Orion Haste Logo
Orion Haste Icon
Orion Haste

Developer: Ratalaika Games

  • Price: $6.99
  • Release Date: Mar 15, 2024
  • Number of Players: 1
  • Last on Sale: -
  • Lowest Historic Price: -
  • ESRB Rating: E10+ [Everyone 10+]
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    A promising, but all-too-brief, bit of run-n-gun action that’s decent while it lasts

    Going back to the original NES days and the iconic Contra, the run-n-gun shooter has been a pretty consistent staple of console systems over the years. There have definitely been some lean periods at times, but in this generation the subgenre seems to have revitalized itself, with both old classics being remade and some new indie takes stirring things up. Jumping into the fray you now have the budget-minded Orion Haste to consider as well, and though it may not be as sexy or accomplished as some of its competition, it still delivers some great moments in its handful of hours or so of runtime.

    Two components help the experience stand out a fair amount, and that’s the combination of some varied and engaging boss fights as well as a willingness to change the action up a bit on a few stages. As hulking damage sponge bosses tend to be a staple of this style of shooter, Orion Haste gladly steps up to the plate to deliver quite nicely in that area. What’s nice is that in general they vary enough in design and attack patterns that they each feel quite distinct, not something every game in the genre can claim. Since just straight-up side-scrolling shooting action can only be so varied after a while, the fact that you get a break and some variety in some stages is refreshing. A little light puzzling, some time spent riding on a hoverbike, and even a spell where it takes on more of a shmup feel absolutely help to keep you guessing, and to maintain a higher level of excitement than if it stuck to the same vanilla formula the whole time.

    All of that said, there are absolutely some issues where the cracks in the armor show through a bit. Foremost among my problems is that you’re pretty quickly equipped with multiple types of guns that you’re able to cycle through at will. Since there was really no incentive to switch between them I just tended to stick with the electrical zapper, but this element felt like a major missed opportunity to either have certain enemies weak only to one weapon or to at least have some ammo limits, so the ability to switch didn’t feel so pointless on the whole. Another is simply that even with some gameplay variety and cool bosses adding some spice the overall experience is just lacking in personality and a good hook to get you excited to jump back in and play. While in the moment it can be engaging, it just doesn’t have that extra oomph to help it be truly memorable in some way.

    While this is far from a bad game, it still ultimately feels quite ordinary. Lacking an engaging story, some interesting characters, or some other means to inject excitement into the mix, it just seems content to just be a good game on a budget, and not much more. Granted, there are far worse things a game can end up being, and especially if it goes on sale it may be a great choice to burn some hours on as a break from meatier fare. As long as you keep your expectations in check it should have just enough variety to pleasantly surprise you, just don’t expect it to blow your mind by any means.

    Justin Nation, Score:
    Good [7.1]

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