Levi Picks on Ouya: The First Five Downloads for your Awesome New Box
So, you’ve got your brand new Ouya, right? If not, that’s okay; keep reading. (This might give you an idea of the stuff you’re missing out on.) So now, that you have your hands on this Android console, what do you do with it? Well, there’s plenty you could do, but after my first handful of days with the system, I’m got a few recommendations for you. I humbly present you with my list of the first five things you should download to your Ouya:
As much as it seems like perfect, portable endless platformer, Stalagflight’s challenging jumps and fast falls fit extremely well on a controller. As a challenging pallet-cleanser, there’s nothing better to jump to between longer sittings of other Ouya games. Need something to take your mind of the puzzles in Polarity or The Ball? Play a round or two of Stalagflight. Maybe even try to stick around and beat your high score.
Though it can get repetitive, there’s lots to love about this game. The simple graphics and limited color pallet are beautiful, and so is the chiptune beat it continuously pumps out. I haven’t messed around with the multiplayer, myself, but three friends can join you in escaping a volcano and evading molten debris, if you can get enough people and controllers together. Oh, and did I mention it’s free? There’s a ‘Pizza Shop’ option that allows you to toss some money at the devs, but no part of the game costs anything at all.
Until recently, I hadn’t paid much attention to the eSports. I had seen enough Starcraft matches and played enough MLG shooters to know that just isn’t my thing. I was way more into playing co-op than getting beat by my friends. Then I met Dota2. I spend a lot of time playing this highly competitive game, now, but the most surprising thing is that I try to keep up with the pro scene. Twitch is perfect for that.
Before the Ouya, I watched Dota 2 streams with commentary on several different websites that provide schedules of games in every league. This made specific matches easy to find, but the quality of the streams was choppy, at best. Now, I still use those sites for looking at the upcoming lineup of games, but I watch everything through the Ouya TwitchTV app. It’s simply a port of the Android version, which makes the UI terrible for the TV, but the streams have delivered impressive video and audio fidelity that hasn’t dropped yet. Plus, it’s on the TV, like real sports. If you have any interest in eSports, or enjoy watching games of any kind, download this app straight away.
No Brakes Valet
No Brakes Valet is insane. I know, it looks like it was made by Tonka in 1987, but it’s just to funny not to include on this list. In this game, your job is to slow down these stupidly maneuverable cars that all need a top off on their brake fluid and get as many into their own parking spot as possible. It works as a solo experience, but laughing this much is always more fun with a friend.
In two player mode, each valet has their own color of vehicles and they pull from the same pool of cars, so the quicker parker has a leg up. This mode gets even crazier, since each player inevitably spends a number of their cars trying to mess the other up, instead of trying to land them between yellow lines. When a bonus tip pickup appears, it becomes an absolute bumper head-to-head match. Pro tip: though driving intoxicated is never a good idea, if you’re of legal drinking age, drinking and parking in No Brakes Valet adds a whole new level to the ridiculous chaos.
This is the only item om my must-list that takes more work than going to your Ouya’s Discover tab to get. Side-loading and setting up XBMC can be a bit of a pain, especially if you don’t already have a computer or server holding all your media up and running. Once you go through the lengthy process to get it going, though, it’s pretty awesome.
The media center alternative, Plex, has an official app in the Ouya store, but it’s a bit disappointing. It’s much easier to set up and allows you to get to your content faster, but the stream quality was terrible, so the ‘libstagefright’ build of XBMC, as unstable as it can be, is definitely the way to go. I got 1080p video to stream from my PC over wifi with minimal problems. The trackpad on the Ouya controller isn’t ideal for pausing, rewinding and maneuvering around in the app, but you can always plug in a USB mouse or keyboard to make controlling the flow of a movie or finding the next song easier. If you don’t already have some device serving as a media hub in the living room, spend the time to get XBMC on your Android console.
Let me echo the rest of the Ouya owners of the internet right now and just say Towerfall is awesome. It’s really, really good, guys. Though the demo has enough features to keep you going for a while, you should pay the $15 and get the full version, if you’ve got enough compatible controllers and friends to take advantage of this insane multiplayer archery combat game. There is a training mode you can play alone, but it is in no way a campaign. It’s basically a tutorial that introduces you to the basic mechanics, a few maps, and most of the power-ups. If you can get four people on a couch for a game, there is nothing better for that group than this game.
Every player starts with a character of the exact same ability on a squarish 2D map. Though there are several modes, the point is always to take out the other players, whether by hitting them with one arrow from their limited supply or simply landing on their head. There’s jump and dodge buttons, which give quite a bit of freedom to move around these mall areas quickly, plus moving offscreen in any direction makes you loop around to the opposite side. The twitch controls and compact arenas make for insane combat, no matter what skill the players are at.
With the full version of Towerfall, you have a level of customization over each match that is only rivaled by the likes of Halo and Super Smash Bros. Banning certain power-ups, starting out with empty quivers, giving players bomb arrows from the beginning. Towerfall is deep enough without these options, but they make playing for hours easy to do with a full crew of friends (or enemies, depending on whether they’re beating you or not).
With the list of games and apps in the Ouya store breaking the 200 mark, it will be a while before you’re in danger of getting bored with your Ouya. Though a lot of that is fluff, I honestly had trouble cutting this list down to five. What do you think are the must-have downloads for Ouya right now?