Most games on tablets are, for lack of a better word, crap. Developers either lazily shove a game that needs a controller into a touchscreen, hide behind “free-to-play” as an excuse not to fix balance issues, or just shamelessly knock off something popular and hope players are either too lazy or too dumb to notice the difference.
But not Rymdkapsel. In fact, this game costs four bucks and is worth every penny; it’s an engaging and weird mix of tower defense, Tetris, and real-time strategy that’s unlike anything you’ve played before.
The first thing that stands out about Rymdkapsel (which is Swedish for “space capsule”) is that you’ve got three goals that can be achieved in the course of the game: You can unlock all four “monoliths”, survive twenty-eight waves of attacks, or unlock all the monoliths in forty-five minutes. That’s it; once you finish all three, the game even has a “The End” screen for you. You do this by building corridors and resource producing units off those corridors; needless to say, you need to constantly be turning out resources to build corridors and more resource production units, although you will run out of one resource eventually.
Oh, and everything is a tetromino, so you’ll also have to figure out how to cram the units and corridors you need in tiny amounts of space, even while figuring out how to fight the nasty aliens on their way to kill your minions. It sounds frantic, on paper, but the game is surprisingly calming, thanks to both the slow pace, at first, and the score and design decisions. It’s a minimalist and surprisingly calming game:
Despite the goals, there’s no defined end-game; the game essentially goes until all your little minions are blown apart by the swarms of space eels that attack at shorter and shorter intervals. They die with a little “EEK!” sound too; you kinda feel bad.
That said, there’s nothing quite like this game. It’s been available for PlayStation-certified devices since July, and is now on iOS and Android. And if nothing else, it’s a good demonstration of what tablets can do, when developers think outside fads.