Opinion

One Month With Utomik: First Impressions

It has often been referred to as the “Netflix of Gaming.” Overall, it is an accurate sentiment. However, unlike Netflix, Utomik choose an alternative approach to streaming.

Currently, they offer a 14 day free trial and after that, it will cost $5.99 per month during open beta. You can find their catalog of games here.

For a monthly fee, Utomik offers a selection of games that download in small chunks while you play. If you wanted to play Saints Row: The Third, it would download the first 3.85 gigabytes before you can play. After that’s done, the remaining files will download while you run around Steelport. Oh, and in some cases, like Saints Row: The Third, DLC is included.

Utomik is a service that is in open beta. They currently have 555 games in their library; including AAA titles, indie games and classic titles. Remember Crazy Taxi? You can play that to your heart’s content.

I haven’t used a subscription based gaming service since I used GameFly many years ago. At the time, I was pretty fond of having games shipped to my door, but always thought how cool it would have been if it were instantaneous. However, about one month ago, I decided to give it a try. Today, I’m here to share my thoughts on my first month using Utomik. 

Utomik Dashboard

Upon my first login, I immediately noticed that the UI was smooth and user-friendly. The dashboard was broken down into the obvious categories of “New” and “Most Popular,” but there were also broad genres like action games and casual. If you are looking for something more specific, the “Channels” tab has you covered.

The Channels harbor the more specific genres like “Hack and Slash” and “First Person Shooters.” Larger games have a special indicator so you know it will take longer to startup.

The first game that I checked out was one called Kill The Bad Guy, which didn’t even hold my attention for more than five minutes before I moved on. After that blunder of a title, I decided to check out a game I was more familiar with, Saints Row 2. Since SR2 is a much larger game than Kill The Bad Guy, I had to wait about five minutes for the first chunk of the game to install.

Once it was installed, however, I noticed that it ran smoothly. No issues, the frame rate did not drop or dip in any way. This trend continued as I went further along in the game, even into the later stages.

The fact that Utomik opted out of game streaming for “download as you play” puts them at a huge advantage over their competition. This virtually eliminates the worry of having a slow internet connection as lagging out and streams dropping is a non-factor here.

However, it wasn’t like this for every title. Typoman Revised has massive frame rate issues that made it unplayable, Metro 2033 Redux, while it ran smoothly, lost its audio in the early stages and, much to my dismay, Star Wars Battlefront II and Star Wars Republic Commando wouldn’t even launch.

Even with that mild disappointment, I was optimistic, much to my reward. I stumbled across a game called Crimsonland, which at first looked like it would be a ripoff of DOOM. After spending about 3 hours on the wave-based top-down shooter, I realized that I had found my new favorite time waster.

DOOM, I mean, Crimsonland, cover art.

While I was a bit upset with some of the games not working as expected, I wasn’t entirely surprised. This is a new service that is still working on its issues. While some games need a bit of fixing, Utomik led me to discover new and fun games that I have never heard of like CrimsonlandEvoland II and 8DAYS.

If you cancel your subscription, your game progress will be saved to cloud storage in the event that you end up returning. However, there is currently no way to transfer save progress to a bought copy of a game played on Utomik. If you liked Crimsonland so much that you bought it on Steam, you’re gonna have to start all over. It’s a small downside that is on the Utomik team’s “to-do” list.

In case you were wondering, here’s a quick list of the AAA titles I could find in Utomik’s library:

  • Borderlands
  • Darksiders
  • Dead Island Riptide
  • LEGO Star Wars The Complete Saga
  • LEGO Star Wars II
  • Metro 2033 Redux
  • Metro Last Light (Coming Soon)
  • Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising
  • Red Faction Series
  • Saints Row 2
  • Saints Row: The Third
  • Star Wars Battlefront II
  • Star Wars The Force Unleashed
  • Star Wars The Force Unleashed II
  • The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series – Season 1

There may be more, but these are the ones I could find. While this is a small list and none of them are new releases, it is important to keep in mind that this is a small company. They will likely have a more difficult time getting more AAA titles if people just glaze over this service. For being as small as they are, they have a good selection of AAA games and a wide variety of indie games.

Simply put, this is a service with tons of potential and I can see it easily breaking into mainstream popularity. It has a few kinks to work out, but as their library grows and they work their way out of beta, Utomik might soon become a household name. However, I could also see it fail just as easily if it’s not given the proper chance it deserves.

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