A lot of professional reviewers nowadays seem to be harsh on the wrong things, like problems any gamer would consider small. That's just common knowledge, especially most of the reviewers from IGN. However, I've also noticed that they can be surprisingly lax... with the wrong things. This couldn't be more obvious with Capsized than any other game (well, MAYBE except Final Fantasy XIII depending on your opinion of JRPGs). Most reviewers said that the controls may be carpal tunnel inducing... and yet, they say "oh you'll get used to it" and give this game something along the lines of an 8/10. Sorry, but for this review, I will be calling bullshit on their warped priorities. If you can't play the game, then the game is shit, despite everything else being good.
Capsized is an arcade shooter, and like any other, it has very little story. You and your crew of astronauts crash land on a planet and you have to find them and get out of there before the vicious wildlife eats you all up. It's told in the loading screens, although just in the form of a few fantastically drawn panels with zero dialogue (no audio speech, no speech bubbles). It does the job and you can't really expect much more than that.
Also like an arcade shooter, you'll spend most of your time shooting through the wildlife, getting to the exit point, before they make you their next dinner. You have a fairly standard arsenal like a regular laser gun, a machine gun, a flamethrower and a rocket launcher to name a few. Each of them have alternate firing capabilities, although some of them are repeated (a few of them have shotgun-y firing capabilities), but that's cool, because you still have a decent variety.
It's not as if you're on a linear pathway, either. The levels are big, they have lots of nooks and crannies to go through, and most importantly, you get rewarded for exploring! You'll find more ammo, health, lives and jetpack fuel. But most importantly, you can earn medals by either finding secret paths, not dying, and getting through the level fast as shit. These medals can unlock additional modes of play, like a local deathmatch (no online capabilities), time attack (where you have to find air to survive) and some other modes you'll probably never actually play, except to get achievements if you're one of those people...
At first, the idea is to just get to the exit, but later on, you'll be required to destroy certain objects and kill certain boss-like enemies. In fact, the first three levels just serve as a set of tutorial levels that help you get used to how the game works. In this sense, the game certainly gets harder as it progresses, although the spike between level 5 and 6 is crazy – in level 6, you have to kill off four boss creatures, one of which alone would be a tricky enough boss, but four of these mother*bleep*ers? It's *bleep*en insane! It's a step close to Death Mountain on Zelda 2, except in Capsized, you're halfway through the game's 12 levels, as opposed to only being up to the third dungeon out of 8 in Zelda 2.
But if the spike was Capsized's only problem, I'd still give this is a really high rating and the introduction would've been a hell of a lot more positive. Sadly, the Achilles' Heel of the game are the controls. Oh god, the controls. It's a sidescrolling platformer/shooter, but it has the controls of a first person shooter. Okay, fine, it's the only way to get it to work on a PC without having to use a controller, and this game isn't available on any other platform (for some bizarre reason), but it doesn't feel right. Upon first impression, it feels virtually unplayable. Here's how it goes – you use the WASD keys to move and jump, the shift and control buttons to use a hookshot of sorts, shift to operate the jetpack, the mouse to determine what direction you'll shoot and left mouse click to shoot. You can configure the keyboard controls, but they're not the issue – the mouse is. Now, you can use a gamepad (which begs the question of why this is PC-only!), which is much more manageable, but dealing with the cursor using the gamepad is a pain in the ass, having to move it around all tedious like just so you can shoot in the right direction... nope.
It's a shame, because the game does look *bleep*en beautiful! The environments are vastly detailed and colorful, as are the objects, enemies, and even yourself. I can't help but to find a safe zone, sit back and admire the gorgeous landscapes. The animations are a little stiff, but that's forgiven - what isn't is that it's a touch too detailed for its own good, which can be distracting. How? Well, EVERYTHING stands out! I know that foreground/background stuff gets criticized for not being detailed enough... but this is too far on the other extreme.
The soundtrack comprises of electronic beats, but it's produced in a way that feels tranquil. It's soft, quiet and not all that fast. In the background, the droning noise is a bit dirty, to symbolise how rough of an environment it actually is, but the beats try to make it all calm. Really, the music isn't trying to pump you up; it's trying to relax you to go along with the soft colors, while there's shit all over the screen. Nice... I'm not dissing on it, I think it's a great soundtrack – just the wrong ambiance.
It's fast, furious and intense. The difficulty curve may be a little crappy as one level is significantly harder than those before it, but at the same time
Here's the big issue – these controls just barely work with the style of the game. It's like Capsized was intended to be a first person shooter before it got turned into a sidescroller.
Not much here, but what's given to you works very well.
*bleep*, this game looks beautiful! Maybe a little too beautiful, as it can be distracting.
Although it never inspires you to kick ass, it fits well with the tranquillity of the environment, despite the carnivorous creatures attacking you.
Umm well, there's achievements to get, and a few extra modes... but other than that, this game won't last too long – doubly so if you can't stand the controls.
It had the potential to be a ton of fun as it appeared to be a fast paced shooter, but the controls...
Capsized is a game that could've been a masterpiece, a shoe in for game of the year (or just indie game of the year). However, the controls feel awkward and take longer than necessary to get used to, and if you can't even play a game, then the game is a bust.
What could've been a 4.5/5.0 is a 1.5/5.