Sep 30, 2011
The solar system has gone and gotten itself in all kinds of trouble, and it is up to players with deadly aim to save it. Orbital Defender takes a unique approach to flick-based combat, dumps the setting into the void of space, and brings it all together in an immensely playable shoot’em up game, but is it worth the entry fee for this addiction?
The goal of this game is raw and simple: protect the planet in the center of the screen from aliens, asteroids, missiles, and other sundries of space nemesis. Players take the role of a satellite in orbit. While circling a big ball of dust, the player will need to fire weapons, such as homing missiles and the ever popular peashooter, at the incoming enemies. The catch is that there is no shooting through the planet, or it loses life. This little wrench means players have to watch everything coming into the screen and plan exactly when they will have clear shots at their targets. The planet is not completely helpless as it has a few defenses like shields and space dust to aid in the battle. It is a simplistic premise, but one that becomes addictive in a quick fashion.
The game keeps it light when it comes to audio and visuals. The music score is a blend of space theme rock and techno, all set on a continuous loop. It is not terrible, but it will quickly fade into the recesses of the mind. There is a bit of satisfaction as the guns emit a classical â€œpew-pewâ€ sound, and explosions are full of bass, thus requiring a decent set of headphones to enjoy. The eyes are treated to colors from all over the rainbow, with various gold and silvers becoming the main color of choice for enemies. Enemies are unique and varied, as well as being easily recognizable items, such as UFOs or comets, from the sci-fi genre. This won’t drop any jaws, but there was a decent amount of care put into the overall presentation.
While the gameplay and presentation are solid, there is a hitch that is unnerving, and that is an issue with the inconsistent frame rates. While a fair number of enemies may fill the screen with no issue, introducing bullets or missiles to the mix sees things starting to spit and sputter along. I found this problem most noticeable when using homing missiles. The game also crashed a few times after ten minutes, or so, of play. This stuttering screen may not seem so bad at first, but it can cause missed shots and unnecessary damage to the planet.
At the end of the day, this is an easy game for anyone to pick up and play, but the rough frame rates put a damper on the fun. There is a free version that should be checked out before dropping the money on the full version, but if the hiccups are fixed, this will be a great piece of entertainment well worth the low cost of entry. Shoot’em up fans should definitely give this game a gander.