Many games come and go on our iOS devices, and yet very few leave a lasting impression. Rymdkapsel is the latest to be tested, and it stands out for all the right reasons beyond that funky title. The name is of Swedish origin, and is pronounced “rimmed capsule”, and offers up real time strategy gameplay infused with elements of tower defense, time management, and tetromino puzzle. The entire app has a minimalistic design, but there’s great depth to the gameplay with a number of different intricacies in the main set-up. Your main goal is to build the best space base you can to survive waves of space snakes, and there are a lot of ways to go about doing so.
There are six room types at your disposal, plus corridors to build the infrastructure to expand your base. Each of the room types are contingent upon each other as you need the extractor and reactor to supply resources to build the others, and then you need the gardens to stock the kitchen, which in turn provides for the living quarters of your minions. There are also weapon rooms, which are definitely essential, and you need to balance each room type in a fight for survival. To add to the intrigue, there are four monoliths on the outskirts of the vicinity, and one of your goals is to build corridors to them so you can research to uncover their secrets which add advantages. All of the tasks in the game are completed by minions, which you direct to various tasks, and managing them is crucial as you always want them busy, but you have to take into account their lack of speed.
Everything you do in the game revolves around maximizing time, as there’s a meter on the bottom of the screen that is ever increasing, and signifies when the next enemy wave is coming in. You need to scramble your minions into defensive positions to battle back enemies, but you want to wait as long as possible to continue harvesting resources, reaching monoliths, and constructing more of your base. The balance that is required becomes an art form in itself, and you can’t help but appreciate the time that went into crafting the interaction of the rooms, minions, and enemies. It’s such an engrossing experience as you become transfixed on the screen always trying to do something all in anticipation of later enemy waves. The initial ten waves are crucial to long term survival, and at first that red meter fills so slowly, but soon you’ll be surprised how quickly the time goes, especially since it picks up the pace as well.
To add to the intricacies, building your space station offers another puzzle as you have to precisely place Tetris style rooms that work off one another. Again, you have to think of the balance of having the garden, kitchen, and quarters all close to each other, while continually focusing on expanding out to the monoliths. You also want to make sure that weapon rooms are in close proximity to the outliers that are off to research monoliths. The best strategy is discovered by experimenting, and there are so many potential ways a given game can play out while trying to survive a set of 28 waves. If you don’t finish, the game continuously calls to you to the point that the game can fill your thoughts at other times as you try to figure out a better plan of attack. It’s such a rewarding experience, and it really feels like time well spent once you complete the entire game that is well worth the price of admission. Once you do crack the code of the best balance of the game, there isn’t the greatest replay factor, but there sure is leading up to that point, and you will already get your fill from the $4 expenditure.
This intricate strategy game is presented beautifully with a minimalistic design that focuses on colors in a stark world. There are also stylized 3D objects including rectangular minions, and the various resources that they interact with. The minimalism is also seen in the interface with everything accessible by dragging your finger across the screen whether you’re placing new rooms, or assigning minions to different tasks. The one thing that could be added is an optional single use rewind button, as one wrong move can ruin an entire game. One of the best parts of the game is that it makes a relatively complex genre extremely accessible, so that anyone can dive in, and be immersed in the full experience that it has to offer.
Rymdkapsel ($3.99, Universal) leaves a lasting impression like few iOS games, and provides such a worthwhile experience in the heat of the battle making it a must buy that everyone should take part in.