People often say that it is important to support local artists. This sentiment should definitely be applied to Saskatoon’s own Alientrap Games, the developer of the PC game Capsized. The game has only two main developers, Lee Vermeulen and Jesse McGibney, which makes this fast paced two-dimensional platforming shooter all the more impressive.
It’s immediately apparent from the main menu that this game is simply beautiful. The visuals are very soothing to the eye. This is due to the soft textures which seem as if they are made with actual pastels, yet the environments are extremely detailed, ranging from lush green foliage to dark rocky caverns. And that’s just the foreground art. All of the levels also have wonderful background art that show how vast this world is. The stunning visuals along with the fantastic soundtrack by Solar Fields greatly contribute to the sense that the character is all by himself on this alien world.
Alien world you say? That’s correct. In Capsized you play as a short little spaceman who has crash-landed on a strange planet teeming with life. It isn’t long before you find out that your shipmates have been stranded as well. You set out to round up any survivors and proceed to find the necessary pieces to repair your ship.
The story is told through comic style panels prior to and upon completion of each of the game’s 12 levels. Capsized isn’t going to win any awards for its plot, but that’s fine—the real meat and potatoes is the gameplay.
The in-game physics give the controls a welcoming fluidity. Capsized can be played using either a gamepad or mouse and keyboard; I opted for the latter. The fluid controls are really satisfying when using the grappling hook and jetpack to traverse and explore the heights and depths of the levels — even for gamers unfamiliar with PC gaming.
There are a wide variety of enemies that you will encounter along your journey that range from little pests to bigger, more powerful adversaries. In the earlier levels, you might be able to get away with avoiding most of the enemies. As the game progresses, though, it is almost a requirement to take your time and deal with enemies as you encounter them. If you don’t, you may find your health bar depleted before you realize you’re even in trouble.
You’ll also come across several different weapons along your travels that vary in effectiveness depending on the enemy you are up against. I’m thrilled to see that the weapons have been given an alternative fire which adds even more diversity.
Once a level is completed, a star rank is given based upon time, difficulty, deaths and secrets found. Players that don’t get enough out of a single campaign run can play through again to try to find all 32 secret locations and attempt to max out each level’s star ranking. There are also five other modes, some of which must be unlocked with star rankings. The five modes are Bot Match, Time Trial, Survival, Armless and Duel.
Capsized is well worth the price of $9.99 and is currently available for download on the Steam game store. If parting with 10 dollars is your only barrier to picking up this title, then check out the free demo and let the game speak for itself.