Review: Lost Orbit (PS4)

lost-orbit-review-banner

Title: Lost Orbit
Format: PlayStation Network Download (1.2 GB)
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: PixelNAUTS
Developer: PixelNAUTS
Original MSRP: $11.99 (US), €12.99 (EU), £9.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 12
Lost Orbit is also available on Xbox One and PC.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Harrison is a maintenance worker who becomes stranded after his ship is destroyed in deep space. He must journey through four very unique solar systems that contain more than forty levels.

You journey through some striking but very dangerous areas that on some occasions can contain some very peculiar and extraordinary things. To tell you of these things will give away the story to this enthralling and fast paced dodge ’em up. It’s a story that I did not expect to find in what looked like a very basic game. I guess I should never judge a game by its screenshots.

LOST ORBIT_20150507071134 LOST ORBIT_20150507183656

Levels are quick and to the point with a single mistake forcing you to pick either the last checkpoint or a restart. You have to be careful with the amount of attempts you make as too many will decrease your overall grade, as does taking too long to reach the end and not collecting all the Obtainium. Thankfully you can always revisit earlier levels with your upgraded character and thrash the now feeble attempts you had made previously.

I very briefly described Lost Orbit as a fast paced dodge ’em up, when I should have referred to it as a brain achingly fast death simulator set in space with the occasional dodging and weaving past asteroids, planets, and a myriad of other obstacles. It can feel like you’re watching poor little Harrison bounce around the solar system like a little pinball with only blind luck gradually steering him out of certain death.

… catapulting him further into the abyss …
I’ve lost count of the amount of times Harrison has met his maker. I know I could check in the detailed stats the game compiles and records like a devil’s notebook, but I think I would then realise just how awful I am at this intriguing game. So instead I plod on to the next theatre of death, or as some people call it, the next level where I once again submit Harrison to some gruesome and graphic deaths.

It turns out Harrison is hurling through some very strange places indeed, with planets so small he can use their gravity to slingshot around, building up his boost meter and catapulting him further into the abyss. Some of these planets are made up of gas or water that either dangerously increase his speed for a short time or capture him in a liquid suspension that allows for a guided release. To mention any more would begin to unravel the mystery and fun of this crazy game.

LOST ORBIT_20150507181831 LOST ORBIT_20150507182909

Controls are easy enough to learn and game does its best to ease the difficulty along the line that borders on frustration and only occasionally veers off course. This is where I found shouting “Harrisonnnnn,” or “You’ve got a bit of asteroid on your face,” helped calm me down. Either that or I would quickly put the system into sleep mode and storm out of the room shouting profanities as I went.

The story kept pulling me back in for another try. The only annoyance was hearing parts of it repeated as I often paid too much attention to it and not of the countless obstacles hurtling by. Because of this, I had to listen to the same thing over and over until I managed to reach another checkpoint.

… as he snakes his way through tumbling asteroids …
Visuals:
The Hubble Telescope has been looking in the wrong places as Lost Orbit features some of the most wildly surreal scenes that anyone is likely to see. Each solar system surprises me and if it weren’t for the breakneck speed I would probably be able to enjoy it a little more.

It isn’t just entire areas that look good but the little details that make up this great looking game. Each level name is displayed at the beginning for our little friend to glide through as if he’s disturbing hundreds of tiny stars floating on a once calm body of water. The warm glow of Harrison’s boost trail as he snakes his way through tumbling asteroids looks great set against the blurred background of a massive universe.

LOST ORBIT_20150509183945 LOST ORBIT_20150508185505

Audio:
Some good music and audio effects keep the feeling of urgency and speed at high levels and the narration of the unfolding story hooks you till the end. Some insignificant audio effects upon Harrison’s death are often drowned out by the music. With no way of adjusting it to be audible, it became annoying but it isn’t a big deal and doesn’t hinder the story of gameplay in any way.

When our little friend dies the music seems to wind down and then speed back up when you restart. It’s a great little touch and helps to bring the tension down in-between attempts. I found the pause music to be odd and it doesn’t really match the theme of the game. My daughter said it was scary.

Online/Multiplayer:
This is a single player game only. It does feature some leaderboards and time trials for every level which should keep the score chasers among us happy.

Conclusion:
Lost Orbit surprised me, I didn’t expect it to be as deep and engaging as it turned out to be. The story and the fact that this kind of game even had one surprised me and kept me playing.

However its breakneck speed demands lightning quick reactions and/or Buddha calming techniques to reach the end. As my aging body and mind possess neither of those it became a bit of a struggle. Heck, I even almost muttered the famous Lethal Weapon quote in regards to this game, “I’m getting to old for this sh#t!”

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

If you send a friend request please add ‘PS Nation’ in the subject area.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook