Capsized is a 2d action platformer from Alientrap where you must guide a space traveler across the alien world he has crash landed on. Stunning level aesthetics, hordes of aliens to fend off, and puzzles to solve using a grappling hook, Capsized offers a whole lot of sci-fi shooting action in a short, cheap game.
The story of Capsized is told silently through still images before each mission. Your character and the rest of his crew become stranded on an alien planet and the game follows your quest to find the crew and send a signal for help. While at first it seems there is nothing but wildlife you soon start to encounter the armed and dangerous natives. Each loading screen gives you a few images to explain what it is your character us trying to accomplish or what obstacle is in their way. Beyond that however there’s nothing much to the plot.
Capsized‘s campaign features twelve different missions, many of which have different objectives. However, these objectives feels very repetitive and similar to simple fetch quests. These normally involve you doing the same thing several times in different locations on the map, from destroying certain statues to rescuing crew mates. While enemies are often difficult to tackle you’ll find that completing the actual objectives rarely provides much of a challenge. At the most some might require you to do a lot of dragging stuff around with the gravity hook.
Capsized has very free feeling movement. This is complimented by the addition of both a gravity hook and a jetpack, though the latter has limited fuel supply. Many of the puzzles in the game require you not only to transport yourself using the gravity hook but also to drag other objects to and fro using it. These tasks however can prove frustrating as it is easy to detach from whatever it is you might be trying to carry. Certain energy orbs some objects demand you use have a tendency to bounce erratically when they hit a surface. On a more amusing note objects that you drag with the gravity hook can also be hurled at enemies and used to squash them, allowing you to use the many bits of junk littered around to your advantage.
The default controls in Capsized can be a little bit confusing to players who are used to different set ups. The thing that kept catching me out was using ‘W’ to jump, which often led me to accidentally jumping a lot. I would recommend rebinding the keys to whatever feels more comfortable for you. The floaty nature of the games movement and controls can take some getting used to as well, but it fits in with the sci-fi genre, giving the feeling of lower gravity.
The visual elements of Capsized appear to be a double-edged sword. The levels are pretty stunning, with vibrant greens and a strange spores all over the place. The game has a truly alien vibe to it, giving you the impression of being trapped in unfamiliar lands. There is a beautiful combination of alien worlds and tribal imagery in the different set pieces. The enemies are well designed, from little floating pests to absolutely gigantic monstrosities. Everything’s well animated and fits into the world wonderfully. There is a small variety of different environments, including darkened ruins, lush valleys, and even floating platforms that bob up and down when you land on them.
However, the issue that I’ve taken up with Capsized is that the game can feel rather cluttered and unclear. Sometimes I came across moving creatures that looked like they might be enemies, only to find that when I shot at them they were in the background. Some enemies would blend in a bit too well into the scenery and would catch me as I was focusing on something else. Another thing that irritated me was that enemies were often able to shoot me while they were off screen.
The shooting is relatively simple. Just move the mouse in the right direction and fire. There are plenty of different weapons to choice from and each one has a section functionality by using the right mouse button. However, everything outside of your default laser has limited ammo, so being wasteful with the extra weapons can lead to punishment when you encounter tougher enemies. This made fighting feel more challenging as I was always trying to balance staying alive with saving my better weapons.
While the variety of creatures you meet at the start is lacking, things get more complicated once you start encountering the natives. They use different weapons and tactics. Some are shielded and some can fly. After the midway point you’ll start to fight some boss like enemies who have special abilities, including teleportation the power to send your own bullets back at you. These fights provide some impressive challenge, even on the easier difficulties. However, you often up having the battle them at the same time as other enemies or in awkward parts of the map. This can lead to some frustration and the sense that sometimes the game is being unfair.
Speaking of which, one piece of advice I would give to players is to turn off auto-switch in the options menu. This feature forces you to change weapons whenever you acquire a new one. It’s a common occurrence that can cause you to end up using the wrong weapon at the worst possible moments. Being made to swap for the rocket launcher when you’re fighting an enemy who’s right up in your face will lead to you knocking off a chunk of your own health.
Capsized comes with an arcade mode which offers such challenges like time trials, survival missions, and matches against bot opponents using the same kind of weapons you can use. These might provide extended entertainment for a short while, but I don’t see them offering anything that is particularly more enjoyable than the campaign. Missions also contain secret tokens for you to collect, offering up some extra challenge in exploring the levels carefully.
Capsized is a beautiful looking game with moments of intense shooting action. However, it also feels lacking in terms of missions with simple mechanics. Anyone looking for a short sci-fi platformer might want to pay a look at this game. The game can be purchased from Steam at $9.99 or £5.99. You can also check out Capsized‘s website for more information and screenshots.
(Images taken from http://www.capsizedgame.com/)