Tag Archives: X-Orbtek II

REVIEW: X-Orbtek II

If you were to grade on visuals alone, X-Orbtek II ($1.00) wouldn’t impress anyone. You could plug it into a ColecoVision or an Atari and never guess it had traveled there from the year 2013. As a sequel to a PC / Android-only original, it’s going to have to rely on its existing fanbase (which there is) or hope for some extremely curious onlookers to wander into the marketplace description. Even with that, it’s going to be a tough sell.

Simple shapes and simpler gameplay about sums it up. On the outside, it looks like a standardized twin-stick shooter. To an extent, it is, though combat is not the focus nor its strong point (and was missing entirely from the original). Orb collection is the idea, with the cheap thrill of chasing highscores (locally) meant to keep you engaged.

Continually spawning as you set about picking them up, the orbs are typically sandwiched between hazards, giving it a timed puzzle / navigational mechanic that’s not usually found in the genre. They shrink and eventually disappear into the ether the longer they’re left on the playing field. You’re not required to collect every orb that hatches, but failing to keep at least one on the grid will result in a game over.

Enemies are introduced slowly, functioning alongside the asteroids mostly as roadblocks to your goal, though there are a few types that will chase you down and / or return fire. Ammo is sparse, and there’s a set number of hits you can take. Randomized powerups will refill your stock of both, along with a few others, like a temporary burst to speed, or resetting the orbs to allow you more time to collect.

X-Orbtek II - Screen

The original’s gameplay survives for X-Orbtek II, in the form of Classic mode, which keeps everything listed above, and subtracts the combat. Survival mode works the same as the main setting, only with one life to live. All three can be further refined in Custom mode, which lets you take the various pieces and mix them as you wish, with a selection of music tracks, backgrounds (some locked behind highscore plateaus), and rule sets. Nothing too impressive, even if it does grant some variety.

Local multiplayer (up to four) is possible, and mildly enticing for players with access to extra controllers and friends. Regrettably, though, there just isn’t enough happening in X-Orbtek II to make it worth anyone’s while. Tight controls and some moderate customization can’t dismiss the fact that there’s much better already on the marketplace, which renders this ‘kinda twin-stick shooter, kinda not’ sequel obsolete from the start.

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