O.R.B. - PC

Also known as: Off-World Resource Base

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Viewed: 3D Third-person, floating camera Genre:
Strategy: Combat
Media: CD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Strategy First Soft. Co.: Strategy First
Publishers: Mindscape (GB)
Released: 19 Nov 2002 (US)
14 Mar 2003 (GB)
Ratings: 3+
No Accessories: No Accessories


With Star Trek games being the most populated series in the space-based shoot-em-up, it's sometimes hard for rival developments to get the attention they rightly deserve. Mindscape's ORB is one title that should avoid this downfall and is one of the most visually pleasing games we've ever come across, whatever the genre.

ORB, which is short for Off-World Resource Base, is a hardcore RTS game that pits the forces of two races against each other in a desperate struggle for domination across dozens of worlds and solar-systems in an effort to control the resources they need in order to expand their empire.

In what is a remarkably free-roaming game, players can extract resources from asteroid belts to expand fleets, research new technologies to upgrade existing ships, build new models, capture enemy ships and steal technology to open up new research branches. The hard part is deciding what to do and when, and that's where the strategy comes in.

Gameplay in some respects is complicated, though training missions will teach you the basics of space colonisation. There's a lot of pointing and clicking to be done as you select single units or groups of units and assign them to varying tasks. Your ability to command troops and expand your resources will grow with practice, just give it time.

As the accompanying screenshots attest, ORB is undoubtedly a work of art. Despite environments being space-based, there's all manner of planets, moons and colourful nebulas contributing to ORB's visual splendour, and on-screen units and weapons fire are equally spectacular.

ORB is a cracking game to look at and great fun to play.