March 27, 2014 9:45 PM | Lena LeRay
Orion's Gold was first given life at Global Game Jam 2013 as RestLess, a Windows game in which the player had to avoid distractions and control their emotions to retain inner balance. Since then, digiKhel has been hard at work, and it's grown into a space-themed experimental arcade game for iPad.
In Orioin's Gold, you are charged with mining ore. You have a mining ship in the middle of four portals. Asteroids randomly appear in the portals and stay for some amount of time. You must move balls of energy from portal to portal, because your mining drones are attracted to the balls of energy. The drones do all the work automatically, and what portion of the drones are attracted to a given portal depends on how many energy balls are present there at the time. The more you mine, the more gold you get, and the goal is to get as much gold as you can.
Temperature, however, works against you. Each asteroid is either hot or cold, and the ore that is mined and brought back to your ship affects its temperature. There's a slider on the left-hand side that shows how hot or cold your ship is, and you have to take that into account when deciding how much of which asteroid to mine. Some asteroids, however, are unstable, and if you don't mine them completely they will explode and throw your temperature out of whack. Your ship can be upgraded to improve its temperature tolerance and you can also get usable items that help regulate your temperature.
Orion's Gold is a lot more engaging than it looks. The controls are simple; all you can do is drag power balls from one portal to another. With that single mechanic, though, there are a lot of variables to balance. Using hot and cold as a theme also gave them a convenient excuse to use red and blue as asteroid colors, which means that folks who have trouble distinguishing colors won't have any problems.
You can pick up the game for $0.99, and in-game gold for buying upgrades can be earned through play or bought as an in-app purchase.