012853_3While there are already a few iPhone games that share the same gameplay mechanics as Orbital [App Store], none of them look anywhere near as cool.

Orbital is played with a single finger, tapping on the screen shoots a ball in the direction that the launcher is aiming. The launcher oscillates automatically left to right. When the ball lands, it expands and a number appears. That orb then needs to be hit that many times to clear it off the board.

In the "Pure" game mode, the orbs you shoot follow a standard trajectory and bounce off things as you would normally expect them to. This is the mode that most will be familiar with. In "Gravity" mode, however, the orbs you shoot are attracted to the existing orbs on screen and instead of your shots going straight, they will curve around everything on screen that now has its own gravitational pull. The whole game is wrapped in slick looking Geometry Wars-inspired graphics with tons of particle effects. The game also includes global high-score tracking.

The trailer provided by the developer shows the game in motion:

Also included is two player single device mode where players take turns shooting orbs onto the game field. While there are similar (and cheaper) games like Xpandaballs [App Store], they don't have the enhanced graphics or Gravity mode found in Orbital.

The game takes a fun familiar gameplay and adds some nice enhancements. If you love the style, see yourself playing two player, or just think Gravity mode sounds cool, definitely consider picking up Orbital.

App Store Link: Orbital, $2.99

TouchArcade Rating

  • nsolo1717

    this game is short and sweet, incredibly addicting and retro beautiful as well....do yourself a favor and pick this up asap. You will not regret it

    • cookiemonster

      dido

  • nsolo1717

    this game is short and sweet, incredibly addicting and retro beautiful as well....do yourself a favor and pick this up asap. You will not regret it

    • cookiemonster

      dido

  • Jamie Badman

    Just wanted to point out that although there was a crash problem initially the error has now been resolved and this game is now absolutely PERFECT! The best and most addictive game on the phone I've played to date!

    Jamie

    • arn

      thanks, didn't realize the fix had been in. article corrected.

      arn

  • Jamie Badman

    Just wanted to point out that although there was a crash problem initially the error has now been resolved and this game is now absolutely PERFECT! The best and most addictive game on the phone I've played to date!

    Jamie

    • arn

      thanks, didn't realize the fix had been in. article corrected.

      arn

  • Silverfist

    Graphics are nice and the gameplay looks good too, but I'd really prefer to be able to aim rather than hope you get your timing right with a constantly-moving turret. Trying to get a good shot using the gravity option seems more like luck than strategy without the ability to aim...

    .

    • Oggy

      Manual aiming IMHO would destroy the gameplay balance, which right now is a sweet mix of strategy and reflex.

  • Silverfist

    Graphics are nice and the gameplay looks good too, but I'd really prefer to be able to aim rather than hope you get your timing right with a constantly-moving turret. Trying to get a good shot using the gravity option seems more like luck than strategy without the ability to aim...

    .

    • Oggy

      Manual aiming IMHO would destroy the gameplay balance, which right now is a sweet mix of strategy and reflex.

  • Lord Gek

    While the gravity aspect seems cool, isn't this ground that Xpandaballs and Gravulous already covered? I hope in updates he considers adapting progressive scoring as seen in the two aforementioned titles (knocking out three balls in a single turn should be worth more than the usual 3 points).

  • Lord Gek

    While the gravity aspect seems cool, isn't this ground that Xpandaballs and Gravulous already covered? I hope in updates he considers adapting progressive scoring as seen in the two aforementioned titles (knocking out three balls in a single turn should be worth more than the usual 3 points).

  • Rad

    Is this really a $2.99 game am I missing something?

    • Silverfist

      The retro neon graphics add on $1.

  • Rad

    Is this really a $2.99 game am I missing something?

    • Silverfist

      The retro neon graphics add on $1.

  • http://twitter.com/parkermcg/ Parkermcg

    I would like to note that Gimme friction baby from a Casual gameplay design competition was ripped off and given a new skin for this. Im glad this came to the iphone, but look at the simularitys. http://bit.ly/2mjTnt

  • http://twitter.com/parkermcg/ Parkermcg

    I would like to note that Gimme friction baby from a Casual gameplay design competition was ripped off and given a new skin for this. Im glad this came to the iphone, but look at the simularitys. http://bit.ly/2mjTnt

  • http://www.bit-101.com Keith Peters

    Yes, it's exactly Gimme Friction Baby, which I would have loved to port to the iPhone. The site does say, "ORBITAL is based on Gimme Friction Baby by Wouter Visser."

    http://www.orbital-game.com/

    I still hope it's an authorized "based on" and he got something out of it.

  • http://www.bit-101.com Keith Peters

    Yes, it's exactly Gimme Friction Baby, which I would have loved to port to the iPhone. The site does say, "ORBITAL is based on Gimme Friction Baby by Wouter Visser."

    http://www.orbital-game.com/

    I still hope it's an authorized "based on" and he got something out of it.

  • http://www.bit-101.com Keith Peters

    And as much as I love the web version, I'm not paying $2.99 for this one. :(

  • http://www.bit-101.com Keith Peters

    And as much as I love the web version, I'm not paying $2.99 for this one. :(

  • Chad

    lol Gimme Friction Baby is such a stupid name

    • http://twitter.com/parkermcg/ Parkermcg

      I really hope it is an authorized based on, becase I know wouter and he is an awesome guy, and game developer.

  • Chad

    lol Gimme Friction Baby is such a stupid name

    • http://twitter.com/parkermcg/ Parkermcg

      I really hope it is an authorized based on, becase I know wouter and he is an awesome guy, and game developer.

  • Lord Gek

    To be fair then, Gravulous and Xpandaballs (which always makes me think it is referring to the scrotal area of some dead pandas) need to share in the "stealing".

    • http://twitter.com/parkermcg/ Parkermcg

      Yes, they stole the idea, But not the graphics. Gravulous added fire power, and took away the timing aspect, and is more of a spinoff, and xpandaballs is just a bad ripoff of it with worse graphics :) and it has a horrible name.

  • Lord Gek

    To be fair then, Gravulous and Xpandaballs (which always makes me think it is referring to the scrotal area of some dead pandas) need to share in the "stealing".

    • http://twitter.com/parkermcg/ Parkermcg

      Yes, they stole the idea, But not the graphics. Gravulous added fire power, and took away the timing aspect, and is more of a spinoff, and xpandaballs is just a bad ripoff of it with worse graphics :) and it has a horrible name.

  • Coral

    The graphics almost sell me every time, but I hold out because of the price. The $2.99 price point does weird things with me. It isn't as good as a $4.99 but not much better than a $1.99. Oh well.

    • Maelick

      Man this looks pretty hot wish I didn't spend all my money on the price drops.....all of them lolll

  • Coral

    The graphics almost sell me every time, but I hold out because of the price. The $2.99 price point does weird things with me. It isn't as good as a $4.99 but not much better than a $1.99. Oh well.

    • Maelick

      Man this looks pretty hot wish I didn't spend all my money on the price drops.....all of them lolll

  • http://www.navesink.net Kadath

    This game makes my iPhone run hotter than anything else I've played. Anyone else?

  • http://www.navesink.net Kadath

    This game makes my iPhone run hotter than anything else I've played. Anyone else?

  • Carl

    Yes, this game runs hot and eats away the battery.

    Could be a great game with:

    - A more robust scoring system that takes into account multiple hits and destructions.
    - Power ups. Things like ability to stop the turret and aim, shots that blast through orbs rather than bouncing.
    - Multiple lives

    As is it is more like a demo, but a compelling one.

  • Carl

    Yes, this game runs hot and eats away the battery.

    Could be a great game with:

    - A more robust scoring system that takes into account multiple hits and destructions.
    - Power ups. Things like ability to stop the turret and aim, shots that blast through orbs rather than bouncing.
    - Multiple lives

    As is it is more like a demo, but a compelling one.

  • http://www.taykron.com/ matriax

    Looks very cool :)

  • http://www.taykron.com/ matriax

    Looks very cool :)

  • Olyvaaar

    This game is sooo awesome! I really like the two player option and can only hope they make an online multiplayer?? Some different game styles would be good too not sure what though.. but the dev is definitely going the right way to making a classic!

  • Olyvaaar

    This game is sooo awesome! I really like the two player option and can only hope they make an online multiplayer?? Some different game styles would be good too not sure what though.. but the dev is definitely going the right way to making a classic!

  • ryan

    I wonder what's in it for you to write positive stuff about this game, but this is one of the worst games [gameplay wise] in the app store. especially at 3 bucks.

    It just seems like lazy programming to make the shooter oscillate. You have no control of direction or strength of the shot. truly pointless gameplay.

    • Lord Gek

      To be fair, this isn't as much lazy as simply the original game's design. Ryan, have you seen Gravulous as it does address both of your issues?

    • bigfish

      You don''t understand game design.
      If you were able to change strength of the shot it would be too easy to make the shot land anywhere you want more easily.
      The game would never end. The game gets challenging when you have a lot of the circles near the line. If you can change the strength to low, then you can easily get rid of all of them.

  • ryan

    I wonder what's in it for you to write positive stuff about this game, but this is one of the worst games [gameplay wise] in the app store. especially at 3 bucks.

    It just seems like lazy programming to make the shooter oscillate. You have no control of direction or strength of the shot. truly pointless gameplay.

    • Lord Gek

      To be fair, this isn't as much lazy as simply the original game's design. Ryan, have you seen Gravulous as it does address both of your issues?

    • bigfish

      You don''t understand game design.
      If you were able to change strength of the shot it would be too easy to make the shot land anywhere you want more easily.
      The game would never end. The game gets challenging when you have a lot of the circles near the line. If you can change the strength to low, then you can easily get rid of all of them.

  • http://www.theiphoneappreview.com Shaun

    You can find a full review of Orbital here: http://www.theiphoneappreview.com/08/orbital-iphone/

  • http://www.theiphoneappreview.com Shaun

    You can find a full review of Orbital here: http://www.theiphoneappreview.com/08/orbital-iphone/

  • Oggy

    Fantastic, nearly perfect game!! Love it!

    The two-player mode is a hoot as well. We've been laughing like crazy trying to gob up each other's neighborhood with circles, which makes it a much different game from the solo form.

    I think the emphasis here was on Keep It Simple, including the scoring mechanics, where 1 circle == 1 point, regardless of doubles, triples, etc. I appreciate that--there's nothing to remember other than the basic gameplay.

    And I've got to chime in: ryan, I'm glad you didn't design this game. Manual aiming would destroy the balance completely.

  • Oggy

    Fantastic, nearly perfect game!! Love it!

    The two-player mode is a hoot as well. We've been laughing like crazy trying to gob up each other's neighborhood with circles, which makes it a much different game from the solo form.

    I think the emphasis here was on Keep It Simple, including the scoring mechanics, where 1 circle == 1 point, regardless of doubles, triples, etc. I appreciate that--there's nothing to remember other than the basic gameplay.

    And I've got to chime in: ryan, I'm glad you didn't design this game. Manual aiming would destroy the balance completely.

  • Oggy

    Two minor issues:
    - Orbital runs down my 3GS' battery pretty fast. Maybe an update could allow for fewer particle effects, or just do some tuning in this area..
    - The "multiplayer" wording is confusing. I understand now that I'm "challenging my friends" to get a better high score, and the Facebook integration there is nice. But we both thought it meant actually playing two-player mode over the internet, and wasted five minutes tapping around before we understood that's not supported.

    And finally--people are quibbling about $2.99? Yeesh. After you've blown several hours (days..) unable to tear yourself away from it, you can go calculate your cost-per-hour magic fun quotient and grin.

  • Oggy

    Two minor issues:
    - Orbital runs down my 3GS' battery pretty fast. Maybe an update could allow for fewer particle effects, or just do some tuning in this area..
    - The "multiplayer" wording is confusing. I understand now that I'm "challenging my friends" to get a better high score, and the Facebook integration there is nice. But we both thought it meant actually playing two-player mode over the internet, and wasted five minutes tapping around before we understood that's not supported.

    And finally--people are quibbling about $2.99? Yeesh. After you've blown several hours (days..) unable to tear yourself away from it, you can go calculate your cost-per-hour magic fun quotient and grin.

  • Oggy

    I think some folks misunderstand the physics model in Gravity mode--at least, two guys I played w/ yesterday did, complaining "It doesn't always go as far or as fast as it's supposed to."

    Yes, if you're comparing to Pure mode, then it basically never will shoot the same distance. Here's why:

    If you have two large circles, shoot the cannon through the gap between them. Your projectile will still go straight (assuming they're exactly the same size and you split the gap perfectly, of course), but it won't go as far. Why not? The gravitational pull still affected your shot. It didn't make the shot veer left or right, but it did exert pull and steal momentum.

  • Oggy

    I think some folks misunderstand the physics model in Gravity mode--at least, two guys I played w/ yesterday did, complaining "It doesn't always go as far or as fast as it's supposed to."

    Yes, if you're comparing to Pure mode, then it basically never will shoot the same distance. Here's why:

    If you have two large circles, shoot the cannon through the gap between them. Your projectile will still go straight (assuming they're exactly the same size and you split the gap perfectly, of course), but it won't go as far. Why not? The gravitational pull still affected your shot. It didn't make the shot veer left or right, but it did exert pull and steal momentum.

  • bigfish

    Gravulous has similar gameplay and is only 99cents.

  • bigfish

    Gravulous has similar gameplay and is only 99cents.

  • http://www.kotodama.net/blog/ Zak

    My god, the people here are so cheap! If you can afford an iPhone, you can afford $3 for a good game. If you can't afford three measely bucks, then perhaps you shouldn't be playing with your iPhone, but going out and making some money! :)

  • http://www.kotodama.net/blog/ Zak

    My god, the people here are so cheap! If you can afford an iPhone, you can afford $3 for a good game. If you can't afford three measely bucks, then perhaps you shouldn't be playing with your iPhone, but going out and making some money! :)

  • http://www.kotodama.net/blog/ Zak

    Is there anything that determines what size a given orb will be when it starts out? Is it random?

    • Cron

      If you mean Diameter, it just expands till it hits something, wall, other ball or death line.

      If you mean something other then diameter, i don't know.

  • http://www.kotodama.net/blog/ Zak

    Is there anything that determines what size a given orb will be when it starts out? Is it random?

    • Cron

      If you mean Diameter, it just expands till it hits something, wall, other ball or death line.

      If you mean something other then diameter, i don't know.

  • http://www.orbital-game.com puffo83

    Check out this great review on jayisgames.com:

    http://jayisgames.com/archives/2009/08/orbital.php

    Cheers

  • http://www.orbital-game.com puffo83

    Check out this great review on jayisgames.com:

    http://jayisgames.com/archives/2009/08/orbital.php

    Cheers