Sora Stream – Cloud Gaming Review

While many enjoy playing games via well established cloud gaming services like Xbox Cloud and GeForce NOW, I also enjoy exploring emerging and less known companies. Surfing the web and social networks, I came across Sora Stream, a cloud gaming service based in Barcelona. Being a Catalan, I was greatly surprised to find out that a local company was interested in offering such a service. Of course, I decided to investigate and eventually, if things seemed interesting, pay the subscription to try it out. I have never been afraid of trying out niche games, so why not a niche cloud gaming subscription? I still had some Google Play Balance from Stadia’s refunds, so… Let’s start our review of Sora Stream!

  • Sora Stream Main Menu
  • Sora Stream Game Menu
  • Sora Stream All Games Page

Game Library

Sora Stream’s library confuses me. It’s a mixed bag between all kind of not only genres, but services and even devices. From retro classics from the arcades like PAC-MAN, to modern indie titles, and even shovelware that you would see on free mini-games websites. You could argue that there must be something for everyone, but I highly doubt that cloud gamers are interested in something like “Classic Hangman”. Even though Sora Stream is not as well known as its competitors, it’s interesting to see how publishers and developers that are pushing for cloud gaming have their games available there as well.

Another thing that highly confuses me are the retro games available on the service. Not only are Arcade games available, but also retro titles from consoles like the NES, Commodore 64 and many more. I suspect that Sora Stream doesn’t own the license to stream those games. Upon trying to launch Arkanoid, I got greeted by an emulator notice. Seeing stuff like this makes me highly skeptical about Sora Stream owning the licenses for most of the games available on their service.

Aside from that, their library is padded with shovelware that you could expect from places like the Google Play Store. It honestly feels like these games are available simply to make it seem like the library is way bigger than that it is, for promotional value. Specially, since there’s no way to see their games catalog without paying. Free accounts can only play three games for a limited time. For this review, I would say that the library of games from Sora Stream, while somewhat varied, lacks real value aside from some small exceptions.

Shattered - Tale of the Forgotten King
Playing Shattered – Tale of the Forgotten King on Sora Stream

Accessibility

In cloud gaming, accessibility is a key factor. As of the writing of this review, Sora Stream has officially launched on compatible Android smartphones and Windows computers. There’s also a way to play on other OS, of course. Obviously, you’ll also need a stable Internet connection. Sora Stream states that a connection of 20 Mbps should be enough. On their website, they state that Sora Stream can also be enjoyed on some Smart TVs. However, when trying to play via an Android TV dongle, I had some issues. But we’ll get there.

Let’s start with the PC experience. Sora Stream can be used either via the browser itself, or their own software. Even thought the PC software can be used only on Windows, other OS users can play games via the browser. Personally, I’ve tried both, and it seems like in most cases, the application makes the stream run smoother and prevents some controls issues. Playing games via the browser is usually serviceable, but using the app is recommended. To navigate through the menus’ you’ll have to use the browser. Only when you click a game, will be given the option to play via the browser or launch the app.

  • Sora Standard button placement
  • Sora Customizable button layouts

Playing on Mobile

As for the Android app, for the most part, things are as expected. Menus are navigable with a controller and have a similar layout to their browser counterpart. The app itself is fine. There are some games that can be played with touch controls, just like any other mobile game. Games that require a controller, can also be played via the digital gamepad, which buttons can be rearranged depending on your preferences. It seems that some games have special layouts preassigned, makings things easier. Being able to change the location of the sticks and buttons will help left-handed people or those with disabilities. Additionally, those who want to play on another screen, but lack a controller, can link the digital gamepad to another device to play.

There’s also the TV app, which can be downloaded via the Play Store on Android TV. Sadly, as of this review, Sora Stream TV is still in beta, and I couldn’t get it to work properly. The menu was fine, but the stream video was extremely laggy and the frame rate really slow. Audio and controls worked fine, but the image just didn’t work. Perhaps it was a compatibility issue with my TV or dongle, who knows. Given that the app itself is in beta and not even listed on their website, I’ll give it a pass.

Outcast Second Contact on Sora Stream

Visuals and Performance

Sora Stream’s visual fidelity is extremely average. Despite promising Full HD visuals, their stream quality seems to be around 720p. Most of the games I’ve tried, run at 720p with high to ultra settings. Keep in mind that most games available are indie titles and games from some years ago. Due to the small resolution, playing on big screens, like on your monitor, will be a tad annoying. The upscaled image might result in blurriness. On certain games, there also seems to be noticeable stream artifacts, specially on dark imagery or fast-paced titles, due to the bitrate. If you don’t mind the lower resolution, or just want to play on a small screen like on your phone, then do not worry, even though you might still experience some occasional hiccups, the experience seems to be a bit better.

On the other hand, performance is more stable. Considering the low resolutions the games are running, I’d say it’s to be expected. Specially considering the lower graphical intensity of most of the games available. For the most part, the games seem to run at a consistent frame rate with minor issues. Control input is also decent, being able to play action titles just fine. I would add that, sometimes, certain games can take a long time to load. Overall, I would say it’s a decent way to play the games, but not the best by any means.

Is it worth it?

It is… complicated. Sora Stream technology is slightly behind its direct competitors, like Boosteroid and Blacknut. Their game library also seems to be padded with retro titles of dubious licensing, and many shovelware. Aside from a couple of niche indie games and some AA titles, there’s barely any value. Thankfully, Sora Stream allows new accounts to try 3 games for free for a week. If you want to check out their performance and run some testings, feel free to visit their site and get started. Sadly, there’s no way to check out their library of games without subscribing.

In addition, it is worth mentioning that Sora Stream has a weekly subscription for 2.99 euros. Of course, there’s also a monthly one for 9.99 euros. If you have a group of friends, there’s also a Premium plan for 12.99 euros a month, in which up to 4 accounts can play at the same time. These many options are great, specially if you want to check out their service for a week or so.

Conclusion

Overall, to end our review of Sora Stream, I’d say that I appreciate its interest in the cloud gaming world, and it’s pushing hard to offer a cheaper alternative. I really hope they can improve its streaming quality and offer a much better catalog of games to add value to the service. At the moment, it’s hard to recommend Sora Stream, unless you are interested in some really niche game that’s only available there. Of course, I also encourage everyone to at least give it a try thanks to the free week, and perhaps even pay for a week to explore the full library of games. Perhaps you’ll find a game that you didn’t know existed and end up enjoying it. That’s been my case with Boiling Bolt, for example!


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Marxally

Marxally is a freelance graphic designer who enjoys playing video games and writing about them. A Nintendo fan at heart that enjoys the benefits of cloud gaming and loves its amazing community. Marxally covers news and review games at Cloud Dosage. Like what he does? Buy Marxally a Pizza!

3 thoughts on “Sora Stream – Cloud Gaming Review

  1. Thanks for the reply! Yeah it looks good I personally think it just needs more games & a bit more of device compatibility

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