[Review] Orbit (minis)
Oh no! The Space Program is in peril now there’s NO MONEY ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!! That won’t stop two scientists from taking on the Orbit project, a no-budget exploration of our solar system.
Dodge through asteroid fields, and avoid nasty enemies intent on stealing cash, fuel, or just throwing slime in your eyes!
By collecting the money mysteriously floating in orbit around the planets, you’ll give the project a cash boost, upgrading shonky systems and gaining new ships to move beyond the Moon – from Mercury to Uranus – as never before!
Orbit’s research menu features almost 200 unique upgrades, plus there are hidden relics and blueprints to find, stat tracking, and 12 challenging medals to earn.
The launch pad is all set. Are you ready to get into Orbit?
Video really helps you understand how Orbit works, huh? You’re asked to hold down and release a single button (X) to go up, down and all around while trying to dodge all the hazards you’ll find during your trips. Sure, you can buy One-shot Boosters as well which would require you to hit the circle button to activate them, but it’s still mainly a one button affair. And for this game, it works.
Your main objective is to find new energy deposits that can be used to meet Earth’s requirements for the 21st century and beyond. Ore is turned into gold which is needed to fund your trips as well as for buying upgrades for your “ship”. And oh, let me tell you that upgrades are a MUST for the interesting modes of transportation you’ll be given access to. Your first ride is… wings for your arms! You’ll have to swing those arms as fast as possible or else you’ll crash down… hard. After taking care of the moon, you’ll get a rocket pack to explore which is a nice change. By the 3rd planet you’ll get a flying toilet. You’ll be traveling in style!
You have to take into consideration that moving to a new planet means you’ll have to re-buy any upgrades again since you get a new mode of transportation before each trip. You DO get to keep all the upgrades made for traveling on the same planet that you bought them because a hard reset all around after every time you start a new level would just have been cruel.
There are 6 categories to upgrade in this game: Engine (increases your flying power as well as your fuel reserve), Rocket boost (increase how many One Shot Boosters you can purchase and how long they last for), Launcher (increase how far AND you’re sent flying at the start of the level as well as make the green area of the launcher power bar be bigger), Ore Collector (loose less ore to enemies and make nearby ore come flying to us), HUD (map and radar) and Wipers (for those times when alien lifeforms decide they should crash into you and block your view with what is left of them).
On my first try, I traveled 2758 kms, collected $30 in gold and got an exploration bonus worth $25. Since I landed next to a relic, my first trip was officially over in less than a minute. And a minute is all the time it will take you to understand how fun Orbit truly is. Flying around dodging all the various hazards that populate outer space is just too darn fun to skip!
So, how should you spend your money? The first upgrade you should get is the HUD since it will allow you to see where the blueprints and the relics are on each level (blue dots for the first ones, red dots for the second ones, white dot is you!). After that, definitely upgrade your Engine and Launcher. The Rocket boost is not a top priority since it only upgrades the number of boots you can buy and how long they last after being activated. The ore collector isn’t an important upgrade for the first 3 levels… but it makes a huuuuuuuuuuuuge difference from planet 4 and on since, as I’ve mentioned before, upgrading it makes you lose less money to the ore enemies AND it attracts nearby ore which really makes this upgrade pay for itself in no time.
In order to progress to the next planet you need to do one full lap (get to the “end” of the map and loop around) to fully “map” the current planet so you’re allowed to move on and on and on and on until there’s nowhere else to travel to.
There’s also an in game trophy system (since this is a minis which, for some reason, still aren’t allowed to have a trophy list like their PSN retail cousins. I’m not asking for a full list, just maybe 3-4 trophies per minis) to increase replay value and make you reaaally look for every single blueprint and relic. Here’s some examples of the trophies to get you started:
Collector: Collect all four blueprints available on a single level.
Pass Go: Complete two laps of a planet
Sadist: Hit 1,000 enemies
A Winner Is You: Unlock and complete a circumanivation of Hat-P-1B.
There’s a lot of blueprints to find on each planet (well, each planet and the moon which is technically not a planet… at all). The exact number is 32 blueprints, and once you find them you’ll unlock one final planet you can enjoy. You can also find relics on each planet and while visiting each one isn’t mandatory doing so will earn you extra money so you can quickly purchase better equipment to make your life easier.
Orbit is a great game from Laughing Jackal that keeps their streak going. Easy to play either on your PS3 or your PSP and a fun experience from a game that is hard to stop playing! Really liking the variety we get out of the minis range and I just hope that 2012 brings us many, many more of Laughing Jackal’s quirky games!
[review pros=”Very fun game that is easy to pick up and play for a couple of minutes
Great upgrade system” cons=”Two crazy in game trophies that are keeping me from obtaining a full set” score=90]
Published and Developed by Laughing Jackal
Cost – $3.49
– A copy of the game was obtained thanks to my Playstation Plus Subscription
– Total amount of time played: 8 hours (and counting!).
This review is based on a retail copy of the PSP version of Orbit provided by Laughing Jackal.