OUYA, the most successful game-related Kickstarter project to date, is set to bring the best and brightest independent developers to our television screens. Since its inception many have wondered if the Android-based console has what it takes to foster the experiences that the ‘core’ gamer is looking for. If CREATE Game Jam is any indication – a game developer gathering presented by OUYA and Kill Screen – then there is plenty to look forward to. So without further adieu, I present 10 upcoming OUYA titles with the most potential for success.
10) Neon Shadow
Today’s popular first-person shooters are, sadly, overwhelmed with players that often hinder rather than help make the online experience more enjoyable. Those longing for the Y-Axis-less gunplay of Goldeneye, DOOM, and Wolfenstein should know that Neon Shadow developer Tasty Poison Games is going to make all your dreams come true… well, okay, just one of them. Featuring four-player split-screen offline and online play, Neon Shadow looks to take aim at the glory days of FPS gaming and those weekends many of us would spend yelling at the one cheating bastard who would pick Oddjob.
Fans of Asteroid and PixelJunk Shooter have an OUYA title to look forward to in Pipnis. Top-down shoot-'em-ups tend to dominate the independent market, but Pipnis distinguishes itself with an emphasis on teamwork. You are tethered to your partner (like Knuckles Chaotix, but in space!) and you must either support each other, or die trying. If it's anything like developer Santa Ragione, anticipates, look forward to plenty of twitch maneuvers, close calls and cheating death over and over again.
8) Sky Arena
Though it’s been 20 years since StarFox first debuted, gamers are still looking for another reason to do a barrel-roll. Is it a sign that we are craving a new star-fighter experience of players flying unnecessarily close to the ground while firing eight-polygon lasers at one another? Hammer Labs seems to think so, and with Sky Arena, looks to give us the opportunity to dogfight betwixt buildings and rock formations in four-player split- screen offline and online play… and on what appears to be the tiniest planets ever, as the curvature of the horizon suggests.
Bite-sized platforms need bite-sized games, and Laboratory Games' Wario Ware-esque Television fills in that demand. Featuring “channels” of mini-games, Television's quirky trailer suggests it's going to bring all sorts of odd games in tiny snippets that last long just long enough without creeping us out.
6) Cape Chronicles
Who doesn't love a good side-scroller? HeliumIntStudios sure does, and is harkening back to the days of Ghosts 'n' Goblins with their upcoming OUYA title Cape Chronicles. Up to four knightly players can blast fiends away with might magic spells as they continue their endless journey towards the right side of the screen. Watch as the demo players freak out as they try to blast a rat coming down the stairs before it gobbles them up – definite potential for hilarity.
5) Super Dungeon Bros.
Jump into the steel boots and shutter shades of four frat brothers as they escape a Dungeons & Dragons nightmare and lay the smack on the Evil Geek Lord who put them there. Should we be concerned that React! Games is reinforcing cultural hegemony by putting the nerd back in his socially powerless place? No way, bro, this looks like a top-down Castle Crashers! Dungeon crawling as a bunch of bro-tastic multi-colored knights sounds like fun that we all can pledge to.
4) Color Thief
Retro-inspired awesomeness is, well, awesome and all, but where's the quirky and charming stuff the indie scene is known for? All the titles on this list seem to fit neatly into a genre, but Trouble Impact's Color Thief isn't so black and white. You play as a stubby lil' chameleon trying to escape a drab abandoned building using your amazing powers of color manipulation. It's not all color puzzles, however, you have to outsmart the building's security system with a little touch of stealth. Color us interested.
Apparently developer Taco Graveyard is no believer in the old adage “if it ain't broke, don't fix it.” Not content to hobble together yet another Frankenstein's monster of a Tetris clone, the developed has played with its genetics to create a different beast altogether: head-to-head Tetris. No, not the old side-by-side, I'll-outscore-you versus scenario. In Duplicity, pieces float in from the sides and with every line players complete, they dominate more of the screen. Upon devouring your opponent's side of the screen, victory is yours. You'll definitely have to shape up if you want to hold the line – after all, there are people who've been playing this game for years.
2) Wordtrap Dungeon
It's hard to put the words together to describe how fun WordTrap Dungeon seems, but I'll try. Combining the addictive qualities of first-person dungeon crawlers with the smarty-pants feeling one gets from completing word puzzle games, Crunching Koalas' latest project looks to make a gamer out of every wordsmith player in the world. As a word-wizard of sorts, players must pick from a few letters from their spell book to form words and cast spells to blast at monsters. Upon death, these monsters drop more letters for you rinse and repeat process with, given you have the grammatical aptitude to keep up.
1) Strange Happenings on Murder Island
In what looks like Far Cry meets Minecraft but a whole lot more bizarre, FreeLives' Strange Happenings on Murder Island oozes frenetic fun and silly style. As plane crash survivors, you'll throw turkeys at boars, have top-down twin-stick shootouts among fully destructible buildings and evade a T-Rex's laser breath by somersaulting your jeep off of flat ground. As the Grand Prize Winnter of the OUYA Create Game Jam, SHoMI embodies the consoles philosophy most, proving that you don't need years-long development with a triple-A budget to create a fun and stylish game.
These ten titles do more than reassure us of the quality content headed to the OUYA – they all show us the wealth of talent that has just been waiting for an opportunity to create the games they have always wanted to. With the a June release date – or April for all you backers out there – OUYA is destined to leave its mark on the gaming industry.
Written by Associate Staff Writer Bryan Le. Questions for the author? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.