It's time to add yet another competitive local multiplayer game to your ever-expanding digital library. However, does 12 Orbits provide enjoyable multiplayer mayhem? Indeed it does so invite the gang over and let's rotate some balls.
You play 12 Orbits with only one button. Yes, it's one of those games. Thankfully, that button has 2 uses. Whenever you're in a grey circle, pushing it makes you rotate around the centre. Outside of these circles, tapping the button simply allows you to dodge. You control a perpetually moving ball and it's your goal to basically avoid different coloured balls while touching neutral white balls to claim them for yourself. Depending on the mode, this can either mean that you collect it to add it to your chain or merely turn it your colour and let it roam the arena in the hopes that it'll take out your opponents. Anyway, you can play with up to 12 local players and setup is as easy as pie even if you lack the necessary number of controllers because you can simply share controllers seeing as each player only needs to use one button. Pretty cool, right?
12 Orbits features very basic yet stylishly colourful visuals that I appreciate a great deal. The menus and gameplay are cohesive and everything comes together to form a polished product that's far from embarrassing to play (unlike a few other indie Switch releases). Although the graphics are unambiguous and crystal clear, I wish there were optional visual themes or some sort of similar feature to help keep the graphics fresh because they get stale after only a short while. On the plus side, the audio is fantastic with plenty of trippy and ambient electronic tunes as well as delightful popping sounds for whenever a player bites the dust.
One awesome aspect of 12 Orbits is the variety of available modes and rules that you can change. For starters, you can play with everyone against each other or divide people up into two teams. The two main modes are Arena where you must avoid different coloured balls while you try and convert white balls to your colour and Trails where you collect white balls to add them to your snake while you try and trap your competitors. Additionally, there are 2 extra team-only modes that include Blizzard which plays like a soccer match and Multiball that's very similar to hockey. On top of these basic modes, you can also select from an array of arenas as well as change a few rules such as map size, blast frequency, and toggling whether players can dodge or not.
Although these multiplayer modes and variations are fantastic and help to mix up the gameplay, it's disappointing that there isn't much single player content. Besides taking the brief tutorial and playing a few practice modes, there really isn't anything to do solo. I wish there was a campaign or list of challenges to master but clearly, multiplayer is where 12 Orbits shines brightest. Finally, if there was online multiplayer then that would have added a ton of replay value. I hope the developer makes a sequel or enhanced edition one of these days and adds online multiplayer because I imagine that people would love to play this online. It's a very unique and clever game.
If you enjoy playing competitive local multiplayer experiences then 12 Orbits is a must-have game. Its deceptively simple gameplay dynamic and large selection of variations make for an addictive and enjoyable time with friends.
- + Simple yet tricky multiplayer gameplay that's great fun with a few friends
- + Stylish visuals and cool music
- + Variety of modes to enjoy
- - Limited single player content
- - Visuals could use themes, etc.
- - No online multiplayer