Capsized tells about as dense a story as any small indie XBLA/PC game could. You play a space traveler who has crash landed (capsized, if you will) onto a hostile planet, and levels range from a multitude of objectives such as rescuing companions or salvaging parts from wreckage. The story isn’t Capsized’s strong points, but it is serviceable, and the comic book panels that move the plot forward are enjoyable to look at and subtle enough to spell the plot out without shoving it in your face.
Capsized, to put it bluntly, is gorgeous. The hand drawn 2D artwork made by the relatively tiny devteam is beyond spectacular, and Capsized never, ever disappoints with it’s creativity in it’s graphics. Each level is beautifully drawn and while too much time is spent underground (in the relative darkness) it doesn’t detract from Capsized’s stunning views. The devs must be congratulated for putting so much effort into the artwork, painstakingly drawing each level by hand. Enemies are unique looking and characters in general are well animated.
While I have not played the PC version, I feel the XBLA version has lost something in transition in regards to the gameplay. To be specific: the controls. While the keyboard/mouse combo allows for finetuning and fine aim, the joysticks on the Xbox 360 controller feels rigid and unwieldy at best, requiring me to far over-utilize the lock on button. Unfortunately a lot of the game is spent using gadgets like a gravity hook or jetpack (something of a Swiss Army knife for the space man) which require fine precise aiming and the controller is just not built for it. For the most part, gameplay consists of shooting aliens and exploring things. When the controls are working with you (as opposed to against), the shooting is serviceable. Shoot at things (preferably locking on) until they fall over and stop shooting back. The brilliantly original artwork makes for slightly more interesting shooting segments but overall there’s not much to talk about.
The exploration however, is really enjoyable and a joy to partake in. The multitude of gadgets at your disposal allow for flexible and creative methods of exploring areas, and there are a huge host of secret areas and power ups to collect throughout all the levels. The gravity hook is the crux of exploration, and is one of the most ingenious and clever gadgets I’ve seen in a game since Just Cause 2’s grapple hook. Throw in a jetpack of all things, and there are definitely some fun and interesting ways to move around levels. As long as the controls are in a good mood, of course.
Capsized is a wonderfully imaginative and unique indie game that takes full advantage of the term ‘indie’. While the controls are sloppy and infuriating in some of the more delicate segments, it can’t be denied that this is a game that should be played and enjoyed, if not for the unremarkable gameplay, then the gorgeous vistas and creative environments and settings.
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