My Ouya arrived a few weeks ago and I thought I’d post a review of it. My experience so far has been generally positive and the system gets better with every update. For $99 it’s worth the price of admission.
There are already a good variety of games for it, around 200, and so far one of my favorite games is The Little Crane That Could. The graphics aren’t amazing and while the controls can be frustratingly hard the sense of accomplishment from completing each of the puzzles is exhilarating. I hesitated to download it at first due to the less than stellar promo art but it is a game you absolutely should try out. My other favorites (in no order) are Polarity, Towerfall, Knightmare Tower, A Bit Of A Fist Of Awesome, Beast Boxing Turbo, and Stalagflight.
Which brings me to what I think is a game changer for the industry, the marketplace. On the Ouya you can try every game for free. It’s a little like shareware back in the 80s-90s when you would get a sampler disk of games and later mail in an order for the ones you liked. This was amazing for a kid growing up in a lower income family since I could try lots of different games at a low cost.
The thing about the store that is completely different from any other marketplace, that I’m aware of, is that prices are not listed anywhere. The game might be charging $1 or $20 and I won’t know until I download and play it. This removes the price barrier from trying something out and seeing what I enjoy. It also diminishes the value of discounts that are so prevalent on mobile stores and the, often loathed by developers, $1 price point.
As for the hardware, I am really impressed with the controller design. The triggers feel a bit spongy but overall the controller feels comfortable and evenly weighted. I have larger hands so PlayStation controllers have always irritated me and while I still think the Xbox has a better controller overall I’d say the Ouya comes in a close second (especially given that the D-pad is better). However, if you like the other controllers there are ways to use them on an Ouya. Talk about a win/win.
The actual hardware I’ve heard compared to a turbo-charged PS2. It has more RAM than the current gen consoles which is wonderful for resource loading. The Tegra 3 graphics might not hold up to today’s standards but I’m hoping to see less “realistic” games and more creativity on the Ouya. It really feels like the NES all over again with so many unique games. Except that it’s easier to develop a game now than it was in the past.
Possibly the best “feature” of Ouya is the openness for developers. This is exactly what iOS and Android have provided for mobile and now indie developers have a chance at console development (without selling our souls). The ODK is a bit rough around the edges at the moment but it is no more difficult building a game for the Ouya than it is for Android. I was able to port several of my HaxePunk prototypes over a single weekend. Most of the work was just getting the input to function like I wanted.
Overall my outlook on the Ouya is good. I was one of the last groups to receive my Ouya but I understand how difficult it would be to manufacture that many units as well as plan for a commercial release. That being said, I feel like the Ouya team is fully committed to making this a quality product. The console is well thought out and while there are still rough spots I think that will all get sorted after they are out of the growing pains stage.