It is rare that an independent game is actually exciting to me, many follow predictable trends, and as I have found with a good selection of the ones I have played they were overall just really dull. I will not name these games but I will just say the independent gaming area is one of the least thrilling game areas. But still over the past three years a couple of stood out and I proud to say they stand in very high regard in my books, from Image & Form’s Steamworld Dig, to Gunman Clive and its sequel these games have offered hours of fun and enjoyment, and I am glad to say 2015 actually afforded me the opportunity to add a new game to this list.
I find it funny by most circumstances I tend to avoid specific games or just generally lack interest in a good portion of things offered, but the funny part is that some of these games I write off actually prove to be some of the most interesting games I have come across. I was fortunate enough to receive a review copy for Pixelnaught’s Lost Orbit, and I’ll be honest prior to its launch I had already written this game off but when I got an opportunity to take a look at the game and share my thoughts I was surprised. In a year where I have played so many great games both new to 2015 and of course old Lost Orbit actually stood out and it’s a game that has been a big part of my thoughts since I was afforded the opportunity to play it.
Lost Orbit is a game of the human spirit and our determination to survive at all costs, when things look bleak and we may as well just lay down and die we get back up, we find a solution and we try with all might to survive and give ourselves another chance. This message and idea I never considered until I played Lost Orbit and it is a really good message, as even though we control the character we must put ourselves in his shoes reducing our sense of self. After his ship is destroyed while out on a standard repair job, our protagonist Harrison is forced to quickly gather what he can to give himself a chance, and we can put ourselves in his shoes and truly feel for the hardships this character faces. But where things get better is in the games observations, throughout this story we have a robotic companion and while our protagonist is seemingly silent the robot shares the details even providing some deep thoughts on the human spirit. We hear about the observations that Harrison had literally no chance but yet he tries, and as the robot puts it perhaps he had not had a chance to live yet, and he wanted to survive, the human spirit persists even though the odds are against him.
This was it for me with Lost Orbit, in a way I had been through the gameplay styling’s countless times before but this story although done before was still refreshing and showed a true level of depth which made me want to keep going. The game showed true life lessons and the power of humanity, we may have been faced with trying to dodge all kinds of dangers and this is truly enjoyable and nerve racking but it’s the story that truly defined Lost Orbit and has made this a game I cannot forget.
The weight of this journey is handled wonderfully through the amazing story detailing the power of the human spirit, but more importantly it is the games music which I felt highlighted the levels and gave power in necessary moments. It is rare I actually want to acknowledge the music of a game, in fact outside of the Zelda franchise I give minor nods but never really go into detail, but Lost Orbit just feels special. The musical scores used throughout really add a sense of worry and grief to truly deep and heartfelt sections, while on the opposite side also highlight the joy of freedom that Harrison feels on his quest to get home. He never had a chance to truly live and rather than lay down and die the human spirit persists and Harrison presses on against all odds, at time (as the game points out) he seems to truly enjoy himself and Lost Orbit’s music points out all these moments in great strength adding a much needed impact to every section.
As I said at the start, it is rare that independent games (or indie if you prefer) standout to me, I have played a few in my time and very rarely have any been anything special. But this makes something interesting a question dawns on me asking me “why on earth do you actually like this game?” The thing is I have mentioned many deep seated reasons in reference to the amazing storytelling and deep message, but on the whole beyond this what does the game really do? We have seen most of what Lost Orbit offers a thousand times over but yet there is something and it is special, the story shown, the grand adventure and overall just everything this game offers is so thoughtful and full of life. This game has contaminated my thoughts, I want to know more, perhaps for this reason it is so special it lives in my mind. Lost Orbit is a wonderful game, perhaps it may even be one of the best independent games I have played, thank you Pixelnaughts for providing this truly wonderful experience and offering me one of 2015’s best games, as well as one of 2015’s best independent games.
If you get the opportunity to give a go to Lost Orbit I really do recommend you give it a go, this game is truly worth it. If you wish to know more you can read my review here, although it is worth noting that I don’t think I discussed some of the finer details which I thought of a while after I reviewed the game.