Capsized is a 2D platformer that takes after the platformers of old with puzzles and crazy enemy encounters galore. It originally came out for the PC but has now made its way to XBLA. The game starts out with a series of comic-book-style thumbnails showing a troupe of astronauts that crash land on an alien planet. You’re nameless character wakes up from the crash and sets out into the unknown in the hopes of rescuing them and escaping the planet alive.
When you first start exploring the jungle planet, the environments are abundant with plant and wildlife and it does look very nice and has some good attention to detail. However, it doesn’t take long for it to lose its gleam and shine after you delve through a couple more levels of the same thing. You have to fight your way through numerous magic-using native-type aliens and fierce creatures that aren’t afraid to get in your face and tear you apart. And along the way you may even have to solve some puzzles before advancing further to move on to the next level.
You get a wide variety of weapons to choose from which you use my aiming with the right analog stick or auto-aiming with the left shoulder button for close-by enemies. For the most part the weapons are fine, but having to use the right stick not only to aim but to turn you character left and right as well just felt unnatural and quickly annoyed me. Also, the auto-aim wouldn’t always be the best option when I had several alien baddies and creatures come at me at once and I could only focus on one at a time, and I can only mash the right trigger so fast to save my skin. It seems like it’s better as a PC game than ported onto a console.
You do get a jetpack for easy navigation across the levels, though you need to be careful not to use up the fuel. But perhaps the most interesting tool is your “gravity hook” which you use to move heavy objects blocking your path or to throw at enemies. You can use it on enemies to toss them around, if you wish, but the tool is especially nice for navigation as you can latch it onto a wall and pull yourself up to or swing from it.
The levels can be challenging and the enemies can be pretty ruthless in trying to take you down. However, the overall feel of Capsized was rather lackluster. While it was actually nice to play something challenging and like an old school platformer, it didn’t really seem like anything I hadn’t experienced before in other games and didn’t necessarily bring anything new to the table for me. The environments, while very pretty and detailed, sort of repeat themselves after a short time. The puzzles are few and might not even need to be there because of this. The animation is kind of stiff and the cartoonish appearance and cutscenes don’t quite fit the dark, survival-horror-like atmosphere it gives off. Most of the time the movement is adequate, though it’s a little awkward and slippery when trying to scale the terrain and sometimes I resorted to using my gravity hook on a wall or platform I should have been able to reach but couldn’t. Enemies can even be difficult to distinguish from the environments and you won’t spot them until they attack you, which can also be annoying.
I’m given the impression that Capsized plays better on the PC as opposed to on Xbox. It just seems like it doesn’t make a good port for the console. Despite all of this, though, Capsized is actually a decent platform-shooter that provides a good challenge for old-school players, albeit and inconsistent one.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
If you can get past the occasional buggy-ness of it as well as the repetition, Capsized does have some appeal to it with its great visuals, sweet electronic music and gameplay that gives enough variety to carry you through its short campaign.
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