Author: Sean Ridgeley
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Friday, May 6th, 2011
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Games/Reviews/capsized/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.
Independent gaming is going stronger than ever these days. With that, the quality bar is higher than ever, as well: gamers often expect minimalistic but thoroughly polished experiences for a tenner or a bit more.
Capsized is one of the latest scene releases, a 2D platformer shooter hybrid available now on Steam for nine or ten bucks. Does it test with the best? Read on.
The meat of the game is the campaign mode, a 12-mission adventure that'll take your astronaut man through hand-drawn sci-fi worlds as he blasts away at some terribly unique enemies and solves puzzles. There are a fairly wide variety of weapons available, from the Blast Carbine (standard assault rifle), to the Plas-Mortar (plasma gun), Immolator (flamethrower more or less), and more, each of which comes with secondary fire.
Not stopping there, developer Alientrap has packed in a variety of power-ups which shield you, chase down enemies, etc. -- these are generally hidden in secret passages ("how the f*** do I get th-- ohh!").
The most fun aspects of the gameplay, however, are the hook and jetpack -- with these you can swing or fly around levels freely (mostly, anyway -- the jetpack requires fuel), pummeling enemies in the process, or just seeking out secrets.
Exploration is one of the game's strengths, encouraged by the more open level design approach; levels are more like a box with areas all over worth exploring, but with one exit or with one goal that needs to be accomplished (like destroying three 'Priests' -- these guys can be a real pain in the arse).
Levels are pretty varied, with each building on the last with new, interesting foes, higher difficulty, and of course, more weapons.
If you're looking for a good story, there's almost none to speak of: it's told purely through short, simplistic comic-style strips sans dialogue at the beginning of each level. In this case, it's a welcome design choice, appealing to minimalism which works well with the gameplay.
As you progress through the campaign you'll unlock various maps and modes, including Survival (fight waves of enemies), Time Trials (make your way to the next oxygen tank repeatedly before you die), and Armless (fight weaponless). Also on offer are Deathmatch (bots only -- kind of a shame), and local co-op for the campaign (at least one gamepad required, and unfortunately a two keyboard and mice setup isn't supported). The extra goodies add some more fun and playtime, but are ultimately just that -- extras.
The music, as you can hear below, must be mentioned. I may actually have enjoyed this more than the game itself, though both are strong. Composed by Solar Fields (known for the excellent Mirror's Edge soundtrack), it is not to be missed if you like this sort of thing, whether you're interested in Capsized or not. Note if you do go for it, the tracks are easily accessible via the game folder, though they're not tagged -- a free separate download would be just lovely. My only criticism about the tunes is they feel perhaps more like an album unto themselves versus integral to the game itself, unlike with Mirror's Edge. They better the experience greatly regardless, and will keep you powering through the levels.
Not much to speak of, here. Both keyboard and mouse controls are supported just swell, perhaps even more naturally than the Xbox 360 controller, which works like plug and play technology should. From what I've heard, the framerate is capped at 60, though I don't think I ever succeeded 51 on a medium-high end rig, where it usually sat -- no complaints. There are no graphics options apart from resolution, but with a minimalistic design, it's not really needed or expected.
What we have here, then, is another high-quality independent title that's a credit to the scene and deserving of a spot amongst the bigger names like Braid, Minecraft, and so on. Online deathmatch could really spice things up, but this is a great start. Naturally, yes, it's worth your few bucks and not too much of your time (a blessing if you're strapped for it).
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