Get to the Orange Door
EA SCOUT the last line of defense for buying on Steam's Early Access
by Quinn Levandoski
previewed on PC
Running, Gunning, and Exploring
Playing Get to the Orange Door feels like hopping into an 80s-inspired cyberpunk fever dream playing back at 2x fast-forward. Bright neon colors bathe Tron-inspired landscapes as players fight enemies, loot stashes, and parkour off walls to accomplish one simple task: getting to the orange door. Part arena shooter and part rogue-like runner, Andrew Smith's Get to the Orange Door is an Early Access title with an extremely solid foundation under all the glitz and frenetic action.
Despite the hectic movement and non-stop sensory barrage of fights presented in Get to the Orange Door, I was wrong to assume that the game wanted me to play it like a speed-run title. My first few attempts saw me flying across each environment with reckless abandon, blasting some enemies but running away from most in an attempt to get to the titular orange door as fast as possible. However, that gave me little except repeated failure. Instead, GttOD is a game of balance in a way that may not be immediately obvious.
Know When To Fight, Know When To Run
Enemies don't randomly populate each environment but instead spawn in groups when the player enters certain areas. The action gets fast and wild during those waves of combat, but outside of them, it is necessary to slow down a bit, explore the map, and earn/spend credits to upgrade tools and weapons. There's no mini-map in GttOD, but the compass HUD does show the direction of the orange door (which triggers a final arena fight that must be cleared before moving on to the next level) and valuable spots like gun vending machines and resource-filled bunkers.
Of course, even exploration is a balancing act. The more thoroughly a player explores an environment, the more enemies they'll come across, and combat leads to an increasing threat number that makes enemies more challenging and numerous. So, players have to consider if they'd rather get through an area as quickly as possible and face weaker enemy waves with weaker weapons or take on a harder challenge with better tools. I generally opted for the latter, though I'm sure it wasn't always the right decision. It's a welcome additional layer of thought presented to players beyond "run around and kill everything no matter what."
Like many other rogue-likes, GttOD provides players with a mix of run-based upgrades/resources that are acquired in each play session and permanent upgrades that are purchased with resources from successive runs. There are quite a few upgrades in the game already - more than I was able to unlock in my playtime - and more refinements are on their way to the system for the full release.
One trap that too often befalls games in the progressive-upgrade-rogue-like genre is that a carrot is always on the end of a stick, but the running to catch it just isn't enjoyable enough in and of itself. That isn't the case here, and Get to the Orange Door is absolutely enjoyable enough in its second-to-second gameplay that I'd probably want to play it just as much without those upgrades to chase. The wall running, sliding, and double-jump-centred movement has drawn ample comparisons to Titanfall, and the connection is apt. Only extremely rarely did I feel any frustration about my movement options not doing what I was trying to get them to do, and it’s easy to feel like an unstoppable force of nature after pulling off the perfect combo.
Shooting feels equally good, and every weapon, including the basic starting pistol, is strong and viable. Weapons are found or bought and can be quite rare, but an upgrade mechanic means that just about anything is viable long term. In lieu of complicated upgrade trees or attachments, each weapon is simply upgraded or not upgraded, with the upgraded version having various improvements ranging from better accuracy to increased magazine capacity.
Despite still being in Early Access, Get to the Orange Door has plenty of content and polish to make it well worth playing as it currently exists. The basic gameplay loop is incredibly satisfying, and the incremental upgrade system did its job to keep me hopping in for one more run. More varied environments and enemies will make things even better on full release, but the game is worth its asking price now for anyone interested in the genre.
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There are no guarantees - but we'd bet our own money on this one. If you're going to take a chance with yours, odds are good this one will deliver.