Rymdkapsel sounds rather odd as a title and doesn’t immediately give you any indication of what type of game it may be, but if my Google Translate is correct Rymdkapsel is Swedish for Space Capsule. This translation at least gives you a small idea (albeit very small) of what this game may be about but try not to let the title put you off because here lies what I call a little gem. Rymdkapsel, then for those of us that would not think to use Google Translate or know any Swedish, is an isometric viewed real-time strategy game created by Martin Jonasson and is available for PS Vita through the PlayStation Mobile section of the PSN store.
The game has you constructing a space station that will house a crew and enable them to survive against countless waves of enemies. The game eases you into the ordeal by starting you off with the basics of building your space station. You build your space station using a variety of corridors and rooms. The rooms must be linked with corridors and each corridor and room requires an amount of resources to build. The resources you require can be found around the little corner of the galaxy around you or can be produced using certain rooms such as the gardens and reactor. The type of rooms you can produce and their cost appear at the top of the screen throughout and are very easy to keep track of. Rooms and corridors are all randomly shaped, echoing Tetris pieces, this makes for unusual shaped space stations with corridors snaking out all over your screen. Having a self-sufficient space station is vital to the crew that will populate it.
You start out with 2 crew members and you are able to assign them tasks to expand your station, gather resources when needed and to defend it against enemies. You are also able to expand your crew later on by adding quarters and utilising some extra resources to produce more crew as and when you think you may need them. Expansion and resource management are the main priorities though as you need to get your crew through the waves of enemies that progressively land on your door step quicker and with larger numbers. The enemy enters your space at the end of each wave and hunt down your crew. Each wave brings more enemies with greater speed and aggression and make it harder to survive. You can make life a little easier for your crew by researching monoliths, which are placed around the corners of your immediate space, researching these can offer simple upgrades that can help your crew to survive, but reaching these monoliths takes time and precious resources away from other tasks that may seem more important. Since Rymdkapsel launched there has now been an update which adds 2 new modes. Normal mode is the standard game but now a plus and zen mode have been added. Plus mode seems to bring all of your resources and monoliths closer to you but the tutorial is sacrificed and there are fewer resources available to you. Zen mode allows you to concentrate on creating your space station without the threat of any enemies. However in this mode all achievements are locked off, but it is extremely pleasing to be able to focus on expanding your space station unhindered. Both the Zen and Plus modes add something new and exciting to an already impressive title.
The controls are all touch based, using the front touchscreen throughout. The tutorial does a good job of taking you through the controls and how to use them to interact with your environment within the first couple of waves. Controlling your crew and building your station is simple and effortless which is a massive coup for a strategy game!
The graphics appear very simple, with Tetris style shapes making up your space station and simple blocks making up your stations inhabitants and your enemies. To start with the style feels odd and lulls you into a false sense of security as you feel the game cannot possibly offer that much beyond a few minutes of shallow gameplay. The games’ overall graphical style brings Thomas Was Alone to mind and after that success you can see a certain charm to the game even though all you control are a few simple blocks.
The sound is pretty straightforward, background music is basically one track that plays throughout and to be fair the track is so unobtrusive that it doesn’t annoy but still manages to convey the vastness of your surroundings.
I have a soft spot for strategy games in general and I was always going to enjoy Rymdkapsel, it was just a case of how much. The game starts out deceptively easy and I felt extremely confident of reaching the initial goals with ease. The truth is that these goals are extremely challenging and have kept me more than busy for the past couple of months. If Rymdkapsel could be described in one word I would use Deceptive. It looks and plays simply enough but hides a surprising amount of depth not expected of a mobile title.
Final thoughts are of a real-time strategy game that is far and away the best available on PSM and dammit I’ll stick my neck out and say best available on the Vita full stop! and No it’s what everyone would call a little gem.
At A Glance
- Title: Rymdkapsel
- Publisher: Martin Jonasson
- System: PlayStation Mobile
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: No
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Local Multiplayer: No
- Memory Card Space Needed: 28Mb