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Ouya's Best Games Coming to the Platform

Posted on Tuesday, April 15 @ 17:45:00 PST by almartinet

Its no secret that Ouya, the Android Kickstarter console released last year, is currently struggling to find footing in the marketplace. During GDC this year, Ouya showcased 12 games at their booth and while most of the console's software has been a mixed bag, it does present a creative opportunity for developers to bring their unique experiences to an audience. The Ouya might not turn out to beat the competition on the market, but it has a few titles worth keeping your eye on.

That Dragon Cancer was inspired by a child's battle with cancer, creator Ryan Green's child to be exact. The experience encapsulates the agony, grief, and depression that the Green family went through. The game is your standard point-and-click affair. You play as a 3-year-old boy who is fighting for his life. It's not designed to tell a heartwarming story as the we will all one day encounter death. That Dragon Cancer is expected to release on Ouya and PC this year.

Knight and Damsel takes a funny spin on stereotypes common in video games. It's a simple game for two people to operate—one as the knight and one as the damsel in distress. Both characters have their own agendas and try to further their own cause which pits them against each other. Developers MK Ultra came up with the idea at Toronto's TOJam game development competition after they were inspired by Anita Sarkeesian's video series "Tropes vs Women in Video Games." The project is currently in development with no release date announced.

Neverending Nightmares is a psychological horror game inspired by developer Matt Gilgenbach's own battle with obsessive compulsive disorder and depression. The story starts off with you waking up in a nightmare, tumbling into a confusing puzzle and a black and white narrative. Over the course of the story, intrusive thoughts will seep in and keep coming back no matter how much you try to get rid of them.

"One of the few intrusive thoughts I had was self-injury. Scenes of arm mutilation like pulling a vein out of an arm looks really gross, but at the same time not biomechanically possible because I envisioned them," said Gilgenbach. The core of the game design is set on creating that feeling, rather than that experience. It simply just wants to tell a story, ask questions, and have you reflect back on your personal experiences. Neverending Nightmares explores depression in a mature and relatable way. It's currently available on the Ouya marketplace.

Reagan Gorbachev is a 2-D game inspired by Hotline Miami which combines single-player and coop. You play as President Reagan and Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev set in the game's wacky universe. You will need each character to unlock passageways and items as you advance. It operates at a slower, methodical pace which forces you to plan your next move and watch enemy movement before you attack.

Enemies are generally predictable and easy to take down, but it becomes overwhelming at times. Switching between characters isn't efficient due to the awkward controller setup. I felt I had no control over how I targeted enemies with melee or projectile type weapons. Making matters worse, if one of the presidents dies, you have to immediately restart back at the beginning of the mission. Currently, the game is still in development.

At the end of the day, Ouya's first-party lineup feels like a farm league team going up against the majors, but the platform isn't looking to compete. Instead, Ouya aims to provide a canvas that developers have creative control over. That Dragon Cancer and Neverending Nightmares treat their themes with maturity and awareness of the audience. Each are personal, interactive vignettes from developers and while Ouya is still looking for its own personal mascot, the creative fireworks behind the scenes will hopefully turn the system into one indie developers can rally behind.
Tags:   Ouya, indie, Android

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