Worbital is a strategy title with a twist – instead of controlling armies in ground warfare, you instead are defending an entire planet, your movement dictated by it’s orbit around the Sun. Other planets and celestial bodies also inhabit the same solar system – for now. The ultimate aim is to wipe them out of existence, cracking open the planets surface to reveal the soft, highly combustible core to your arsenal of weapons. These space faring munitions must also follow the laws of gravity, weaving in and around planets orbits. While it may sound complicated, Worbital is really rather easy to pick up and play, though the novelty of it’s USP doesn’t tend to make the drawn out battles hold your interest.
There are 3 factions to align yourself with – Terrene, Lucid and Celestial – that offer up differing weapons and perks. From my time playing, I found that they all feel fairly balanced yet unique, providing a different play style. There’s a short single player experience to play through to get acquainted with each, offering up a handful of missions alongside a short and sweet story. Things do get mixed up here, with the win conditions altering from all out destruction – such as only having limited weapons to destroy the structure on your rivals planet.
In play, Worbital keeps the construction aspects of the genre. Here, you have 8 points across the surface of the planet upon which to build. Choose wisely though, as not only is the planet orbiting the Sun, but also rotating on it’s own access. A weapon that started off facing the enemy may be on the dark side of the planet by the time you get within range to use it. I liked the added depth to the planning this created, forcing me to keep one eye on the trajectory of all the planets involved. Not only can you build weapons such as rockets, mortars, machine guns and more that adhere to the physics or the universe, but there are also more powerful weapons that require strict timing to use such as the laser. Gravity won’t affect it’s direction, but that means you only have a short window to use it before the gravitational alignments are out of whack, effectively making the weapon useless.
Resource gathering buildings, shields and even low range defensive weapons can also be placed, though again they’ll need careful consideration on location – it’s not much use having a shield on the wrong side of the planet! With only 8 slots, things can get intense when the artillery starts flying. Thankfully, an intuitive control scheme makes it fairly easy to keep on top of things. The left stick directs your cursor around a plan view of the planet in the upper corner of the screen. Simply highlight an empty area and press A to view all options. As you gather resources, more powerful tiers become available culminating in a planet shattering final weapon.
Battles tend to be drawn out affairs though, with a slow deliberate pace that while not wholly unpalatable, can mean that by the end of rounds you’ll be wishing the end would come. This does allow plenty of planning time, but should you already have a full planet then you’ll likely find yourself sitting around doing nowt for a period of time.
Perhaps the biggest shame though is that the main focus is clearly the multiplayer aspect. Not in that it isn’t fun, but that the servers are unfortunately barren. I spent a fair while waiting in several lobbies to match with someone to no avail. AI can fill in the gaps, but that’s less than ideal – there’s only so many times I can lose to the AI instead of real players… Local multiplayer allows for up to 4 competitors to duke it out, so at least you can get a taste of it when you manage to gather a few mates round.
Worbital is a fun strategy title that utilises gravity, physics and over the top weaponry to great effect. While the battles can drag on a little too long at times, there’s something to the spectacle of the space battles. It’s a shame that the online side of things seems so barren as it would definitely make for a decent chill out title in between other games.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.