NES games have a fan-base that refuses to budge in the era of VR games. Some of us play NES games on computers with the help of a few of the best NES emulators for PC. However, the majority of Nintendo gaming enthusiasts don’t have access to desktop or laptop on a regular basis.
The increasing access to Android smartphone phones have made it possible for many retro games to make a comeback. Packed with powerful processors and RAM, smartphones of today’s generation are capable of emulating Nintendo Entertainment System games.
Best NES Emulator for Android
1. Snes9x Ex+
The first NES emulator that works on Android is the popular Snes9x Ex+. When you launch the emulator, a pre-loaded game in the Bundled Games section appears by the name of Bio Worm. The game seems to broken and should be ignored.
Coming to talk about settings, there is a screen frame rate that can be customized(apart from 60hz default). A Lot of the NES games ran on 6o FPS on a much lower quality display.
Talking about controls, there is provision of setting up synaptics device simulation along with the real external devices.
In the cheats department, there is an option to add Game genie, Gold Finger or Action Replay codes for applying in the games. The cheats will appear in a vertical list under the Cheats section of System Actions menu.
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2. John NESS
John NESS is a relatively newer member of the Nintendo emulation neighborhood. Don’t mistake the lack of experience for a lack of abilities. The level of compatibility and reliability is similar to the top NES emulators for Android.
As soon as you launch the application, it will scan your smartphone’s storage for ROM of the games. You can transfer your ROMS to the phone and scan again for the game files. A game folder can be assigned as well in the storage.
Low power smartphones can take advantage of the Quality Mode, which can be turned to low for smoother emulation.
That’s not all, there is Bluetooth/MOGA controller support, virtual on-screen keypad zipped file support along with data backup/sync(Dropbox support through a plugin).
We have to talk about UI because it is minimal and modern compared to other players of the league. With over 8 themes, some of them corresponding to different emulators, users will not grow bored with the interface.
The theme can be changed according to the emulator, meaning when you select SNES(which is also supported), the color of the interface changes to grey.
Additionally, the theme can be changed, irrespective of the emulator selected.
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3. Nostalgia NES
Backed a modern user-interface, Nostalgia is amongst the most downloaded emulator to play NES games on Android.
The emulation quality can be switched between low, medium, and high, depending on the phone’s ability to handle the load. Talking about gaming, there is a virtual on-screen keypad layout, which can be customized according to the user’s preference.
Secondly, in the controller’s section, there is a turbo button, A+B button, apart from the keypad opacity, which is available to PRO users only. On top of that, Nostalgia has Zapper (light gun) emulation as well.
The special mention has to be the WiFi controller mode. This feature allows you to connect multiple devices with each, maxing at 4 devices at once to play together. You can turn your phone into a wireless gamepad.
Moreover, a physical keyboard can be connected to the phone for use on the emulator as well.
The reigning king of emulators for PCs is doing a similar job on Android as well. It supports over 80 consoles across different genres.
When we try to nitpick similarities between the PC and Android versions, the UI is similar to that of computers. Load the core(emulator) which you want to play, and you are golden.
For multiplayer, there is Netplay to host and join gaming lobbies online. Upto 5 controllers can be paired with the emulator, using the Retropad profiles.
There are a plethora of settings for customizing virtual on-screen gamepad, including bezels settings.
On top of all this, user accounts can be set up for allowing different settings, configurations of Netplay, gamepad, etc. for different people.
You can play with the opacity of the on-screen keypad from the settings, double-tap to quick-save and load games in their state. Moreover, it also supports REWIND, which will allow you to play the game without your character ever dying.
All other features are the same as Nostalgia Emulator, other than the directory change and reset functionality.
Inspired by Nestopia, Multiness is different the ones on the list. This Nintendo emulator is developed for playing multiplayer NES games online through your smartphone.
The emulator has a variety of multiplayer options such as LAN, Internet and on a WiFI network. On top of that, we have the option to play with friends by signing into social media accounts such as Facebook, Google. For standalone players, there is an offline single-player mode as well.
Online public servers can be created that can be joined by anyone using Multiness. Text and voice chat works in multiplayer mode to interact with other players.
Apart from all the multiplayer features, the 8 bits NES emulator for Android devices has all the conventional features such as keymapping, controller setup, etc.
7. NES Collection Emulator
Another modern UI based emulator for the Nintendo Entertainment System that is the newest emulator in the town.
For control, there is A+B and Turbo Button apart form the gamepad emulation with keyboard keys. The layout has an automatic opacity dimmer for on-screen gamepad that adjust its opacity according to the background. Additionally, they have added D-pad support with the recent update.
Moreover, they have added a WiFI control setup, similar to Multiness but without the full range of multiplayer options.
Download NES Collection Emulator
NOTE: Do not download NES emulator apk from an untrusted website as these may harm your device.
Over to You
These were some of the best NES emulators for Android devices to play NES games on their smartphones.