Review by Archmonk Iga
"Chill out and be challenged in this clever WiiWare title."
Can you recall the last time you played a game that only uses two buttons? Meaning no directional pad or joystick, either. Just two simple buttons. I don't think I can.
That is, aside from Art Style: Orbient. One of many Art Style games to be released over WiiWare, Orbient is without a doubt some of the most fun you'll have in a two-button game. Sure, you can argue, but this is the ONLY two-button game I've ever played! but thankfully, they did a good job with it.
Since Orbient takes place in outer space, expect a lot of blackness in the background. In the foreground, where you will be looking at all times, there are a bunch of planets and moons. So basically it's a bunch of circles over blackness. The detail in these planets and moons is very minimal, and they pretty much only come in three colorsred, blue and gray. Oh, and the sun is a bright orange-yellow. And there's the occasional purple asteroid. I have to say, even though space is, like, sooooo cool, Orbient somehow makes it look quite boring. At the same time, there's not a lot the creators really needed to do for the graphics. Still, it would have been nice for some detail and variety in all these levels, especially since the game has Art Style in its title.
The music in Orbient is about as spacey as it comes, and each chunk of five levels has its own tranquil tune. What makes it bearable (since some of these levels last quite long) is when you start getting some moons around your planet. When that happens a sparkling little beat comes in, and builds up more and more as you collect more orbiting planets. Then, if you get the bonus moon, the music completely changes to the softest, gentlest little lullaby you have ever heard in your life. I would have loved some variety in the orbit music, just like I would have loved some variety in the graphics. But I must say that the soft tune that plays with the bonus moon is perfect, even if it is the same thing in every level. It's just so pretty!
Sound effects are similar. Pulling and pushing your planet around generates the appropriate whooshing sounds, and colliding with another planet or asteroid gives a perfectly unpleasant crashing sound.
As mentioned before, Orbient requires only two buttonsthe A and B buttons to be specific. There is no pointing or moving in any other way.
In each level, your planet is thrown into a galaxy. The goal is to make it grow by absorbing other planets and eventually have the level's sun orbit you to complete the level. Planets that appear in blue mean they're the appropriate size to absorb. Gray planets can also be absorbed, but it's better to have them orbit you because the music gets better and it grants you more lives in the next level. The red planets are still too big to absorb. You can also get caught in planets' orbits, which can help you get to where you're going (or completely mess you up).
So how do you go about getting all this done? How can this possibly work with only two buttons? Well, all you really have to do is attract and repel your planet with the other planets. Holding down A has the other planets use their gravitational force to attract it, while holding B pushes it away. But remember, there are planets everywhere, and they are all different sizes and strengths. So while you may be pressing B, just remember that you'll likely be getting pushed into some planets by other planets.
Don't let its simplicity fool youOrbient quickly becomes a true challenge. There are obstacles everywhere, and it can get very hectic and frustrating reaching that lone blue planet to make yours grow. The challenge is good though, and the pacing of the challenge works very well as you get better and better.
At the same time, Orbient has such a chill and laid back atmosphere that at times you'll wonder why you're even playing it. There really is very little going on in this game, and you'll never find yourself completing more than five levels at a time. It's also not the kind of game where, when not playing it, you'll be saying dang, I can't wait to play it again and see where I go next! My point being, it's simply not that fun. Wait, hold on. It is fun. Just not fun enough to get you really obsessed with it and always wanting to come back.
Perhaps the game's lack of constantly bringing you back is a good thing, though. There are fifty levels, each one harder than the last. So playing it every so often means that this game could last you months and months. Not to mention the bonus moons in every level are another draw to bring you back to it. There are also different difficulties and endings. For all its simplicities, Orbient does a great job of giving you something new every time you play.
REPLAY VALUE: 8.5/10
The art style in this Art Style game may be minimal, as well as any real depth to the gameplay. But there are many challenges awaiting you in this oddly relaxing (yet simultaneously frustrating) WiiWare titlechallenges that make Orbient a great buy for anyone interested.
Thanks for reading =)
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 08/25/10
Game Release: Art Style: ORBIENT (US, 09/29/08)
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