REVIEW: Rymdkapsel (Mobile)

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Game Info:

  • Genre: Real Time Strategy
  • Platform: PS Mobile / iOS / Android
  • Developer: Grapefrukt
  • Release Date: May 7, 2013 (PS Mobile) / August 1, 2013 (iOS and Android)
  • Tested In: Android

This game had been out for the PS Vita for quite some time, but I waited for the release of the iOS and Android versions to play it with a touch screen. The simplistic visuals belies the deep gameplay that all mobile gamers should experience at least once. But then again, it’s not easy to play only once.

Rymdkapsel is basically a mix of real time strategy with tower defense for mobile platforms, which makes it doubtful at first. It looks good though, so much that it was what made me try it out at first glance. It turned out to be one of the best mobile gaming experiences I’ve had so far.

Presentation

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The minimalist visual style makes good use of dark pastel colors upon the dark blue background, which is both easy on the eyes and prominent enough to distinguish which is which. It’s set in an isometric perspective with basic shapes serving as rooms and corridors. It’s this minimalism that makes it attractive at first, as it doesn’t look intimidating at all.

The minions themselves are little upright triangles that move around, and they go horizontal when they’re idle. If they get damaged by enemies, they get chipped and cracked. While they’re small, they’re still visible enough even in the smallest of phones, at least enough to not make players squint too hard to see them.

The aural experience is also pretty good, with background ambient music that makes it feel spacey without being overpowering. The sound queues are effective in notifying the player about various things going on in the game, like when something has finished building, enemies are incoming, a minions has been either created or killed, and so on.

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However, there are times when the text on the interface becomes hard to read, but it’s no real hardship. If you’re playing with smaller devices though, reading the costs for the rooms on top of the screen may take some getting used to. The tiny home icon for accessing the main menu on the top left is also pretty small, so you may have to tap it a few times to open it.

Gameplay

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You build rooms and corridors to expand your efforts in completing objectives, which are researching all 4 monoliths and surviving 28 waves of enemies. There’s also a bonus objective of researching all four monoliths within 45 minutes, which is quite difficult to achieve. They come in randomized shapes like Tetris blocks, so you have to fit them together as best as you can while making sure that everything is easily accessible, which makes room placements (or Sim-City) quite a challenge.

There are also have three types of resources to manage, each obtained in a different way and comes at different levels of scarcity. In order to finish tasks quicker, you need more minions, so you have to build more Quarters to create and accommodate them. This means that you have to contend building stuff and coming up with those resources for building and making everything while having to research all four monoliths, as well as preparing for the waves of enemies, which come at gradually decreasing time intervals.

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The enemies can’t destroy your rooms, but they do kill your minions. If you run out of minions, it’s game over. It’s this level of multitasking and need for proper management, both macro and micro, that makes Rymdkapsel a surprisingly deep strategy game for mobile platforms.

Final Score

9/10 – I love this game.

As of posting this review, Rymdkapsel is now my favorite mobile game ever. Perhaps the only mobile strategy title that can come close to it for me is geoDefense for the iOS, but that’s only a regular tower defense game with only one resource type. There’s so much more to deal with in this game all at once while being visually simplistic, and that shows the world that good strategy games need not look over-embellished.

You may read about my review system [here].


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