“Orby: The Way Home”, beautiful mind-bending puzzle
Orby is a great name for a game. It’s short, catchy and if you add a short slogan after it you almost get the title of a fairytale: “Orby: The Way Home”. If your English vocabulary is as rusty as mine you won’t recognize the fact that “Orby” is actually a real word. The fancy online dictionaries show it as meaning “revolving”, as in having the course of an orb. Kaboom, a 10+ to the devs for finding this great title for the game, being in marketing for a long time I know name-choosing is a tough act (this reminds me of the airport that paid thousands to get a better name and in the end got the cityname+airport).
Orby, the main character in this game, is a cute alien-monster who can move only by rolling. He’s helpless (mainly due to the fact that his HANDS ARE MISSING, poor little guy) and you have to guide it to reach a portal and in the end his home (after many levels). Here’s a video demo on how Orby is played:
My son is 4 years old and he plays Orby. I could say he successfully plays the game since he manages to go through some levels faster than me, while still gathering all the stars. That’s how straightforward the gameplay is in Orby, you just tap and scroll in one of four possible directions and the funny-flurry-Orby will roll until he hits an obstacle. I also let him play it since the game requires some puzzle solving skills. For each level you need to have an overview on what moves you should do to collect the stars and reach the portal, without exiting the screen or landing on spikes/enemies. The rule is roll until you stop in a rock, crate or teleport gate, but avoid exiting the screen as the game will end and you have to restart the level.
Orby is a perfect little time-waster (especially when waiting for your wife to get dressed for 30+ F*ING minutes) and these are some of its main features:
- Great graphics. Design is one of the chapters Pococo Games (Orby’s developer) invested a lot and that translates to beautiful graphics with a modern look. The game was created with the Unity engine, not that it matters for the regular player but it’s the most popular game engine at least among Android games. I’d even go as far as suggesting the dev to create some short animations with this fun character – a thing I was impressed about when I played “Cut the Rope”. Back to the graphics, as you can see the cartoon-ish look make the game fun and appealing for kids, no wonder mine is so into it.
- 40 levels. For now, there are 40 playable levels. Each level is fun yet captivating and these increase in difficulty so I’d say Orby is suitable for any age. When you start the game there are 2 worlds available, but only one of them active with 40 levels in it. The developer said the other 40 levels will soon be released, though if I were him I’d charge a very small fee for unlocking the others. Don’t jump with axes, I’d rather play a no-ad/no-inapp purchases game and have the option to get 40 more levels, than have to dodge ads. Plus, the dev needs to make some money so that they’ll come back with an even better game. Right now Orby is truly free, no in-app upgrades, no ads so kid-safe. For me, the 40 levels were done in about 2 days maximum, and I’m not the smartest duck in the pond. But for a kid the game will give them some challenges so it might take longer. Point is I want more levels!
- Walk-through. I love games that have a clear training mechanism that’s integrated in the game itself. So you don’t need to read anything before starting the game, as you’ll be guided through the controls and new elements as those are available. With each new level (at least the first ones) you discover a new item such as destroyable crates, spike removal levers, monster enemies, teleporters, powerups and so on. Sure, towards the end of the world (i.e. the game world, not ours) you don’t need any more tutorials as all elements are already known, but the puzzle is more complex.
- Give me stars. It’s not enough to reach the portal gate, you also have to collect stars in each level to get a better score. Orby has a 1-to-3 star based system and for each level if you collect all the in-game stars you get the maximum score – if you only get a few you still pass the level but not with magna-cum-laudae. The only downside here is the fact that even if you get a great score, there’s not an online leaderboard to share it with and compare how big yours is (men and their comparison complex!).
- Audio. The sounds aren’t bad, I like having an accompanying soundtrack while playing and Orby provides that too. I also like how you get some subtle effects when for instance Orby hits a rock and the screen shakes a bit, as they say the devil is in the details.
Orby is addictive and the only bad taste you’ll have is when the first world finishes. Out of a couple thousand downloads so far most ratings are 5 star ones on Google Play, so I’m confident others agree with me when I say Orby is a very good brain-puzzle game. Mind-bending here and there on tougher levels, it’s a game for all ages. Add a new world and leaderboards and you’ll have the next-next-next “Cut the Rope”. As stated previously Orby is 100% free and available via Google Play.