The Starsmith Orion is seeking to immortalize the most important fables of the day, and is currently looking for a new apprentice to help him place them in the sky via constellations. Have you ever played a physics based puzzle game centered around the placement of attractors and repellers before, wherein you were challenged to bend gravity in order to succeed? Those who said yes already have a pretty good idea of what to expect from Trinket Studio’s recently released Orion’s Forge (out now, $0.99), except that this game has far higher production values than most of its contemporaries.
For those not familiar with any titles featuring similar gameplay, the goal of Orion’s Forge is to carefully arrange a limited number of towers in order to bend the flow of physics such that the star bits reach their intended destination and forge the next part of the constellation currently in progress. This is controlled via a simple – and immediately intuitive – array of touch and drag controls, leaving no moments in Orion’s Forge where the player will ever have to deal with issues of input frustration. As the game progresses forward the player will also have to deal with new elements that are introduced over time; these include things such as beams that change a tower’s type when they are dragged through them, or even towers that turn themselves off and on in a fixed sequence.
As each star in a constellation is forged through the careful guidance of the little star bits, the next line in the intergalactic fable the constellation references will be delivered to the player. While these fables freely reference a diverse pantheon of cosmic species that the gamer will most assuredly have never before heard of, the stories themselves cover a variety of classical morality tales that will immediately make sense despite the exotic backdrops being employed. Thanks to the unique and charming hand drawn images that accompany each and every line of these fables, the delivery of these stories become a major motivator in pushing players onwards in their star forging adventures.
While Orion’s Forge won’t do much to win over people whom weren’t already enamored with titles similar to this, its high production values – and solidly designed puzzle scenarios – ensure that this celestial journey is at the top of its class. However, something puzzle game aficionados should keep in mind before they embark on the path of a star forging apprentice is that this game – with no mentions made of future content updates – is pronouncedly short with a mere 33 puzzles to solve (completely doable in a single day). Still, I reiterate that Orion’s Forge has been offered for an extremely low price and all of what is here – especially in light of the delightfully whimsical cosmic parables – is a rewarding package all the same.
iFanzine Verdict: Orion’s Forge, while it might not necessarily make converts of people who weren’t already fans of physics based puzzle games, will definitely please the faithful with its combination of tight controls and high production values. The only downside here is that this is a decidedly short adventure, with only a scant 33 puzzles available, and as such many experienced puzzle gamers will probably blow through the entire package in a single afternoon.