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Developer: Hocobi
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 4

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

It’s easy to look at Orbital Jumper and think that this is just another jumping game, where the player controls a character who must constantly ascend to new heights. This is the game at its core, but it is also quite different from its endess jumper brethren in the way it plays. The player character, Nuno, does not automatically jump; the player must hold down on the screen to charge up a jump bar that controls how far upward he jumps. As well, there are various powerups and powerdowns available, from skyward launchers to icons that cause the screen to scroll downward while standing on a platform.

That the game has its own mechanic makes it better than a lot of similar endless jumper games based on that alone; too often, these games feel identical to one another, and a new kind of mechanic makes it a lot more fun to play. The charge to jump mechanic takes a little bit to get used to, but it works well, and strategies can be formulated based on whether it’s worth it to pre-charge jumps in midair or to jump when landing; the former becomes necessary when the screen is scrolling downward and getting back in the air is necessary. The game comes with a level-based mode to teach players the game and to offer variety to the game, as the levels play around the games’ various elements.

Orbital Jumper’s music, however, is ill-fitting for a space jumping game, as it’s a classical-inspired piece with a choir chanting Latin. The irony is fun at first, but it quickly gets quite grating, as the piece is quite short and repeats every 30 seconds. I turned it off eventually. The tilt controls calibrate at the beginning of each level; the game does not allow for recalibrating when paused, however.

Orbital Jumper’s yet another entry into a very crowded genre, and the things it does won’t necessarily replace the Doodle Jump games of the world, but it brings a little freshness to a genre that can still be fun, but has been desperately in need of new ideas.

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