Somewhere floating in deep space exists a barren square platform. Connected to this platform are three more, each supporting exactly one pastel-colored geometrical object. The fourth and final edge opens into a vast expanse of stars, providing the opportunity to build your very own two-dimensional star base. But with what shall you build it, dear Liza? Stuff. Colorful, geometrical, discreet units of stuff.
Rymdkapsel is at once a real-time strategy game and Tetris clone. Set in the blackness of space, you’re tasked with creating and managing an ever-growing base comprised of interconnected colored platforms. Different platforms do different things, and your minions help build and hold them together. As you’re expanding your base to reach the obelisks at each corner of the map (more on that in a minute), wave upon wave of red… things swing-on by to harass your workers. Or kill them. Better hope you have enough weapons platforms to fend them off!
A Platform For Every Occasion
There are three goals to aim for in Rymdkapsel – connect to all four monoliths, survive 28 waves of enemies, and connect to all monoliths in under 45 minutes. Obviously, survival and sustainability is key. Beginning with the center platform, you’ll be connecting new platforms Tetris-style, each serving a unique function. Corridors provide spaces for your minions to run around, extractors extract raw materials, reactors create energy, garden-kitchen combos produce more minions (who sleep in the quarters), and weapons shoot the bad guys. Each platform type is color-coded for handy reference, and the shape of the next platform you’ll receive is hinted at in the upper-left hand side of the screen.
For a short while into your first session of Rymdkapsel, you’ll come to believe that this game is incredibly easy. Swipe the slider at the bottom of the screen to assign minions to defense when the red things arrive, then reassign them to various construction and material-generation tasks in between. However, three factors complicate your path – frequency, quantity, and scarcity.
Fear The Red Things
As you survive sequential red thing raids, you’ll notice that they begin arriving sooner and sooner, thus affording you less and less time to do things other than man the defenses. The red things will also arrive in increasing numbers with every wave, hence “quantity”. And, as you’re being bombarded by red things, you’ll be building platforms (using materials from particle fields) to increase the support of more minions… who can man more weapons platforms… so you can repel more red thing invasions. There’s only a few particle fields on the map, and their supply of materials is finite. Scarcity.
Combining all of these factors provides an engaging RTS experience where you’re constantly doing something in order to further your progress. Unfortunately, unlike most RTS games there is no variety in your units or the enemy’s. Around the 40 minute mark, the red things start hitting pretty fast and hard, but lucky for you – there are obelisks. At each corner of the map sits an obelisk. Your minions can be assigned to the final task, “research”, in order to unlock an obelisk’s secret technology. From slowing down the advancement of the red things to speeding up the movement of your minions, unlocking these technologies might just let you survive a few more rounds.
By efficiently managing the placement and number of each type of platform, you’ll try to survive as long as possible until you eventually die at the hand of the red things. Such is your fate, space man. All apologies. But it sure is pretty damned fun trying. Unfortunately, the lack of new units or maps can get a bit trying after the first couple games. As clean and sleek of a game Rymdkapsel is, I sincerely hope the developers are working on ways to expand content to make it more replayable.
Rymdkapsel is an abstract, sci-fi adaptation of a real time strategy game set in space that holds your attention through wave upon wave of attacking enemies. Unfortunately, once you’ve played a few times, things get a bit old. The addition of new units, varied enemies, or even an option to change the background would’ve kept me going longer. For $3.99 on the Play store, it seems a steep price to pay for a game so small in scope… yet, it’s still strangely appealing. Your call.