Lost Orbit is the latest game from developers PixelNAUTS that give players the experience of being abandoned in space all alone and realizing being alone isn’t that bad, it can actually be lots of fun. Lost Orbit first attracts players with its colouration and soundtrack then test player’s patience through challenging levels, which turns the overall experience of the game to something that everyone can enjoy.
In Lost Orbit players control Harrison, a maintenance worker who is quickly turned hero when he is stranded in space after his space craft explodes. With a cracked helmet and only armed with a jet pack Harrison sets out on his journey to find his way back home to civilization. The big head helmeted hero travels through abandoned space mines and asteroid fields; while dodging a variety of moving objects.
A bird’s eye view is used throughout the game and Harrison is centered in the frame as rocks and planets move in and out of the screen, adding to the dodging effect that PixelNAUTS describes as “dodge em up”. In addition players can also control Harrison to move off one side of the screen to the other, adding to the fast pace of the game. To help him navigate past objects player can also collect crystals that are used to give our hero upgrades. Through gathering crystals, cleverly called obtainium, players can cash them in to give the hero new abilities including barrel roll, boost, bomb and brakes. This upgrading ability gives a light RPG element to the game that proves useful as the levels get harder to complete.
Lost Orbit is simplistic and relatively short however it is the difficulty of the game that makes it more appealing. Don’t let the cartoonish hero fool you, this is a hard game and it will definitely get under your skin. Dodging moving objects that are heading towards Harrison is only one element of the game, players are also forced into worm holes and planets’ orbits to boost forward. These boosts help you complete the level quicker, but using them may make you lose control over Harrison and have him rocketing into the nearest rock. Furthermore through the layout of these boosts in each level it is apparent that the developers spent a lot of time into the design of each level being challenging for players. Each level forces players to not only to look ahead of them, but also to be aware of the things around them.
Games similar to Lost Orbit failed in the past because the levels were focused on what is ahead of the player, but Lost Orbit truly looked at beyond that and looked at making everything around the player a threat. Luckily the game isn’t impossible as there are gates that act as checkpoints that are used when Harrison dies. Players can also measure their performance in campaign mode. At the end of each level the player is ranked according to the completion time, amount of obtainium acquired and deaths; you are given either a bronze, silver or gold ranking. Although at first it was easy to get gold, it shortly became something that I was unable to obtain in later levels.
Once you get past initial patience testing difficulty you find yourself enjoying dodging rocks and will be able to take in the beauty of the levels and soundtrack. The brightly coloured environment will catch your eyes and with catchy music accompanying it makes boosting past the 45 levels really enjoyable.
The game is great at creating an enjoyable flow of cruising past planets and rocks; however it is at times interrupted by narration. The narrator is someone that is watching Harrison, and that interrupts the soundtrack to voice their observations of him. Although the voice over adds to the story it seems out of place, unnecessary and mostly disrupts the game play.
Overall, although the narration in Lost Orbit disrupts the games full potential of engaging players the game does create an immersive environment; though creating challenging levels, providing beautifully designed stages and accompanying the experience with catchy music. For $11.99 USD on PS4 and Steam, Lost Orbit is an affordable game that players can enjoy and test their patience, definitely one to try out.