Capsized
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2013-09-09 Xbox 360 Action/Platform T (Teen) Alientrap / Indiepub

A side-scrolling action/platformer focusing on exploration and combat, Capsized initally caught my eye with its unusual artwork. After getting acquainted with it and discovering that it reminded me of a mix of Commander Keen with Metal Slug, I have to say that I found it surprisingly interesting, yet annoying.

After crash-landing on a hostile and exotic alien planet, you main goal is to find and rescue your crew members while fighting for survival. Your tools of the trade are your jet pack, an energy-beam grappling hook and some space age weapon solutions that change with each level.

Running and using your jet-pack to boost your jumps, you bounce from platform to platform, swing by using your grappling hook to reach what seemed impossible, and use the same grappling hook to move and drag items or obstacles.

The environments are designed so that you find youself using all of your available abilities, keeping the gameplay challenging, interesting and varied. The puzzles mostly require you to use your grappling gun to grab something and drag it around, be it a boulder or an injured crew member, but since these are physics-based puzzles, controlling them won't be as easy as one would expect.

In fact, it often becomes frustrating and annoying as objects get caught on other things or are pulled out of the screen, and you are forced to go back to fetch them. While the puzzles themselves aren't too difficult to figure out, the process of solving them becomes the complicated part. Still, the grappling hook is extremely valuable and useful for both combat and exploration.

Speaking of combat, the shooting is pretty fast and furious. You can adjust your aiming with the right thumbstick to shoot in any direction, Metal Slug-style. Weapons in your arsenal will include a freeze ray, rocket launcher, machine gun and pistol, among others, and you can switch weapons to suit whatever you are attempting to kill. Variety is great, but accessing what you're looking for requires you to scroll through the available options either with Y or the D-Pad, and that's just not fast enough for when you're surrounded by enemies.

One thing that sets Capsized apart from similar games is the artwork. The story advances through comic strips where you can see the characters up close in their grotesque caricatured appearance, but the environments take the cake with their stunning amount of detail. In fact, there is so much going on in the background that it's easy to lose focus and become distracted by the movement of leaves or the vivid colors and captivating art. There are some levels later on that play with light and dark, inviting you to explore every bit of the landscape.

The music does a great job of adding to the game's ambiance. The soundtrack is beautiful and invokes the unique sci-fi atmosphere. If you take the time to listen to it, you may find it both relaxing and sad, which definitely fits the alienating environments.

Platformer, shooter, run & gun and physics puzzles all in one, Capsized isn't without some issues, particularly in the controls department, which will more than likely annoy you. It's interesting, it's unique, it is fairly engaging, but it is also unfortunately flawed in what counts the most: its own gameplay.