If you’ve been waiting with bated breath for Alientrap’s well received indie title Capsized to grace the console circuit then you can finally breath. Capsized is here and it’s well… annoying.
I really want to like this game, I really do. It has all the makings of a great little indie title with charming hand-drawn designs, eerily atmospheric soundtrack and a fun, simple story to keep us pacing ahead for the next chapter. However the mechanics of this game simply don’t work.
We’re plonked into the shoes of a mystery astronaut guy complete with overly large bubble helmet, deer eyes and a stumpy figure. The ship he was on has crash landed (hardly Capsized at all) on a strange alien planet and his team of explorers are missing.
This leaves us with the task of recruiting all the lesser capable team members and escaping this hellish planet we find ourselves on whilst digging up cool secrets as well. Whilst this all sounds hunky-dory, the part where you actually play the game and come face to face with the almighty terrain and indigenous creatures of the planet is when things start to go a little downhill.
We control our stumpy little action hero through the left analogue stick whilst aiming with the right with a 360 degree radius in which we can point our deadly weapons. This may work fine for the mouse and keyboard combination but when it comes to the controller these controls become finicky and overly complicated.
Our arsenal expands to a variety of weapons found in the darkest corners of the levels from automatic rifles and shotguns to a flamethrower which spurts out blue flames because obviously we’re in space and need cool new effects to constantly remind us of this. The greatest asset to your inventory is the gravity tether which is effectively a stretchy piece of rope which can be fired and attached to walls and any rock, blockade or enemy in your way.
This is used to solve physics based puzzles in which you need to navigate the treacherous landscape and using your gravity hook to move items blocking the path and clear the way. Whilst the levels are huge and often sprawl underneath the ground into crazy-big tunnel networks they simply get repetitive and dull very fast. I felt like once I’d seen one dimly lit tunnel I’d seen all 50 ahead of me. The art doesn’t inspire much incentive to carry on exploring this world either as all the assets are reused constantly and the levels all blur into one drab slog.
Capsized gets extremely sadistic in its difficulty spikes halfway through the game and before I know it I’m suffering from multiple, sudden deaths from flesh eating, flying crab-things to getting speared through the crotch from a tribal alien. The action quickly ramps up leaving you skittering all over the place, firing from all angles because you can’t aim at enemies effectively and your health is being constantly depleted by all the damned flying beasties suckling at your overly large head. It’s frustrating and disorientating making it a chore to of explore this quirky environment.
The levels feel huge and labyrinth-like with multiple paths to your goal, whether that’s destroying an alien tech-jammer to finding your misplaced teammates. Every level has a plethora of secrets buried within the network of paths each revealing power-ups to aid you in your journey as well as new firearms, ammo and health so it’s definitely worth having a hunt around to find these rather than ploughing straight on. However with what seems like hundreds of angry alien beasties tearing after you from all sides that’s much easier said than done.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.