Friday, July 5, 2013

Ouya backlash from Kickstarter backers

Hot off the heels of its official launch last week and guerrilla style appearance during the E3 expo, it seems there is an ever growing controversy surrounding the highly anticipated android based console OUYA. Kickstarter backers have taken to the official Facebook page to voice their anger after numerous email attempts have so far failed to invoke a response.

The problems surrounding Ouya have been no secret since its highly successful Kickstarter was completed on August 9, 2012 exceeding the original pledge goal of $950,000. Gamers over the world rejoiced at the idea of an open sourced and fully modifiable console, supported by a total of 63,416 backers sending $8,596,474 to the Ouya developers way.

Backers were promised exclusives such as reserved usernames, extra controllers and early access to the first production run of the console. While it seems a large number of consumers are happily picking up their consoles from retailers after the official June 25th launch or receiving express shipping from orders; many Kickstarter backers are still left waiting for the delivery of their promised devices. 'Incorrect tracking numbers' and 'excessive international custom charges' are appearing as some of the most referred to complaints posted on the companies Facebook wall at this time.

Whilst there are many happy consumers jumping forward to defend the Ouya, we are still yet to see any official apology from the Ouya team themselves. The only acknowledgement of these oversights to be found on their official blog is a mere footnote stating "...It's been a long road for all of us, and we are still navigating some of the bumps in the road..."

It seems every hour or so a new comment appears with a disgruntled backer asking for their 'x' numbered email to be responded to or for their long awaited refund to be actioned. Are the delays due to overworked Ouya employees tending to the backlog of unanticipated and subsequently overflowing complaints?  Or just the result of poor customer service and a refusal to acknowledge the bigger issue here? Regardless there is some poor management decisions going on here and not enough power to fix them efficiently.

Be that as it may, its not all bad news; with every complaint comes a juxtaposing compliment praising the devices functionality and modification abilities. Even so will the praise of those who have not been perturbed by the persisting problems be enough to save the company from the ever increasing army of unsatisfied customers? Only time will tell.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

State Of Decay Resubmitted - Vitamin sales to Soar

So it looks like the Undead Labs crew jumped back onto the bandwagon and have resubmitted open-world zombie game 'State of Decay' to the Australian Classification Board. 

Stating on their official Facebook "Australians, I can officially tell you that the special Edition of the game is now in the hands of your review board".

What could possibly change those minds so deeply concerned about the impressionable people of Australia you ask? 

"Stimulants out! "Supplements" in! Who could possibly not like vitamins? They're good for you. Anyway, we're feeling pretty optimistic about our chances." 

Undead Labs have taken a similar road to Fallout 3 developers. When faced with refused classification Bethesda opted to change the games morphine references to the fictional substance "Med-X". This small tweak was enough to allow Fallout 3 to be released without further problems and we can only hope State of Decay follows the same fate. 

If the Australian Classification Board were concerned about the public taking State of Decays methadone and amphetamine references seriously, wait until they see the sales increase on Vitamin C purchases. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hotline Miami - Addictive 8 Bit Slashing Fest

Every so often an indie game will rise with three qualities that make a welcome investment to ones gaming collection, regardless if it be for casual play or hard-core consumption - a simple design, a clear concept and addictive game play. Throw in blood, betrayal and animal masks and you have Hotline Miami in your hot little hands.

Top-down action games were given a special place in my heart after I received a large CD case containing the first three of the Grand Theft Auto Series (GTA, GTA2, GTA: London) with my first Playstation and I was instantaneously hooked. Hotline Miami takes the aesthetics of the original series and throws you into a dance of wits, forcing to you slaughter your way out of tight situations and escape the clutches of brutal 8-bit foes. You are given the freedom to use a variety of weapon drops and work your way through the maze-like levels, taking advantage of stealthy back attacks when available or charging in with your guns blazing, using human body shields as you please.

Your silent protagonist is provided with a choice of masks at each mission kickoff with each including their own unique boosts. The additional traits include abilities such as One hit punch, Faster Movement and for the masochistic gamer in us, Reverse controls. You are summoned by an ominous guide who leaves cryptic messages detailing your next hit. Our Anti-hero is thrown into a neon soaked crime frenzy with each dialogue scene encountered promoting a growing sense of paranoia. The impending danger and sense of urgency is continuously heightened with each narration we receive. With 3 separate endings available, secrets to be found and a wider range of masks to be unlocked the replay ability factor is a god send, considering how addictive this game can get.

Despite its 8 bit design, at times the game can get quite graphic and gory. With hallucinations of mutilated faces plaguing the protagonist and no shortage of blood during combat, it is a wonder the game was able to be released in Australia at all, and whilst I'm thankful that it is, I still wouldn't recommend providing the game to any children in need of entertainment. Best start them off with crushing universes in Katamari Forever first.

Hotline Miami is currently available on PC through Steam and on Playstation 3/PS Vita through the PSN Store. Its more than worth the purchase and of course throwing our money to developers like this ensures we continue to receive this amazing gaming content in the future.