The Ouya is where indie games rule. With nearly the same free reign as the indie scene on PC, the Ouya marketplace is open to a colossal range of Android ports, converted Flash games, and original projects. They're all free to try, but with so many available, it can be tricky knowing which ones you should download. Well, wonder no more--these are the best of the best on Ouya, and are absolutely worth your time and money.
We played almost every game on the Ouya marketplace, and these ten stood out above the rest. Sure, you could play many of these games on other systems, be it your PC or smartphone. But the experience of playing them on the Ouya is where they shine, and their affordability belies their everlasting fun. Since an Ouya will only cost you $99, these games are where all your savings should go.
Something about Polarity's no-frills simplicity makes it an incredibly inviting brainteaser. Polarity is one of many in the long list of first-person puzzle games inspired by the success of Portal. But instead of warping space-time, the gimmick here is the ability to charge yourself with red and blue energy. Or rather, a representation of yourself--you play as a hacker trying to break through a highly secure firewall, in a Tron-like, minimalistic environment.
Polarity is about as straightforward as they come, with little in the way of music, story, or visuals (understandable, seeing as its the pet project of a lone developer). But the puzzles themselves have a soothing, meditative quality to them, giving you all the time in the world to ponder your way to the solution. Unlike The Ball, an excellent PC puzzle game that suffers from the transition to Ouya, Polarity can't be experienced anywhere else. Give it a try if you're in need of some mellow problem solving.
14. Ice Rage
Some may disagree, but our fondest memories of hockey games go back to the 8-bit and 16-bit eras. Ice Rage embodies the spirit of nights spent playing Blades of Steel and NHL 95, while infusing the puck-smacking action with a flavor all its own. The singleplayer offers a surprising amount of variety: classic hockey, tournaments, or a deathmatch mode where you bash each other to death and scoring does crazy damage.
But where Ice Rage really excels is in the head-to-head multiplayer. It's easily one of the Ouya's most exhilarating versus games, where duels on the ice against an equally skilled opponent will produce one memorable moment after the next. Beginners will rest easy knowing that their goalie is AI-controlled, but experts can take matters into their own hands by controlling their shot-blocker manually. Ice Rage is a blast to play, even for those who could care less about real-world sports.
13. Wind-up Knight
Forgot toy soldiers--it's all about knights in shining armor with giant gear keys in their backs. Wind-up Knight is a level-based, 2.5D auto-scroller in the same vein as the excellent Runner 2, where you must guide a miniature hero through a gauntlet of medieval-themed obstacles. You'll have to slice apart cockatrices with your sword, leap over treacherous spike pits, and shield your noggin from fire traps--potentially all within the space of seconds, depending on how far you've fought into the game.
Wind-up Knight knows the secret to runner game replay value, filling each stage with secrets and challenges that'll keep perfectionists busy. There's also a satisfying item progression, letting you acquire sweet upgrades using coins you've collected during your runs. With tons of levels and plenty of S grades to chase after, you can get a lot of mileage (no pun intended) out of this one.
12. Beast Boxing Turbo
This arcade-style boxer falls somewhere between Punch-Out!! and Zeno Clash, nicely balancing light-hearted, fast-paced fisticuffs with a healthy dose of weirdness when it comes to character design. You play as Char, a human girl masquerading as an insectoid creature to compete in the Beast Boxing Leagues. With the help of your porcine coach Piglas, you'll K.O. any monster that you meet in the ring on the road to the top of the circuit.
BBT pulls no punches when it comes to difficulty, forcing you to learn your opponents' patterns of attack if you want any hope of winning the later fights. Defense is just as important as offense, since mindlessly wailing at the uppercut button will tire you out in a hurry; it's much more important to strike at just the right moment. Addictive equipment management and increasingly tricky tutorials round out this distinctive prizefighter.
Breakout clones are a dime a dozen, but WizOrb is in a league of its own. Unlike the countless ball-and-paddle imitators you've likely played over the years, WizOrb hooks you with a fully realized fantasy world and a distinct retro flavor, creating something entirely unique in the process. As the stumpy wizard Cyrus, it's up to you to defend the people of Gorudo from encroaching monsters, using your magical powers and the ability to keep a mystical orb in play.
All the typical annoyances of the Breakout formula are done away with in WizOrb, thanks to a slew of spells you can cast on command. One errant block that you just can't seem to hit? Blast it with a fireball. Think you won't be able to move your paddle (sorry, wand) in time to reflect the orb? Shift the wind to curve the ball's trajectory. When you're not chipping away at baddies, you can help out the adorable pixelated citizens of nearby towns or expand your knowledge of sorcery.
10. Canabalt HD
You've no doubt played this highly addictive Flash game countless times. But have you ever played it in HD on your TV? The one-button game that helped vault the "endless runner" genre into the spotlight looks gorgeous on the Ouya, with your choice of spruced up polygonal visuals or the classic pixelated look. Your suited, unnamed protagonist controls just the same, leaping from rooftop to rooftop in a desperate attempt to escape the giant robot apocalypse. And Danny Baranowsky's pulse-pounding soundtrack is as powerful as ever.
There's also a bunch of additional modes in the Ouya version, which change the variables in your randomly generated run. For instance, can you survive a sprint across skyscrapers when they're covered in crates? What if all the buildings are invisible, with only pigeons to guide your jumps? You'll also encounter a new, terrifying obstacles: colossal robotic arms which serve as platforms after they've tried to crush you.
9. Super Crate Box
Simple, arcade-style experiences can often lead to the most feverishly addictive games. Super Crate Box is the perfect example of the maxim "less is more," with a single screen's worth of action that can keep you playing for hours on end. The goal is simple: collect weapon crates as they randomly drop around the stage, and kill any green ghouls that get in your way. It sounds simple, but things get extremely hectic when baddies drop in faster than you can kill them. And, oh yeah, they go into something of a rage mode if they cycle through the bottom ground's firepit.
Mastering Super Crate Box is an art form, where you have to get comfortable with switching weapon types on the fly. SCB delivers a plethora of unlocks with just the right cadence; eventually, you'll go from firing peashooter pistols to flamethrowers and bazookas. The pace is fast and furious, and you'll find any reason you can to hit the "Restart" button just one more time.
What if Pac-Man tried to escape the confines of his maze? That's the basic premise of Evac, a neon-soaked interpretation of the classic arcade game. Instead of a plain yellow puck, you control a bright pink cube, sliding around collecting colored pellets and avoiding red guards instead of ghosts. But in Evac, you have much more control over your environment. You can trap guards by pushing boxes, hide in concealed alcoves, or flip switches to open up new avenues. You also have more in the way of power-ups, letting you stun enemies with an electric shock or simulate the Power Pellet with your own enemy-crushing Aura.
Evac's visuals are captivating, with a unique neon palette that's still distinct from Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. The soundtrack is filled with excellent synth, that's at once soothing and foreboding. And you'll be genuinely curious to see Evac's story all the way through, as a shadowy figure discourages you from escaping every step of the way.
7. Final Fantasy III
Say what you will about the current state of Square Enix, but it's hard to deny that they do JRPG remakes right. Final Fantasy III (the actual third game in the series, not the Super Nintendo conversion of FFVI) is an Ouya console exclusive, and while it may not be the Ouya's killer app, its presence is definitely appreciated. With a touching story, polygonal graphics from the Nintendo DS remade, and classic FF gameplay, this is marks the perfect opportunity to play an old-school RPG that you might've missed the first time around.
Keep in mind that this is very much a game of its time, so battles are incredibly straightforward, and the story might seem a little clich. But, as with any medium, the classics can show us a lot more than we might expect. For instance, FFIII marked the birth of the job class system, which lets you switch your party members' specialties whenever you see fit. Seeing the birth of such a significant Final Fantasy hallmark is worth the price of admission alone.