Monday 16 September 2013

Mrs. Dad VS Körv (Ouya)

With just about every tech-savvy gamer on the internet voicing their opinions on the Ouya's shortcomings, it can be a struggle trying to convince yourself (let alone others) that it's a device worth having in your everyday gaming set up. However, here at RGCD we're sticking by the Ouya because despite the fact that the micro-console has the most self-destructive marketing team in the history of videogaming, it is actually a neat little piece of kit and home to many equally neat little indie games - with the über-stylish, Ouya exclusive Mrs. Dav VS Körv being a perfect example of exactly what the machine is best at.

OK, so let's imagine you've bought your Ouya home from the store; you open up the box, and pull out the Rubik's-cube sized console and single controller. Now everyone has (rightfully) been going on about how the Ouya is great for local multiplayer games, but unless you've a PS3/wired 360 controller handy you're out of luck with the standard retail package, right? Wrong.

You see, those clever chaps at Grapfrukt have designed their multiplayer-only release to work with two players per controller. As in, if you DO have a PS3/wired 360 controller handy then you can play maxed out with four players - if you have enough local friends/children. Add to this the fact that Mrs. Dad VS Körv is actually (as the name suggests) a collection of two games wrapped up in a single 17MB download, all of a sudden things are looking just that little bit brighter in the sparsely populated world of the Ouya exclusives.

Out of all the games we've played on the Ouya, few look as gorgeous as Mrs. Dad VS Körv. The design here is minimalist, modern, functional and fresh - as was also the case with Grapfrukt's Sony Vita/Mobile hit rymdkapsel, reviewed last month. Oh, and did I say minimalist? It's probably worth noting (if you are yet to play the game) that upon starting up Mrs. Dad VS Körv there's nothing fancy like a menu screen or on-screen instructions. Nope. Embarrassingly, it did actually take me a few minutes to work out exactly what to do to start the game; a process that involves you pulling down an analogue thumbstick to activate each player (represented by an egg), then moving what left or right across the screen to select the game before pushing up on a stick to enter it.

Right from the offset Mrs. Dad VS Körv is so bizarre that it was actually fun to work out. I felt as though I had entered a weird parallel universe where I'd never played a video game before. I can appreciate now that this is what my parents must have felt like when my eight year-old self asked them to play a game with me on my Atari. It's kind of fitting then that Mrs. Dad VS Körv has become my kids’ favourite Ouya title, who despite the weirdness seemed to know instinctively how to play the games.

Anyway, I digress - let's get on with the review. First up, 'Mrs. Dad' - a game that should probably receive an award for having the most oddball name ever. In this half of the duo-pack you and up to three friends each play as what appears to be vacuum-hoover wielding poultry, starting out in each corner of a screen full of Pacman-style dots with the goal of hoovering up said dots to grow larger than your opponents before ultimately hoovering them up too. Every so often, a power-up appears which offers either increased speed (so you can rush about the screen faster), dot replenishment or a shrink ray (our favourite). It's a really simple design that would actually work on just about any platform - new or retro; a simple race to fill your point-quota in order to win the game.

On the other hand, 'Körv' (that's Swedish for sausage, fact fans) is a team based game in which you play as either a burger or hot dog and must collect eggs from within what looks like a football pitch crossed with a pool table. The aim of this exercise is to deposit as many eggs as possible within your own goal - the bigger the chain, the larger the number of points awarded. Being a competitive game, you also have the ability to tackle your opponents (using the shoulder buttons) in an attempt to get them to drop their chain of eggs, but doing so will cost you an egg of your own.

The ideal set-up is to play with each team having two players each, and in this format Körv is a really frantic and fun experience. However, with three or less players the game pales in comparison to the considerably more enjoyable Mrs. Dad.

It goes without saying that as a Grapefrukt release the presentation is amazing; the aforementioned clean, minimal artwork is of a timeless qulaity and the soundtrack (also available on BandCamp as a digital EP) and sound effects are just adorable. In fact if it wasn't for a single unresolved bug marring the package, I'd go as far as to class the two games as perfect - or as close to perfection as you can get on the Ouya, at least.

The bug? Annoyingly, if you clear the screen of dots in Mrs. Dad (which happens a lot with four players) the game will freeze and crash. Game over, man. Thankfully, Mrs. Dad VS Körv is super fast to reload, but nonetheless this gameplay glitch does become extremely irritating and is just another thing that will make the Ouya look a tiny bit shit when you are showing off the console to friends.

However, despite the bug (which I've since reported and will hopefully be fixed in the near future), as a multiplayer release Mrs. Dad VS Körv is one of the best and well worth the $4.99 unlock price. Out of all the games I've bought for the Ouya in the past few months, this is the one that my kids insist we play again over and over and over, with matches periodically broken up by bouts of cushion throwing, tantrums and all-vs-all family wrestling. And that is what local multiplayer is all about.

Download the Ouya version here (from Total Ouya).
4.5 out of 5

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