Ouya: A Poor Man’s Xbox One/PS4 – Only Better
It’s been around 7 months now since the Ouya first hit retail shelves around the world. Yes, you read that right. I’m writing an article about an Indy console that came out a full 7 months ago, rather than discussing the current war between the Playstation 4 and Xbox One that’s only just begun. But I’m beyond sick of hearing about those two! Let’s talk about something different for a change, ok? Please? I’m going to pretend you said yes to that…
Coming out after a much-anticipated release, the Ouya fell flat when the vast majority of game reviewers around the interwebs gave it mediocre scores at-best. However, as one of the few people to have owned and operated this small, downright cute console for the majority of its shelf-life, I feel that, at its current state, this reputation is grossly unjust, and it’s for this reason that I am here to rectify it. So please, everyone, (especially you cheap gamers out there) remain standing at all times as I give you an updated review of the console the world overlooked.
The Ouya’s look and shape are very similar to that of a rubix cube, in both size and shape. However, don’t let that fool you, as this little console packs one heck of a punch.
Starting with its display, the Ouya comes locked and loaded with an impressive Nvidia Tegra 3 graphics card, capable of presenting graphics very similar to those of the Xbox 360 when the situation allows it. And that’s not all! Standing on top of Nvidia’s shoulders lurks a Quad-Core 1.7 GHZ processor, 1 gigabyte of RAM, and 8 gigabytes of hard drive space (while supporting external storage), all presented on the Android operating system with a sleek, yet simple interface.
Admittedly, the Ouya does suffer from having only 1 USB port, but considering USB hubs are available at your local Walmart for about $10 a piece (giving you an additional 4 USB slots), this doesn’t prove to be too much of an issue. As for the controller, it’s very similar in size and shape to your Xbox 360 model, while sporting a touchpad in the center. Yes, the Ouya had a touchpad before it was cool, Sony!
Many people, deservedly-so, want to know exactly what does and doesn’t work on the Ouya, as far as system compatibility’s concerned. This is a great question, and an easy one to answer. As far as hardware’s concerned, literally, everything with a USB that I’ve connected to my system thus far has proven functional. Xbox 360 controllers, PS3 controllers, mouses, keyboards, flash drives, external hard drives, time traveling devices, everything. The one thing I haven’t tried to hook up to my Ouya yet is a webcam; and I can’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work, either.
On a software level, anything and everything that’s compatible with Android will work on this bad boy. You can even play touch-specific games. Simply plug your mouse into the USB slot and viola, A full-screened cell phone game!
The Ouya features many great, exclusive titles, with several more on the way. Shadowgun (pictured above), Soul Fjord, and the Amazing Frog being just a few that come to mind. Not only that, but every game on the Ouya is free to try, with many being free indefinitely. So, before you dish out any cash on a game that may not be your cup of tea, you can play a few levels, make sure that tea’s brewed juuuuuuuuust right, help yourself to a second cup, and then, once your pallet has been satisfied to your heart’s delight, start throwing out some of your hard-earned cash on a product you know you’ll enjoy.
For those of you who love your (legal) emulation, you’ll be amazed at what this cubic goddess has to offer. Providing you with all of the big name players, such as ZSNES and GBA.EMU, not to mention these amazing gems, the Ouya can literally emulate nearly every console from the Atari to the Playstation 1. Oh, and did I mention it can also emulate every handheld device up to the Nintendo DS? Yeah, you heard me.
Tired? Too bad. The Ouya is like that grandmother that practically holds a machete to your throat, daring you not to eat the cookies she seems to always have freshly baked; and, make no mistake about it, you’re going to eat each and every baked goodness this console has to offer. Now, ahem, where was I?
Oh yes! The apps. The Ouya has a great selection of wonderful apps for your every-day use. My favorites include XBMC, an insanely good media player that connects to every channel you can think of for video streaming, including Youtube, VLC Player for Ouya, which can play every video format imaginable (unlike your 360, which can’t even play a simple .mkv file!), Twitch, to make it easier for me to watch my friends feed when playing League of Legends, and a built-in web browser, for all of your internet needs. But this is just a piece of the pie, there are several, several more apps, not to mention every app that’s available for Android-itself. Go ahead, wrap your mind around that appy goodness.
Are you sitting down? We’ve now come to the final feature of the Ouya. Its price tag. You’ve seen consoles in the past go for $200, $300, all the way up to $500 dollars. This amazing piece of art, get this, goes for $99 retail. I got mine for $65 on Ebay! How can you beat that (rhetorical question, it can’t be beaten)?! So, for you gamers out there with smaller wallets, fear-not, for the folks at Ouya.tv are on your side!
The Ouya is a great, powerful, and insanely flexible system that, for its price should make it a staple in any serious gamer’s collection. And while there are a few minor bugs, the Ouya team is constantly providing updates to make sure their system approaches nearer to optimization. Granted, when this console first came out, it was ridiculously rushed, and was practically a glorified Beta release, making each reviewer who reviewed the initial product justified in their analysis. The problem is that people are still using these dated reviews to determine whether or not they’ll buy a console that, quite simply, is the absolute best deal going.