Monday, December 5, 2011

Orbitron Revolution (XBLIG): "A Shmup That Should Have Been An XBLA Title"

I have been anxiously awaiting the release of 'Orbitron Revolution' for quite some time now. It was one of those indie games with a jaw-dropping trailer that makes you want it really bad. I had actually got my first glimpse of the game earlier this year not long after I began work on this review site. It looked as if it were XBLA quality, and the trailer was truly amazing to behold. Sadly when I finally got my review copy of the game family, and health issues came up that prevented me from doing a proper playthrough of the game, and deliver my review in a timely fashion. I am finally here though, ready to give you (my readers) a review of this visually stunning shmup.

Orbitron Revolution is a simple yet complex shmup (shooter) that uses an orbital ring-shaped satellite as it's backdrop, and main focus. The game features three modes of play (Countdown, Guardian, Extra), one of which has to be unlocked by meeting certain requirements. The goals in each mode are different, and include survival modes as well as an objective based mode. There are two ships (Blindfire X8 (Blue) - Pilot: Kaela, Wildfire Y8 (Red) - Blaze) to choose from, and pilot throughout the game's various modes. The ships themselves reminded me a lot of the 'Macross' anime series as did the pilots. Every visual detail in the game is done in a 3D manner that is accented with special effects such as laser blasts, and explosions. It's a top-notch game that excels in both visual, and audio aspects.

There are three modes of play in 'Orbitron Revolution' that all revolve around shooting down enemy ships, and defending an orbital ring-shaped satellite from drillers. In 'Countdown' your goal is to simply get as much score as you can by shooting down enemy ships as you fly around the orbital satellite. There are speed gates/portals located around the satellite that will send your ship into hyper speed for a brief moment so you can make it to areas more quickly. The 'Guardian' mode is a defense based mode that has you defending four locations (A, B, C, D) around the satellite as driller ships try to destroy each section. You also have to deal with the usual enemy ship types that appear, and fly around the satellite. The last mode, 'Extra' has to be unlocked by surviving five minutes in 'Guardian' mode. I'm not actually sure what the mode is about since I was unable to survive for five minutes due to the games extreme difficulty. The description of the 'Extra' mode says "survival assault mode" which is kind of self explanatory, but I would like to unlock it sometime in the future to experience it for myself.

Controls in 'Orbitron Revolution' are very simple, and require the use of only a handful of buttons. For movement you will use the (Left Thumbstick). The game is a side-scrolling shooter that will have you changing the direction you're facing by pressing the (Left Thumbstick) to the left, or right. You can also move your ship up, and down but only within the ring-shaped satellite's track/rings. Firing your laser/weapon requires the use of the (A) button. The (X) button is used for a power shot, and the (Y) button is used for a wave bomb. You can only use the power shot, and wave bomb when you have collected enough energy tanks from destroyed ships. There are two meters at the top of the screen that show how much energy you have collected for each weapon. For an extra speed boost in the game you will use the (Right Trigger) button. Like the previously mentioned weapons it also depletes the energy bars.

Orbitron Revolution is a game that truly excels in visuals, and sound quality. Everything from the animated menu selection screens to the in-game details are all of XBLA quality. The only reason I think this game didn't make it to the XBLA library is, because of it's lack of content or file size. I was truly impressed with the in-game gameplay as well as the unique experience that 'Orbitron Revolution' offered. I really liked how the developer (Firebase Industries Ltd.) included such details as laser effects, explosions, and the robotic female voice that speaks throughout the game. It's things like that that really make this game stand out in the XBLIG library. If you are a shmup fanatic like I am then this game is definitely worth having. For 240 msp it's a game worth adding to any Xbox 360 owner's game library.

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