Reviews of the OUYA “Backer Edition” console have begun to trickle out, and so far, the general consensus is that there’s little to be excited about. It should be mentioned, though, that the retail release of OUYA comes in June, so units that have been sent to Kickstarter backers should be consider “beta” – something that was acknowledged long before they went out the door.
Opinions on the console between The Verge and Engadget are almost exact. The UI at the moment is not that fluid, though it does look quite nice. Interestingly, the fact that OUYA forces developers to offer trial versions of their games actually comes as a downfall as far as The Verge is concerned. Instead of simply being used to buying games out-right, you’ll instead be constantly up-sold – not exactly a fun aspect of a game console. Or anything, really.
The hardware itself is competent, but this is a $99 device. It’s mobile hardware and it looks like mobile software when it’s connected to a PC. The unit itself has an interesting design, though I’m not sure I’d say it’s a good one. The gamepad on the other hand does look rather nice, but it’s just as we expected: mediocre. In terms of quality, The Verge said it sits in the middle of a cheapo $20 model you get at a local B&M and a quality gamepad, like the one for the PlayStation 3.
Comments have also been made about the games themselves, which at the moment, are not a lot of fun and are few. There are about 100 games on the OUYA store at the moment, and for the most part, they seem decent only in showing off what the OUYA can do. Games that are fun aren’t unique to the console, so it’s hard to get excited there. Engadget also notes that mobile games tend to not have much depth, so playing them on a TV isn’t going to offer the same level of excitement and immersion that a regular video game console can.
So, things are obviously rough at the moment for OUYA, but again, with the fact that the official launch isn’t for another couple of months, it’d be wrong to harp on its shortcomings right now. However, the retail launch will not fix a couple of complaints – namely those to do with the gamepad. It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out, because the people behind OUYA have done a lot of things right in the development of their console.