Free Games I Like: Orton and the Princess

Posted on 15th Jun 2010 at 13:57 by Joe Martin with 7 comments

Joe Martin
I’m a firm believer that it’s better to do something simple very well than it is to fumble something more complicated. So, it’s no surprise that I like indie platformer Orton and the Princess – it’s uncomplicated and polished to perfection. You are the beige square. The eponymous Princess is the pink square. You have to get to the pink square. Then the next level begins.

Gameplay-wise, Orton and the Princess isn’t any different to dozens of other platform games. Avoid the spikes, dodge the traps, reach the end of the level, set a high score. It does a few things though which help to set it apart – little things, like having an incredibly energetic banjo theme tune. Ding-ding-ding,duh-dong-ding!

The best thing about Orton and the Princess is the narrator, who weaves a subtle humour and irony into the story. He lies to you, telling you that you can walk across the spikes without harm. He teases you, telling you to jump like an Italian plumber. He derides you, telling you that everyone else completed the level you’re on in one go.

The narrator isn’t something wholly original or startlingly brilliant, but it does provide just enough of a twist to keep you playing. It helps that the game itself is so fluid and fast too.

Orton and the Princess isn’t the only game to use an anarchic, unreliable narrator though – and one of my favourite ones which also uses this style is Seven Minutes, whose guiding voice isn’t just unruly, but incredibly evil. Seven Minutes is, in many ways, the opposite of Orton on the Princess. Where Orton is easy and fun, Seven is difficult and punishing. Where one is light, the other is dark. You should try them both out and let me know your thoughts in the forums.


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Tangster 15th June 2010, 17:54 Quote
These games reminded me of how much I hate platformers.
TCoZ 15th June 2010, 20:18 Quote
I've played both games, and I disliked Orton and the Princess but liked Seven Minutes. Seven Minutes is an interesting concept and thought about humanity applied quite well (although hit detection seemed off and max jump height seemed to vary a lot). It felt like more VVVVVV in a way, another platformer I loved. Orton, on the other hand, was annoying. The narrator certainly doesn't help, and it's exceptionally annoying if you accidentally mess up near the end of a difficult level and have to redo all the difficult bits at the start (especially that stupid Garbage Chucker). Also, jumping is x instead of up. I hate that.

EDIT: Also: The music in Seven Minutes really adds to the feel of the game, whereas the music in Orton was like the game was mocking me :P
MonkeyNutZ 16th June 2010, 04:33 Quote
I'd recommend linking to the direct download on the developers website (found here instead of a flash site that tries (and fails) to install a plugin.
Toploaded 16th June 2010, 07:20 Quote
Thought it was kinda cool, but due to having to move with my right hand and jump with my left, I didn't bother playing past the 3rd level. Why he didn't use the up key for jump is beyond me.
Bad_cancer 16th June 2010, 09:48 Quote
Evil garbage thrower is evil!

Also playing with 2 hands was ok, It reminded me of playing Mario.
Maybe that was the point?
mi1ez 16th June 2010, 13:11 Quote
I’m a firm believer that it’s better to do something simple very well than it is to fumble something more complicated.
mi1ez 16th June 2010, 13:12 Quote
Narrator sounds like a cross between WoG's Sign Painter and Portal's GLADoS!
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