Rymdkapsel iOS Review: Leave Wanting More

rymdkapsel-not-a-casual-game

Rymdkapsel is a ‘minimalist real-time strategy game…’ or what I would call a cross between FTL and Sim City. I love rymdkapsel, but there is room for growth — something I hope Martin Jonasson (creator/programmer) takes advantage of.

rymdkapsel-weapons
You see these weapons depots? These are my Tetrominos of Terror!

You start in space, stars rotating around your base at a slow pace to give the illusion of movement — it’s a nice touch in lieu of a more cosmic (read graphic) background. Then, from the abyss, rises a tetromino sporting two white rectangles (dubbed ‘minions’) and reserve supplies: blue cubes, purple squares, and yellow pyramids. Then, text fades into view and tells you — in no ambiguous terms — what to do. Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Rymdkapsel. It really sets the tone quite well.

You build a corridor, reactor, an extractor, gardens, and a kitchen before JonassonofGod warns you ‘You are not alone in this place,’ and a meter at the bottom of the screen begins to fill as He tells you to build a weapons depot. Yikes. Even with an understanding of supplies, it’s unsettling to hear space monsters are lurking beyond the expansive map! Suddenly, the creeping sensation from Stephen King’s The Langoliers takes effect… with the same anticlimactic reveal as the (1995) miniseries.

The monsters are flying red balls… which probably would be scary to white rectangle people… and you assign your minions to defense to kill them. Once that happens however, the meter reappears, warning you of the next wave. Only this time, it fills faster.

langoliers-flying-meatballs
Spoilers: They’re flying meatballs with teeth.

Gameplay

You are building a self-sustaining space station with tetrominos, so you assign these shapes to functions: corridor, kitchen, reactor — you name it. Although you cannot control the tetrominos’ order… you CAN cancel the structure making the next tetromino in the lineup available. This is useful when you’re working in a tight area and want to build another weapons depot or when you’re trying to reach a monolith.

All that said, YOU can’t build anything. In a sense, you embody the ethereal deity and, being unable to make tangible changes on your own, you delegate the minions to do so.

rymdkapsel-not-a-casual-game
So close… yet so far away.

You assign minions to construct the resources and you can set priorities for which should be made first. That said, there is one thing you cannot control… which is where the minions draw resources from. This becomes an issue when you have multiple kitchens and your minion takes it upon himself to go to the furthest possible one on the map.

A similar thing happens when the space invaders approach and you assign your minions to defend — hoping they’ll go to the spot nearest to the monolith so research can continue… but instead they go to the opposite side of the map. Having more control over which station is manned would be helpful — especially since minions will die and it’d be good to have a backup minion on hand.

Game Length

I’ve played Rymdkapsel about a dozen times and it’s by no means a casual game. My first play was clocked at 64 minutes, so that should give you an idea of the average length. This isn’t a bad thing, just means that you need to set aside time for it. The game will continue right where you left off, but it’s hard to jump right back into the rhythm of things, so if I can’t dedicate an hour, I won’t play it.

When I finally beat the game, I was stunned. It just shifts goals from ‘research the 4 monoliths‘ to ‘survive 28 waves.’ Once that goal was achieved, I couldn’t very well accomplish the last one ‘research all monoliths in under 45 minutes,’ so I just sat around until the red balls killed me.

rymdkapsel-game-over
The monoliths… and Red Balls like HAL…

This is where there’s room for improvement.

1. Add More Goals or Randomize Them

  • Survive with only 1 kitchen.
  • Survive with only 6 minions.
  • Survive 28 waves with only 2 monoliths.
  • Build only 30 corridors and research all 4 monoliths.
  • Build a base entirely of square blocks.

Something along those lines to help challenge the player with varied objectives.

2. Add Levels

When I first played, I could’ve sworn there were 8 monoliths rather than the 4. When I zoomed out and saw that I was mistaken, I thought, ‘well maybe after I unlock these monoliths, the map will suddenly expand and there will be 6 more further out in space.’ This also proved to be untrue… but if Grapefrukt did either it would be awesome.

Additionally, adding obstacles like blackholes would make the need for specific tetrominos that much more crucial. That or if the monoliths’ entry-points were randomized — just a thought.

Conclusion

rymdkapsel-defense
I like that the minions lie down like slackers.

I love this game. It was a game I looked forward to playing. The only problem is the lack of replayability, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a great concept with room for growth. I mean Martin Jonasson sounds awesome, he quit his job to make this project and it’s more fun than some $5 and $10 games I’ve played with larger teams behind them.

A friend of mine once said (about food), ‘I never want to leave stuffed… I want to leave wanting more,” and that sentiment aptly sums up Rymdkapsel. I’m very excited to see what Martin Jonasson (and Grapefrukt) do next.

PS. The minions steal food?! In researching I found out that Jonasson programmed the minions to do malfeasance such as this because he found it endearing… he’s more like God than I knew.

For more iOS reviews, visit Derek Hobson’s Article Archive

1 Comment on Rymdkapsel iOS Review: Leave Wanting More

  1. I haven’t been able to get into many iOS games because they seem so simple & repetitive. They have a couple of the early Final Fantasy games available for mobile, have you played any of those? When I have some down time I’m thinking of cracking out a new video game.

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