Terrific art and diverse movement mechanics make it a pleasure to explore the exciting world of Capsized.
- Richly detailed environments are captivating
- A lot of fun ways to move around
- Physics allow for creativity.
- Problematic cooperative play
- No online leaderboards.
The thrill of exploration and the desire to experience new things are two of the driving motivations that have fueled humanity's endeavors for thousands of years. For ages, this involved such dangerous acts as going to sea or tasting a new food described only as "Trust me," but nowadays all you need is the right machine and some money in your pocket. For the reasonable price of $9.99, Capsized takes you to a fertile alien world bursting with eye-catching vegetation and populated by a diverse range of unusual creatures, many of which want to kill you. To survive, you must fend off your assailants with powerful firearms, as well as master the mechanics of moving through this strange two-dimensional landscape. The locomotion tools encourage experimentation, and it's a joy to jump, fly, swing, and rocket your way through each level. Getting a feel for how to manipulate objects in order to solve puzzles and kill enemies is also a blast, and by the end of the campaign, you'll be eager to jump back into earlier levels and get even more creative with your hard-earned skills. The physics system behind this fun is prone to occasional hiccups, and there are other minor issues that crop up in the arcade modes (co-op is a bit wonky), but these are small matters compared to the immense satisfaction of adventuring through this beautiful and deadly world.
The situation is straightforward: your spaceship has crashed on an alien planet, and as one of the few survivors, you must locate crew members, call for help, and get yourself rescued. To accomplish all this, you must set off into the jungles of this lush world, which are an absolute treat for the eyes. The ground you walk across is a detailed mosaic of rocks and plants that come in many shapes and sizes. Small fungal bulbs, long dangling vines, and a rich variety of growths that wouldn't look out of place in a coral reef cover the landscape. There are also harmless creatures that stalk through the near background, grazing in the undergrowth or fluttering through the air. Faded scenery in the deep background creates a nice sense of depth, and the quality of sunlight changes to reflect how deep below the canopy you are. Eerie, atmospheric music adds a wonderful dimension to the alien ambience, and this artfully realized world continues to reveal lovely details even after hours of playing, making it a pleasure to explore these exotic environments.
To traverse these beautiful yet treacherous lands, you must make good use of your varied skill set. You walk at a moderate pace and jump many times your own height, thanks to the relatively low gravitational pull. This also means that when you jump into a wall, you can hang there indefinitely by holding the directional key toward the surface. You can use this trick to jump up walls as well, and this vertical mobility makes you feel nimbler than the average spaceman. The jetpack is another way to reach high places and gives you the freedom of flight as long as you can find the supplies to fuel it. Your gun plays a role in locomotion too. It's equipped with a gravity ram that shoots a short burst of force that violently propels you away from any surface, object, or enemy that you are close to. Point it at the ground, and it flings you into the air much higher than you can jump. Point it at a wall, and you can jet across a chasm to a far ledge. Shoot an object, and depending on its properties, it might zip forward (small rock), shoot you backward (big rock), or possibly even crumble to pieces (boxes and wood structures). Some enemies can be killed outright with the gravity ram, while others are too tough, and blasting them can send you rocketing backward like an inkless squid.
Your final movement tool is a hook that you can shoot in any direction. This hook is attached to your body by a kind of laser elastic and when it hits a surface or an object, it latches on and the elastic begins to contract. You can use it to drag yourself up to a platform or onto a wall. You can also swing through the air like Tarzan and use the elasticity to slingshot yourself to great heights. Furthermore, this tool lets you interact with enemies and objects in some neat ways. Hook an enemy, and you zip together for some close-quarters combat (protip: equip the flamethrower). Latch onto a large object, and you can drag it around, maybe removing a barrier or triggering a button. Snag a smaller object, and a force field encircles it. This means that not only can you carry it with you and move it around at will, but once you disengage the hook, you gravity-ram the object in whatever direction you aim. Quick-moving objects have destructive potential, and you can use them to damage enemies or break barriers.
Between the hook, the gravity ram, the jetpack, and your clinging jump ability, Capsized gives you an impressively diverse array of locomotion tools. It's possible to make it through the game relying on only some of them, but you'd be missing out on so many delightful possibilities. Sure, you could burn a bunch of jetpack fuel to reach a high platform, but you could also climb a nearby wall and then gravity-ram yourself into space, deploy your hook to the ceiling, and gracefully swing up there. You can cling to a wall to avoid falling a long distance, but if you stay in the dive and shoot your hook once you've got a good head of steam, you can launch far beyond where you initially fell from. Finding out new ways to take advantage of your abilities makes exploring levels that much more exploratory, and the different sensations of movement combine in gratifying and invigorating ways.