Aimlessly rocketing through space sounds like one of the most terrifying scenarios possible, right? If you're a lightweight comet, however, it's one of the most peaceful experiences imagined. Hyperfocal Designs' Unknown Orbit gives you control of a comet orbiting a series of small planets. The aim is to time your landings on each planet's surface, holding one finger on the touchscreen as you rocket down a mountain slope, and letting go as you launch from any available incline. It's like Tiny Wings on a 3D plane.
The isolated electric guitar twangs and calm, wispy sound effects make this one very relaxing experience. You're given three objectives at a time, but for the most part I found myself forgetting about the task at hand and just enjoying the ride. However, this state of Zen isn't a given. It has to be earned by mastering the tricky gyroscope controls and sometimes unpredictable physics. And that's on easy mode. Unknown Orbit's serene qualities are by far it's greatest strength, so I didn't spend too much time on the higher difficulties, Omen and Erratus.
Your longevity as a stray rock depends on the mass of your icy core, which you maintain by gathering snowballs. This requirement gets a little frustrating at times due to collectibles being spread far and wide over each planets surface. In addition to this, each snow ball adds an insignificant amount of mass to your comet, and it feels as if you're only delaying the inevitable for another 10 seconds or so.
Hyperfocal Designs should be commended for creating a title that can be at times a warm, calming meander through space, yet at others a cruel and punishing challenge from the pits of hell, reminding you that you can never take a second for granted. If you're feeling stressed, grab a beverage, your favourite pair of headphones and pick up a copy of Unknown Orbit.
Grab the game here.
- Tiny Wings
- Unknown Orbit