May 272013

So far I’ve been playing with the Ouya for about 30 minutes and have tried out three games so far: “Flashout 3D” (racing), “Mini Squadron” (arcade), and “The Pinball Arcade” (self-explanatory).

“Flashout 3D” is incredibly good. (The closest equivalent would be “Wipeout HD” on the PlayStation.) The graphics are very smooth and fluid and the level of detail is better than I expected. This game would absolutely kill my phone’s battery in no time. I noticed no lag issues with the controller or else it was so slight that I took no notice.

“Mini Squadron” was one of the first games I got addicted to when I bought my first Android phone. The developer still needs to put work into this as it’s clearly not as complete as the regular version, particularly with the total absence of sound effects, but the background music is there. I did notice some lag, but not enough to kill the game.

“The Pinball Arcade” was the last one. I, of course, chose the “Star Trek; The Next Generation” table to try out. (You can demo/buy from several of the actual Williams pinball designs.) It uses all of the sound effects, voices, music, and LED displays of the real “TNG” pinball game; however, this is where lag was very noticeable. And in a game like this, lag is something you absolutely do NOT want.

Considering that I noticed differences in lag time depending on the game, I don’t think it’s related to the controller or else the lag would be noticeable no matter what game I played. Still, supposedly Ouya will support Xbox 360 and PS3 controllers, so I’m going to try those out (wired and wireless if possible) to see if there’s any difference.

The interface needs a lot of polish for sure. I should be able to see more games available for download on the screen at one time than just five or six. Considering that Ouya has reported 8,000 developer kits have been downloaded, I hope that they’ll revamp the display by the time they release the commercial product in late June. It’s still technically in beta, so I’ll give them a pass on that for now.

More news as I get a chance to play with it, including side-loading of Android APKs.