IGN Review of Myth Makers: Orbs of Doom
What did the Wii ever do to Destineer? Nintendo's console is home to piles and piles of shovelware, and Destineer has apparently dedicated its existence to making sure this supply of crap never runs out. Myth Makers: Orbs of Doom is part of the publisher's extensive Wii line-up, which also includes gems like the 3.0-rated Rig Racer 2 (psst: there never was a Rig Racer 1) and the 1.0-rated Kidz Sports Ice Hockey. All of these titles appear to have been built with the same assets -- even the back of the boxes use the same template.
The simplest way to describe Orbs of Doom is as a cheap, Super Monkey Ball rip-off. You control a Myth Maker (a group of fantasy characters Destineer is desperately trying to turn into a franchise despite the lack of any sort of background or explanation as to who they are) who is trapped in one of the titular orbs. Using only the Wii Remote, you must tilt your way through many levels of mazes and obstacles that are cruising at 30,000 feet. Now, why are we in this orb? We don't know. Where are we? We don't know. Who are we? We don't know. There isn't the slightest bit of clarification given for what is going on.
What we do know is we have to roll to the goal. Unfortunately, we are not given a map, and we are never allowed a view of the overall level. So you'll spend a lot of time aimlessly wandering around, and if you happen to fall off a ledge (which you will, many, many, many, many, many, many times) you get to start all the way back at the beginning. There are no checkpoints. Destineer was apparently so pleased with its level design it assumed gamers would want to play through these obstacle courses again and again and again. (In the credits, the developers dedicate the game to themselves.)
While the controls sound simple on paper (or on your computer monitor), they will actually end up being one of the most frustrating experiences of your life. The only button used in gameplay is the B trigger for braking. The tilt controls are so jerky you'll find yourself resting on your brakes most of the time, crawling your way through levels inch by inch. You have limited camera control with the D-pad, but it's nearly impossible to use while moving. Moving the camera up or down is like an on/off switch -- you can look all the way up or all the way down, nowhere in between. This is quite unhelpful as you try to navigate through these levels. You can't customize any controls and can't invert the camera.
Since you don't always know where the goal is and viewing your environment is made difficult, the game boils down to a lot of trial and error. Even when you do figure out where to go or what to do, you'll probably die a hundred times before you pass through that gate. Playing this game is a chore. I realize Destineer makes budget games and is probably aiming at casual gamers. But Orbs of Doom is difficult to the point of being aggravating. This is pretty far removed from an inviting, pick-up-and-play experience. Not only will this be too difficult for kids, older gamers won't want to play it around them because of all the swearing they'll be doing.
It's not as well-thought out as Monkey Ball. There aren't secrets to find or shortcuts to exploit. It's possible to get stuck in areas and have to restart. Some of the levels are cleverly designed, but the controls will likely keep you from enjoying them. Most of the game is entirely generic looking, although I do admit I like the hand-drawn Myth Makers in the menus.
Multiplayer is available for up to four people, but if you value your friendships I wouldn't put them through a game of this. Versus modes are a race to the finish line, but all the problems I've mentioned are enhanced when you sacrifice real estate in split-screen.
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