Rymdkapsel Review

Rymdkapsel Review

Aug 1, 2013

Rymdkapsel is Grapefrukt’s beautifully minimalistic RTS/simulation game finally available to Android devices at large. After a Playstation Mobile release, the game is now available for all Android devices on Google Play. The minimalist aesthetic pervades the game in many good ways, but also in one negative way that kept the game from being truly great to me.

Players command a group of minions in the middle of space, ordering them to build and harvest resources to expand their reach and to study monoliths around them in space. Enemies come flying in periodically, so minions need to be sent to defense positions periodically to keep them alive. It’s an eventual race against time: can the minions grow in numbers enough to overcome their enemies and study all four monoliths?

The game is remarkably simple to play. All the tiles for buildings and pathways are tetrominos, shapes that anyone who’s ever played a video game ever knows how to manipulate. As well, assigning tasks is done just by dragging minions’ icons at the bottom of the screen to a particular task. It’s easy to pick up – and an intelligent tutorial at the beginning ensures that players know what they need to do without having their hands held – and play, and the eerie atmosphere helps to make for an engrossing experience. The complexity is emergent, not overwhelming.

This is definitely a game best suited for tablets. The interface works okay on large phones, sure, but the reason I say to play it on a tablet is because the sessions are very long, like well over an hour for a good one! Sit down, grab a nice cold drink, and get lost in this game.


But lo, there is one thing keeping Rymdkapsel from greatness for me, and it is the AI. The minions are told to go work on a general task, but there’s no actual command of where they go to or what they do. So tasks such as construction can be wildly inefficient as the minions just kinda do whatever they feel like. And worst of all, when it comes time to scurry to their defense posts, they don’t always take the smartest paths, often leaving some minions dead. It takes some time to spawn new ones, and eventually the enemies start to overwhelm the minions. It’s frustrating because with specific controls, I’d have my gameplan down tighter than I do with the automatic commands. It’s a tradeoff, but one I’d like more say in just how much I’m trading.

Rymdkapsel is a beautiful game, one that I enjoy playing, but I would just enjoy it so much more if it wasn’t so frustrating, especially in late-game scenarios. I highly recommend it regardless.

Rymdkapsel Now Available, Here’s a GIF to Celebrate

Grapefrukt’s Rymdkapsel, recently featured here on this very site, is now out on Android! It’s now possible to download this strategy/simulation game from Google Play right now for $3.99. We’ll have a full-fledged review tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy this GIF version of the game’s trailer.

Five Reasons to Care About the Upcoming Minimalist Strategy/Simulation Game, Rymdkapsel

Five Reasons to Care About the Upcoming Minimalist Strategy/Simulation Game, Rymdkapsel

Jul 22, 2013

Rymdkapsel is making its way to Android this Thursday. We’ve gone hands-on with a final version of the game that we will be reviewing in full on release day! But first, we’re going to go into five reasons why this game is worth paying attention to.

It’s minimalist strategy and simulation gameplay with a minimalist look

The whole game is about minimalism: the visuals are conveyed through shapes and different colors representing them. It’s a clean and unique look. The minimalism spills over to the gameplay: buldings have sole purposes that become clear, and players just simply drag units along the bottom selector to which task they need to carry out without having to worry about exact parameters. It’s easy to get in to. Which is helped by its tutorial:


It has the best kind of tutorial

The game uses a method of teaching players just what to do that’s clever. It essentially integrates the tutorial in with the gameplay, telling the player what they should do and why they should do it, while letting them actually go and do that thing in their own way. Then, once the tutorial is over, the players are left with their results and are now playing. It’s very effective at what it does. The complexity is emergent from simple controls and systems. Yet, despite the simplicity:

It’s deep like chess

Game sessions can go on for over an hour at least if players can last that long, and proper placement of corridors and the various buildings can go a long way toward success or failure. The game is not so much built around sudden failure, but slow, painful collapse, the realization that survival is soon impossible. If this title sounds familiar:

That juicy feeling of getting something another platform had

There’s just something special about games that make the jump to mobile. Rymdkapsel isn’t entirely the same: it started as a Playstation Mobile title, meaning most people likely played it on the Playstation Vita, though the game makes for a perfect transition to touchscreen-only devices, as that version only used the touchscreen! Effectively, this is the same game, but for a wider array of Android devices, though I recommend it primarily for tablets. Of course, this transition is especially impressive when considering the number of people that worked on it.

Primarily created by a one-person studio

Or the lack thereof. The mobile market still allows for some independent creators, and I mean independent as in “one-person development studios,” to make games for the market largely created by themselves. Now, it’s kind of a cheat, as Martin Jonasson created everything in the game but the sound and music, which was done by Niklas Ström. Still, this deep game was done by as small a team as it needed to be. Minimalism revealing deeper elements is the name of the game in Rymdkapsel from top to bottom. Android users at large will get to check it out starting this Thursday, July 25th, when we will have a full review of the game.