The future is now. The future is rmydkapsel, where we have evolved into small white rectangles and build entire space stations in under an hour. Unfortunately, it will not be easy. Forget what you’ve seen in the movies or from NASA (more like Not Actually Space Amirite). I want to believe that space is how it is seen in rymdkapsel, brutal and unforgiving. Created for mobile devices by Martin Jonasson, rymdkapsel is a real-time strategy/tower defense game that uses tetrominos to create your fortress among the stars. The most intriguing part though is that it is as challenging as it is simple.
As you start with but one little unit, you must increase your numbers by building your station complete with reservoirs to extract resources, engineering stations, gardens, kitchens, living quarters, and most importantly, battle stations. The primary objective here is to reach the four mysterious monoliths at opposite corners of the accessible space and research them all to upgrade your small legion of adorable rectangles, thus becoming the ultimate species, having been imbued with the infinite power and knowledge of the cosmos. Sounds fine enough, but there are enemies that appear in waves ever round, and you must be prepared to destroy them, or else you’ll destroy everything you’ve worked for.I’ve been able to hold my own for around twenty something waves, but the enemy count either increases every round and/or the intervals between each wave only decreases. Therein lies the brutal nature of rymbkapsel as you must react quickly and proactively to ensure survival. It can get stressful when you’ve got a looming horde of enemies on the way, but you’ve still got some units working on construction for the defense quarters you need to fend off these enemies in the first place. Researching the monoliths does make your units move faster, but that also takes time. Time and resource management becomes imperative to victory, as your units can only move so quickly, and there is still so much to be done.
My biggest problem with rymdkapsel however, is that on the mobile device, there doesn’t seem to be an option to select specific units and assign them to certain duties at certain parts of the station. If you can get halfway through the game, you’ll notice that your station has grown exponentially and it only takes that much longer for units to walk across it. You can add resources wherever you’d like, but without being able to select specific units, you might end up with some rectangles on one side of the station running to the defense quarters on the complete opposite of the station because some other units decided to occupy the one that they were right next to. They are then left completely defenseless, and you must now work to create more units within the now short amount of valuable time to expand. This can sometimes be the line between victory and defeat, and it’s easily crossed when your units feel out of your complete control.
With practice, I’m positive it’s possible to win, but I certainly haven’t yet. I’ve gotten fairly close to my third monoliths, but I’ll have some units wiped out on the way to their battle station and then never have time to recuperate, only having my numbers dwindle with each decreasing increment of preparation time. Like I said, it’s stressful, but it’s a great time. If at first you don’t succeed, you can just wipe your bitch tears and try again another time.
My first time trying rymdkapsel, I accidentally left it open while my phone was charging, so I woke up in the morning and learned that I had the music serenading me all night. The soundtrack consists of a 15-minute track by Niklas Ström, but it’s lovely, eerie, and relaxing, perfectly fitting for the atmosphere of the game as you’re seemingly alone in a dark crevice of the universe. Similarly, the sound design is also awesome, but with very unique sounds that make your actions feel all the more satisfying, especially the little chime that plays once you’ve defeated the last enemy in a wave. It’s that short sound of victory that feels so uplifting after some hefty doses of demoralization once you’ve had a nice lot of units already decimated.
In all, rymdkapsel is well worth your time, especially for just $3.99 on Google Play and iTunes. The only problem with it at the moment is the inability to grab and assign specific units to exact duties and locations, which puts your station at a great risk and disadvantage. There will be a PC release of the game due for release in January with more content, which you might want to wait for. I’m hoping it will be easier to control on a larger screen with a mouse, allowing for the definitive rymdkapsel experience. For those willing to take on the challenge though, it’s a great game to take with you wherever you go, whenever you can kill some time for some merciless strategic action. It’ll also likely help prepare you for the inevitable future when we become rectangles. You know it’s bound to happen.
[+Solid strategy/tower defense gameplay] [+Tetromino pieces] [+Excellent soundtrack and sound design] [+Brutal challenge encourages multiple attempts] [-Inability to easily choose specific units complicates things and puts you at easy risk for defeat]