rymdkapsel Review—Doesn’t Matter If You Can’t Pronounce It
Developer: grapefrukt games
Genre: Real-Time Strategy
In a perfect world, rymdkapsel would be an insanely boring affair that I would recommend you avoid at all costs. But this world is far from perfect. Opting to make the title the most complicated thing about the game, grapefrukt games has taken the real-time strategy genre and stripped it of everything but the most basic of features.
rymdkapsel assigns you the task of having your crew of minions expand and operate a space station, with the goal of researching and tapping into each monolith that occupies their one piece of space. Monoliths aren’t just for touching and poking, though; once they have been fully researched, they grant you useful perks, such as prolonging the time between enemy attacks. Getting to these monoliths, however, takes time and resources, both of which are precious commodities. Time management and how efficient you are with your resources are what determine how long your minions live, as well as how much of the final frontier you explore.
You start off with two slackers that jump around like a couple of simples and a few supplies. The game does a great job at explaining how you turn your heaping pile of nothing into a self-sustaining space station capable of defending itself. Madness having a method is key; rooms can only be connected to corridors, and since the Tetris-like shapes of the corridors and rooms constantly change, placing them in the most strategic way possible is how you achieve success in rymdkapsel. Focus too much on kitchens, gardens, and quarters, and your minions will be sitting ducks if they are nowhere near a weapon room when the station is attacked.
Rooms are for more than just show, as they function as the backbone of the entire setup. Each room serves a very important purpose, and not having the right combination spells failure faster than a persnickety spelling bee champion. Reactors harness the power of the sun for power. Extractors pull particles from space for building material. Gardens work in tandem with kitchens to produce food for your minions, and minions occupy and are generated from quarters. Then you have your weapon rooms, which are arguably your most important ones. Each weapon room can house and equip two minions. These simples armed to the teeth with the latest in space-age technology are your only line of defense. They die, it’s game over. So having your weapon rooms in close proximity to where they currently are is vital. A timer lets you know when the next wave of enemies will attack, but it’s easy to get lost in researching monoliths and adding to your station. If the attackers catch your minions en route to a weapon room, say bye-bye to the simples, because they are toast. Know where you are at all times, and make sure you have quick access to your rooms. Do those two things, and you’ll be set.
Performance-wise, rymdkapsel is up there with the best PSM has to offer. Normally, I leave touchscreen-only titles feeling frustrated, but not with this beauty. Responsive and optimized to perfection as it is, poking at a screen has never felt this good. The soundtrack is subtle, the gameplay relaxing yet still challenging. Unfortunately, what some find relaxing, others will see as boring. rymdkapsel only moves at one pace: molasses. As long as you are making the most of your time and supplies, the game never really gets off the ground. It just kind of hovers. To be fair, that’s what the developer was going for, and he succeeded—but a little too well. Not only was most of the RTS formula stripped away, content was, too. There are no features, no modes, no leaderboards. You start from the beginning, your minions die, you do it all over again. That’s not much meat for the price.
rymdkapsel is a game that decided that bigger isn’t better. While other games get grander and more expensive, it decided to do the opposite. It’s the hipster of video games. But unlike hipsters, rymdkapsel is a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Even if it does lack in content.
In space, nobody cares if you’re screaming.