mon 01/06/2020

Rymdkapsel | reviews, news & interviews

Rymdkapsel

Rymdkapsel

Back to basics Real Time Strategy game works beautifully

'Rymdkapsel': an RTS for minimalists

Most Real Time Strategy (RTS) games follow a basic template - explore and forage for resources, build a base, generate some units, fight, repeat. This formula is tweaked and expanded upon by games like StarCraft, Command & Conquer and Age Of Empires and sometimes slimmed down to create the subgenre of Tower Defence games, where the key to victory lies mainly in the placing of fixed turrets along a path of approaching enemies.

Most Real Time Strategy (RTS) games follow a basic template - explore and forage for resources, build a base, generate some units, fight, repeat. This formula is tweaked and expanded upon by games like StarCraft, Command & Conquer and Age Of Empires and sometimes slimmed down to create the subgenre of Tower Defence games, where the key to victory lies mainly in the placing of fixed turrets along a path of approaching enemies.

Rymdkapsel is all of this, and less. Not that we are complaining - with its stripped-bare gameplay and starkly functional graphics, this is RTS at its most elemental, and it works beautifully. Where Rymdkapsel chooses to focus is on perhaps the most neglected part of the RTS formula - the construction of the base.

Rymdkapsel - strategic placement of rooms is everything

Your "base" is actually a sort of spaceship, suspended in a star-speckled void dotted with four floating platforms, each bearing a black 2001-ish Monolith. You expand your ship by building rooms and interconnecting corridors using your minions - tiny white lines, a few pixels high that scurry about the structure doing your bidding. Each room or corridor takes resources to construct (carried around the ship on your minions' backs), so as well as crew quarters (to grow more minions), kitchens (to feed your tiny crew), and the all-important weapons rooms (to see off regular waves of attackers), you also need to build gardens, reactors and extractors to generate the raw materials.

Initial progress is slow as your two starting minions struggle to bootstrap a basic infrastructure before the first wave of attacking ships appears overhead but soon steps up a gear as you gain more little helpers and extend the corridors of your ship to the surrounding Monoliths. Each Monolith contains a useful boost such as better weaponry or faster movement, providing you can devote a minion or two to "research" it for a while.

Rymdkapsel - researching the Monoliths will get you vital powerupsControls are incredibly streamlined. You place new rooms and corridors by dragging an outline into place that turns solid when the structure is complete. Each new outline is a random shape like a Tetris block, which can complicate the neat pathways you are trying to build. Having too much or too convoluted a corridor means your minions might travel further than you would like, slowing you down and potentiually exposing them to attack.

You control the minions by simply swiping their equally tiny icons from columns such as "defense", "construction" and "food service". Their AI does the rest, leaving you to just juggle their allocations to make the best and most efficient use of them as possible. This may sound like you have nothing to do but you do need to be alert and the real strategic element lies in creating a cunning corridor layout to get the best resources with the least effort.

If any of that sounds dull, it shouldn't. Despite graphics so simple that they seem like an early demo mock-up and minimalist sound effects (the exception being the wonderful, hypnotic soundtrack which throbs encouragingly away) Rymdkapsel is engrossing and addictive. Highly recommended.

 
With its stripped-bare gameplay and starkly functional graphics, this is RTS at its most elemental

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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