We review Orbit’s Odyssey, a new iOS puzzle game for iPhone and iPad, which sees you teleporting around on tiny spinning planets while avoiding killer robots.
What initially attracted us to Orbit’s Odyssey was its gorgeous cartoony graphics. This space-based puzzle game for Apple devices boasts some super-cuddly characters, with a new hero unlocked after every few levels. Even the evil space robots who are trying to fry your brains for no particular reason have a cute edge to them, although touching one for a hug will result in a rather messy and painful death. Nasty.
Orbit’s Odyssey’s many levels have a simple, time-honoured objective: collect all of the coins and make it to the ‘exit’ (in this case, grab the sparkly jewel that drops into play) while avoiding the android antagonists. However, this isn’t some basic platform game. Each level takes place on one or more tiny spinning planets, which are so small that you can circumnavigate them in mere seconds. You can only run in one direction, although stopping still will see you carried in the opposite direction by the planet’s rotation.
Still with us? Nice.
To make matters more complicated, most planets have a Saturn-style ring around them, and running into this will see you teleported to another location. On single-planet levels this is always the opposite side of the planet. However, on levels with more than one planet, you’ll find yourself transported to one of the other spinning celestial bodies.
The exact location that you’ll be transported to is indicated with swirly symbols, so you’ll know before you jump into each ring where you’ll end up. Unfortunately one of Orbit’s main problems is that these symbols all look very similar, and under strict time deadlines or with killer robots snapping at your heels, it’s all too easy to end up somewhere you didn’t expect. We’d have preferred symbols that were very distinctive (for instance, completely different colours) to make things a little easier on the eyeballs.
Still, as it’s only possible to move in one direction, that at least means the controls are nice and simple. Just tap the screen and off you go, while lifting your finger causes you to stop. Perfect for the touchscreen controls of the iPad.
Gameplay is quite samey, although Orbit’s Odyssey is good fun to pick up and play for short ten-minute bursts, making it a decent option for coffee breaks. Your performance in each level is rated out of three stars, based on time taken and so on, so there’s plenty of incentive to go back and play finished levels for a perfect score too.
You can grab Orbit’s Odyssey for iPhone and iPad right now.