Published By: Laughing Jackal, Developed By: Laughing Jackal, Genre: Action, Release Date: December 6, 2011, Rating: E, Systems: Playstation Portable, Playstation 3 (Minis), Price: $3.49.
Presentation – Orbit is a 2D dodging game where your goal is to get as far as you can with limited fuel and other resources. The latter probably doesn’t make much sense now until i tell you the protagonist is being shot out of a cannon into planet’s atmospheres. Think Angry Birds except your dodging space debris and trying to collect gold ore as a form of currency. Orbit’s presentation is that of a comical science adventure. There is alote of text to be read with plenty of science and physics terms stuffed in there. The music and visuals are decent and gameplay is simple yet challenging.
The title screen for Orbit included good music and the following menus – New Game, Trophy Room, Stats and Credits. Stats page included gameplay performances such as – Number of Landings, Money Collected and Venus Laps Flown. Trophy room houses achievements such as Collect All 4 Blue-Prints on a single level or Complete 2 Laps of a Planet. Orbit’s interface allows for easy navigation which melds well with the game’s overall quality presentation.
Story – Yes its true Orbit is a Playstation Portable/ Minis game that has a story, or purpose if you will. The story is about the L.S.R.1 “Orbit Project” that the protagonist Doctor and Professor Potts are working on. There program is strapped by low funding and resources early in the game. The goal of Orbit Project is to find new energy deposits to meet Earth’s requirements for the 21st century and beyond. However, like i wrote above, they don’t have much money at the moment. But thats ok, as the Professor has a plan to make money and inspect planets for resources. His idea is shooting the protagonist out of a cannon to collect gold ore while inspecting planets. The story is decent and gave me a reason why i’m shooting the protagonist out of a cannon into space.
Visuals – Orbit at its heart is a 2D game with decent artstyle featuring a big grey background in its opening moments highlighted by colorful objects such as green aliens, gold coins and satellites. When you use boost your engulfed by a red flaming fireball. Anything stands out boldly against the grey and black space themed backdrop early in the game. As you progress and venture to new planets the background colors change from black, to red, blue etc. The art featured on each planet was unqiue with decent texture work. I do like the art design in Orbit. It has a cartoon look featuring decent imagination among each character in each text dialog comicbook cutscene.
Sound – Music and sound design was overall pretty good in Orbit. The music was diverse and catchy enough. Music changed from menu screens to gameplay and in between. Each stage had a decent musical score. The sound design was spot on and not distorted like many Minis games i have played. Music was good and gave off a science vibe.
Gameplay – There are nine planets total in Orbit. Your goal is to collect blueprints, relics, gold and gain the longest distance as possible. The gameplay appeared simple at first. The fun comes when you start to level up your character’s ship and flying far dodging space debris. After being shot out of the cannon you flap your arms with X button navigating up or down till fuel runs out. In between planets there is a HUD and cutscene with the protagonist and Professor featuring alote of text dialog where you can upgrade your ship with parts such as a 3 – Launcher, 5 – Wipers, 6 – Hud etc. You can purchase all upgrades with gold ore (coins) you collect as your flying. The gameplay at first seemed pedantic but as you level up and visit new plantes it became layered. It was fun and addicting.
Replayability – Orbit isn’t a long game to complete. However it does have a trophy room for achievement hunting. There is also the stats page but that doesn’t add anything for replayability. Orbit can last you a few hours or more if your really addicted to it.
Final Verdict – Orbit is a nice little fleshed out action game with a strong science theme. It can also be a challenging and addicting game at times. Its a good adventure while it lasts (which isn’t for long unfortunately).