HomeReviews2.5/5 ReviewOrion Haste Review

Orion Haste Review

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Honestly, I’m getting a little jaded by the smaller, retro styled games that release onto the market, if only as there are only so many ways that I can write an introduction about yet another retro styled platformer. Still, at least moaning about it helps to bump the word count up…

This time we have a game that goes by the name of Orion Haste from Ratalaika Games. Following hot on the heels of Contra: Operation Galuga, this is a run and gun styled gaming experience and so the question must be whether or not Orion Haste can compete with the juggernaut that is Contra. 

Orion Haste review
Run and gun with Orion Haste

Can it compete in terms of the story? Well, no, not really. We are a lone soldier, stuck in a fort in outer space. We pick up a distress signal from a nearby planet, and so decide to go and see what is going on. I mean, what can possibly go wrong? It turns out that in Orion Haste we need to convert the enemies from being alive to being brown bread, utilising a variety of weapons as we go. And that very much sets the scene for a bit of a shooting match. 

Sitting on the retro end of the scale, the character that we play is a faceless soldier who bears a suspicious resemblance to Doom Guy. And from there, the enemies and environments that we find ourselves in are all pixelated and as such work pretty well. There’s nothing you haven’t seen before from a little indie title though, and while it is serviceable, the graphics never really excite. Even the bosses are a bit of an anti climax.

The audio works well though, with four different weapon sounds to unleash and a nice line in grunts when you inevitably get hit. Don’t expect too much and you’ll come away okay. 

So, gameplay then. What is this all about? Well, as I said at the top, Orion Haste is a run and gun game, a shooter and a platformer, if you will. And it feels about right to start with the goodish stuff – the actual shooting is not too bad, and there is a stiff challenge to be found in the game. A lot of that challenge is down to the controls, but there is also some difficulty due to the way the levels are set out. Enemies are plentiful, and the platforming environment makes sure that you are kept on your toes. 

Orion Haste review 2
Enemies are plentiful

You should be aware that if the unthinkable should happen, and all your hearts in the health bar are lost, you have to start the whole stage that you are on again. This is very annoying when you are fighting a boss, as you then have to run through the rest of the level to get back to the boss fight; getting there with enough health is by no means a given. Still, every level is a learning process, and eventually you will find the best way through. 

One thing to mention with the side scrolling levels – if you go past a point, then you cannot go backwards. What this means is that should you see something that you think you should pick up (be it health or a weapon) make sure that you get it before moving on. 

The weapons that you collect in Orion Haste are an interesting bunch, and while there are only four of them, they are quite different. And in an interesting move, you can swap between them at will. The homing missile is good against run of the mill enemies, for instance, while the electro gun can be used to power up lifts and close doors. The bog standard machine gun is what you start with, and the laser rifle is also good for taking out the turrets you see. All in all, the weapons, while not being wildly exciting, are fine. That does mean I’m noticing a pattern with the game…

For the okay, it’s the controls where we next land and here the news is not so good. The shooting operates in an eight directional spiral, but the issue is that in order to aim you have to tilt the left stick – the same stick you use to move. Thus, as you can imagine, if you want to shoot at a diagonal, you end up running towards the thing you are shooting; this narrows the angle and stops you hitting the target. In Orion Haste you’ll find yourself needing to run back, aim up and start all over again. The shooting comes with quite an inaccurate feeling as well, and when you try to fire downwards your guy tends to just lie down and get shot to pieces. All in all, the controls are the biggest issue with the game. 

Orion Haste review 3
Orion Haste is very much middle of the road

So, a conclusion and I would suspect that if you look up “middle of the road” in the dictionary, you’ll stumble upon a picture of Orion Haste. It looks okay, it plays okay, and the controls are okay, if a little stupid sometimes. And that means, we’re left with nothing but an ‘okay’ game. 

There are worse shooters out there than Orion Haste, but there are also many that are a lot better. Including Contra: Operation Galuga…

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Looks alright
  • Challenging levels
Cons:
  • Rarely excites
  • Controls are more of a hindrance than a help
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Ratalaika Games
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC
  • Release date and price - 15 March 2024 | £5.99
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Looks alright</li> <li>Challenging levels</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Rarely excites</li> <li>Controls are more of a hindrance than a help</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Ratalaika Games</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC <li>Release date and price - 15 March 2024 | £5.99</li> </ul>Orion Haste Review
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