Space is a scary place as portrayed by many form of science fiction media. From Ridley Scott’s Alien quadrilogy to Nintendo’s Metroid series, we are given images of savage creatures and sentient beings who have no regard for the unfortunate humans that come across them. Fear, loathing, and unfamiliar territory drive the player’s motivation to survive at all costs. Capsized is a return to an era in games where problem solving was key to the experience. This is something I feel is lost in the modern era of commercial gaming… I feel that a good deal of modern games forget that the point of a game is to offer a challenge at the same time as being fun. Let’s proceed to assess Alientrap Games’ creation and examine if it has managed to hit the sweet spot between fun and challenging.
The narrative in Capsized begins with a story illustrated in comic panels showing a spaceship cruising through the stars. As tends to be the cast in pretty much all sci-fi stories, misfortune occurs when an asteroid pierces the craft’s hull and the crew is forced to evacuate onto a nearby planet. Of course it just so happens the planet is full of hostile wildlife and the natives are most than slightly restless. Your job as the hero is to find survivors and get home safely. Each chapter opens with an additional set of comic panels which set the mood for the mission ahead The presentation is great and skimps on any extra fluff keeping the player engaged at all times.
Capsized has a campaign mode and arcade mode as well. The arcade mode is comprised of several different modes that are unlocked after meeting certain conditions in the campaign proper. The available modes are Bot Match, Time Trial, Survival, Armless, and Duel. Bot Match is your standard deathmatch against computer controlled opponents. Time Trial and Survival are pretty self explanatory. Armless is a challenge mode where the player has to find a way to get to the end of a level without the use of weapons. Duel is a 2 player split-screened deathmatch on a local machine. These singleplayer offerings aside, the campaign mode is the bulk of the game and also the gateway to unlock these extra modes. There are four difficulties and the merit of going higher up on the scale are more stars for unlocking the extra modes faster. With the campaign mode, the player is graded on speed, secrets found, difficulty, and number of deaths. Campaign may also be played cooperatively, but the option must be enabled in the Options menu.
Capsized involves Metroid-style platforming as well as physics-based puzzles which require solid critical thinking. The game’s first few levels introduce the player to core concepts and the basic use of skills to solve puzzles. Scattered through each level is gear such as additional weapons and jet pack fuel to help the player in their journey. Each weapon has an alternate fire mode for different take-down situations that the player may encounter. There are also short-term power-ups scattered around some levels as well. However there is a technicality with the primary gear and weapons. Unlike most games where you typically keep your gear from previous levels, you start clean and fresh at the start of each chapter. The jet-pack fuel also resets at the start of each level and the player only gets infinite fuel if you pick up all the fuel items to fill your meter up. Also the player is given a number of lives to finish a mission and if those are lost it’s “game over” and the player may re-attempt the mission after a short break or take a gander at some of the newly unlocked arcade modes they may have earned. As you can expect, the guys at Alientrap Games have thoughtfully planned out the puzzles and their difficulty does ramp up gradually as the game progresses.
Overall Capsized presents itself as a fun, albeit short game. The extra modes in the game are nice bonuses as well as offering an extra challenge for those who want to give their minds some exercise. Anyone who is a fan of Metroid-style platforming and doesn’t mind solving puzzles should definitely take a look at Capsized. Capsized is available on Steam for PC for $9.99 and I definitely feel the price is well worth it. There’s even a demo for the game so everyone should check it out and give it a try.