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Orconoid Review

/ Jan 2nd, 2017 No Comments

There are many games that enable players to dish out all manner of punishment to orcs. Orconoid, by BlueFXGames, offers the most unique methods in how players can accomplish this: by bouncing a magic ball off a gigantic wooden shield right into them.

Orconoid is a crowd-funded effort that, as its name implies, draws heavily from the iconic Arkanoid game franchise. The title borrows its innovative action-based ball-and-paddle gameplay from that series but adds in its own unique, unorthodox twists.

Let’s Bowl Some Orc!

Set in a nameless orc-infested fantasy world, players control two hapless heroes tasked with holding and moving a large shield (the paddle). This is used to bounce a limited amount of magic spheres (the balls) into incoming hordes of orcs who move downwards in Space Invaders-like fashion. The goal is to completely eliminate each battlefield the orcs inhabit.

Players must simultaneously ensure the nine wizards behind them aren’t wiped out by incoming orc hordes. They also fire off projectiles to eliminate them early, such as spears and fireballs. At least one wizard must survive or the game’s over.

Orconoid’s mechanics are incredibly simple. Pressing and holding down your finger on the screen and dragging it left and right moves the paddle. This control scheme makes it easy to both launch the ball before each round and bounce it back into hapless orc soldiers.

Strategy is key during gameplay. Certain kinds of orcs, especially the bosses in the final stage of each zone, require different methods to be eliminated. Shielded orcs for instance can only be hit from the side or rear. Spells can also be launched using an easy-to-use menu. The effectiveness of each spell depends on how many wizards still remain.

The end result is an incredibly challenging game requiring patience, reflexes and determination. Gameplay is smooth, ensuring minimal frustration for gamers who are sure to find the mixture of both using the ball offensively while defending wizards a fun, addictive challenge.

The Problem with Orc Bashing

Orconoid is hampered by issues, its chief one being the double-edged nature of its difficulty. Its high degree of challenge is sure to please the most seasoned ball-and-paddle players, but this can be very off-putting to players who want to better develop their skills. As there is no difficulty settings in the game, this can be a formidable task.

The high difficulty noticeably compensates for the game’s lack of length. With only six zones and approximately 40 levels, even the most skilled Orconoid players have a surprisingly short session of orc bashing to look forward to.

There’s also some replay value should players invest time into that bashing. Players can earn stars by completing secondary objectives, such as completing levels within a certain amount of time. Collecting enough stars opens up three survival modes where players can play endlessly or for a set period of time.

There’s no other unlockable content. That’s it. There’s not even the ability to set high scores despite the presence of a score meter in the game. The lack of rewards means players will find little reason to continue should they completely master this game.

Other issues stem from a blatant lack of development. For example, while Orconoid has some splendidly made sprite-based artwork, the text that permeates its menus and textboxes isn’t better melded into the graphics, resulting in some noticeable clashing.

Likewise, despite boasting some well-composed music, there’s a distinct lack of variety in tracks. The game boasts only two tracks: one for the main menu and one for all battlefields. Should players ever unlock challenge mode, they’ll find that there’s no music at all when there obviously should be.

Overall

Orconoid is one of the most keen attempts to provide a fresh, challenging take on the classic ball-and-paddle gameplay formula. While BlueFXGames managed to produce an above average result, Orconoid still comes across as very incomplete and in need of much more improvement.

BlueFXGames has produced an enjoyable arcade title, but it needs to really be fleshed out before Orconoid can be considered to a complete and enjoyable means to beat up orcs.

 

Jonathan Anson

Jonathan Anson

Jonathan has been a lover of video games since his father brought home a Windows 95 computer. When he's not doing that he indulges in his other passion: writing. Jonathan holds an AA degree in Journalism from Saddleback College in Southern California.
Jonathan Anson
Jonathan Anson

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ORCONOID REVIEW

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall66%

GAMEPLAY7

The game has a unique gameplay formula coupled with a high degree of difficulty. However, players might be put off by the game's lack of content and high difficulty.

GRAPHICS7

Despite some clashing the text has with the visuals, the game boasts some delightful, well-designed sprite-based graphics.

SOUND6

Though boasting some well-composed music, Orconoid lacks variety. The game also is also equally lacking in its sound effects.

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