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Dark Orbit

Dark Orbit
  • Release Date: Dec of 2006
  • Publisher: Bigpoint
  • Developer: Bigpoint
  • Genre: action
  • Official Site

Dark Orbit is a free browser-based space shooter MMO that takes players into the interstellar battles. Select one of three companies, pilot your spaceships to battle against NPC aliens or take on other players, and work for your own interest and in the service for your company. PvP-oriented as it is, the game presents a vast galaxy and leaves it as the play ground for all.

To start with, you don’t create characters, but just select one company – MMO, EIC or VRU – to join. Three companies resort to different means yet their ultimate goal is the dominance over the galaxy. So is described in scripts, but the selection of faction doesn’t make much difference to the combat. Once the choice is made, you will enter an overview interface that displayers in-game profiles and icons leading to different game functions such as quest, hangar, galaxy gate and in-game currencies, etc.. Players can just sum up by a quick glance and jump into the game.

Before players start to complete the first assignment, a screen shows up to teach the basics covering how to operate ships (all start with the same basic starjet Phoenix), shoot down aliens and enemy ships to collect xp and collect ores to exchange for credits at the space station. Then you are good to go. The space is expansive and scarcely populated by static planets, leaving the much room as battlefields. As your Phoenix slowly moves around, it will encounter passing raw resources and glowing bonus boxes which offers a way to earn credits and some items, and AI-controlled enemy ships which exist mainly for you to finish quests and accumulate xp and cargo boxes. These ships are rather passive that they only fight back when you shoot them in the first place. In the beginning, you are safe doing bland tasks, but you bet that’s only a prelude to the challenging PvP ahead.

You can attack other players anytime as freely as they could do to you. That creates the tense ambience and the necessity of teamwork and better ships. Your initial slow Phoenix with its weak ammo for laser and rocket perhaps makes do farming NPC vessels. But it’s better to have a more powerful ship with better engine, shield and ammo to confront real players. In shop, you can find ten different types of ships and quite a lot of items to boost the ship configurations, such as drones, generators, P.E.T. and AI Protocols, to speak nothing of the weapons and ammo. Since credits only get you basic weapons, Uridium, the hard-gained premium currency that is needed to buy more powerful items or repair damaged ships, is certain to tilt the level play ground. Group fight is fun; and the fact that every ship can move around freely during battles adds a layer of strategy in teamwork. There are also clans that can be joined or created, offering various help at the cost of some credits (as tax or membership fee).

Besides the quest line and open PvP, Dark Orbit also provides special events at times to spice up the gameplay. The very first event, for example, is the Jackpot Battle which encourages all participants to fight each other to be the only survivor so as to win real cash based on the number of Jackpot dollars collected during match. Afterwards, there are a rich variety of activities such as the Team Deathmatch, Capture the Beacon (like the capture-flag) and Invasion and so on.

Dark Orbit is a space shooter with really simple and direct style. From the interface to the space combat, none is rendered with complexity. Generally speaking, graphics and combat can fall flat due to the lack of variety; quests are bland and PvE contents are limited; but the rich PvP as well as the special events really makes the game. Overall, it’s a nice pick-up that is best enjoyed with short rounds of play every day.

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