a slightly more chill aesthetic involving a dog having a pool party.
There are plenty of levels but, as usual, utter and complete silence. Apologies if you’re tired of hearing me complain about this specific point but nothing quite drains a lounge-based gaming experience of joy like unrelentingly awkward silence.
A barebones remake of Frogger that features boring humans instead of colorful animals and relies on in-game ads that don’t actually seem to work.
Annoyingly, the pair of humans you’re tasked with guiding to safety mindlessly sprint forward when you hit go, so there’s no Frogger-esque jumping back and forth to avoid hazards. You just have to sit and commit to every attempt. This quickly loses novelty.
They made a Flappy Bird clone. It’s a little too fast-paced for the controls and brazenly derivative but, I’ll grant credit where it’s due, this is vaguely-better than most of their other attempts to emulate more popular titles - though if I suspect that the reason why is simply that there’s less here that can go wrong.
Personally, I’ve never gotten the appeal of the game but if you want to squeeze in a few rounds of Flappy Bird but find the idea of playing it on a phone or tablet to be morally reprehensible, maybe this one's for you?
Rampart Heroes is a tower defense game where you control a single cannon atop an island fortress. From your fortified position in the center of the island, you’re tasked with repelling waves of advancing enemies.
As a game, Rampart Heroes is actually surprisingly challenging since you have to defend four possible avenues of attack but the game only really allows you to see one direction at a time. It’s a bit of a juggling act, albeit a dry one.
Flying Fish 2
In the rare event that the name did not give away the game, I am truly and utterly shocked to report that, like the first game, Flying Fish 2 is a Flappy Bird clone. Compared to the original, it seems like it runs slightly smoother and set in the sky rather than the sea. Otherwise, this thing is basically the same as its predecessor - which is, in turn, basically the same as the popular mobile platformer.
Cocktail Party is a hustling and bustling top-down arcade game that sets you as a bartender slinging drinks in various directions. Similar to stuff like Diner Dash, the mechanics are about keeping up with an ever-escalating tide of increasingly-specific beverage requests.
By the standards of Tizen gaming, Cocktail Party gets a passing grade even if it never feels particularly fun to play.
Space Dog is a lighthearted and unreasonably cheerful side-scrolling platformer where you guide a dog in a spacesuit through the cosmos. Pressing the select button on Samsung’s One Remote reverses the pull of gravity, allowing you to flip from platform to platform.
The goal of each level is to collect items that grant you points without falling too far behind the screen - which is constantly scrolling towards the right. At this point, I can’t tell if the team behind these games is getting better at making them or if my standards are just being eroded but I think the answer might be both?
They ported 2048 to Samsung’s Smart TVs. That’s it. That’s really all there is to say.
This one is a match-3 with a tasty theme. You’re tasked with getting the most points out of a limited number of moves. It’s a little lifeless but otherwise functional though it does lack in audio design.
If the slot machine sim I played first didn’t rely so much on sound, I’d probably start to wonder if Samsung have locked developers out of accessing that part of the TV hardware by this point.
They remade Zumo. I don’t want to waste words and make it out to be more than it is.
Even by the standards of the Tizen app store, this is a strange one.
Flying Gnomes is a vaguely aspirational platformer where you play as a gnome who is shot out of a cannon and tasked with wall jumping your way up through the level while avoiding colliding with deadly cactuses. It’s all a little over the top but you do get quirky updates about how far you’ve climbed in relation to real-world landmarks like Big Ben - which is an admittedly charming touch.
This is actually good. I mean, it’s a complete knock off of games like Jenga and Stacker but it might just be the best game I’ve found on the Tizen app store yet. It’s fast, easy to learn and reliant on a single button press - so it’s actually a perfect fit for the limitations of Samsung’s One Remote. Clever!
The Battle of Jutland
The Battle of Jutland is a naval-themed Space Invaders in reverse. You move left and right across the screen and slowly drop bombs to destroy your submerged enemies. Like many entries in the Samsung TV gaming catalogue, it’s functional enough but shallow and unsatisfying to spend any time with.
Quadtrix boasts a look that’s somewhat more stylish than the standard Tizen gaming experience but no less confusing. You play as a starship tasked with exploring a 2D level and destroying your enemies.
When you leave the safe zone behind you leave a Tron-like trail in your wake but annoyingly, that residue doesn’t destroy your enemies when they collide with it. Instead, they destroy you. I’m almost more frustrated that this one got my hopes up before dashing them on the rocks of mediocrity. At its best, it reminded me of better times. And better games.
Sick name, familiar game. Laser Mazer is a puzzler that’ll likely remind you of the hacking sequences in Bioshock. Each level sees you guide a laser through a maze by tilting the orientation of the objects and surfaces it comes into contact with. It’s easy enough to pick up and play but bewilderingly difficult to actually succeed at. It’s also quite buggy, completely locking me out of playing after my first death.
This is a simplistic but otherwise functional tower defence game. Honestly, I’m proud of TVGamesManiac. It feels a little punishing on the difficulty side of things but, if we’re being serious, I have definitely sunk more time into worse tower defence games via Newgrounds at some point in the distant past.
This is a top down game where you have to collect presents, which act as ammo for the weapons that you can use to vanquish the legions of snowmen looking to destroy you and your home. As an experience, it’s clunky as hell but far from the worst that the Tizen app store has to offer.
Kings of Solitaire
This one was a great reminder that I still do not know or remember how to play Solitaire. As a result, I could not tell you if it is a particularly good version of Solitaire. Only that it is a version of Solitaire.
Star Fighter is a semi-automatic side scrolling shoot-em-up. Blast enemies out of the sky and collect fuel to fly as far as possible. Devoid of sound, it’s as lifeless as the rest - though marginally more ambitious.
I was genuinely taken aback by the presence of music here. Monkey Madness is a surprisingly-decent puzzle game that sees you drop a coconut down various branching paths in order to collect. There’s a ton of levels to play through here and, again, I just want to emphasize the impact that sound adds to the experience. It is slightly let down by the requirements of the two-player mode, which asks you to connect a mouse to your TV, but otherwise one of the better titles on the Tizen app store so far.
El Dorado Defense
Y’know what, this thing might be riddled with fermium microtransactions and gacha mechanics but, to be sure, it’s by far the most elaborate game I’ve found on the Tizen App Store to date. There’s a ton of levels and lots of MMO-like live game mechanics. It’s exploitative-as-hell but a real step forward when it comes to the kind of complexity found on the Tizen app store.
Doctor of IQ
Akin to something like Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training, Doctor of IQ throws fast and confusing maths problems at you. Honestly, it’s kinda stressful and it didn’t take long before I felt a bit overwhelmed by it.
Crazy Kart is a top-down racer where the goal is to change lanes to avoid hitting the other racer, who is racing the same track as you in reverse. It’s a little dull and sometimes feels like it’s playing itself.
Super Candy 2
I’m not sure how it compares to the first game but Super Candy 2 is a fairly stock-standard flash-based match-3. It seems to be loading within a web-browser which makes the experience feel very clunky. Even as a time-waster, it’s pretty dull. It’s also annoying that half the interface seems devoted to obnoxious ads from the same publisher.
Spider Solitaire XXL
If Spider Solitaire XXL is too much for you, regular Spider Solitaire has you covered.
Ferdi Fox Solitaire
No card-carrying ‘TV Gamer’ needs this many solitaire games but if the previous three aren't to your liking, this one also exists, I guess.
A witch-themed Puzzle Bobble knock-off with freemium micro-transactions and mechanics. I am frightened by how many people seem to be playing this game.
Finally, an answer to the question: what if Tetris was worse?
For better or worse, Incredible Rank is essentially a re-skinned version of El Dorado Defense. Or maybe I have it backwards. Regardless. It undermines a lot of what I liked about the former.
A funky but clunky sidescroller where you play as a knight and must slay goblins, open chests, avoid hazards and vaguely saunter towards the right side of the screen. Not particularly fun but hey, at least it has music.
The Battle of Jutland 2
Though tedious, a significant improvement on the original Battle of Jutland with music and much better art. I wouldn’t recommend it but, credit where it’s due, it is better.
Urban Ninja 2
You can now Urban Ninja as it was originally intended. This version of the sidescroller has music, better animation and less ads.
This is an on-rails 3D shooter where you fly a plane. It’s surprisingly fast for a game meant to be played with a remote and it quickly becomes a bit of a bore but, importantly, it has music and, consequently, it’s far more engaging to play than most of the games found on the Tizen App Store.
Boom Machine sees you control a spaceship orbiting a black hole and have to destroy incoming debris before it reaches your orbit. Scientifically, it’s a far-fetched premise. Mechanically, it’s familiar and functional enough but otherwise forgettable.
Miss Sharp Show
A simplistic game where you throw knives at a rotating wheel and try to hit the targets. Scene transitions here are very abrupt and it’s often unclear what you’re supposed to be doing.
As far as Tizen games go, Mautillian is more ambitious than most but falls short. It’s an open world score-based roguelike space game where you blast enemies for money, then spend it at shops to upgrade your ship. It has an unexpectedly moody score but is otherwise a little too generic to recommend beyond just being ‘surprisingly good for a game you can find on the Tizen app store’.
A surprisingly competent F-Zero style racer but without sound it feels a bit lifeless. I ran out of fuel and it let me keep driving. Like the last few games in this list, it’s not super clear what you’re supposed to be trying to achieve.
A lane-based endless runner. Honestly, if this had the soundtrack from Mautilian, I’d be more charitable towards it. As it stands, it’s pretty dull.
This certainly is a clicker/idle game. Watch that number go up.
Jumpoon echoes the look of Monument Valley but is let down by bland platforming and confusing controls.
Rapid Drift is a more structured version of Tarmac Drift with a bit more structure to it. It’s got no sound, which sucks, but it’s nice that they actually add more cars to the level as time goes on - which helps escalate the sense of challenge as your score goes higher.