You sit yourself down in front of an odd looking, dusty old monitor that displays what appears to be a radar screen with a few colored markers and controls along the outer edge. There are no instructions to be found anywhere, just the thrill of discovery by pointing and clicking with the mouse. You can do no harm to it; nothing is going to break or send you whirling into space without a helmet. So leave caution to the wind and boldly go into Orbit.
Designed and developed by Sean Hawkes for our 2nd Flash game design competition held a couple weeks ago, Orbit is the quintessence of what we were hoping to see in the entries submitted. It is a simple puzzle game with no instructions, one in which discovery is integral to its charm and appeal.
There is indeed a solution, perhaps even three solutions, but you must first determine what is required of you. And even when you know what you need to do, the puzzle is still a challenge to complete.
Analysis: The design and implementation of this puzzle is very nice, apart from the performance issues it causes on slower computers and the total lack of sound—the background music loop that you hear is actually the main menu soundtrack from the competition. It fit so well that we left it like it is.
When running on a super-fast computer, this game is gorgeous with its particles all flying around while getting pulled into the central star of the solar system, and the decaying trails that the planets leave behind. Unfortunately, the game runs very slow on my Mac and I found that I had to reduce the quality using the right-click context menu for the game to move as it should. However, keeping it at the slower speed actually helps by giving more time to complete the puzzle, since there's a time limit involved.
The grow theme is present here, and it becomes integral to the gameplay as you progress. And when completing the puzzle, the player is rewarded with a nice display of thanks. All things considered, Orbit is an excellent entry and a fine puzzle game experience for people of all ages.
The atmosphere is great in this one, and the pure experience this game provides outweighs the fact that the gameplay is not too terribly difficult (once you figure out what the gameplay actually is). I'm still not sure why the buttons on the right are necessary—maybe so that it's more difficult to win by accident?