Following on from my Top Ten Games for Retro Gamers on the OUYA post, here’s a list, again in no particular order, of the best local – or couch – multiplayer games on the OUYA.
Couch multiplayer has become a real selling point of the OUYA and already it has some fantastic titles to choose from.
Here’s ten you should check out:
Hidden in Plain Sight ($0.99)
Hidden in Plain Sight was an early featured title for the OUYA as it highlights the local multiplayer focus the OUYA is going big on.
Featuring five minigames, conceptually it comes under the ‘simple but genius’ category.
Players are not marked within the game, which means not only do you have to work out which characters are being controlled by your opponents, you also have to work out which is your own character.
It creates an ingenious race against time as players rush to work out who is who while trying to keep track of your objective.
The mini-games themselves include ‘Death Race’, which is a race to the finish line where you have one bullet to use against your opponents, and ‘Ninja Party’, where you have to work out who you are in a crowd of ninjas and either kill all the other players or touch five statues placed around the screen.
All the games have simple premises, but combined with the fantastic concept make it an absolutely essential multiplayer purchase.
The payment system is also worth a mention, with a range of payment options depending on much you want to donate to the developer. All options, starting at $0.99 and rising to over $40, unlock all five mini-games. Interestingly data released by the developer, Adam Spragg, shows that most people voluntarily pay over the $0.99 minimum.
It’s easy to see why Hidden in Plain Sight was an Indiecade 2012 Finalist and it’s an essential purchase on the OUYA.
Read more on Hidden in Plain Sight and download the APK on OUYAlytics.
You Don’t Know Jack ($9.99)
You Don’t Know Jack is a quiz game that has been released on just about every major platform since it started back in 1995. The OUYA version has an extra selling point in that Android devices can be used as controllers. It’s not exactly a major USP but it is more fun using a Nexus 7 as a giant gamepad than any controller.
The game sells itself as the only game to mix high and pop culture, asking questions from Shakespeare to Scooby Doo and there is certainly a better than average mix of questions to keep you entertained, as well as plenty of irreverent jokes and quips throughout. One hilarious touch sees the game choose a name for you if you enter a swear word. It sounds daft, but coming from nowhere as it did was a great moment.
The first episode comes free and you can buy an extra 20 episodes for $9.99. If you like quiz games, it’s as good as anything out there on any platform.
Read more about You Don’t Know Jack and download the APK at OUYAlytics.
No Brakes Valet (Free)
One criticism levelled at the OUYA, unfairly, is that it is full of ‘shovelware’, meaning that games and apps are simply ‘shovelled’ over with no thought for quality. No Brakes Valet on first glance does indeed look like it would be of this ilk and the basic graphical presentation may put you off downloading. It shouldn’t.
Although the single-player version is pretty worthless, in the two-player mode the game really comes alive.
As the name of the game suggests, you have to valet cars but lack any brakes to park them. What results is a series of high speed collisions as cars careen around the parking lots before the final scores are tallied based on what tips you manage to pick up – in the form of randomly placed dollar bills – and who somehow manages to actually park a car correctly.
It’s a short but sweet blast and one you’ll keep coming back to whenever you have friends round.
Read more about No Breaks Valet and download the APK at OUYAlytics.
Gunslugs is a retro-inspired run ‘n’ gun game, familiar in style to anyone who played the arcades in the 1980s. Graphically the style is in a chunky, exaggerated 8-bit style. Although at first it can feel like it obscures your view of the action when things get hectic, it all adds to the carnage once you get used to it.
The single player version is excellent, but when a second player joins it gets even better (and a bit easier too). It’s one of the best arcade style games available on the OUYA for one or two players and would have made it onto the ‘Ten must-play OUYA games for retro gamers‘ had I discovered it then.
Another game that looks too simple to be of interest, Curves is a free Snake-style game for up to four players.
It adds a few modernising twists, including power-ups, as well as a beautiful addition of gaps within your ‘snake’. It sounds simple and it is, but the skill involved in arrowing your snake through the gap of an opponent makes for a superb multiplayer spectacle and the short, intense games are perfect for couch multiplayer sessions.
Read more about Curves and download the APK at OUYAlytics.
Bombsquad is another game on the OUYA touted as something of a ‘killer app’. Although the name conjures up nightmares of yet another Bomberman clone, thankfully Bombsquad steers well clear of that game and ploughs it’s own furrow.
Up to eight players can take part in three modes, co-operative, deathmatch or free-for-all as you fight it out on multiple arenas, collecting various power-ups along the way.
It’s all pretty self-explanatory and the more people who play the more mayhem ensues, especially as bombs are indiscriminate in who they blow up so suicides and betrayals will be commonplace.
A free Android app is available for people to use on their phone or tablet, which converts it into an extra controller (hence allowing up to eight players) and the non-too-subtle nod to Arnold Schwarzenegger in the ‘Cronk’ character is a hilarious touch typical of the attention to detail that permeates the game.
Read more about Bomb Squad and download the APK at OUYAlytics.
Super Sexy Swiss ($4.99)
Where do you even start on a game like Super Sexy Swiss? Or, to give it it’s full title, Super Sexy Swiss Cardio Frenetic Ambulance Transplant Team?
To say this game is bonkers would be an understatement. Drawn in a style even more crude and rudimentary than the first series of South Park, SSSCFATT is a three-player multiplayer title that sees all players share the same joypad.
With each player taking on a different role you must drive your car the required distance without dying. The left thumbstick controls the steering wheel, the buttons control the cardio dial (which is on the dashboard for some reason) while the right thumbstick controls an arm and wiper that wipes blood from the windshield.
And boy is there a lot of blood. Pretty much everything you come across splatters across your windshield as things get messier and messier.
Played with three players the game is hilarious – for instance the music and sound effects are done by the developers making daft noises for maximum comic effect.
It’s biggest shortfall is not that the intentionally crude graphics will put gamers off, but that there isn’t much by way of a game in here. There is no scoring system so repeated plays appeal only to relive the comic madness.
With the full game costing $4.99, it’s also overpriced for what is in essence a joke of a game. The first ‘world’ is free, but will be completed within five minutes. You get four more worlds for the asking price, but really the cost needs lowering and the game mechanics increasing.
Nonetheless, for sheer madness and the hilarity that comes with three people playing such a bonkers title with a single joypad, it’s an essential download for couch multiplayer games. It’s five minutes of your time well spent, even if it will leave you chanting ‘Super sexy swiss…’ for hours afterwards. You’ll end up returning time and again just for the comedy value.
Read more about Super Sexy Swiss and download the APK at OUYAlytics.
King of Opera ($4.99)
A highly rated iOS game, King of Opera had a rocky start on Ouya after developer Tuokio misjudged the pricing and launched at $14.99 to match Towerfall. To their immense credit, they engaged with the Ouya community and dropped the price to a much more reasonable $4.99, throwing in an additional game mode to boot.
King of Opera consists of around half a dozen mini-games, based on revolving tenors who must bounce each other off the stage, hog the spotlight or knock the fat lady away to stop her singing. It’s a single-button affair, reflecting it’s mobile roots, but it works perfectly and has the feel of the classic board games like Hungry, Hungry Hippos. It’s easily possible for hours to slip by while you play it repeatedly.
The presentation is top class, and the comical sound effects of the tenors and fat lady singing combine to make a superb and endlessly entertaining party game.
Read more on King of Opera and download the APK at OUYAlytics.
PiX Frogger (FREE)
One problem with the resurgence of old skool video gaming is that the marketplace gets saturated with cheap ‘retro’ knock-offs, where the retro graphics come across as a substitute for a lack of skill in producing anything too complex.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but it means that it’s sometimes hard to work out the difference – at first glance – between a full-on retro-style professional title and a mediocre homebrew effort.
PiX Frogger, from the unimaginative name to the basic graphics is easy to dismiss as exactly that sort of mediocre effort, but actually there is great fun to be had in this basic Frogger clone.
Pix Frogger‘s USP is simple yet genius, especially for a console like the Ouya that places great emphasis on local ‘couch’ multiplayer. Basically, take Frogger, throw in eight-player multiplayer, and you have Pix Frogger.
It might not sound like much but it’s surprising how much it adds to the dynamic of the game. Having other frogs racing across the roads alongside you encourages you to go faster and faster for fear of being ‘dragged’ along as the screen keeps up with the fastest frog. Thus it becomes a delicate balancing act between speed and safety, which makes for great fun.
The team promised that if the game gets 500 ‘likes’ on the Ouya Discovery store they will release a version that allows up to sixteen players, which it recently passed. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too much longer for sixteen player Frogger.
Read more on PiX Frogger and download the APK at OUYAlytics.
There is no doubt that Towerfall is a quality package, possibly the best available on the OUYA. However, there is also no doubt that at $14.99 it’s simply too expensive for what is, in essence, purely a local multiplayer game.
What’s there is fantastic, but with little by way of single player mode and no online multiplayer, it’s a lot to ask of someone who might have few opportunities to have friends round to play it.
That said, it seems that the developer has made over $41,000 from OUYA sales so far, which goes some way to justifying the price tag.
Towerfall is undoubtedly a quality game, but for the same price you could buy three or four other titles that don’t fall that far short in quality or the hours of entertainment on offer here.
It’s your call but for that amount of money you might want to consider buying several of the cheaper titles listed here instead of this single expensive one. The demo allows infinite plays of one level, giving you a good idea of what’s available and providing plenty of fun on that single level alone.
If $14.99 is too much for you then Gentlemen! takes a similar concept and transplants it into the Victorian era. It’s USP is a gravity switch mechanic similar to VVVVVV, allowing fast-paced single-screen arena action similar to Towerfall but for a third of the price at $4.99.
Read more on Towerfall and download the APK at OUYAlytics.
Read more on Gentlemen! and download the APK at OUYAlytics.