As we get closer to the June 4th consumer release date for Ouya, the question on everyone’s mind is about the games that will be available. It’s well known throughout the video game console industry that what games are available at launch or soon after can make or break a successful console. We saw the value of an established catalogue of exclusive software during the last console wars when Microsoft was able to release their Xbox 360 way before Sony’s PS3 hit shelves. The lessons learned that will apply to the long-term success of the Ouya game platform are all centered on the software available – there has to be a collection of really good games or the console will fade away into technological obscurity. While the business and tech-savvy individuals behind the scenes have been great about creating a developer-friendly platform to publish on, none of us want to sift through a ton of mediocre games in the Ouya store. This issue has plagued certain mobile platforms and can leave a potential customer thinking that the console is not worth the price because none of the games are very memorable. I’ve put together a short list of some titles that will no doubt make the console not only worth the low price but also a great living room gaming experience to compete with the already established “big guns” of the console industry.
Final Fantasy III
This wonderful slice of the well-known series was originally released in Japan in 1990 on the Nintendo Famicon (known as the NES in the U.S.) A full 3D remake was done for the handheld Nintendo DS system and released in the summer of 2006 and it is this remake that will be available on the Ouya at launch. I know this will be one of the more reliable titles for Ouya because the Final Fantasy series wrote the book on replay value. It is titles like this that will continue to sell Ouya consoles.
Tripwire Interactive’s shooter/puzzle hybrid The Ball will be a welcome addition to Ouya strictly because of the beautiful visuals. Built on the Unreal Engine, this title will push the Ouya hardware with its impressive graphics. The Ball belongs on this list because there aren’t very many Ouya games that succeed in replay value as well as top-notch graphics. Portal was an extremely successful title and this game captures some of the same feel. The Ball should be a great addition to the Ouya!
Saturday Morning RPG
This game from Mighty Rabbit Studios began as a Kickstarter project and does some interesting things with narrative and the “episodic” release timeline. SM-RPG is chock full of side quests, neat places to explore, and a bunch of 80’s pop culture references that will provide many hours of enjoyment for us gamers that remember what was popular in the 80’s. RPGs in any form are a good genre for the Ouya because they take time and offer different play-through options. I look forward to this one just because of its mis-matched, eclectic art style.
This simple little Indie game is a direct product of the mobile game boom which means that it is easy to learn and difficult to master. Simple games like this are a blast to play with your friends when you are chilling out at home and they will have their place on the Ouya console. The home game console has become a center-piece in the living room entertainment and having fun, fast-paced competitive games to play with friends or family is a must. With a simple objective of “jump…. and don’t stop!” this will be the game I challenge my wife to when we don’t want to hook up our SNES and boot up Mario Kart!
Legend of Dungeon
This great title from the husband and wife team Robot Loves Kitty will be available at the Ouya launch. LoD is a great combination of true co-op gameplay, beat-em-up style combat, and RPG elements all smashed together underneath some amazing pixelated artwork. I am looking forward to this title because the devs moved into a treehouse in order to afford working on it full-time. That is dedication. All natural living arrangements aside, great gameplay and artwork will make this a hit on the Ouya platform.
Adam Saltsman’s indie hit Canabalt will be available for the Ouya from the launch and this will be another great living room multiplayer like Stalagflight. With a very simple control scheme of jumping when you’re supposed to, this game will port to a console with a controller really well. Similar to the way the 2D platformer genre worked so well on the early consoles, I think Canabalt will be a very popular download.
A Fist of Awesome
This game from Indie developer Nicoll Hunt features the familiar mechanics of basic beat-em-up titles such as Final Fight or Double Dragon with the addition of a lumberjack….. who fights homicidal forest creatures. Sign me up for two, please! The style of gameplay here will make it a blast to play over and over and I think there is a unique sense of humor about this game that will make it a diamond in the rough. Seriously, at what point in life will you get to punch a wild bear in the face?
This one is my personal favorite title coming to the console and one of the main reasons I will be getting an Ouya myself. Starbound is the spiritual successor of Terraria, one of my favorite Indie game experiences of all time. Starbound developer studio Chucklefish were one of the lucky developers to win an Ouya console during the developer giveaway and team members tweeted about adapting the control scheme to the Ouya controller the moment they won. Starbound will take the best building mechanics and aesthetics we have seen from the likes of Minecraft and Terraria and add different planets to explore and quests to complete. Tiny little social life that I do maintain = gone!