Developer: Loju LTD
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Ordia recently won an Apple Design Award, and it’s not difficult to see why. This is a downright gorgeous vertical platformer with the kind of vibrant aesthetic that makes every screenshot into a potential wallpaper.
Thankfully, Ordia is much more than just a pretty face. While the whole vertical-ascent premise and flick-based traversal system have both been done a million times before, they’ve seldom been combined with such poise and polish.
You play the part of a gloopy creature who starts each level emerging from the sludge at the bottom of a deep, snaking well. Touch and drag anywhere on the screen to cue up a leap, then release to ping off in the opposite direction.
You’re aiming for the little green pegs that dot the path to the top of the level, onto which your blob will gain a foothold (if it had a foot) whenever it makes contact. Keep flicking upwards until you reach the level exit.
It’s not that easy, of course. There are hazardous surfaces to avoid and a range of equally deadly (yet simultaneously adorable) enemies to evade. Some of these will spring out from their hiding spots when you venture near, while others will follow a predictable circuit. Still others will actively pursue you, flicking from peg to peg just like you.
There are also fresh environmental devices to discover, such as walls that bounce you off at an angle, and suspended yellow blobs that give you a secondary mid-air flick. Perfectly spaced checkpoint pegs take the sting out of failure without making progress feel like a mere procession.
You’ll encounter ten optional collectibles to grab, many of which require either an acrobatic diversion or the accessing of a riskily positioned trigger point. Occasionally you’ll also unlock a bonus round which places the onus on speed and the uncovering of shortcuts.
Once again, there’s nothing new in any of this, but the execution is something special. Ordia feels like the optimized form of the kind of game we’ve been playing on our iPhones for a decade now. It’s like a glorious amalgam of Doodle Jump, Angry Birds, and countless other classic physics puzzlers and casual platformers.
If you ever find yourself pining for the way mobile games used to be before freemium models and loot boxes changed things up, we’d urge you to give Ordia a try.