Wednesday 30 November 2022

Orbital Bullet Review (Switch)


Another day and another Rogue-like arrives. But just when you think you’ve seen everything, something new appears to show there is still life in the genre. Orbital Bullet takes the action platformer approach to the live, die, repeat mantra and is far more frenetic and intense than your average Rogue title.

The concept is simple, you choose one of four classes and try and blast your way around an enclosed arena in the form of a ring. Once the ring is clear of enemies you hit the L button and zoom round and to the next one to repeat the process again. Occasionally, you get to stop and buy supplies and boost your skills or jump to a boss ring, but the gameplay loop remains the same pretty much throughout. Once the boss arena is completed you get the choice of moving to a new planet which brings a graphical change and a new set of enemies to blast.

And what a loop it is. Pounding music, a frantic pace and not a second to breath permeates the entire experience of an Orbital Bullet run through. It’s akin to someone taking Black Future 88 (what do you mean you haven’t played it?) and fusing it with some kind of side scrolling Tempest game. Add a sprinkling of Resogun and you’ve got it.

You’ll have access to a ton of weapons, with more continually unlocking and a grid of skills and buffs that you can unlock at the end of each run. This of course means that the next time you play you’ll likely get a little bit further through the rings and pick up some more points to feed into your unlockable skills, and thus the loop continues.

There are of course secrets to uncover as well. You’ll often stumble upon rifts in the levels which can be passed through by sacrificing health or using unlock keys. These rift rings are filled with tough enemies but offer up big rewards for skilled players, often giving weapon unlocks or quantities of keys and other bonus items.

Your skill unlocks cover every aspect of play from adding more jumping ability and increasing speed to upping the level of weapon you start with and the timer on your combo counter. They come in two forms as well with a long-term permanent unlock system before each run allowing players some control over what they get next. In game you find computer terminals which add layers of buffs such as higher heath or more bounce damage. These in turn take in game points to unlock but only last the length of your run.

Weapon unlocking is even more complicated with blueprints needing to be found Initially then points needing to be spent to have the weapon created. You can also play a much longer game here by putting your points into the minimum and maximum level of weapons available throughout.

Overall, Orbital Bullet is successful in taking an oversaturated genre and somehow managing to carve out its own original niche within it. There isn’t really anything out there quite like it and it provides a thrilling and highly satisfying blasting experience. Initially it doesn’t feel like it has much depth but don’t be fooled, this is a devious and deep game which will require reflexes of a Jedi in order to defeat.

Overall 8/10


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