Orbital Racer is a realistic space-sim pilot racer originally released for PC in 2017, now available on Xbox One and Series X. At a standard indie game price for nominal quality, I think this is one of the best racing games I have ever played. Players are given a selection of ring wing fighter jets that can be raced with or without combat. Each race starts off in an area in orbit around a planet in our solar system. You will navigate your ship through HUD point rings with beautiful space scenery in the background and collect power-ups to earn your place in each competition, which is also customizable. Even with video game perks like the power-ups, it is highly realistic and one of the best space racers out there.
I hope that was an appropriately generous tribute to this wonderful game since I truly loved playing Orbital Racer. Since I did mention the subject of realism in this game, do note that this game actually has two options: action or simulation. They’re what they sound like, perfectly appropriate ooh and ahs for the average action seeker gamer, and simulation for those of us who are preparing for internships at the ISS, well I am at least.
I rather enjoy the action profile features of this game. Those of us that fantasize about space probably know it’s not all making the spice flow and using the force. We have physics to account for. That’s also not as cool as drifting through a hud ring while deploying a plasma mine, however, I could go either way for Orbital Racer.
Orbital Racer: A REALISTIC Space Racer
My experience with Orbital Racer has some backstory. This past week I’ve been doing a sort of study on space games, read previous posts for more info. I kept searching for a realistic space racing game. It was a desperate situation I mostly play free games, but I saw this one on Steam and liked the look of the ring spaceships with extraplanetary space stations in the background.
I don’t really know what the purpose of a ring ship is, but it seems like it would do something realistic. It slightly reminds me of the ship that either Anakin or Obi-Wan fly in the prequels, I can’t remember why. Sorry, I am totally juicing on the force lately, perhaps I’ll remember to use that on May 4th, I doubt it though. Anyway, there are really not enough games like this out there to have a selection, so I narrowed in on a reasonable indie title and here I am!
So, alright, is this like actually… “realistic?” I don’t know. Space has taken us to some weird places, and I’m not just talking about Mars. Remember that space pen that they spent a million dollars on developing for space use until they realized that a pencil was actually cheaper and better? I don’t know if that is even true; I feel like I saw it in a movie, but we do things in space we wouldn’t normally do. We’re constantly looking to imprint our culture onto our scientific achievements. So, yeah, maybe we will build these crazy ring racer starfighters and hold competitions in space. I ain’t paying for it, but I will pay for this game to show my support!
In Terms of Games: Excellent
The thing I appreciate in this game has some to do with “science,” but a lot more with what I consider a good investment in a “science-themed game.” There are no tears here. Only dreams. And next time I feel like crunching an MK8 session, I might think, well, I could also play Orbital Racer. Or Hotshot Racing, but whichever. I like that kind of freedom. I often play racing games when I want to expend some priorities for a moment. It’s a good way to regroup real quick or refocus without getting way too deep into a game that requires me to focus.
What really makes me wonder is how on Earth did this game get so overlooked. I’m serious. It does have one major issue, which is no multiplayer, but I never play multiplayer so to me, it is pretty much perfect. I would love to see some DLC for this or heck, I’d even try the multiplayer at least once if it were offered, so I’m just putting that out there.
This is an indie game though, what a triumph. “I’m making a note here: huge success,” as GlaDOS sings at the end of Portal 2. Everything is just right. And even with a controller, it is stellar, even better. I used a DS4 with an app to emulate the Xbox controller and so can you. So arrive as you like, Orbital Racer is prepared.
Orbital Racer: Packed With Content
This game was released for Xbox in March of 2021, which may have brought you here. I played the Steam version, but I can only be certain that the Xbox version is also excellent. Some of the screenshots and videos I encountered seem to downplay the detail I found when playing this myself; I don’t know what that’s about. I suppose there have been patches and updates. And honestly, if you opt for simulation mode, with realistic physics, realism is the least of qualities lacking. The cosmic background is astounding.
I’m going to borrow this list from Steam, because it is more efficient in description than I would give it:
- fully customizable controls
- 8 distinct locations, all based on real places in our Solar System
- a total of 24 tracks
- a full, playable flight school for Simulation mode.
- 3 different ship models, each with additional 3 variants
- a challenging yet flexible AI
- customizable races
- a compelling career mode
Do A Barrel Roll
Yeah, it’s all there, and it’s good! I’m going to be playing every aspect of this game until I’ve absorbed every detail.
I hope you enjoyed readings this. This really was one of my favorite reviews. I hope you’ll join me on more gaming adventures at MrDavePizza.com. I write about games, I say what’s on my mind. Feel free to look around and read as much as you like. It’s all free!