Orbital is a casual game where you get to shoot orbs out of a cannon. The cannon moves left to right, and the only thing you can affect is the timing when it fires. The orb bounces around the play area, hitting walls until it runs out of kinetic energy. Once it settles it gets a 3 visible inside. That 3 can be seen as hit points, and to score you have to hit the orb three times with other orbs. Thus the number decrease to 2, then 1 and finally poof the orb is gone, and you get a point. There is a line just above the cannon that is called the death line, and yes if an orb hits it the game ends.
Orbital has got two game modes that essentially only change the gravity pull. In Gravity fired orbs gravitate towards already available orbs thus making it easier to hit them. In Pure the orb always fly unaffected by other orbs, and it is really hard to avoid a bounce back towards the death line.
It is a simple game in that you only really control the timing of the fired orbs, but still it is one of the most addictive games I have ever played. It even beats most match 3 games in my opinion as the ultimate casual game. It can take 10 seconds to 10 minutes to play a game depending on how well you manage to place your orbs. There is a lot of strategy involved as you can build walls along the death line, and then safely shoot orbs at the side of the wall.
Presentation and graphics
Really nice particle effects are seen when an orb is launched as well as when they explode. The backgrounds have a definite Geometry Wars induced look to them that I really enjoy.
Ok techno music that is starting to become the hallmark for iPhone games. The sound effects with a robotic voice announcing events are really good. The game fades out your own music which I think is a big flaw in a casual game.
Just touch anywhere to launch an orb, responsive and exact. I also think that this lack of stuff to do limits the game, some kind of tilting to affect the orbs would have been nice. There is no multiplier bonus to the game meaning that you don’t get extra points if you manage to destroy a chain of orbs. This also limits the gameplay, and motivation to really rack up some cool chains is lost.
As mentioned earlier a game can be over within seconds or last for as long as you can keep orbs above the death line. A two-player mode on the same device is a cool and working concept. You play either Gravity or Pure and can choose to either stand on opposite sides of the iPhone in portrait mode or pass it along.
Online scores with both all-time, and the best scores in the last 24 hours enhance game life by a mile. The game also features Facebook Connect. I would have liked to have some sort of achievements.
Orbital is a really good casual game that is easy to get into yet hard to master.
Note: Orbital is based on Gimme Friction Baby by Wouter Visser, as mentioned on the App Store page for Orbital.