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 â€“ and an intelligent tutorial at the beginning ensures that players know what they need to do without having their hands held â€“ 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.