Space can be a cruel mistress, many dangers lurk about up there, each waiting to ruin your day. We have seen it countless times across many games, we have faced some of the greatest dangers with the utmost determination and succeeded and all for the great goal of finding a way home. However unlike many games before there is no great beast that needs slaying (sort of), Lost Orbit is about the great journey to survive against all odds and the greatest dangers and make your way home.
I did say space is dangerous and the hero of this game Harrison knows this all too well. While out in the depths of space on a routine maintenance job Harrison is left stranded after his ship is destroyed by some unknown force, after making what he needs Harrison sets out on the long and dangerous journey to find his way home (if he can survive that long). The odds are against our hero, space is not a safe place to be and armed with only a booster pack and a couple of skills it is going to take all Harrison has to survive the obstacle course that is space.
However Harrison is not alone on this journey, soon after he sets out he is saved by a lowly droid who had been observing him from afar. This droid acts as your constant companion on this journey adding valuable insight into Harrison’s condition, it acts as the games narrator giving a voice to Harrison and providing a voice of humor in certain moments in the story which was often amusing and broke way from the depressing theme presented by space. The droid also carries the story well across the game keeping things interesting.
Lost Orbit features 40 levels to play through most of which have you flying through space at breakneck speeds trying to dodge all incoming obstacles. Each level is littered with dangers, from general rocks, to asteroid fields, to lasers each ready to kill you with a single touch.
Careful navigation is required to make it through the level alive, you must remain constantly vigilant and ready to move at the last second as more and more dangers approach. Losing concentration for even a split second can lead to an easy death particularly when trying to make it through each level as fast as possible. Of course things get even more challenging as well, even with all the obstacles living in each level the game constantly tasks you with aiming for the best possible time to achieve a platinum rank. Striving to get the best time is challenging particularly in later levels and with all the obstacles lying in wait it can be next to impossible to achieve the highest rank when you have to go at extremely high speeds, making it easier to mess up.
Difficulty is easily my biggest complaints with Lost Orbit, it is constantly challenging having to dodge the impeding perils of the obstacles but often I found some levels to be worse than others. Navigating dangerous paths that close in, and dealing with constant threats is always troublesome, though what annoyed me more was seemingly random difficulty spikes. One moment I would be doing a level with ease, then the next I could face countless deaths because of more difficult obstacles, then the next I would have an easy time again which annoyed me.
On the rare occasion difficulty was not a problem for me, the game features four different sections each housed to a different planet or sector of space. Within each of these there would always be a single level which was extremely easy however notably this is seemingly on purpose, these levels only have obstacles as a one off and instead spend its time with more of a story focus helping us to learn more about our characters. I enjoyed these brief but memorable levels as it broke off from the craziness of dodging obstacles for something that was truly worth it, the story.
For the score chaser Lost Orbit is the dream, trying to attain a platinum rank is challenging and requires a lot of work, in my attempts to do try to get the best possible score I failed on multiple occasions but on the rare moment I came close was glad of the wonderful upgrade system. Each level is filled with collectables called obtanium and by collecting it you could use it to buy upgrades to Harrison’s skillset, while not much is offered what is provided works well in the game. Speed boosts are one of the key features and are necessary to reach the best time, however other upgrades such as a quick stop and a barrel roll saved my life on a number of occasions.
Hurtling through space, dodging obstacles and hearing the droids analysis on the situation was constantly enjoyable across all forty levels, however I would have liked more from the game. The dangers offered across each of the game levels feel very space like as well as futuristic particularly in later levels with lasers and guns be a very real threat, and asteroids are a constant problem, however I regularly found myself asking for more variety in dangers which rarely happened. Even still forty levels never felt like enough, even with score chasing and a decent time trail mode which honestly never offers the same thrill as the story, I found myself wishing I had more levels. Each was fun to play and never lost their appeal when I played them a few times over, in fact I regularly felt like I was learning something about the level each time.
This game is all about being lost in space and going on the long almost hopeless journey home and each level captures this beautifully. The musical score that plays in the background feels almost sad at times capturing the feeling of Harrison on his long arduous journey, meanwhile it also plays in well with the feeling of being lost really capturing the moment of the game.
Lost Orbit perfectly captures the feeling of sadness and grief that comes with being lost in space while also taking the player on a well done adventure. I really wish I had a few more levels in this game but I can’t deny what I got in this was quality and a game I am sure many people should enjoy if they play it.