You know how it goes. You’ve got five minutes to kill while you wait for a delayed tube, (depending on whether Bob Crow has gone all militant again…you could be waiting a lot longer), and your hand slips to your iPhone. Unable to update your friends with a witty Facebook comment about your plans to commandeer a Boris bike and ‘go green our asses’, you need something to fill the internet-less void of the Underground. One word. Orbital.
Lots of iPhone Apps claim to be the ‘ultimate addiction’, a sort of digital heroin that no amount of Blackberry-induced cold turkey can cure you of, however, Orbital is the real deal. Set to a Kraftwerk-esque soundtrack, players are transported into the futuristic world of Orbital, where you are offered three choices, ‘Pure’, ‘Gravity’ and ‘Supernova’; while these may sound like something Liam Gallagher would use to describe his latest clothing line, they are actually the gaming modes in which you play.
The basic crux of Orbital is very simple. You control a swaying cannon that shoots out an ‘orb’ every time that you touch the screen; the orb then bounces around the screen leaving technicolour stars in its wake before it explodes somewhere in space, expanding until it hits another orb or a wall. You can destroy the orbs by firing other orbs directly into them, but woe betide you if you cross the imaginatively named ‘death line’ at the bottom of the screen, as your game will implode before your very eyes. Each gaming mode offers different tweaks to the original (‘Pure’) format, and you have the option to play your friend in multiplayer mode or go online and challenge other Orbital fanatics. Ok, so it’s a little more complicated than, say, Minesweeper, but a hell of a lot more fun.
To summarize, think pinball meets Space Invaders, with a Daft Punk voiceover. All of a sudden you will feel a greater sense of understanding for tube strikes.