0RBITALIS, like many great games, takes a simple premise and makes it fascinating. Launch your tiny red spaceship into the abyss and utilise gravity to slingshot around obstacles, with the main aim of staying alive for a given time. Every extra millisecond that you survive serves to propel you further up a leaderboard. The key is that you only have one click; line up your chosen path, launch and then sit back and wait for your inevitable death in the fiery depths of a star or the cold fringes of outer space.
So how can a game with so little interaction be so captivating? Creator Alan Zucconi has created an environment that is minimal, but at the same time, hypnotically beautiful. As your vessel traverses the blackness, it etches a trail, weaving patterns as it orbits celestial bodies. Each voyage creates a new and distinct image on the screen. I fell into what Mr. Zucconi calls a 'stable orbit' a perfect infinite loop, that would only stop when I'd had enough or when my PC gave out. The results were spectacular.
The minimalist art, coupled with an ambient soundscape produced by Doseone (responsible for the Samurai Gunn soundtrack) creates a relaxed atmosphere, which in turn reduces stress levels as you attempt to take on some of the game's harder levels. I won't spoil any of the surprises, as the game offers up new challenges as you progress, but needless to say, 0RBITALIS takes the simple starting idea and creates some fiendish levels.
The high score table adds another reason to take another shot at a level that you have previously cracked. This is especially tantalising at the moment, as the satisfaction of beating the developer at his own game is pretty high!
All in all, a wonderful experience, and one that will grow in the future. 0RBITALIS is on Steam Early Access, and there are promises of more to come as development continues. I would recommend getting it now, as it has a 25% discount (in Europe it is 2.61€ at the moment).
Finally, come and add me on Steam if you're up for challenging my position on the 0RBITALIS leaderboard!