If you're waiting anxiously for a little Android action in the form of a console, look no further than the upcoming OUYA slated for a June release. However a number of reviews that are now surfacing suggest that Android gamers may need to keep looking, as the Tegra 3-powered gaming cube falls short of expectations.
But consider this first: the model currently under evaluation by the press is the pre-retail edition offered to financial backers of the Kickstarter project. It's an exclusive preview period, according to CEO Julie Uhrman, while the team continues to add features, refine the user interface, and keep building the software as the console heads toward its retail launch.
"We hope that you, our founding backers, continue to shape OUYA as we prepare to launch to the masses," she said. "Your feedback, to date, has been incredibly helpful and as you know, we’ve acted on many of your ideas and suggestions. We want your feedback on these first units."
But that hasn't stopped reviews from popping up anyway. The Verge gives it a 3.5 out of 10, saying it's a million miles away from something worth spending $99 on. Ouch.
"Even if the concept is right, the Ouya misses the mark," the review states. "The controller needs work, the interface is a mess, and have I mentioned there's really nothing to do with the thing? I'm not even sure the concept is right, either: there are plenty of fun Android games, but currently few that work well with a controller and even fewer that look good on your television."
Engadget, seemingly respecting the pre-release aspect, doesn't give its hands-on a score. But the site sides with The Verge on a number of issues, noting a lack of new games and controller lag. It also clearly points out that the device is a little rough around the edges in its current state.
"The version of OUYA shipping now should be considered a beta release, and anyone hoping for anything more is in for some disappointment," the hands-on states. "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."
Phandroid wasn't quite so negative in its unboxing last week, but noted that the initial setup process might hit some snags if the user has "dodgy" Wi-Fi. There was also some mention about the time it took pairing the Bluetooth controllers to the console, but gameplay lag was not part of the topic.
"I’m mostly impressed with the software flow although I do have a few minor complaints," Phandroid states. "It would be nice to actually select thumbnails from each game listing and view them on the larger screen at full resolution. While you can 'thumbs up' a game, I’d love to see more social interaction brought to the OUYA so I can see which of my friends like certain games or even see suggested games based on what other similar users have downloaded."
These are the first three that have popped up so far. Additional reviews will likely roll out over the next several days, especially after proud new owners take the console for a spin over the weekend.