Orphan: War of the worlds is child’s play

Alright, let’s get this out of the way. Yes, it looks a lot like a certain purgatory-loving platformer. “I knew immediately it looked like Limbo,” admits Brandon Goins, founder of the one man operation Windy Hill Studio. “But I never set out to emulate Limbo. In fact, the first game I can remember seeing such a style in was Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, which is one of my prime inspirations,” he tells us during our chat. Whether it owes more to a legendary Mudokon or a silhouetted sprog, there’s no denying Orphan is an astoundingly pretty 2D platformer.

It’s been quite the couple of months for Goins and the diminutive star of his indie adventure; a small boy who’s somehow managed to survive an overnight alien invasion. First Orphan surpassed its initial Kickstarter funding target with ease, then it went on to snare its stretch goal a feat that ensures the game will hit PS4. “I jumped on the boat with PlayStation back when Final Fantasy VII was announced,” Goins says. “And I stayed a fan thanks to games like Castlevania: SOTN, Metal Gear
Solid and, of course, Abe’s Oddysee.”
“It Looks A Lot Like A Certain Purgatory-Loving Platformer.”
Goins is clearly a huge fan of the farting factory worker, but his titular Orphan is more concerned with slaying aliens than saving them. Set in the verdant hills of Appalachia Goins’ home region Orphan’s platforming action is spliced with stealth elements and item collection.

Like Limbo, the main lad is intensely vulnerable and must hide from his would-be captors by ducking behind shadowy rocks and trees. Unlike Limbo, he can eventually unlock laser guns, anti-tank mines and an M72 LAW anti-tank missile to help fight the HG Wells-style intergalactic meanies. If only we’d have had one of those for that bloody Limbo spider…

Picture Perfect
While the Orphan is setting mine traps or going prone in the shadows, you’ll be drawn to the game’s striking art. Though it certainly leans on some of Limbo’s stylistic sensibilities, the game’s design is actually quite unique; combining elements of real-world photography and pixelated ‘raster’ graphics. “Having worked as a photographer for a long time, I have a huge stockpile of images to pull from, which is really helpful when starting to build a scene,” says Goins.

Indeed, the indie dev is one seriously talented chap. Orphan is the definition of a one-man job Goins isn’t only designing and crafting the entire game, he’s also composing the score. “I’ve always been an amateur musician,” he says modestly. Let’s hope his virtual nipper is on song when Orphan hits PS4 early next year.

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