This game has nothing to do with pollution, but you wouldn't know it from looking at the sky. It's green. In fact, it's not just the sky—it appears that in this game, everyone has become so wasteful that the smog has spread into the entire universe, tinting it a pale greenish-blue. That's got to be pollution, right?
Orbita, an adventure and exploration game by Skatehead, puts you in control of a cute little guy with a trapezoid-shaped head. Venture around the planet, visit different perilous locations, and solve puzzles to discover the three batteries that power his ship. Yes, it appears that the little guy's spaceship runs on Duracells. The wonders of science.
Controls are simple: [left] and [right] arrow keys to move, [up] to interact with objects in the environment and to talk to creatures that you might encounter. Gameplay occurs on two levels. When you are within an environment like the one you start out in, you can exit on either side of the screen. The view changes to one of the planet, where you can quickly travel between locations, represented by a smaller view of what's in the environment. These can be entered by pressing [up].
While traveling across the planet, you will come across locations that are impassible. Fear not, for the cause is a puzzle that needs solving or some bizarre death trap that doesn't seem to be guarding anything. Enter the location and solve the puzzle/avoid spikey death and continue on your quest. You will find several useful items scattered about, so explore every location carefully.
Once you have one of the elusive batteries, skip back to your ship and put it in place. Once all three batteries are returned, forgo any repairs that you might need from, you know, crash landing into a deceptively small planet—and take to the skies!
Analysis: Orbita is a short, interesting little adventure game that is lacking in story but strong in atmosphere. The puzzles are relatively simple, but vary widely and keep the game from getting dull. I enjoy the minimalist art style, and the contrast of white foreground and green sky gives the game a quirky, highly atmospheric feel. I feel the strongest part of the game is the use of an overworld-style view of the planet for travel, instead of having to go through every location over and over due to the large amount of backtracking needed to get the batteries to the ship. Also: there's an interesting surprise in store for you once you get power back to the ship. A surprise that, like much of the rest of the game, makes very little sense because it goes unexplained. But it's still fun.
However, Orbita is not perfect. While some of the puzzles are pleasing and offer a certain sense of accomplishment, others go far beyond the realm of frustration into a dimension I consider rather sadistic. This includes an unforgiving collision detection system—I would advise not going into the same city as those dang spikes. It doesn't help that the traps have to be traversed several times in both directions, making the whole adventure longer than it ought to be, since you can only take one hit before you die. Furthermore, the items that you can interact with in the world are not always clear, so you may search for a while before realizing you missed something on the other side of the world. Rawr.
Still, for its faults, it's a nice little adventure. Give it a try and for goodness' sake, help your fellow gamers out if they get stuck!