Orion’s Forge is a puzzle game for iOS and Android made by Trinket Studio, the developers of the VERY fun Color Sheep. It is best described as a physics based puzzle game, but with some fun tools and a great story the game rises above other similar games and really shines as a great mobile game experience
While I walked the floor at PAX East recently, I came across the Trinket Studio table in the Indie Showcase area.
Actually, my daughter was the one who decided to stop at the table. The team had some stuffed animal sheep on it’s table promoting it’s first game “Color Sheep” and she really wanted to get one, but once we got to the table she saw a tablet and stopped to play. (Note: I really need to get her one of those sheep!)
The game is a physics based puzzle game where the player has a stream of stars they need to guide to a certain point in each level, using gravity wells to alter the stream and complete each level.
The game plays simply enough, and within a few moments I understood the basic elements of the game. Similar to other puzzle games, the levels steadily increased in difficulty, each one adding new challenges or elements to learn. For the most part the game doesn’t throw too many curves at you, and most levels can be solved within a few minutes. But to me this is a positive thing, I don’t want to play a level and not be able to figure it out, only to come back a few hours later and forget what I tried earlier. This is not to say that the game is too easy, in fact there were a few levels that took me nearly twenty minutes to figure out. All the levels felt satisfying and tight, and I never felt like the progression was too tough, or that it was unevenly difficult from level to level.
The levels all are narrated by the “Celestial Smith” whom the player is helping by creating stars that will ultimately make up constellations. Each level tells another line from a fable that inspired the constellation, and by the end of each set of levels you have a cute story finished and all the stars in the sky. I found myself really enjoying the silly stories, and really liking the artwork for all the stories. It’s a small thing, but really goes to show how much time and effort the developer put into making the game an experience, and they deserve to be commended for it.
The game is very pleasant to look at, with well drawn artwork between levels, and solid level design. The music is nice, but I spent most of the game with it turned down. I did find that some of the text looked pixelated on my phone and tablet, but everything else looked well rendered and smooth.
The story of the game is pretty simple, but on a mobile platform I didn’t expect too much. To be honest I was pleasantly surprised how enjoyable the actual story was, and really found myself playing more levels than I normally would in one sitting, just to find out what that areas story was. Again, the attention to something that most developers would just ignore is commendable and I really like the game even more for their efforts.
This game was fast enough that I was able to play a few levels on my coffee break at work, and feel satisfied, but lasted me a few hours of actual gameplay time. The artwork is cute, and has a certain charm to it, but as cute as the game looks, and kid friendly as the story is, the game really seems to hard for most younger children to enjoy. My daughter tried playing with the game when we were at PAX and liked dragging the towers around, but she couldn’t grasp more advance concepts like black holes or teleports. I really wish there was a way for her to flip through the story, she really liked the silly aliens, but because she had to play through the levels, got frustrated and gave up. Older children might really like the game, and to the developers credit, they did a good job of keeping the game tough, but not overly complex.
- Very fun, quick games
- Challenging at later levels, but well paced
- Really good artwork
- Too hard for younger children
- Most in game text is pixelated
Game Score: 4 out of 5 Hearts
This game is lots of fun and worth the money. I really had fun with it, but I wish it lasted longer, or had more levels. I also would really like to see the ability to just flip through all the great artwork the game has in it.
Magic Score: 80%
The artwork and story in this game go a long way in rising it above the noise of the mobile gaming scene, and the developers really seem like they put a lot of effort into it. It change change mobile gaming like Sword and Sworcery, but it’s a solid game, and a great price for the enjoyment I got out of it.