Ouya: Free The games!

Create:

logo

Ever since the OUYA was announced that faithful day on Kickstarter, its main stance was one about freedom – both software and hardware wise. While the system didn’t exactly deliver on this promise when it came to hardware, the people at OUYA are desperately trying to deliver on the software aspect of this promise.

While not exactly perfect, OUYA‘s Free the Games Fund is definitely a step in the right direction. Announced in July of 2013 the Free the Games Fund is a pretty straight forward way to get your game onto the OUYA. The developer starts  a Kickstarter campaign following some guidelines put in place by OUYA. If said campaign attains its goal, of at least $10,000, the people at OUYA will match the money raised, up to $250,000. While this sounds pretty attractive it isn’t totally free. Titles funded by OUYA must not be on any  mobile device, video game console, or set-top box besides the OUYA for a 6 month period. This 6-month period doesn’t apply to  Linux, Mac OS, or Windows so developers are free to release their games on those platforms immediately.towerfallj

The Free the Game Fund hit the scene pretty hard but was almost immediately plagued by scandals. Developers found ways to exploit the system by putting loads of their own money into their campaigns in an attempt to get more money back from OUYA . There was even a case of a campaign being started under the name of a missing person, for no known reason. These scandalous happenings caused OUYA to change some rules about the fund,  eventually dropping the required funds raised from $50,000 to $10,000.

The Free the Games Fund is less than half way through it’s run, ending in August of 2014. There is really no telling what will come from the Free the Games Fund but hopefully a few good games will come from it. The only way to find out is to keep an eye on OUYA.


For more information check out : www.freethegamesfund.com Scroll to the bottom of the page to see some of the games that are part of Free the Games Fund.

Humble Bundle – Have fun. Pay whatever. Help the world.

Humble-Bundle-fname

Have you ever wished you could live in some crazy type of world? A world where you can pay what you want for amazing games? A world where you could say, “Hmm.. this iteration of Call of Duty looks like it’s worth 40 dollars, so that’s all I’m going to pay.” Well Humble Bundle and their open ended pricing system may someday usher that in.

While this is based purely on the rose colored speculation of a liberal mind, Humble Bundle has laid down some interesting ground work for a world where you can pay what you want. All the while, raising money for charities like Child’s play, Electronic Frontier Foundation, charity:water and American Red Cross. The buyer of each bundle can choose how the money from their purchase is split. If you see fit it can all go the the charity or the developer. Humble Bundle has earned more than $50 million dollars, $20 million of which have been donated to charity.

Humble Bundles are different collections of entertainment, primarily video games but not exclusively, where the customer can choose what they want to pay for the products. Humble Bundles last two weeks, over the course of the sale games are usually added making the bundle even more valuable. Don’t worry if you’ve already purchased the bundle before the other games were added you will still have access to them for no additional charge. In order to gain access to everything included with the bundle, you need to pay more than the average, which is often times around 5 dollars. Paying over average will land you additional games as well as other goodies.hib_quick_montage_768_sharp-1

Humble Bundle offers some amazing games, but I personally think their most exciting bundles are their Humble Indie Bundles. In fact, everything about humble bundle screams indie. They are free of connections to big game developers, and take freedom of pricing to a new level by allowing you to set it yourself.

Humble Indie Bundles have been around for a bit and just finished off it’s 9th bundle. Some amazing indie have been offered in these bundles, including Braid, World of Goo, Cave Story + ,Super Meat Boy and most recently Bastion. These bundles don’t end with games, that would be far too simple. Bundles often-times come with goodies like sound tracks, or prototype games from developers such as double fine or team meat.

If are looking to buy some really fun games, and to help raise money for charity all while on a tight budget, be sure to check out humblebundle.com . They are currently offering up their second Humble Mobile Bundle with cool games for your android phone or tablet.

Ouya: The games.

Play

Unknown

 

The OUYA boasts a sizable game library considering how relatively new it is to the market. With its open source library and how easily it can be rooted, Emulators have found a permanent home on the OUYA. In fact, when you look at the top selling games for the system you’ll notice that a good number of them are emulators. While it imagescan’t play current gen games, it is still fun to see your old school emulators back on the television where they belong.

The biggest challenge the little system faces is finding support from developers. While the OUYA is a very interesting option, with none of the muck that can drag down an indie game on a big console, it still looks less lucrative than the big consoles. What it comes down to is the fact that PS3,Xbox360 and Wii have much larger audiences and have been on the scene far too long.

Even in the shadow of the 3 major systems OUYA still has some support from big names. Some believers.  Robert Bowling of Infinity Ward Announced an OUYA Exclusive game even before the system was released.  Bowling’s Human Element is set to be released in 2015. The game takes place 35 years after an event involving a zombie apocalypse. The game had so much online buzz that it was announced that there will be episodic prequels to the game on the OUYA, detailing the events up to the actual game.

Unknown-2

While Bowing’s studio, Robotoki, is one of few exclusives other major studios also took heed to the OUYA. Square Enix announced that FFiii would be made available as a launch title for OUYA. Namco Bandai also said they’d be bringing several games to the system. While these aren’t exactly exclusives the support of major developers is still a great stepping stone for the OUYA.

The biggest barrier between the OUYA and success is it’s game library. You can never have to many great games on a system, and thus far the OUYA seems to be suffering from a lack of them. WIth enough support from developers OUYA can, and will go very far.

Stay tuned for information about how OUYA is helping developers make great games for them.

 

Ouya: Whats inside

Calculate:

aDocIYLn5qbPmnRY

At only 99 dollars the tech in the Ouya is nothing to be scoffed at. The tiny titan boasts a Quad-core 1.7 Ghz ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore and Nvidia Geforce ULP. While you aren’t going to see the amazing graphics and performance you get from the big three, it is still formidable considering the price point.

If the 8 GB of internal storage out of the box aren’t enough, you can always expand it with removable storage. Ouya displays via HDMI to a television and can support 1080p, 1080i and 720p depending on the games. A lot of reviews have complained about the quality of the remote controller, luckily the Ouya can work with XBOX 360 or PS3 controllers. The only catch is that the developer must allow it in the game.

F2OfDQWwAuJGNtWh

Ouya isn’t only for playing, every system can be used as a developer’s kit. The 2.95 inch cube can also easily be taken apart, since the screws are right on top of the device.

Although the system isn’t cutting edge when it comes to technology the price point is hard to beat. Most other devices with similar hardware run anywhere from $199 to around $400, and these devices aren’t dedicated gaming systems.

I3RZXChETDu2Knbe

Stay tuned to learn more about the Ouya, its games, and what it can offer to developers.

Ouya : The Indie Console

Ouya_Logo

Gaming has been around for around 40 years, starting in garages and basements as early as 1947. Video games didn’t really reach mainstream popularity until the 70’s and 80’s and has been growing ever since. Much like movies video games quickly became a part of everyday life for many different cultures. Also much like film, there is a very distinctive sub genre of gaming, indie gaming.

Indie gaming culture is rapidly growing and becoming a significant part of the very intricate gaming industry. Ouya has the unique opportunity to play a critical role in the Indie Gaming revolution. With no one to answer to but the fans, Ouya can flourish if they play their cards right.

Dream: 

imagesOuya was created with two things in mind, indie games and developers. Ouya hit Kickstarter as a campaign to try and gauge how many people would be interested in the project. Over 29 days the console raised around 8.5 million dollars on the crowd-funding website Kickstarter, being the second most successful campaign in the websites history.  Ouya holds the record for the single best first day performance of any project ever hosted on kick starter, the little console attracting a backer roughly every 5.5 seconds.

Ouya’s charm comes in the form of just how open to creativity the entire entity is.  It runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and it can be rooted very easily. Julie Urman , Ouya’s founder, made it a point to stress the fact that the system is made to be modded. Rooting or modding the console is completely covered under the systems warranty.

The Ouya is freedom. Freedom for developers, freedom for modders, and freedom for gamers.

If the Ouya can overcome the big three and carve a niche in the indie market, it can grow into a force to be reckoned with.

photo-little

Lowkey Gaming will be focusing on the Ouya with a series of articles highlighting the system, it’s games, and some of the unique opportunities offered by Ouya.

Stay tuned for more information about Ouya.

Indie Game Review : Knights of Pen and Paper

imgres

Knights of Pen and Paper puts an interesting spin on classic role playing games of both the table top and video variety. You start out at a long table and an odd looking man standing on one side of it. Across from him sit 5 empty chairs.  In Knights of Pen and Paper you are playing as a group of friends who are playing a table top RPG.

imgres

Character creation is pretty standard, except for the few things that make it extremely weird. You get to choose the person playing the character and the class that person chooses. Here’s an example to help shed some light on the situation. The Grandma character gets 10% more threat due to her Loud passive, this has great synergy with the paladin tank class. So I currently have a very loud, very old woman playing as the tank in my game. There are a lot of other character types to choose from, each one having different in game perks covering everything from +10% experience ,for the new guy Mr. John,  to 50% discount on blacksmith upgrades for Paris the compulsive shopper.

One pretty bad thing about Knights of Pen and Paper is that there is absolutely no explanation about anything. You don’t know how threat works or how spell damage works. You don’t know what buttons do what, you’re just thrown blindly into the game. Albeit a very simple concept to pick up, it can get annoying at first.

images

The art in Knights of Pen and Paper is what initially drew me to it. Classic 8 bit sprites with interesting environments. The battle animations aren’t too flashy, sticking to the theme of a classic table top games. I particularly enjoy the world map. It is reminiscent of the map in Super Mario 3, nothing to detailed just an odd picture and a surprise when you arrive.

imgres

The music in Knights of Pen and Paper is nothing to be scoffed at either. Both the battle and world screen music is fun to listen to and helps to keep things moving along. I particularly like the music that plays in the tavern.
There is an entire other layer of game to Knights of Pen and Paper. The game room. You use gold earned in game to buy things to decorate the room or snacks for your party. Decorations have permanent effects to things like gold earned or damage done while food has similar effects that last some where around 15 minutes. Using room decorations and snacks are very important as you progress in the game, I don’t know what I’d do with out sushi.The simple to pickup, but hard to master battle system in Knights of Pen and Paper is a wonderful call back to classic RPGs with one big difference. Strategy is king. While often times as a child I could simply attack my way through crowds of beasties, Knights of Pen and Paper takes some real planning.

knightsofpenandpaper2First of all, if you don’t build threat on your tank your entire party will die pretty fast. Even with your Paladin tanking and your healers trying to keep him alive, if you don’t mitigate a good amount of damage your tank will die. To do this you need to pay attention to move order and try to lock down as many of your opponents as possible. This takes a decent amount of strategy as you try and maximize your damage output and keep your team alive.

Knights of Pen and Paper is a very fun game and defiantly worth a look at. It is available on both Android and iOS along with steam for your PC.

So.. you want to hunt monsters?…

imgresWith the Japanese release of Monster Hunter 4 just around the corner, and my recent love affair with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, I decided to explore the game a bit more in-depth.

Monster Hunter plays exactly how it sounds, you spend a whole lot of time hunting down monsters. You can choose to either catch a weakened monster using a trap and tranquilizers or kill it and butcher it’s body. Catching the monster alive, gives you a bunch more resources and is therefore beneficial. Resources gathered  from monsters are used for making everything in the world of monster hunter, from armor and weapons to fishing rods and bug nets. The sweet taste of victory is quickly replaced by blood thirst, an urge to move on a new hunt and more powerful monsters. Progression is mainly measured by your hunter rank, interestingly enough, rank doesn’t give you any stats or advantages, it only give you the opportunity to fight even stronger monsters. The game is on it third main iteration so far, and in classic
Capcom fashion, there are many expansions on the main franchise.

5

Monster Hunter is infamous for it’s difficulty. Even before the modern day Demon Souls, Monster Hunter was extremely unforgiving. No matter how much gear you have, or how long you’ve played, if you mess up that level one monster will kill you and your friends will laugh at you. This extreme learning cliff makes some people shy away from the series, but once you pick it up and gain some skill it’s a little hard to get away.

The first Monster Hunter was released in 2004 on the Sony Playstation 2 after a surprise reveal in 2003’s E3 conference. Monster Hunter was created by the team that made Resident Evil Outbreak, and had decent online support on the PS2. In fact the servers stood open until 2007. The game received decent reviews from IGN.com with a 7 out of 10. While the reception in America was lukewarm, Japan received Monster Hunter with open arms. This first generation opened the flood gates for many iterations and sequels.images

Monster Hunter G was the first expansion to Monster Hunter. MHG added several new features still prevalent in monster hunter games today, the G Hunter Rank, different variations on monsters, and felyne Chefs. G-Rank quests offer the best rewards and far more challenging battles. This still rings true in current Monster Hunter games. Monster Hunter G never got a NA release on the PS2 but eventually reached us in the form of Monster Hunter Freedom on the PSP.

In 2006, Monster Hunter received it’s first true sequel in Monster Hunter 2. It introduced several a day and night system to the game along with new monsters . With new monsters came new Items, Armor, and Weapons. This game was never released on the North American PS2. Monster Hunter Freedom 2 ,an altered version of MH2, came to NA with some different monsters and the addition of several new weapons. Longsword, Gunlance, Hunting Horn, and Bow.  Freedom 2 was rated “Great” by IGN giving the game an 8.8 .  After some time Capcom released a new version called Monster Hunter Freedom 2 Unite, where feyline companion joins you on your quests.

imagesFast Forward 4 years, and it 2010 and Monster Hunter Tri is released for  the Wii, along with the Pro Controller. Capcom originally intended to release the game on the PS3 but high development costs caused them to release the game on the Wii. The release of a Monster Hunter Game on the Wii allowed Nintendo to take a hardcore gaming angle, promising they were still there for the hardcore gamer in all of us.  Monster Hunter Tri was the first game to include under water battles, which didn’t receive a very kind reception from fans. Originally Monster Hunter Tri removed several weapons classes, but they were eventually put back into the game with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate was an expansion to Monster Hunter Tri, several wepon classes were added back to the game and it includes Cross Play between the Wii U and the 3DS.

imgres

Monster Hunter has come a long way from the PS2 and is set for release in Japan in September of this year. So far the game has been announced to lots of new features and monsters. Monster Hunter 4 will be more story driven then its predecessors. One of the most anticipated new weapons in the bug staff. A support weapon that draws certain effects from enemies as you hit them in different regions of the body.

From the announcements made, Monster Hunter 4 sounds like it will be a great addition to the franchise.

A series of short reviews: Monster Manor

Monster Manor

imgres

Monster Manor, in my opinion, is by far the best StreetPass Nintendo has right now. You start your adventure as an private eye looking for his or her missing assistant. Using a letter she left for you, you find her in what looks like a rather haunted manor. Before you know it a giant skeletal hand is dragging you into the house and bam you’re neck deep in adventure.

Monster Manor plays a lot like a turn based RPG game, mixed with a very slow paced game of Tetris. Every time you get a street pass, the person comes with a colored piece made out of square tiles. The color of the piece is determined by the color of the Mii’s shirt. These pieces are parts of a map, and when put together, they will fill in the game map. If you connect two pieces that are the same color in a square shape, at least 2×2, you will find a room. A room can have a chest, a magical green orb for combining items, or one of your street passes with gifts.

There is an entire leveling system for your weapons, along with elements and abilities on your weapons. One really cool ability involves instantly allowing your weapon to reload, which feels very powerful.

So far I’ve noticed a major down side to the weapon system is that there is no real incentive to try different weapons. In fact, when you level up a weapon early on, it is hard to get other weapons to work for you against some of the monsters. You end up doing 1 damage consistently and nearly die to a weak monster. Hopefully this problem improves as i progress.

imgres

Most fights in Monster Manor are random encounters with anything from a bat to a skeletal puppy and some spooky stuff in between. Every few floors you will face a boss, which can be pretty difficult at times. It is suggested that you bring a friend with you to boss fights, when you street pass with someone who also has the game, there is a chance they will join you.

Monster Manor is a very fun game, it uses street pass to it’s full potential and can even be a stand-alone game, with a few adjustments. If you can only buy one game from the four new StreetPass titles, I’d say Monster Manor is the best choice.

A series of short reviews : Flower Town


Flower Town

images

Flower Town is an interesting use of street pass. You spend your tending to potted plants and keeping your garden up to snuff. While this sounds like a mind numbingly boring game, it is actually far more involved than one would think.

Flower Town plays more like a sim than its other StreetPass brethren. Every time you pass someone, they will visit your garden to look at your plant and show off their own flower. They aren’t simply visiting, your plant and theirs have an interesting encounter involving pollination. Your plant gains a germinated seed that is a hybrid of the two plants. All the information about your new plant can be found in your plant journal.

After your plant is grown to full-size, and you’ve gathered all the seeds, you can place it in your garden. The garden has a good amount of customization to make it look exactly how you want it to.

To make money in Flower Town you can do one of several things. You can sell your seeds, sell your plants, or grab a job at the local flower shop which also involves selling your flowers.

Flower Town is far from perfect and won’t be winning any awards, it is still a decent and interesting game. I’d say if you plan on getting all four games you may as well bundle them and grab Flower Town too.

A series of short Reviews: StreetPass

gour games

With Nintendo last major StreetPass update, they added a few particularly interesting games. By a few, I mean 4, and by interesting, I mean fun. These games go for 5 dollars a pop or 15 dollars for all four if you buy them in a bundle.

Overall these games are pretty fun to play and a great use of the 3Ds StreetPass functionality.

Mii Force:

xstreetpassmiiforce.jpg.pagespeed.ic.LtbSilCPo2

Mii force is a very fun and slightly challenging space shooter game. You play the role of a commander and every StreetPass Mii you get is a pod. These different pods work as weapons whose type is determined by the color of the Mii’s shirt.

You have four points on your ship where a pod can attach. If the four pods are full, any additional pods you get can be placed under them to level up the main pod. Even if all four slots aren’t filled you can level them up, just keep in mind one of your four shooter slots will be empty. Leveling your firepower will increase attributes like range , power, or speed of your projectiles. They never completely change how a weapon works, so don’t expect to turn a laser into some type of missile.

00028

Mii force plays alot like your standard Galaga game. Dodge and shoot, destroying as many foes as you can.  What differentiates Mii Force is the ability to rotate the pods around you changing their positions as needed. Every time your ship takes damage from one of your colorful foes you lose and pod and therefore a weapon or a level on a weapon. When you are out of pods, you are out of weapons and forced to retreat.  The more people you StreetPass the more pods you get and the more powerful you become.

The StreetPass interactions are pretty fun too. You get to see leader boards and compare them against people who also have the game. You can see your score and compare it to people, some times seeing just how awesome you are compared to the people you walk by in the streets.

Mii Force is a great StreetPass game and definitely worth the 5 dollars. It is a lot of fun to play and actually has some story to it.

Warriors Way:

mii-plaza-warriors-way

Warriors Way is another great game available to download in your StreetPass plaza. If you are familiar with Find Mii and Find Mii II , you will feel right at home playing Warriors Way. You take the role of a King who’s main goal is to take over the world. Your 3DS holds your entire army and every time you pass some one with a 3DS, any one they’ve ever gotten a StreetPass from joins your army. If they also play Warriors Way, they are considered roaming monarchs. When you encounter a roaming monarch you can either challenge them, or greet them peacefully. If you challenge the roaming monarch and win you gain their entire army as your own. A loss wont cost you your entire army, only a few troops.

When you start up Warriors way, there is some minor customization to choose from. You are asked a few questions to gather some information about your Kings character, and then asked to choose the theme of your army and castle.

You can choose from one of three castle themes; Medieval , Shogun , or Futuristic. These themes aren’t in any way shape or form like choosing a class, they are simply for aesthetics. Your troops will look different  but will still only have three different types.

xstreetpasswarriors.jpg.pagespeed.ic.HeuLK9kqD-

Warriors Way shines is in it’s very simple to pickup battle system.  Your troops are split into three different types, and each type is assigned to either rock, paper, or scissors. The game plays out like your average game of RPS, just with a twist involving massive numbers. If you are rock and you face a scissors force, since you have a type advantage their troops are essentially cut in half. So if you face 15,000 rock types with 7,600 paper types you will have the advantage and win that round. The game i s very easy to learn, but it takes a certain amount of skill to actually win fights especially against larger armies.  Keep  in mind that the game isn’t always so black and white, to keep the game interesting there are some different elements thrown at you.

Warriors way is a very fun Mii Game and is very easy to just pick up and play, once you have your castle set up. There are times you just want to keep conquering, but you can only do it when you have new troops. This is easily solved with some play coins, but people may consider a blockade like this bad design. Even with it’s down sides, this game is absolutely worth the 5 dollars Nintendo is charging for it.