This is a guest Piece by Chris King who you can find on Twitter @PingPongCall
Old Rythmatic Feel With a Grandiose New Style
I feel like I need to preface this review with the following. I received this game after meeting the developer on Reddit. That may not seem important right now but we’ll get to that soon enough. Rhythm games are nothing new to the industry, specifically after the explosion of Guitar Hero and Rock Band games from the late 00’s. As much as those games have lost their way recently it’s hard to deny their impact on the genre as a whole despite titles like Space Channel 5 and Amplitude having existed before them.
Orbital X is more akin to something like Amplitude though. It features throbbing techno tracks and a rail system with persistent obstacles that need to be avoided. Kind of like those temple run style games that litter the App store and Google play but not shitty and with no microtransactions. In short, they can actually be completed without having to drain a bank account. That’s not to say the game is without it’s series of power ups. By reaching different scores you can unlock different planets from our solar system that act as your player character. The power ups range from score multipliers to extra lives with varying degrees of usefulness.
Like I said, it’s really just another rail runner game and while that may be true, there’s a bright side here. This game rarely feels frustrating even when you’ve been playing for awhile. The first time I opened it up, I played for close to three hours nonstop. While extended periods of play are nothing out of the ordinary for me, that usually stems from my own pathological obsessions. When it comes to Orbital X, I can play it for hours at a time because it’s just a fun game that presents a solid challenge. Don’t take this to mean that the game is without its faults but the fact that this entire game was created by a single person is almost enough to allow you to over look those problems.
Solid Design With Minor Flaws
These problems aren’t exclusive to this title and these shouldn’t be seen as a reason to not play the game. Orbital X has a very unique color palette and that palette is changed periodically to a photo negative when you pass through a portal. This on its own is not particularly a bad thing but when you mix it with the disorienting movement of moving side to side and being repositioned every time you enter a new portal, it can become a problem for some people. The tracks can also offer viewpoints that are less than ideal at time, especially when the screen becomes black and white and objects can be difficult to differentiate from one another. I can attribute more than a few deaths to the fact that the screen is always moving slightly when the track itself is also twisting. A lot of that can be attributed to my own stupidity in most cases but that’s beside the point.
The colors in this game are half past nauseating sometimes but I still can’t stop playing it. The game has three main stages, each with a different color set and level of difficulty. Of course I can only assume that one stage is different from another because as I’ve said before, I am the worlds okayest gamer and this game is very challenging. Suffice it to say, I never make it very far but I enjoyed it regardless.
A Winner That Should Be Played By Everyone
Even if you’re not a fan of these types of games, Rail Runners not Rhythm games, like me, I would still suggest you play this game for awhile. When a game is under three dollars and you still don’t at least give it a chance, that says a lot more about you as a person than it does about an independent developer. Like it or not, games are difficult to make and even more so when you are a single person taking that task on. It’s people like this man here that keep pushing the industry forward by focusing on quality rather than monetary gain. I can see several ways the creator could have monetized this game and flooded it with microtransactions but he decided to take the high road and create something worthwhile.
Check out orbital X on Steam. It’s cheap and it’s even on sale right now. You, as a reader, gamer, and member of the Game Raven community literally have no reason to not try this game.