I recommend buying the Ouya game system – this is my honest review of both the good and the bad of this game system. Read on to learn more.
If you’re not familiar with it, the Ouya is an Android powered game system that you connect to your TV and download games to it from an online marketplace. The system was born out of a Kickstarter, and is actually being carried by several national chain stores including Best Buy and Gamestop. When the system launched not too long ago it received a lot of good and bad press. The bad: apparently those who funded the Kickstarter were supposed to get their system first. They didn’t. Support for the console is/was/continues to be almost non-existent. The good: the system sold out almost immediately and has been near impossible to find ever since, and major publishers (not just indies) are supporting the system (As of today Final Fantasy III and Sonic the Hedgehog are available on the system. These are not watered down homebrews – this are official launch titles by SEGA and Square).
My experience with the Ouya began with BestBuy’s website lying about what their retail store had in stock. I was to get one for my birthday and I had low expectations that they’d actually have any despite what the website said. I have had a long BAD history with BestBuy. The specifics of which aren’t important but needless to say when I was approached by a blond with caked foundation on her face asking if I’m finding what I’m looking for, I curtly replies “No.”
I explained what we were looking and with a dazed look in her eyes she trotted over to a computer. I continued to pace up and down the aisle of the game section. BestBuy must be hoping to sell a lot of copies of GTAV:
Anyways, I could hear cake face asking another Best Buy employee for help: “It’s like BOOYA without the b!” the co-worker yelled back. And so the hunt for the systems began. I found Ouya controllers on a shelf but no consoles. Back and forth cake face checked the computers, checked shelves, asked other employees, and finally dismissed us by saying “we have two systems but they are in boxes in the back.”
“Go get one” is what I was thinking, but instead cake face had offered to check other stores for us since the boxes would not be opened until “later.” Now this Best Buy is the one in Best of the West. If you live in Las Vegas you know its an overrated strip mall on the border of Summerlin. The next closest was in the Costco strip mall across across the street from Red Rock. The Best Buy website alleged they had some over there, but cake face said they did not (she said she called). I would check it out anyways.
Well, sure enough, without asking anyone for help, there was one on the shelf. Success! Ouya System + 1; extra Ouya Controller + 1. Let the review Begin!
In the box you get 1 Ouya system, 1 AC adaptor, 1 HDMI cable, 1 controller, 2 batteries, an orange sheet of plastic saying something about revolution beginning or jihad or something, and a tiny manual. The manual is worthless. The system is about the size of a large apple. Its cute, metallic looking, with an ethernet port, and a usb port. A single power button rests on the top.
Controllers look like a hybrid of current generation controllers. They do use AA batteries. However the tiny manual did not explain how to put the batteries into the controllers. There is NOTHING on the controller to give you the indication of how they get inside either.
But we figured it out. The face plates come off and the batteries slip in. The controllers have a decent feel to them. A good weight with responsive buttons. The D pad (the digital one not the analog one) is kinda sensitive. You can’t be brutally forceful with it.
PROBLEM #1: The controllers have a bitch of a time pairing. Sometimes, two, three, or even 7 attempts are necessarily to pair them. But when they do pair they work fine. I also want to point out the black area between the two silver face plates. What appears to be random black plastic is actually a touch pad that you can use to move an arrow around on the screen. I’m guessing some games or menus might use this, but I’m not certain yet.
Once installed you fire it up and connect it to your wireless network. This took four tries because, well, I couldn’t remember my wireless password. But I eventually figured it out.
Problem #2: There is a required firmware upgrade before you can do anything with the system. 7 years ago I’d say this is a bunch of bullsh*t, but everyone knows now that with our current generation of game consoles it needs to be expected. The problem isn’t the firmware upgrade itself but more along the fact that it took four attempts. After downloading it would give us an error saying saying it couldn’t install or whatever. But it eventually worked. It seemed that through out the Ouya experience last night there were connectivity errors. Friday night and everyone’s on perhaps? My wireless just lousy? Who knows. It was frustrating but its working now.
Problem #3: A credit card is required before you do anything. Oops! But like the required firmware update.. meh. Nevermind. Anyways you eventually get to the main screen. Play: Lets you select the games you’ve installed, Discover: is like the “app store” where you find games to download. Make: has developer tools. Manage: Lets you change options.
Above we have the menu where you can select games to download. There are already a couple hundred available. Most from independent publishers, but as mentioned earlier some mainstream games are available as well. Here is where things get cool. All games on Ouya are free – sorta. Every title has a free component to it. Some games might be completely free, some might have a demo level, some might have a pay for DLC. In anycase, you can get a taste of all the games available with out paying.
Part of Ouya’s sudden popularity was a tweet about the emulators available on the system. There are SEVERAL for almost all generations of consoles. ROMs of course are not available for download. But in case you’re wondering the emulators do work, and they work very well. If you’re looking for an emulator to play on an actual TV with a decent controller than the Ouya is a great option. I’ll just leave it at that. Please note however, the fact that I facilitate www.videogamepriceguides.com is proof enough that I encourage that actual ownership of cartridges and discs. And besides, no “emulator” has ever been 100% perfect.
There are so many games available on the Ouya that I had only attempted to play five or six. “No Break Valet” is amazing as a casual game, but the gem of the evening was definitely Fist of Awesome.
You play, Tim Burr. Lumberjack who is sent into the future where humans are enslaved by forest creatures. Using the power of your talking fist you take on bears Final Fight style. The graphics and game play are simple, but its funny as all hell.
Ok, time for the final review:
The bad: No instructions, inconvenient network connectivity problems, controller pairing issues
The good: Awesome selection of games, reasonable emulators, solid controller, GAMES THAT ARE FUN AND NEW.
Get passed the initial set up and you’ll love the Ouya. Good luck finding one though. $99 for the system, $49 for an extra controller.