Kickstarter Focus: ORBITOR
Looking like a spin-off of Angry Birds Space, ORBITOR manages to take the gravity element of that game and make it the focus. Developed by a small studio called Evil Alien, the $60,000 goal is merely to cover costs for licenses and technology–compared to many other games on Kickstarter, their goal is exceptionally low. The game itself looks beautiful, the gameplay and graphics are obviously fine-tuned, and the priority of the developers is not to finish or develop the game, it’s to publish it and perhaps fund some additional features. It’s rare to see a game so close to completion on Kickstarter, and certainly shows the resolve of its programmers: they’ve obviously fine-tuned their demo, and now want to give it an audience.
The gameplay is very simple, although it’s hard to notice when you’re watching chaotic graphics. You fly through a foriegn nebula looking for orbital objects, zoom around them to steal or release their energy, and then warp to the next level once you gather enough. Sometimes the objects will be destroyed, which means you’ll have to chase after the escaped energy to retrieve it. Other objects are dangerous to orbit in the first place–orbiting close to suns in particular will heat up your ship and destroy it when it gets too hot. Bumping into the objects you’re orbiting also damages your ship, although orbiting close to them allows you more speed, so it’s a trade-off. Objects can orbit anything: the sun, the planets, or the moons. There can be multiple orbital systems to harness and much of it can be obscured by the nebula or the limited section of screen space you’re allowed to view.
Although the game appears to be complete and ready to publish, there are several features which the developers wish to keep ‘secret,’ despite asking several thousand dollars for it. While they have a significant amount of gameplay already planned, knowing how they add on to it can change the general impression of the game. In example: does anything ever end up attacking you, or are you the one who gets into your own trouble? Are there any weapons in the game? This would quickly make it resemble an arcade game, which isn’t bad, but might change a donator’s opinion of it for better or worse. Having a precise target audience with your Kickstarter campaign is essential, but this one just delivers the game’s basics and hopes the flashy graphics will push it to its goal.
In their defense, though, those flashy graphics are very nice. They’ve already figured out one of the most difficult parts of the game–launching at high speeds to something nearby–and put in a slow-down feature to keep it from being too difficult. They also give the Orbital a boost, which allows you to breeze through levels while you search for objects you haven’t harvested yet. The plot is a mystery, but with addictive gameplay, it may be entirely unnecessary. Hopefully as time goes on we will see more from this game, whether it’s additional elements, gameplay, features, or donator perks. If you’re interested in the game, be sure to give its Kickstarter page a look!