I received my Ouya a little over a week ago and, after the unboxing and setup, was able to play around with it for a bit. Since the games are more like apps in their general gameplay and length, I’ve decided to do a few games per article. Don’t forget: all Ouya games are free to try, but unlock fully for a price.
Available as a Flash game for some time, Knightmare Tower puts you in the shoes of NAMELESS HERO KNIGHT who must save the princesses from the evil grasp of VILLAIN. Yeah… not much of a story. But when you’re playing a game like this, it hardly matters. You start each round sitting atop a rocket and blast off, slowly falling back down the tower as enemies fly upwards like popcorn. You can dash downward to slash an enemy, netting you some extra speed. Your goal: get as high as you can without dying.
Knightmare Tower does a really good job of keeping you hooked (a friend and I played for a solid five hours) and making you feel stronger while not overly strong in typical endless-runner fashion. Everytime you dash and miss, you fall to the bottom of the tower. But, you shoot right back up on your rocket, having lost some of your speed. Slash enough enemies in a row and your speed bar fills up, giving you an extra boost. NAMELESS HERO KNIGHT collects money as he kills, allowing you to upgrade a bunch of things: sword strength, speed gained from kills, hearts (life). The item you end up looking for the most is the potion, which has about 10 additive effects you can upgrade through: no loss of speed when you miss, invincibility, extra damage, turn into a minotaur, etc. There are also some achievements and missions that keep you interested. Get 2 perfect starts in a row, kill 100 enemies without dying, that sort of thing.
- Recommended: Yes
- What You Get For Free: Not sure, purchased almost immediately
- Unlock Price: $4
- What You Get For The Price: 30 quests, 10 achievements, tons of upgrades, unlockable survival mode
- Genres: Action, Arcade, Endless
- My Playtime: 5 hours (finished story mode, played a little of survival mode)
You may have heard of Beat Hazard – a twin-stick shooter where the weapons and enemies adapt to the intensity of whatever song you’re playing. Dub Wars is cut from the same cloth, but falls a bit flat. You control a ship a la old-school Asteroids with full range of motion. Yes, the enemies and the lasers adapt to the music being played, but at the time of writing, you could only play with the three songs that come with the game. A menu says the full game would be available June 4th or 24th (honestly, I couldn’t make it out).
The lack of variety alone wouldn’t be a huge downfall, but when the music is low enough on the intensity scale, your ship doesn’t shoot at all while enemies still close in. So, you’ve got a ship not shooting the enemies that are closing in and you don’t know when it’ll start firing again. Not a recipe for grand success, if you ask me.
- Recommended: No
- What You Get For Free: 3 songs
- Unlock Price: N/A at time of writing
- What You Get For The Price: N/A
- Genres: Arcade, Music, Twin-Stick shooter
- My Playtime: 10 minutes (played two of the three available songs)
League of Evil
Retro, 8-bit graphics are where it’s at in the Android/iOS game scene, if you ask me. Sure, a team can try to maximize the horsepower in your 4″ phone, but do you want to play PS1-looking games (emulators aside)? I don’t. League of Evil has a great SNES look, feel, and sound. You control a hero who must stop a group of scientists, the aforementioned League of Evil, through double jumps and face punches. There’s a mechanic I’ve only seen in Super Meat Boy which I like a lot — each time you restart a level, you see the ghosts of your previous lives. As you progress, your 10 ghosts widdle down to 5 after the first spike pit, 2 after the cannon, and just you after you finally bridge that last gap.
Each level has a 3-star rating system based on how fast you run through the level. I’ve played half of the first, free set of levels and have had to redo some a few times to 3-star everything. Granted these levels are very short, averaging around 10-15 seconds so far. There is also a collectible briefcase to find in each level which may require some acrobatic wall hugging and/or death defying dashes. It’s rapid fire, quick platforming and it’s perfect for the Ouya.
- Recommended: Yes
- What You Get For Free: 54 levels
- Unlock Price: $4
- What You Get For The Price:108 more levels
- Genres: Platformer, Retro
- My Playtime: 30 minutes (played through half of the first, free set of levels)