Orbital is a stylish, neon-colored firework display of a game, with music that lulls you into a trance and gameplay that keeps you coming back for more. Depending on the mode you choose and how skilled you are, an Orbital HD session can last anywhere between a few seconds and several minutes. But however short, it’s a fun ride.
To play the game, you shoot projectiles from a cannon at the bottom at the bottom of the screen. Each projectile bounces around until it comes to a halt, at which point it blows up into a bubble with a number inside of it. Pop off a few shots, and you’ll end up with a cluster of number bubbles, waiting to be popped. The goal is to pop as many of the bubbles as you can by bumping them with projectiles until the numbers inside the bubbles reach zero.
Look ma, I curved the bullet.
This is a high-score game, so you keep creating and popping bubbles as long as possible, racking up points each time one pops, and earning bonus points for combos. The game ends when one of your projectiles bounces across the line at the bottom of the screen, which becomes ever more likely as the bubble cluster grows.
A direct port of the iPhone version, Orbital HD has the same three gameplay modes as its smaller counterpart: Pure, Gravity, and Supernova. Pure is the toughest of the bunch, since its physics are brutally indifferent to your intentions, and your projectiles bounce around the screen like rubber balls. Making matters worse, the cannon swivels on its own, and you must time your taps to aim and shoot. Gravity Mode is a little easier, as each bubble has a gravitational field that curves the path of your projectiles. Supernova is easier yet, since you can aim the cannon manually, and a laser pointer shows where your projectile will hit.
We should note that unlike some iPad versions of games, the added screen space doesn’t have much of an effect on Orbital HD. And it’s unfortunate that no modes or abilities have been added to make it stand out from the iPhone version.
So if you played it on the iPhone, there’s no good reason to buy this one. But if you’re new to Orbital, you’ll find Orbital HD to be a fun little diversion. It’s still a simple, polished high-score game with that elusive “one more try” appeal.
Editor’s Note: This review covers the content exclusive to the iPad version of this game. For the full game review, click here.