Oops, there goes my progress
How many Tower Defense games (or games in general) have you played where you're doing really well, with quite a number of waves completed and quite a nice high-score built up and then... "oops. Wait, no! I didn't mean to do that!" Gone. All your progress. All your time. That's a Rage Quit moment right there. There's an achievement in Plants vs Zombies to get to wave 15 in "Vase Breaker Endless". I got to Wave 14 and lost. It's the only achievement I don't have in the game.
Extra Credits recently did an episode entitled "When Difficult is Fun" where they discuss this exact issue in difficult games. It's something that comes up in strategy games, and Orbit is no exception. After watching the episode, I took a look at the design of Orbit to make sure it was difficult without being unfairly hard. Since Orbit saves between Waves, and at no other time, if the player is doing poorly in a wave, they are free to quit to the menu and jump back into the game, their progress reset to the beginning of the wave. Okay, that's a step in the right direction. But, if the planet is destroyed and you get the Game Over screen, your progress is reset when you go to hit play again; so the issue isn't complete solved.
A new update is coming to Orbit soon which won't erase your progress on death. If the planet is destroyed, that's too bad, but you can hop back into the game and try to beat the same wave again without having to re-play all the other ones leading up to it. If you truly feel like you've got a new strategy that warrants a brand new play-through, you can just select "New Game" from the Pause Menu.
In effect, this change cuts the "perceived" play time of Orbit, but if it reduces the stress of failure and puts more emphasis on finding an optimal strategy, I think it's worth it. Of course, I could be dead wrong. Perhaps the greater the challenge, the sweeter the victory? If that's the way you think, then you're free to impose the rule on yourself: If you loose, you can simply select New Game of your own choosing. And if that's not enough, we've got plans for additional content in the future which makes this dynamic a little more interesting.
Orbit is meant to be difficult, but as a designer, I never want to implement a rule that punishes a player. After all, we all make mistakes.