Thanks to Treefall Studios for the review code
Title: The Perplexing Orb
System: Wii U (eShop)
Release date: 1/14/2016
The main game/story
In this game, you take control of a ball who’s on an epic quest to destroy every pole in the world. How does he do this, you may ask? Why by smashing right into each and every one of course!
Similar to Maze, the previous title from this publisher that I reviewed, the graphics are minimalistic at best, with incredibly simple 3D models put on even simpler backgrounds. While none of the combinations hurt your eyes thankfully, they do look rather cheap, although there are a few cool levels (mostly in the bonus category) which look a lot nicer, mainly due to them being influenced by the studio’s other titles.
Music and Sound
Just like with the visuals, we have yet another game with a simple, repeating soundtrack. There’s really nothing worth mentioning about the music except for the fact that it exists and that it’s really boring. Out of all the songs in the game, only one of them was a song that I would consider memorable or good, and that was the song that plays in the Maze bonus level. (a theme that I assume is from said game)
The Perplexing Orb is a physics based puzzle game, where you must carefully guide the orb on a path to the finish while collecting items known as “Artifacts”, with each level ending upon knocking down the pole at the end of each stage. With a concept similar to Super Monkey Ball, you pretty much have the recipe for a decent game, and in the first world, it seems like it’ll be just that. Unfortunately, World 2 is where the game’s problems start to show. One thing you’ll notice right off the bat is the inability to change the camera, which can make some levels downright maddening to complete due to the lack of any checkpoints or any ability to accurate tell the distance for the blind jumps you’ll be pulling off in some stages. I even encountered a very annoying bug where after the perspective change at the end of a level in world 2, it stayed locked in that perspective anytime I returned to that level, essentially making every subsequent playthrough of that level blind.
It doesn’t help that most of the worlds start out slow with moderate difficulty, only to suddenly have a ridiculous trap or platform thrown in on the last level to increase the difficulty. This sudden difficulty spike downright makes the game’s lack of checkpoints even more apparent, as while most levels aren’t too long, some of them can just drag, making a death at the end that much more frustrating. To my knowledge, the only other world that doesn’t throw such a sharp difficulty spike at the end is World 4, which stays consistently fair and challenging throughout, like it should be.
So with the main game out of the way, let’s talk about the bonus levels! Upon getting a certain amount of artifacts during the game, you can unlock extra levels that are either incredibly challenging (if you need more levels to infuriate you, although ironically I didn’t find most of these nearly as bad as the difficulty spikes in the main worlds) or a small tribute to Treefall’s other titles, such as Maze and the upcoming Pitterpot. These tribute levels are fun, albeit rather short, making it a small incentive towards obtaining as many artifacts as you can find.
In conclusion, The Perplexing Orb is a decent game that suffers from irritating difficulty spikes, along with the lack of a controllable camera. For the price of $4, you will get your money’s worth at least, but don’t be fooled by the visuals; this is a challenging game, and whether it’s a fair challenge or not is up for you to decide. It includes a local multiplayer mode, but unfortunately I was unable to test it before getting the review written. If you don’t mind these flaws, then The Perplexing Orb isn’t the worst choice in the world, although there are more fair games that you can get for around the same price. I give The Perplexing Orb a 4 out of 10.