The OnLive Service: The Basics and Touch Control Games
OnLive is a cloud gaming service which allows you to play your games by streaming them to the OnLive micro consol, your PC and even your tablets. If you purchase the OnLive micro consol, you will get the OnLive controller along with it, which is very similar to the Xbox 360 controller. One of the first and great things about the OnLive service is that you can play a game and save your progress by using the micro consol and then later on, pick up where you left off, by playing it on your PC with a keyboard and mouse. That is easily my favorite feature about the OnLive service – I can play a game on either device and pick up where I left off on the other.
Another feature I find most interesting is the ability to view other gamers playing their game. I won’t be one to use that feature often, but it can be neat and has many good uses. For example, say there is a game that you are struggling with and by watching someone else play the same game it could be a great learning experience. Or you can simply watch and see if it looks like something you want to play as you progress deeper in the games. Thankfully though, the OnLive service allows you to demo a game for up to 30 minutes. So, it’s not an actual demo, it’s 30 minutes of the actual game!
One of the things I find distracting about the ability to drop into someone else’s game and watch, is that the game will notify you when someone is viewing you play your game. Eventually I got use to it, but it still ends up getting to me. As an example, the second I know someone is watching me play, I start trying to do some really cool or crazy stuff. In other words I try and show off. So far that hasn’t worked out so well for me. When you try to do something cool it becomes so obvious to the viewer and the result is you end up trying something foolish and thus looking foolish. It’s still fun to mess around though and if no one is watching you can actually push the record button and you can record a “brag clip” of your gameplay to share with others later on.
You can create fun brag clips such as this one and share it with your friends!
One of the new features of OnLive is bringing in games with touch controls. This is where using your tablet or other mobile device comes in handy. There are some games that have virtual buttons which, I must say, take a long time to get down and can usually be very frustrating. This is my opinion on most touch games that use virtual controls. However, if you are familiar with playing touch-based games by use of the virtual joypad then there are some games worth noting.
L.A. Noir was recently brought over to the OnLive service with a virtual joypad and when I heard about that I jumped all over it. I loved L.A. Noir and was itching to play it again. What better way than to try it with the new touch controls through the OnLive service. Well, I gave it a good try but I just couldn’t do it. If you train yourself really well at using the virtual joypad than you may not have as big of an issue with it. I should mention though, that if you do play it, please play it with a tablet due to the bigger screen. Some of the buttons are just too tight and too small otherwise. Once again though, here is the best feature about OnLive service… Say you purchase L.A. Noir and you give it a try on the touch screen and hate it. Well, that’s ok because you can pick up where you left off by playing it on either your PC with a keyboard and mouse or on your micro consol with a controller.
I ended up playing all of my touch-based games with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. The larger screen really makes it more effective, in my opinion. While I struggled getting into the games that used the virtual joypad – games like Defense Grid Gold were perfect for playing on my Galaxy Tab. When using the large screen all I needed to do was touch the screen to select what I wanted and where I wanted to place my units. This is a perfect game to own if you want to play the OnLive service on your phone or tablet. Strategy games are set up so well for touch screen games it doesn’t surprise me that this became my favorite.
If you are interested in the OnLive service, you can download it to your phone or PC and try it without any commitment. The only thing you pay for is the games when you decide to purchase one. This means you will have access to many games with the ability to try a 30 minute demo on each one. Unfortunately, they don’t get too many of the latest titles, but they do have some and they continue to add more to their service. You should definitely give OnLive a try and if you end up liking it and wanting the micro consol, it’s worth the price.