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12 orbits (Switch) Review

by Daan Koopman - April 19, 2018, 7:53 am PDT
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A multiplayer game that really tries, but never reaches it's true potential.

Multiplayer games come in various flavors and sizes. When 12 orbits rolled onto my doorstep, it seemed interesting. The ability to play with 12 players with the usage of just a button each is incredible. With simple taps, everyone would take control their character without losing focus on what lies ahead. The concept comes together in four different modes that anyone can get into easily. The major question is, obviously, are these modes even fun to play. Personally I had a hard time figuring this out.

This mostly comes down to the following: those who I played with wanted it to move very quickly. There is no shame in admitting that it happens, but it was disappointing to see. I found the four modes available interesting at the very least. Before we break those down, the thing I was most impressed by was the one button experience. Multiple people could use a singular controller, choose a button and just go. When you press the button, you will move into the orbit of a circle. If you press it again, you will move onward in a specific direction. The control you have is minimal, but that makes the appeal of it so understandable.

With this specific ability in hand, you play various games in which you must outsmart your opponents. Arena sees you painting all the white spheres in a specific color, and you have to make sure that you avoid all other colors. A variant on this can be found in Trials, where you collect the white spheres to become bigger. You can even shoot the collected orbs at your rivals. The team specific modes, Blizzard and Multiball, follow a similar formula. You try to change orbs into your color, and fling them to the base of the opponent. Simple yet effective stuff. The modes aren't spectacular, but they get the point across nicely.

Another finely orchestrated element is the amount of modifiers and maps in 12 orbits. You have 15 maps to choose from with each changing up the way the circles are layed out. Some give you room to avoid, while others are focused on very close encounters. You can even change the maps further with the modifiers, which come with multiple presets to choose from. From King of the Hill battles to the Madness option, everything in this ensures that game feels constantly unique.

That being said, I can't deny 12 orbits' shortcomings. While the game goes for a minimalistic atmosphere, it feels very simple with those intentions. Colored orbs run this show as there isn't much else to really look at. The music doesn't really help matters as it simply didn't click with me. Another missed chance is an online multiplayer component. With these simple movements, I could see some insanely big matches being possible, which is sadly something the developers didn't decide upon. Outside of local play, there isn't much else you can really do in 12 orbits. Yes, this is to be expected, but it is important to least point out.

In general, I found 12 orbits to be just okay. The multiplayer options and modifiers were pretty impressive, and the developer deserves to be praised here. That being said, its lasting appeal is very limited and I fell out of it after a while. The simple look and similarities between the different modes caused my friends to get bored quickly. I really can't see this being the creator's true intentions.

Summary

Pros
  • Fun modifiers
  • Good amount of options
  • Sound controls
Cons
  • Feels pretty samey after a while
  • Lack of online component
  • Uninspired look

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Game Profile

Genre Puzzle
Developer
Players1 - 12

Worldwide Releases

na: 12 orbits
Release Apr 27, 2018
RatingEveryone

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