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PAX EAST: Orbital Bullet Hands-On Impressions

The universe seems to have a fascination with circles. Our planets are circular. Our stars are circular. In the case of Orbital Bullet, lasers are circular. From developer Smokestab Games comes Orbital Bullet, an action-packed arcade title with a circular twist. A demo of the game was available at the Indie Megabooth Minibooth, a specially selected array of games that are top-notch and known for their talent and ingenuity. I had a chance to play Orbital Bullet for a brief moment, and so far, Orbital Bullet is looking to be a very tight and addictive game.

Orbital Bullet takes place in a  dangerous future, where loot is more important than life, though if you die, your consciousness can be transferred tot he nearest clone. Across entire star systems, ravenous enemies run amok. As a mercenary, you set out to kill giant aliens, earn loot, and have access to the most devastating hardware around, pun intended. Orbital Bullet squarely focuses on the action, which is great for players looking for a fantastic arcade experience.

For those that remember arcade classics, such as Defender, or more recent trade hits like Resogun, this game will feel familiar, but also entirely new. My demo had me go through two stages to encounter the various alien enemies, as well as gain access to cutting edge weapons. Orbital Bullet presents itself in a 3D environment, with the player as a 2D sprite. Navigating the level in a circular pattern, players fight the enemies that have been littered across the stage. The enemies are various creatures, with some taking flight, and others being shielded. Fighting large numbers of the enemies can be a challenge, but fortunately, players are armed to the teeth.

During my demo, I had access to a small but enjoyable weapons set. First was the traditional laser assault rifle, but before long, I was handling explosives and using a large laser cannon to clear the entire screen of enemies. Using certain weapons would alter the environment as well, creating more wiggle room to avoid enemies. Moving and shooting were fast and responsive, and using the weapons was incredibly satisfying. In one instance, the giant laser cannon I wielded fired an entire beam across the entire stage, all the way around. Doing so vaporized enemies and destroyed obstacles all the way around, which was exciting to see. The overall sensation made me feel invincible!

Towards the later areas of the demo, Orbital Bullet showcased the ability to switch lanes, between the foreground and background. Doing so allowed me to navigate the level more easily, but also presented more opportunities for enemies to ambush me. At this moment, the game almost became like a fast-paced puzzle, which, in addition to constantly moving and shooting, was incredibly frantic and fast-paced. Overall, the gameplay in Orbital Bullet is strong.

What was presented to me was the tip of the iceberg for this game. Orbital Bullet, when completed, will feature procedurally-generated worlds, permanent progression through body upgrades, and impactful choices that will affect your time in levels, as well as your Homebase and allies. One interesting feature will be automatic transitions, in which the players will automatically be teleported to the top and onto the new level, once all enemies have been cleared. This will be done to maintain pacing and momentum.

I had a good time with Orbital Bullet. The game is looking to take a familiar concept and breath new life into through its tight gameplay, great action, and sharp premise. While Orbital Bullet has a long path for its development, it’s shaping to be the next addictive arcade game!

Orbital Bullet is slated for potential release in 2020. It is available for wishlisting on Steam.

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