VERDICT: Uninspired, dull, and contains knock-offs to Metroid, FPS games, and not much else. Extremely floaty controls. Good art. Grapple beam is incredible. Too bad this game falls flat.
This game is Windows only.
There is a ‘duel’ mode that can be unlocked. It is split screen on a single computer. However, this assumes you’ll ever unlock it.
Bizarrely, both a keyboard and mouse are required. You use the mouse to ‘aim’. If you plug in your controller, you might get this screen:
Above: Frack this.
Controllers work only if that controller is a Xbox 360 controller. Not even Joy2Pad worked for me. Being forced to use the keyboard and mouse might be the reason why I had control issues. I blame the game for forcing this on me.
Game worked flawlessly. I only had one crash which I blame on myself for alt tabbing 50 times in a row for screenshot production.
WHAT IS IT?
Capsized is a game of various isolated stages where you try to get to an exit. Each stage presents itself as a maze with various monsters and physic puzzles blocking your way. The player starts off with a number of different moves including a grappling hook nearly exactly like that of Super Metroid. The player can obtain new weapons in a stage which have a normal fire and alternate fire. The player can also use the grapple beam to sling the enemy into other enemies. When you get to the end, there is a ‘score’ which takes in account the time you took, the ‘secrets’ you found, how many times you died, and other information.
There is also an arcade mode that allows some different modes. You can play against bots (why? We don’t know. But bots are there in case you want to go after them). There is time trial where you run out of oxygen. There is survival, armless, and duel. Duel is the split screen multiplayer.
Above: Look at all the modes you can’t play! You’ll likely uninstall this game before unlocking anything.
While this arcade mode sounds pretty cool, you are unable to play any of it. Each mode must be ‘unlocked’ by giving stars. Bot Match requires twenty stars, Time Trial thirty, and so on. You gain stars through the Campaign mode which takes considerable time (at least five levels in) before you unlock Bot Match.
Above: It is good that the game allows you to set the difficulty. I was playing on medium and found the game challenging enough. Playing on Easy might not be a bad idea.
The best way to describe how the game plays is to tell you the controls. WASD has you move around with W to jump. The mouse is used to move a cursor around the screen which your player will always aim at. You have buttons for Fire, Alternative Fire, and Ram with your guns. You have switch weapon up and down to select different guns. You have a grapple beam. You have a jet pack. There is also a flashlight.
Above: While the art is good, some of it makes me wonder. Look at the bottom left corner and ask, “Why is there a snake on a stick?”
The most enjoyable part of the game comes with the grapple beam.
The Grapple Beam
Above: The grapple beam is ridiculously fun.
The grapple beam from Super Metroid was a memorable and fun weapon. It’s just as fun here if not more so. The grapple beam can latch onto anything from walls, enemies, and objects. The grapple beam alone makes me wish for a new 2d Metroid.
As you can see from the image above, I am rolling a boulder upside down. Why? Because I can.
Above: You can use the grapple beam to stand on the wall. Yes, I’m still in the starting area.
The grapple beam would be even more fun if your character didn’t control like a mud pig. Since your character moves so slow, you can’t exactly use the standing on walls to get away from enemies quickly. What a shame.
Capsized has an interesting game engine that utilizes momentum. You can not only swing boulders around, but the swing carries out the momentum well. A swung object will fly and bounce appropriately.
When I first played Capsized, I kept wondering the question you’re asking yourself at about now: “Is this Ghetto Metroid?”
You’re in a space suit in an alien, jungle, like environment with large cavernous levels. Your main gun can make a charge shot. You have the grapple beam. There are Chozu Statues and Metroids. You can wall jump. I swore I was playing a ghettoized Super Metroid. This would actually be cool.
Unfortunately, the similarities come more from the game being uninspired. The levels are all segmented and isolated within themselves. The ‘secrets’ inside the levels aren’t really that secret (ex: walk past the hidden wall). You don’t build up your character aside from gaining some new weapons. So don’t go into this thinking you’ll get your Metroid fix. You won’t.
This is the first time I’ve ever played the game (which came out a couple years ago and only recently on GOG). However, this game does provoke a ton of Super Metroid nostalgia. The fun you think you’re having in the game is pretending this is Next Gen Super Metroid. Once I got over that, I realized how much I wasn’t having fun.
JUSTIFICATION FOR SCORE:
The ingredients of a great game are here. However, the dough did not rise. This game came out a year or two ago, and the reason this is the first you’re hearing about it is because no one plays it. This game is entirely not fun. Here are my reasons:
-Controls are terrible.
Granted, I was using a keyboard and mouse. (Why is a mouse used in a 2d platformer anyway?) The Xbox only controller requirement makes no sense as every key is customizable. Even with an Xbox controller, there would still be significant problems.
The player is far too floaty. You don’t run or jump but ‘bounce’ around more. It is extremely difficult to control your character.
-Monsters are uninspired.
Monsters serve as the primary obstacle in the game, and they are lethal. They can kill fast.
The creatures are so uninspired they look like rejects from other Indie games. One common enemy is some tribesman (it is some sort of humanoid) that stands and fires at you. What is it? Why is it there? In the Metroid games, the creatures made sense in their environment. In watery Maridia, there would be fish. In Norfair, there are fire creatures. In Capsized, there are bizarre tribesmen located everywhere who shoot laser weaponry at you.
Other creatures resembling different forms of blobs come after you. Some are flying squids. One behaves (and looks) like a Metroid where it attaches itself to you and flies away, all while sucking away your life energy. Instead of striking fear and intensity into the player, Capsized comes across as boring with these uninspired creatures.
My biggest complaint with the monsters is that I rarely see them. They blend in with the environment where you don’t see them until it is too later. Monsters would be better off being brightly colored and distinct so I can spot them easier in the game.
Continuing with that complaint, there are creatures in the game that aren’t monsters but part of the foreground. You keep shooting at them, but they never die. Once you find out they are just for looks, you soldier on until you die to one that wasn’t there just for looks.
-Separate levels are dull. Should be integrated like Metroid.
The variety is lacking in the levels because the levels are just blobs of ‘jungle platforms’ or ‘cave platforms’ in a void. There is no context to them. And there is no feeling of progression from completing anything.
The game would be far more interesting if the levels were all integrated like Metroid. You wouldn’t just be ‘completing levels’ but moving towards a destination. The comic book panels don’t satisfy that sense of progression.
To the game’s credit, there is a map screen. However, it feels underutilized. Where am I going? Why?
Above: Oh no! How are we going to get to the tunnel below the long block? We pull it out with our grappling hook as we go around the other way. The levels are full of these… ‘puzzles’…
-Music sounds like those alarm clocks that play ‘rain forest’ or ‘ocean’ ambiance to wake you up.
If you compare Capsized’s music with an ambiance alarm clock, I doubt you’d be able to tell the two apart. The good news is that you can now pretend to be in the rainforest by leaving Capsized on in the background.
-Weapons felt like they came from another game.
The weapons you get are a machine gun (with lasers), a flame thrower (but blue), grenades (with lasers), and a rocket launcher (but with a bluish beam). They all have alternate weapon types which are just as familiar.
Above: Every popular FPS weapon can be found here.
-Secrets are dumb.
In Capsized, there is this thing called ‘secrets’. It has a number for each level like ’0/3 secrets’. You’ll see items in the middle of walls which you get by walking through the wall somewhere. That is the secret. Tada.
-Everything is too bouncy.
Just as your character is too ‘floaty’, everything in the game feels too bouncy. I think the game engine is amazing in how to calculates momentum. It is how you can swing around with the grappling hook or firing a big blast at blank range knocks you out.
Above: After all the bouncing, I discover I am at only one health.
What is most annoying when the monsters throw you around. Or to better put it, it is annoying when you lose track of your character because he has become a pinball.
Above: Sometimes monsters can knock you back half a screen.
Remember that feeling when playing Wizards and Warriors NES when you would carefully jump up to the top of the large area only to get hit by an enemy and be knocked back to the very bottom? Capsized has this.
But what about the good things?
Above: The game is very easy on the eyes.
Above: Little touches like the blood spots and webbing on the screen stand out.
I’m not so hot on the comic book panels, but I thought the art was well done. This is a very slick looking game.
-Grapple hook is really fun.
I really like the grapple hook until monsters enter the scene. When you get hit by a monster with the grappling book, you bounce back and forth like a jack-in-the-box.
Aside from the comic panels, everything is presented cleanly. Usually indie games feel cheap. This one, at least the aesthetics, looks like it came from professionals.
-So why the low score?
The way how I have the scale set up, only a very good game can crack 70%. Most games are average. This one is below average.
Above: Flashlight isn’t that useful at the beginning.
Battletoads is more fun than Capsized. Wizards and Warriors is more fun than Capsized. There is certainly some fun in this game. However, the game doesn’t feel like it comes together. It feels like when all the ingredients came into contact, nothing happened. When I play this game, I feel like I am consuming separate elements instead of a cohesive piece. A high Rad Racer score seems to fit it the best.
Is the game bad? Yeah. It is. You will have more fun replaying any 2d platformer. There is nothing new here. The only fun thing was the grappling hook which I enjoyed more than anything else.
What I found most interesting was how every review I read about this game from every big site publication gave it an ’8′ (where they would also rate each element of the game. The graphics have a score. The sound has a score. The title screen has a score). I could never detect the reviewer having fun with the game. From gamers I heard online, none of them seem interested in the game after playing it.
Granted, being forced to use the keyboard may have contributed to my experience of ‘bad controls’. But as far as I can tell, no one loves this game. There are no cults about it. No fan clubs. Even Wizards and Warriors has a cult following! This game can be fun at times, but those times are outweighed by the frustrations. I give it a Rad Racer.