Retro Lets Go!

So in my ever advancing years, I often long for nostalgia. So when the Orb 8-bit retro gaming handheld arrived I was thrilled at the chance to review it.

The Orb as I’ll be referring to it impressed me right off the bat with its petite stature. This thing is tiny, it fits easily in the palm of your hand. The device is so small in fact that its size may be an issue to you gamers with larger mitts. Luckily, in this case, I didn’t find it to be a problem. The screen (1.8 inch LCD) is impressively bright and clear. Now when I think back to my rose-tinted youth and the legend that is the original Gameboy (that beast is always so much bigger than I remember) I often forget the nightmare that was its screen, any light shining meant that you couldn’t see a darn thing. The Orb, however, doesn’t suffer this problem at all. Seeing as The Orb accompanied me on holiday to sunny Spain it was a huge point of praise for me.

The Orb that for some reason I kept calling Orby (I’ll blame the heat in Spain) features 152 retro games…now here’s where my first issue with Orby. Marketed as retro games, they are in fact 152 retro-inspired games that are two the last clones of actual retro titles. A great number of them have uninspired names such as ‘Matchstick Man’ and insanely difficult beat em up, or ‘Football’ which is simply a penalty shootout. The most egregious of these clones is the last game on the machine. The brilliantly named ‘Bear VS Bald’. It will take you all of 2 seconds to realise this is Mario Bros. Our beloved Italian plumber is replaced by a chunky bear and the baddies are bald white men in cars…Yeah, I didn’t get that either. There’s even a POW block!


Now, these games being clones meant I started to lose interest pretty quickly. With the plethora of other handheld devices available and not to mention mobile phones, gaming on the go has never been so easy to access, there are so many original IP’s out there to play that playing clones just isn’t appealing. Heck even if you fancy playing an old beloved title you can play Final Fantasy VII on your mobile! 

Having said that it would be unfair to leave out the fact that I had a lot of fun playing with The Orb, The issues I have with ‘clones’ aside, it didn’t actually stop me enjoying the core gameplay. I worked my way through as many of the games as I could. I didn’t play them in any particular order, I’d just boot up whatever game caught my eye with its sometimes amusing name. That all came screeching to a halt once I found PI WANG! Yes, I giggled at the name, yes, I should know better, and  Yep, I giggled when I typed it.  PI WANG sees you take on the role of an adorably chubby panda. The game sees you guiding the big bear cat (That’s the literal translation of the Chinese for panda) across The Great Wall of China. Of course, the great wall has many gaps and you must guild the Panda across the wall leaping over each gap, collecting bamboo along the way. Sounds fairly simple and it is, but it’s the way you traverse the larger gaps in the great wall. Now we’ve established earlier with my PI WANG giggles that I have a childish sense of humour (which from now on I’ll be referring to as a retro sense of humour). So you can imagine my delight that you propel our cute black and white buddy across yawning gaps in one of the wonders of the world…by farting, not to mention the brilliant sound effect that accompanies the bamboo fuelled propulsion.


Now since returning from Spain, I’ve gone back to The Orb time and time again. Not for prolonged periods of time but for little hits of retro-styled fun, and to be honest, this has surprised me based on my first impressions.

The Orb 8-bit retro gaming handheld could happily and snuggly fit into your gaming collection, It’s not going to wow you but coming in at most retailers under £20 it’s most surely good value for money. It’s sure to entertain you and it would be great as a gift for a younger gamer. 

Orb 8-bit retro gaming handheld provided by Orb.