Space shooter

User Rating: 8 | CAPSIZED PC

Capsized is a physics-based 2D shooter. The game has a gorgeous art style with a detailed ecosystem. There's all-sorts of plant-life within the surface, some swaying, some lighting up, in addition to the hostile and non-hostile life-forms that inhabit the planet. The art style, and the cool soundtrack (provided by Solar Fields) creates a great atmosphere. It's a beautiful world, yet a horrible one, since a many alien races make their home here. The main alien race is a tribal humanoid species, flying Metroid-style aliens home-in to grab hold of you, and a wolf-like species aggressively charge you down.

In each level, you have a set amount of lives (although you can find extra lives within the level). If you lose them all, you have to start the level over. There's only 12 levels in the campaign, so if you had infinite lives, then you would complete the game pretty quickly.

In each level, you are given a different task. It could be to reach a certain point, kill certain enemies, destroy certain objects, drag an object to a certain point. The levels usually consist of a mixture of wide-open areas, as well as tunnel structures below the surface.

There's plenty of traps in some levels like green gas which comes out of the walls at intervals. The gas causes your health to deplete at rapid rate. When all looks clear and then the gas comes on, it can feel a bit cheap to lose a life that way, as does being bumped into it by charging enemies.

There's a variety of weapons to pick up in the levels (laser weapons, flame-throwers, missiles and others) so you have a decent selection to choose based on preference or the current situation. The missile-based weaponry hurts you at close range, so you will often hurt yourself either because you were too close to an enemy, or aimed slightly down and shot the environment. You could say that is simply user error, but the most annoying thing was the auto-equip. There were plenty of occasions where I was firing a laser at an enemy whilst retreating. I backed off into the rocket pick-up, then the next shot was with the rocket, which often led to my demise.

When you are low on health, the HUD appears cracked and dashed in red which is a cool visual effect. However, it does increase your chance of death because you cannot see as well. It doesn't help with some of the enemies mixing in with the environment. Some enemies run along the ground but can seem camouflaged when stationary, and some are small and run/fly amongst the flora. These enemies can be hard to see when your HUD is clear, never-mind when your HUD is obfuscated by blood and cracks.

You are also equipped with a grapple-beam which allows room for creativity. This can be used to drag objects then fire them at enemies, use objects as a shield, or to swing around the environment Spider-Man style. You can propel yourself at speed, or just hang from the ceiling whilst gunning down enemies.

The floaty physics are fun, but can be quite fiddly to control your character until you get used to it. The jet-pack is another way to reach high places but is limited based on your fuel supplies. Most of the time I forgot about it, but that's because I had fun propelling myself around with the hook.

The main game will only take around 3 hours if you can complete the 12 missions on your first attempt. I played through the game on Easy and some levels were really challenging, particularly Mission 11 which has an insane amount of enemies and plenty of gas traps. In each mission, you are given a star rating so there is definitely some scope to replay levels. In addition to the Campaign, there is 'Arcade' mode which offers different kinds of challenges. Some examples include: Time Trial that sees you navigating the environment for the Oxygen Capsules before your air supply runs out, Survival sees you fighting endless waves of enemies, Bot Match which is a death-match mode against AI astronauts.

The game supports joypads but comes with the warning that this will increase the games' difficulty. This is due to the need to aim quickly and accurately; so a keyboard and mouse is the preferred control scheme.

Capsized is fairly short and sweet. In some ways, there's not a lot of content, but what it does; it does brilliantly. It's fun navigating and shooting your way through the levels, and the art and sound design supplement your experience.