Pocket Gamer
Classic console emulator RetroArch Android is your one-stop emu shop
by James Gilmour 25/1/2013
Product: RetroArch Android
Developer: Libretro
Format: Android
Attention, classic console lovers: there's a new emulator in town, and it might be the answer to your retro gaming prayers.

RetroArch Android is a brand-new all-in-one emulator package.

Rather than focus on a single platform, this offering from Libretro seeks to trump the competition by emulating pretty much every popular retro console ever soldered together.

It's also free. How about that.

The list (deep breath)

RetroArch Android supports games from the following platforms: NES, SNES, Sega Master System, Sega Mega Drive, Sega CD / Mega CD, PSone, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, GBA, Virtual Boy, Neo Geo Pocket, PC Engine, WonderSwan Color / Crystal.

Though it only appeared on Google Play today, the RetroArch Android app is actually the most recent offshoot of a project which has been alive for some time.

Libretro describes RetroArch as a "modular multi-system emulator", and has already rolled out builds for Windows, Mac, Xbox 360, and Wii.

Upon booting RetroArch Android up, you will be presented with a list of cores to choose from.

Unfortunately, these cores have names like "libretro_mednafen_pce_fast.so", which might be a little off-putting for someone who's used to tapping the SNesoid icon on his home screen.

Thankfully, there is a handy PDF guide which explains each of the cores and their function. If you're a newcomer to the world of ROM hacks, it'll point you in the right direction.

Once we'd chosen the appropriate core and ROM file, however, we found ourselves playing SNES classic Chrono Trigger within moments of launch.

As you can see from the images above, RetroArch Android's control overlays have been stretched to fit the screen. While slightly undesirable, you do have around ten overlays from which to choose.

Obviously, we can't vouch for the functionality of all the different emu cores. Also, you'll need to acquire game ROMs to get the thing working - a practice we at Pocket Gamer cannot condone.

However, if you're looking for a single solution to your emulator needs, RetroArch Android is a cost-free way to turn your mobile device into a multitude of consoles.

Incidentally, if you're looking for some tried-and-tested emu alternatives for your 'droid, we recommend you take a look at Pocket Gamer's complete guide to Android emulation.
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