‘The Perplexing Orb’ is a new arcade platformer from Treefall Studios, now available on the WiiU eshop. If you’ve ever played the game Monkey Ball this is very similar, gameplay wise. Your goal is to roll your way to the finish line, which is a totem poll in this case. While also strategically guiding the orb around narrow paths and cliffs without falling off. Its a good idea, and while I did have some fun with it I also see a lot of room for improvement.
From the main menu you can choose to start a new game, load a previous game, play multiplayer or you can check out some of the bonus stages and extras. These can be unlocked by finding shortcuts in the game or collecting artifacts. Artifacts are kind of like the bananas you could collect in Monkey Ball. Getting a certain amount unlocks a small bit of extra content, and it’s something to strive for I guess. When starting a new game you have to go through a short tutorial level. I almost didn’t find it necessary in this specific game seeing as the controls are incredibly simple, but its good that its there in case anyone needs it.
The majority, well, pretty much the only button you’ll be using on the controller is the D-pad and the joystick. The joystick will roll the orb around freely in any direction. The D-pad however, will roll it straight forward in the specific direction you’re pressing at that time. It would have been nice if they added a brake or stop button. The ball is constantly moving, even if its just a little bit. So when you’re in a tight spot its kind of hard to stay where you need to be. I also REALLY hated not being able to move the camera angle while playing. There are a lot of levels where you simple just don’t know where to go, or land after getting some air because you cant see what’s coming next. I’m not sure if that was intentional to add some difficulty but it was a very frustrating part of the game.
The Perplexing Orb isn’t the most visually stunning game either. A lot of the graphics\scenery feel clunky and unfinished. I understand that its a low budget game but it reminds me of like, old school computer graphics or something. So not horrible, but not great either. The main game consists of 7 worlds, each world has a different amount of puzzles and its own little background tune. They can get a little repetitive if you’re stuck on a hard level but honestly its not a bad little soundtrack. When you’re waiting for the game to load little tips will pop up that may tell you something you haven’t figured out yet but I didn’t find them helpful at all. Especially since they repeat themselves so frequently. You can use the gamepad for off screen play but it provides no other extra features. It would have been neat if you could turn on the gyro controls or something and use those. I don’t like them but some people might have enjoyed it.
Multiplayer mode isn’t anything to get excited for. You and a friend can play together using a WiiU Pro controller. There are four stages to choose from, each of them having you race to the goal to see who can get there the fastest. Some cool puzzles or co-op would have been nice. Like having to hold down switches or activate platforms to help the other player progress. The challenge levels that you can unlock with artifacts are also an underwhelming addition. To unlock all four you have to collect a total of 400 artifacts and its basically just 4 extra levels. No challenges included.
The Perplexing Orb had a lot of potential for being a really good puzzle game but it misses the mark. Some levels are quite challenging and other levels will have you saying “that’s all?!”. While it is only $3.99 in the eShop I just don’t think it will be what gamers were hoping for. Being a fan of games like Monkey Ball, I wanted to like The Perplexing Orb and I did. But frustrating camera angles, clunky graphics and lack of features ruined it for me.
Review: The Perplexing Orb (WiiU eShop)
The Perplexing Orb had the potential to be a great addition to the WiiU eShop but its lack of excitement and content made it a very short-lived experience. Frustrating level layouts and not being able to change the camera angle are 2 of this games biggest problems.