Initial reaction is ... not glowing
An early handful of Ouya reviews have popped up online as the system makes its way into the hands of early adopters. There's been a steady buzz revolving around the highly hackable, Android-based home console, but initial reactions have been lukewarm at best.
Although the machine seems to have some decent points, common complaints include a seemingly unfinished user interface, hardware that feels cheap in the hand, and a worrying amount of lag between the controller and the console. Engadget and The Verge both bring heavy criticism to the table, and ultimately advise against an investment at this stage.
It's worth noting that the Ouya currently shipping seems to be a placeholder, with talk of the official June release featuring a more finished machine. Even so, those looking forward to getting an early one are being warned.
"Ouya's best 'exclusive' at the moment is Final Fantasy III, a game that came out in 1990 and is also available on a variety of other platforms," writes David Pierce of The Verge. "That doesn't count. This platform desperately needs a game like Grand Theft Auto, or Shadowgun, or Assassin's Creed, or Bioshock... or something. Thing is, you could plug your Android phone or tablet into an HDMI cable and play a bunch of those games on your TV, often with a controller.
"Shadowgun, Grand Theft Auto, Asphalt 7, and a surprisingly large number of other high-quality games are available in the Play Store. But Ouya's going its own way with the Ouya Store, and it pales tremendously in comparison."
Ouya demands that any game available for the system must be free to download -- a noble suggestion, but one that leads to every game turning into a money trap. As Pierce notes, "Every game is free to download, but then dumps on your head a load of nags, pop-ups, and pleas for upgrades or in-app purchases -- some games are $4.99, some are $15.99, others just constantly implore you to donate $0.99 so the developer can have a beer.
"Worst of all, it makes buying things impossibly easy," he continues. "You enter a credit card when first setting up your Ouya, and there are often no confirmation boxes or checks against you spending thousands of dollars. Oh, you hit Upgrade because it's right next to Play and the controller's laggy? Perfect. Thanks for your money."
Engadget concludes that anybody expecting more than a beta will be disappointed.
"The version of OUYA shipping now should be considered a beta release, and anyone hoping for anything more is in for some disappointment. It's simply not ready for retail. The system is rough around the edges in many ways, quite literally when regarding the controller, but the interface and menus also could use work.
"And then there is, of course, the game selection. There are quite a few titles here worth playing, but virtually all of them have been seen elsewhere in one form or another, which makes the initial offering a bit hard to get excited about. Additionally, the vast majority are what we'd broadly call "mobile" games: simple experiences and simple graphics that are fine for casual play, but lack the kind of immersion you might want when you get settled in at home on your couch."
Destructoid is currently talking with the Ouya people about getting some hands-on with the box, though they've gone a bit quiet lately -- one hopes not due to this early coverage.