Emulation News: Citra for Android is finally here – You can now play Nintendo 3DS games with good performance on your smartphone!
For quite some time, there’s been a good deal of demand for an official Android port of Citra especially since mobile hardware has come a long way over the last few years. Now, that’s become a reality and in this article, we’ll look at its release while also discussing what it can run on!
Citra for Android finally lands together with a good deal of polish
For quite some time, porting Citra to Android was pretty low on the priority list of the team behind it due to the fact that they were focusing on other features and improvements.
Furthermore, none of the core team’s members had any experience when it came to Android development which further pushed the idea of a mobile port down the line but then, in 2018, things started to change as developer SachinVin managed to create a functional Citra port for Android!
Obviously, this unofficial port was pretty rough around the edges as it had performance issues and a UI that left quite a bit to be desired but it kindled a good deal of interest from the emulation community despite Citra’s team not supporting it. However, this interest from the community prompted some of Citra’s main developers to start working on Android port themselves and after 2 years, an official port has landed!
The release post, linked below, mentions in significant detail the work that went into Citra for Android with some of the port’s main features being:
- The user interface received a significant overhaul from the Dolphin app, upon which it is based, to better accommodate different screen sizes
- The settings menu was also revamped and desktop-specific settings were removed
- This port comes with ARM64 JIT which is able to provide pretty good performance together with the optimisations mentioned below
- Various optimisations were performed by ‘jroweboy’ which culminated in significant performance improvements
- Performance improvements are always welcome but especially on mobile devices as their hardware capabilities are still limited to a certain extent
- Asynchronous GPU emulation which off loads GPU emulation to a separate core
- This is quite useful as ARM SoCs found in smartphones usually don’t excel at single-core performance
- Gamepad support so that you can control the emulator without using touch controls
- Many other features such as resolution upscaling and camera/microphone features
What devices does Citra run on?
While the Nintendo 3DS is over 9 years old, emulating it with good results still requires pretty modern hardware and as a result, Citra’s team have set their port’s requirements quite high. When it comes to basic requirements, the emulator requires 64-bit Android 8.0 and OpenGL ES 3.2 support meaning that various devices will inevitably be left out but a good deal of these wouldn’t be able to provide good results anyway. SoC-wise, a Snapdragon 835 or better is recommended which is a chip from 2017 found in flagships such as the OnePlus 5, Samsung Galaxy S8, Pixel 2, LG V30 and various others. As per a video linked on the official release post, an April build of the emulator could run Mario Kart 7 on a Snapdragon 855 with an almost constant 60FPS.
Without a doubt, more videos demonstrating performance will show up sooner or later on YouTube so make sure to keep an eye out for those!
You may get the Android port of Citra by following the Google Play Store link below which allows you to get the publicly available Early Access build. Citra is also offering a Premium version of their Android app with a dark theme and texture filtering to those who support them on Patreon.
Citra for Android Release Post: https://citra-emu.org/entry/announcing-citra-android/
Citra for Android Play Store Link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.citra.citra_emu
Citra’s Patreon (donations as a token of appreciation towards the work of Citra’s Team while also helping with server/website upkeep): https://www.patreon.com/citraemu