Review : Lost Orbit

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Lost Orbit is a relatively casual speedrunner about boosting through space and beating your best time. The top-down 2D nature of the game strips down a lot of the depth (literally, hurrhurr) but the story, about a lone astronaut named Harrison struggling to make his way back home, was riveting enough to pull me through the occasional bout with monotony. Mechanics take far too long to be introduced but the writing and dialogue helped me to stick around for whatever was next. Will Lost Orbit accelerate to the top of your Steam Library? Or is it just space-junk? Let’s take a look.

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Goals are a clearly defined part of any speedrunning game, and this game does fine with laying out what is required for each medal. This should mean a fantastic replayability score, but the bottom is completely dropped out due there being no incentive to try for platinum across the board. If your ego requires that you do so then feel free, but with no global scoreboard you are literally the only one who will know about your mastery. Some levels are fun enough to try and replay, but others (usually the 6th stage of each world) are literally nothing but exposition and backstory.

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Character development is high in this game, and that’s a good thing because new obstacles and enemies take entirely too long to be introduced. For the first 30 minutes of the game I was circling around planets wondering if they were the only mechanic the game had to offer. Luckily that was not the case, and eventually I saw my first pulsar. I found myself absolutely flabbergasted. “They waited this long?? Wow.” So, pulsars will give you a boost and fling you in a given direction, which looks fantastic until you realize that you just auto-piloted through an entire section of the level.

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Overall, Lost Orbit was an enjoyable experience that I don’t see myself revisiting anytime soon. The story could work as a movie, so it seems a shame to frustrate the watcher by wrapping it inside a game that doesn’t develop quick enough. My patience was certainly tested with this one, but I am glad I got to experience Harrison’s journey. Once the mechanics are in place, the game becomes a rip-roaring space romp, but getting there will test your patience. A fine release, but hopefully the next title from the folks over at PixelNauts will have the screws tightened juuust a bit more.

Gameplay:

  • Controls- 8/10
  • Fun Factor- 6/10
  • Difficulty- 4/10
  • Replayability- 2/10
  • Innovation- 8/10

Aesthetic:

  • Graphics- 8/10
  • Music- 6/10
  • Sound FX- 7/10
  • Story/Lore- 9/10
  • Level Design- 7/10

Final Score: 65/100 for innovation, controls, and atmosphere.

Summary: Exceedingly laid-back space speedrunner with superb writing and story.

Verdict: Speedrunners may not find the fix they crave. Story-lovers however, will indulge in the writing.

Lost Orbit was released on Steam May 12th 2015.

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