Developper: Cataire Studios
Based in Clermont-Ferrand, France
Release date: 30 June 2021
Platforms: PC Windows / Steam
- USD: 11.99
- EUR: 9.99
- GBP: 9.29
Discover Orb and the Stars, a marble video game where you’ll explore various constellations to relight the stars!
The first game of french indie game developer Cataire Studios is a revival of vintage marble mazes and table-top marble games, in a poetic, colorful and space setting.
In Orb and the Stars, the player meets Ptolemy, a renowned astronomer from Antiquity, who is faced with a problem: the constellations he’s studying are extinguishing one after another, for no apparent reason.
Using a marble called “the orb”, the player will explore these constellations from the Southern Hemisphere one after another, in order to rekindle their stars. Throughout the levels, the player meets colorful characters symbolizing the constellations, each of which has its own theme:
- Canis Major, the constellation of the greater dog, brings the player in the forest, to meet the dog Sirius.
- Corvus, the constellation of the crow, is a fly in the sky through cloud mazes, alongside the crow Algorab.
- Cetus, the constellation of the Whale, is an exploration of the sea depths, where the player will briefly meet the whale Mira.
- And so on.
The core of Orb and the Stars is to bring back the player to the pleasure he felt by playing marble games, like typical tabletop marble games of the 90’s (such as the classic “Screwball Scramble” from TOMY), with all the additions that the video game media can bring to these games.
As such, it’s not a game where you control directly the marble (except in a specific level that is a tribute to video games). The player moves the marble with several gizmos, like boards that can be tilted, springs where the launch force has to be adjusted, direction plates where the player can choose in which direction the marble is launched, and so on.
Every constellation is composed of four levels, all ending with a boss fight against a fantastic foe coming from the constellation. This final ordeal uses the game mechanics met in the previous level, in a totally different context.
For those who love challenges, there is a side objective in the game: collect all the star shards scattered throughout the levels. As a reward, the player will unlock new skins for the orb, Steam achievements and the satisfaction of the full completion of the game!
The game requires dexterity and thinking, offering an increasing challenge until the last level, which require a real planning of actions to progress to the next zone.
The whole game can be played with a standard controller, just a keyboard or a keyboard and mouse combination. Improvements to the game are planned to increase the comfort of the keyboard and mouse setting.
About Cataire Studios
Cataire Studios is a newly founded indie video game studio, founded in February 2020 and based in Clermont-Ferrand, France. It’s made up of a single person, Pierre-Marie Aubineau, which takes care of all the game components: development, graphics, game design, modeling, music…
“Cataire” is the french word for “Catnip”, a plant that cats enjoy a lot.
This studio is a story that goes back to the 90s, and the discovery for the founder of the Atari ST and PCs. It unleashed a permanent desire to create video games, which has resulted in many hours spent in level editors, in the creation of 3D maps for multiplayer FPS, lots of notebooks blackened by storyboards and game concepts. No game release just yet, but this desire to create virtual worlds never died out.
At 34, taking advantage of a good alignment of the stars, and motivated by nice success stories of indie game devs, Pierre-Marie decides to give it a go, and to embark on the creation of video game from scratch, updating his knowledge of development, 3D and musical composition.
Orb and the Stars is not one of the concepts he originally planned to develop for one of his first games. It’s a game that was born a bit by mistake, when testing features of the Unity game engine, and realizing the immediate enjoyment one could get from moving a virtual marble on a board. Since then, the project has grown, has been enriched with a story, and a stellar and poetic goal: to rekindle the stars!