Little Orpheus Review thumbnail

Little Orpheus Review

An adventure fit for a cosmonaut

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing an Xbox One on 👨‍🚀

Little Orpheus is also available for PS4 and Nintendo Switch

Little Orpheus is rated Everyone by the ESRB

2D platformers are some of the most rewarding games but what about one that tells an over-the-top tale? Well, here's Little Orpheus.

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Little Orpheus screenshot 1
Why do I get the feeling that something's behind me?

Meet Ivan

Little Orpheus has you play as a cosmonaut named Ivan Ivanovich who's on a mission to explore the centre of the Earth and the game's title refers to his exploration craft which unfortunately breaks down. The story that follows is told via a conversation with his superior General Yurkovoi and you'll initially assume that everything Ivan's saying is made up because it's just too fantastical to be true. It's this silly premise that makes Little Orpheus a stand-out game and one that's full of charm as if it were a Saturday morning cartoon. v1d30chumz 3-239-112-140

Spectacle abound

The campaign within Little Orpheus will have you explore a series of very distinct environments that range from dinosaur-filled jungles to underwater caverns and abstract cloudscapes to inside of a sea creature. It's an undeniably memorable adventure that's filled with spot-on animation, excellent music, detailed and colourful environments, and solid voice acting that makes the main character relatable even if they are a bit incompetent. Overall, I'd love to see more of this premise and setting; preferably in a better game. 😅

Little Orpheus screenshot 2
I'm a boy in a bubble just like John Travolta

Gameplay (kind of)

Yes, it's true; I didn't really enjoy my time actually playing Little Orpheus. In fact, the vast majority of the campaign primarily consists of holding left or right on the stick while watching Ivan run. Occasionally, you may have to tap a button to leap over or duck under something. Then, there's the odd puzzle which are all so incredibly simple and easy that anyone would know what their solutions are by simply glancing at the situation: push a block over there, turn that valve, hover on some air vent; yeah, I get it. 😴

At least there's some variety

With all of that in mind, Little Orpheus features certain moments that help offer a little bit of variety. For example, there's a horizontal shoot 'em up segment near the end that's rather clunky but at least it's something different. There are also some stealth segments where you merely wait for guards to move before you can advance. If you happen to mess up, you'll restart not far back so there aren't really any repercussions for failure. Even though anyone could play it due to its simplicity, it's all so overwhelmingly basic that it can be quite boring at times. Also, the controls are finicky, too, and lining yourself up to interact with things can be especially irritating. 😐

Replay incentives

On the plus side, Little Orpheus features a wealth of collectibles in each stage that offer things such as costumes which are rather goofy yet satisfying rewards. However, you can't collect any of these on your first playthrough as they're made available to snag only after you complete a level once which I truly don't understand. Why do the developers think that anyone would prefer to play through a stage without collectibles first? It's a baffling decision that only serves to extend play time and make the gameplay feel even more tedious. 🤷

Little Orpheus screenshot 3
I wish this apparition would brush its teeth

I thoroughly enjoyed Little Orpheus' premise and imaginative game world so it's unfortunate that its gameplay is as basic and unchallenging as it is. Plus, having collectibles spawn only after you complete stages makes for some super-tedious replay value.

  • + Silly premise with solid voice acting and spectacular situations
  • + Gameplay that anyone can master
  • + Unlockables make for goofy rewards
  • - Simplistic gameplay is rather boring, unchallenging, and finicky
  • - Collectibles only appear after completing levels which is irritating
5.6 out of 10
Gameplay video for Little Orpheus thumbnail
Watch A.J. play Little Orpheus
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