Ouya Gaming Machine Review - Founding Backer Version (Part 3)

7/4/2013 5:31:51 PM


The console boots into an interface that's as simple as the design of the console, but offers a very different color scheme. Now we move to a white and orange layout that begins with an O in the form of a rising sun and a chant of "OUYA" as the system completes its startup. Then you are dropped into one menu with 4 options: "Play", "Discover", "Make" and "Manage".

Then you are dropped into one menu with 4 options: "Play", "Discover", "Make" and "Manage".

Then you are dropped into one menu with 4 options: "Play", "Discover", "Make" and "Manage".

First, you launch the game you downloaded. They're laid out in a row two deep, stretching off to the right of the display. Everything can expand once you've installed lots of games, and this time, there's no way to either move these entries or sort them. Your oldest game will be on the left, newest on the right - an arrangement that we think is going to become outdated. Press Y to have the option to search by name, but now that doesn't seem to work.

Searching thankfully does work in the Discover section, taking you into the OUYA store. Just a few items to look for, such as Featured and a so-called Go Retro including a seemingly random subsection of the retro games here. You can also browse by genre if you want.

Each game is presented with one image showing its logo - the modern equivalent of box art. From here you can press the O button to get more information about the game, including some screenshots and simple description. Part of the OUYA hallmark is that every game can be downloaded for free, which is nice, but unfortunately there is no indication of how much a given game actually costs.

Perhaps it is because many games have very different concepts of what you're buying. Some free to play. In Stalagflight, you are required to purchase virtual slices of pizza. Pinball Arcade is free, but requires you to buy the table ($4.99 per table). Meanwhile, Final Fantasy III is priced at $15.99. The flexible in-app purchasing options certainly put a lot of power in the hands of developers, but with customers, it can cause confusion.

Through the discover interface, you can also visit the Sandbox, where dozens of early alphas and betas of games live. We have found a few gems buried here, but all are very rough and are all just lumped together numerically. Finding anything worth trying is a crapshoot.

The Make section is reserved for developers, allowing them to download the new versions of the software, while Manage allows you to change the console settings. At this time, the setting is very limited. For example, you can’t modify your credit card information, change the output resolution of the console, set any sort of parental controls, change the layout or color scheme or really do much of anything beyond establishing a Wi-Fi connection or pairing another controller.  However, you may visit the standard Android 4.1 settings page, which is a bit jarring due to the clean, white and orange interface.


OUYA said 104 games will be available at launch, a pretty staggering number when compared to your average big console release. Indeed, there are some very good games here, but we have one warning message which is very important that the majority of these titles have been released elsewhere - some a very long time ago.

Final Fantasy III: $15.99

Final Fantasy III

Final Fantasy III

This is the hallmark title of the OUYA launch and indeed looks and plays quite well. Basically it looks like the version has been released on Anroid nearly one year ago, and early on iOS.

Puddle THD: $4.99

Puddle THD

Puddle THD

Game based on simple physics that allows you to tilt the world to move a puddle of liquid through mazes, avoiding open flames and the like. Graphics are simple and clean, but don't hold a candle to similar console-exclusive titles, like Mercury on the PSP.

Gunslugs: $1.99

This is a side-view shooter game that Metal Slug's fans would definitely like as long as they do not mind the pixelated graphics and simplified gameplay.

Wizorb: $2.99

Perhaps our favorite OUYA launch title. This game has been available on Steam and iOS for a long time, but still do not have a proper debut on Android. We're glad to see it here, providing an interesting mix of RPG gameplay and Breakout-style brick breaking. It's a ton of fun.

The Ball

Portal fans, this is about as close as you're going to get on OUYA for now. This Unreal Engine game is also one of the better-looking first-person titles on the console, but we believe that the graphics are more or less on par with Quake III in 1999. It is quite interesting, although a bit slow and annoying that you can’t change the controller inversion, but it is completely free.

Syder Arcade: $2.99

Syder Arcade

Syder Arcade

There are plenty of space shooters and many of the side-view variety in the OUYA store, but Syder Arcade is one of the most exciting games. Curiously, though, it's priced at $1 more than it is on the Google Play store (Updated: Marco from Studio Evil wrote in to let us know that the OUYA version offers additional features (like custom graphics types) and greater difficulty than the Android release, thus the increase in price).

Pinball Arcade: $4.99-$7.99 per table

Pinball Arcade

Pinball Arcade

With plenty of pinball fans on staff we could not resist trying it out. The pinball layout naturally works a little better on a phone or tablet held in portrait mode than on a 16:9 widescreen monitor, but the gameplay is the same as the version of Android or iOS. That said, the graphics on the tables don't hold up on a big-screen HD display as well as they do on smaller, mobile displays.


OUYA version is selling at the moment should be considered as a beta release, and anyone hoping for anything more is in for some disappointment. It's simply not ready for retail. The system is rough around the edges in many ways, literally when it comes to controllers, but the menus and interface can also use work.

And of course there is the game collection. There are plenty of games worth playing here, but almost all of them are available elsewhere as the other forms. In addition, the vast majority are what we'd broadly call "mobile" games: simple experiences and simple graphics that are fine for casual play, but lack the kind of immersion you might want when you get settled in at home on your couch.

So, is the OUYA a revolution in console gaming? No - not yet. But it is in the early stages. As of this review there are roughly two months until the system launches at retail - we hope that is enough time to improve the interface, edit the controller and can be, just maybe, take a few new games worthy of real excitement. We will come back to review the full version when it launches.


·         Price: $ 99


·         Bargains

·         Small, efficient

·         Easy to hack


·         The controller has multiple errors

·         The initial game selection is limited

·         No in-store price game


·         The first version of OUYA shows promises, but it will need more tweaking before the final retail version if it wants to impress gamers.



·         CPU brand: Nvidia

·         CPU model: Tegra 3

·         Ram: 1 GB

·         Color: Silver

·         Exterior surface: matte

·         Wi-Fi: Yes, 802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11b

·         Bluetooth: Yes

·         Audio/Video (supported resolutions): 1080p

·         Audio/Video output: HDMI

·         Controller connection: Wireless

·         Internal storage: 8 GB , upgradable

·         External memory: SD

·         Online multiplayer: Yes

·         Online store: Yes

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