LOST ORBIT
Gameplay 9
Graphics 8
Sound 9

Hang on to your jetpack and dodge the perils standing between you and your home system in this action packed game from PixelNAUTS. The controls are responsive, the story interesting and flying through gauntlets of obstacles is simply exhilarating. The game is also quite easy on the eyes and features a great soundtrack to boot. Unfortunately, the 40 levels on offer fly past way too fast, but overall Lost Orbit is an easy game to recommend.

Gameplay: Boosting through space while swerving around obstacles and making use of whatever you can find to increase your speed is a lot of fun.

Graphics: Colorful and very polished.

Sound: Great voice acting and an even better soundtrack

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LOST ORBIT

Developer: PixelNAUTS | Publisher: PixelNAUTS | Release Date: 2015 | Genre: Action / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Space; its vastness and beauty have ensured its place in many a science fiction movie, novel and game. However, we usually get to enjoy the aforementioned vastness and beauty from the safety of a spaceship of some kind. Lost Orbit opens with our protagonist, a lowly maintenance worker named Harrison, watching as his ship is destroyed in deep space. Ordinarily this would be the end of the line, but Harrison decides to propel himself towards his home system instead. The odds are very much against him though, as his home is four systems away and the route is not exactly safe. It is up to players to assist Harrison with this seemingly suicidal mission as he heads into the inky depths of space armed with only a jetpack.

Lost Orbit keeps things very simple. Your only goal is to keep Harrison alive as he hurtles through space avoiding asteroids, debris and other hazards that can end his life in a heartbeat. Standing between him and victory is four solar systems with a total of ten levels each. Harrison is a pretty maneuverable character, but one wrong move can get him sliced in half by a laser, splattered by an asteroid, fried by bullets or a number of other gruesome fates. The levels are well designed and packed with obstacles, so unless you enjoy the sight of Harrisons skeleton floating through space you need to work on your reflexes.

Of course you can simply take things slow and carefully navigate the gauntlets, but where is the fun in that? Besides, the game ranks you on your ability to get to the end quickly and flying at top speed is just so exhilarating. While you are concentrating on keeping Harrison from becoming a red smear on the side of an asteroid you must also be on the lookout for Obtanium. This precious collectable also contributes to your level ranking (along with your amount of depths) and can be used for upgrades. These upgrades are split into utilities, defensive, and mega boost categories, making them well worth acquiring. Whether you opt for bombs to clear some asteroids out of your path or a barrel roll for evasive maneuvering, the upgrades come in very handy.

Although Lost Orbit starts out gently enough, it is not afraid to throw some tricky sections your way either when you reach the later systems. New obstacles and aids are gradually introduced, but before long you will be skimming the atmosphere of planetoids for speed boosts, flinging Harrison into wormholes only to watch him burst out at the other end or slamming into water planets to bring him to an abrupt stop. The screen also wraps around, something you need to master quickly to dodge certain obstacles. Don’t worry, a handy indicator marks the spot where Harrison will appear, so you don’t have to worry about blindly smashing into things when transitioning. Between the fast gauntlet sections there are also calmer moments where you can sit back and soak in the story.

That’s right, Lost Orbit might look like a typical action title, but the story is surprisingly touching. Everything is narrated by a robotic AI that initially only observes, but eventually joins Harrison on his quest. The writing for the robotic companion is actually pretty good and the game also features great voice acting. Equally awesome is the soundtrack as it features a perfect blend of quick tempo tracks along with some haunting tunes. Lost Orbit is playable without a controller, but definitely works better with one at your disposal.

All the action in the game is viewed from a top down perspective, so your flight is kept on a 2D plane. This makes it easier to concentrate on dodging obstacles without having to worry about which way is up or down. The visuals are very polished and while everything looks great the effects are not overdone, so it is easy to see upcoming obstacles even at breakneck speeds. Each of the four systems also features a unique theme, but we definitely would have liked to see a few more levels. Lost Orbit can easily be completed in under three hours although it does have online leaderboards and a time trial mode to increase the replay value.

While the game can be tricky in places you are given unlimited lives and each level also features checkpoints that are spaced apart fairly. You can instantly reset back to the last checkpoint with the tap of a button, so death only interrupts the flow of the game momentarily. Since the game is quite addictive and restarting is so easy, it rarely becomes frustrating, even when redoing tricky sections repeatedly.

Apart from its length there isn’t much we can criticize about Lost Orbit and it is definitely a title that we strongly recommend. Blasting through space at high speed is quite a thrill and it is one of those games where you can easily get into the “zone” thanks to the great level designs. The narration might be annoying to some players, but we loved the characters and the chitchat from the AI made the cold emptiness of space a little bit cozier.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7
  • Processor: Intel Core I5 Series
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce 4 Series
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 1300 MB available space
  • OS: Windows 7
  • Processor: Intel Core I7 Series
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Geforce 5+ Series
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 1300 MB available space

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