Wot I Think – Capsized

By Quintin Smith on May 5th, 2011 at 9:52 am.

Look at that steely face under the helmet! Who's the real monster here?

Alien Trap are a Canadian indie dev from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I know! You like them already, right? Well, here’s an even better reason to like them- their debut commercial game, Capsized, is far too beautiful for the likes of you and me. Could any game live up to those visuals? Well, this one does. And how.

I’m falling, and I can’t get up.

In a scene straight out of the best kind of pulp sci-fi, my marooned spaceman is plummeting through the thin atmosphere of a hostile planet with a swarm of maddened alien creatures soaring down after him. Each one is little more than a bulbous body, bared fangs and a shitty attitude, and worse, their top speed is faster than my descent.

To stay safe (you may have to recalibrate your understanding of the word “safe” here), I’m facing upwards and pouring bullets up into their gawping jaws, and the recoil from my gun is pushing me downwards even faster.

Alas, I know that all good things must come to an end. I might have my fall broken by a floating islet any second, and when that happens I’ll go through these beasts like paper through a shredder. Instead of letting this happen, I hold my breath and flick my energy grapple up onto the last landmass I went rocketing past.

Finding purchase, the elastic beam first stops me from falling, then catapults me upwards, casting me like a skimming stone through a tiny spaceman-sized gap in the swarm. There’s a moment of perfection as gravity takes a hold of me again and the swarm all starts decelerating so they can fly up and resume their chase, so for an instant, the lot of us are floating, perfectly still. Then I let loose a plasma mortar that lands slap bang in the middle of them, reducing the pack to a disgusting rain of body parts.

But there’s one creature still flying- one of the big ones, as big as a small car, and I’m falling back towards him even as he begins racing towards me. Acting quicker than the speed of thought I fire my energy grapple straight at him, pulling him towards me and me towards him at lethal speed. My space-boots catch the thing right in its jaws in a brutal flying kick, and it’s lifeless frame goes tumbling down towards the planet’s surface, far below.

God, I think to myself. Am I really trying to escape this planet? This is far too much fun.

…is the longest narrative intro I’ve done in a while. But if I’d kicked off by telling you that Capsized is a platformer that distinguishes itself with sprawling levels, plenty of combat and a focus on simple physics, you’d probably have started daydreaming about more exciting-sounding games, probably ones that take place in three dimensions. You certainly wouldn’t have suspected that this is a beautiful game, a daredevil’s game, that occasionally achieves breathtaking moments of tension. You wouldn’t! But it is, it is, and it does.

Capsized tells the story of a spaceman stranded on the galaxy’s most comedically inhospitable planet. He wants to go home. The natives want him to stay. Also, to die. While that’s about the full extent of the narrative, with the game preferring to let you get on with the excellent business of running away from space-tigers and detonating space-minotaurs, Capsized does do a great job of milking it’s alien rainforest setting. Discovering how to battle each of its ugly-beautiful inhabitants or even how to use your guns is very much a case of trial and error (and occasionally a case of trial and JESUS CHRIST, especially in the case of the last gun), leaving you feeling at first very alone and eventually a savvy Robinson Crusoe type. This is helped along by no small amount of harmless background flora and fauna that looks hostile, but is actually harmless, which is cute.

But as enjoyable as these moments of discovery are, the focus in Capsized is always on its balletic combat, which is always enjoyable, always challenging and sometimes stunning.

If you’ve ever played freeware masterpiece Liero or 2009’s low-gravity kamikaze samurai robot extravaganza Plain Sight, you’ll be aware of a special type of action that emerges when games are designed around low gravity, high maneuverability and flawed weaponry. Suddenly, the problem isn’t hitting your enemies with your gun, but putting yourself in the spot where you can do it, all while keeping yourself in a position where they can’t hurt you.

That’s the core of Capsized, and it results in some of the most enjoyable battles I’ve had this year. It peaked for me with a battle against some murderous temple guardians in a cramped ruin, deep underground. These guys could teleport, they could fire energy beams out of the staffs on their backs and they were built like comic book bodybuilders, and there was me, a tiny spaceman in a crumpled spacesuit, flinging myself around with the energy grapple like a doomed, imperfect Spider-Man, trying to put enough distance between myself and my opponent to fire a rocket at him.

I managed it eventually, though once the gossamer smoke of my high-tech blast cleared I saw that the guardian was already teleporting. He appeared right on top of me, grabbed me, and flung me across the screen like a hockey puck in less time than it took me to swear. I hit the wooden barrier over there with such velocity that I broke it in half, and what was on the side? A second guardian. Probably I should have said something like “This is starting to get… interesting!”, but what I actually did was yelp with terror before getting sluiced with laser fire. Brilliant.

Then again, that fight was something of a rarity in that it was the enemies who made it interesting. While Capsized’s bad guys are expertly designed, each one gorgeous to look at and so nuanced in their attack patterns that they can be combined with any number of other enemies to from a different deadly arrangement, more often than not the very best moments in Capsized emerge from some great feat of acrobatics or cunning or catastrophic balls-up on your part. While this is a rock-solid platformer, with levels that surprise and guns that pop and zip excitingly, it’s really as an action sandbox that Capsized shines, and you’ll get the most out of it if you have a slight competitive streak.

That said, I can’t remember the last platformer this good to grace the PC (VVVVVV?), and I’m not sure I’ve ever played a platformer quite this elegant. If ripping your way through an alien menace and looking good doing it sounds like something you’d enjoy, buy this game. You will not find a better use of £5.39.

Capsized is available through Steam.

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121 Comments »

  1. Jonathan says:

    Ah, wonderful. I had been hoping that this would end up being good — its art style and the trailer had me very excited.

    • Wulf says:

      Yeah, the trailer is what got me excited about it too, but… try the demo first. It’s not what folks might be expecting, it’d be fair to say that the trailer might be a little misleading, even.

    • gallardo1 says:

      I liked the trailer too but after trying the demo I come out with a single word: cluttered.
      Moving around isn’t a clear affair, because of several physics objects and the ability of sticking on walls; it’s cool but hinders the fluidity of the movement, and getting blocked while trying to enter a tiny passage isn’t much fun (it happens frequently).
      I’ll see if it’s worth giving it a second chance.

  2. ado says:

    The art design looks amazing and the game reminds me of Super Metroid in a lot of (obvious, but awesome) ways.

    • Wulf says:

      Please believe me when I say that it’s not Metroid. The levels really are tiny and linear A to B affairs.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Wulf, the levels range from having two paths through them to huge arenas with no paths through them whatsoever. I think what you mean to say is that they’re enclosed?

    • destx says:

      The levels are not tiny, and only about half of them are linear “go directly to the other side of the map” type maps.

      Wulf seems to have a serious problem with Capsized, as I type this he’s commented SIXTEEN times on this article. Each post seems to be either outright lies or completely irrelevant complaints. Not every 2D adventure has to be fucking Metroid.

      It’s a cool game. It could do with online Co-op/DM, but otherwise I’d recommend that anyone who has enjoyed Turrican or Abuse try it out.

      • Wowbagger says:

        You reminded me of Turrican and there for I love you and wish to have your babies.

    • Dominic White says:

      Wulf is rambling again, just ignore him.

      The levels ARE largely short and linear. There’s 12 in total. The opening one and ending one are about 5 minutes long each, so that gives you 10. I don’t think any of them took me over 15 minutes. The whole game, on hard mode, was over in under 2 hours.

      In the first third, there’s one decently open level. The final third has three more of these. If they’d made that style of gameplay standard, and there was four times as many of them, I’d have been a lot kinder on the game.

    • Mr_Fing3rs says:

      Thats why I bought it too cuz it reminded me a LOT of Super Metroid AND Aquaria (great game). I can see what Wulf is saying tho, cuz I didnt expect the linear type from A to B kinda thing but some stages ARE huge! I think if they put more thought into the game and take some aspects of Metroid and incorporate it into Capsized an epic sequel could be created.

  3. Squirrelfanatic says:

    The Steam page tells me that this beamy-shooty-thing you WoTed sports local co-op. Have you made any experiences with that, Quintin?

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Not yet. John and I are doing a Verdict later today, though, and I’m playing the multiplayer modes in preparation for that.

  4. Wulf says:

    I… didn’t think quite as highly of it as Quintin. It’s pretty, that’s for sure, but the controls are also clunky, the weapons feel wimpy despite the developers saying that they wanted the players to feel powerful, and it’s kind of linear, too. Far more linear than Turrican, too. This is a point A to point B thing, and the only replay value is in time runs. It won’t take long to complete except for when struggling with the controls, and… aside from the enemies and backgrounds looking pretty, I can’t say much good about it. Even then it looks like the enemies are gliding rather than moving, due to lazy animation and missing frames.

    I feel like there could be a good game in there, but it just isn’t, and this is really a game that should be about a quarter of its price being over-hyped, here. I’d strongly recommend you try the demo before buying it. Really, I think it’s important that you do. Dominic White was right about this one with his reservations, and I feared that that might be the case, as I’ve always trusted his opinion and he’s rarely steered me wrong in regards to games. I don’t think it’s a terrible game by any stretch, though, I just think that it’s buggy, clumsy, limited, linear, and is nothing more than a simple shooter. There’s potential to be so much more, though, and really it feels more like wasted potential than anything else. It feels like they could’ve done so much more with it, and yet they didn’t.

    You will find enjoyment there, but I’d be lying to you if I didn’t advise caution. This game is being talked up a lot here and I’m not entirely convinced it deserves it.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      The controls are /clunky/? My tiny spaceman goes exactly where I want him. And how can you say the only replay value is in time runs? What about the higher difficulty setting, trying to beat your rating on previous runs or going through levels in co-op?

      On the plus side, there’s a demo on the Steam page. People! Make your own mind up.

    • Wulf says:

      Another complaint I can levy against this game is that whilst the levels are terribly short, a lot of the time spent playing comes from struggling with not only the controls, but not being able to see foes against the backdrops. This is what frustrated me to the point where I just didn’t want to play it any more. There are things like tall grasses, lots of them, and fast moving green enemies. About 90% of the time in certain stages you’ll just be shooting at the grass, madly using the gravity ram, and hoping to get away from/kill the invisible thing that’s hurting you.

    • Wulf says:

      “The controls are /clunky/?”

      Yes, there’s a delay with them and the jumping can be a bit floaty and inaccurate, and if you have to use the gravity ram it can be difficult to control your movement. Perhaps it’s something that only manifests on lower end systems, though. Poor optimisation, perhaps?

      “What about the higher difficulty setting,”

      Giving mobs a slightly higher amount of health, and making the weapons do slight less damage, does not a difficulty setting make. It’s the most pansy approach to a difficulty setting that I’ve ever seen. I’d be hoping for different allocations of mobs, perhaps even different types of new mobs showing up. But it’s just some juggled numbers. I don’t call juggled numbers replay value.

      “trying to beat your rating on previous runs”

      That’s just score-mongering. I don’t count that as a reason to replay a game unless the game is really fun. Unfortunately this one isn’t. At least not for me.

      “or going through levels in co-op?”

      You have me here. I haven’t bothered to try that. I’ve had no inclination to.

    • JackShandy says:

      Perhaps it’s just too alien for you, wulf?

      I’m sorry, no-one needs that. I do find it odd that there’s such a difference of opinion here. Will be checking out the demo poste-haste.

    • P7uen says:

      @HandShandy: Ha!

      @Wulf: I don’t find a speedrun any less like score-mongering than beating your rating on a replay.

    • lhzr says:

      ah well, at least we’ll always have darkspore to fall back on, right?

    • Chalee says:

      In Quinns I trust.

    • Jac says:

      I thought super meat boy was clunky but once I lowered the resolution it was perfect.

    • d00d3n says:

      Yes, the controls are clunky. Or to be more precise they are floaty. It is hard to describe this problem in detail, but you kind of feel disconnected from the world. It is like playing quake with noclip or morrowind with the fly spell but in a 2d game. Feels weird but you see the potential for a better game everywhere. The grappling hook physics are also very unsatisfying. It is really more of second jetpack that you have to plug into the rock wall to be able to use.
      I bought this game because of the steam advertisments and I kind of regret it now.

    • Theory says:

      What on earth do you expect from a game all about acrobatics on a low-gravity world? It’s totally floaty because that’s what works best.

      I love this game, and I can’t help but notice that everyone who doesn’t is in the “must be X” category…

      Edit: BTW, here is some more “lazy animation” for you to recoil in horror from, Wulf. Be glad it’s not in black and white too!

  5. Kdansky says:

    I hoped it was a metroidvania though, but instead it consists of rather short and tiny levels, linearly following each other. That saddens me a lot. It looks amazing, but it just doesn’t live up to the hype. I wanted this to be the new Aquaria, but it is not.

    Honest warning to all potential buyers: No Metroid. No Aquaria. No Castlevania.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Genuine question: What did people like about aquaria? There seemed to be no clue as to where to go and exploring was a pain in the arse because every area looked the same and the character was slow and just really boring to control.

      The capsized character on the other hand is really fun to control, so I wish the maps weren’t so small.

      edit: And the enemies. Ugh. And what the hell was that food preparation system about.

    • Wulf says:

      I think you perhaps didn’t get very far in Aquaria, LP. Not having a bash at you or anything, I’m just pointing this out because, yes, early on in Aquaria you only have Nadja’s first form, which is as slow as molasses. But later on you get a bunch of different forms to use, all of which are far, far more fun than her base form, and most of them are a joy to control.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Fair enough. That was my biggest gripe, really.

    • Kdansky says:

      The story, the atmosphere, the audio, the visuals, and the metroidvania aspects of collecting things to unlock more areas. If you tell me that “everything looks the same”, you have not even gotten to the end of the demo. There are at least half a dozen totally distinct areas. I agree that gameplay does have a few flaws.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Yeah, there were a few different kinds of areas. They just all looked the same. Regular/Ruins/Jungle/Deep. There were all structured identically with a different colour background.

      Still, I only got combat form and about 5 spells or so, fought maybe 3 bosses. So you never know, maybe there was some incredible game hiding right around the bend.

  6. Slade says:

    This strongly looks like Aquaria meets Alien Swarm.

    • Wulf says:

      Yeah, if Aquaria was linear with tiny levels, sure. :| Please, don’t mistake this for a Metroidvania of any sort. Worst mistake you could make.

    • Vexing Vision says:

      I’ve been thinking about Aquaria after all those screenshots.

      Now I want to play Aquaria again. Now THAT is a truly gorgeous game.

    • DeepSleeper says:

      You know what this comments section makes me want to do?
      Finally play Aquaria.
      I’ll stick it further up the backlog.

    • Wulf says:

      100% agreed with the love for Aquaria. I admit, there are times when I’ve been frustrated with Aquaria, too, but it’s such an amazing game, through and through, with so much to see and discover, that any tiny flaws it does have I can overlook. It’s really the next coming of Ecco, that game is, and that pleases me. Except with added shootery bits. Really though, there can never be enough underwater games, they’re just too few as is, and Aquaria is worth being played by everyone.

    • Kdansky says:

      The only thing Aquaria needs is an autofire button. Clicking the mouse once per attack gets old really fast. And more save points. And possibly better balance for the different spells, as half of them are attacks, yet the basic attack is way better than all later ones.

      That said, didn’t go open-source? Someone could have fixed these issues.

    • Wulf says:

      …now there’s a thought. I’d certainly replay Aquaria as Aquaria++, with the aforementioned issues dealt with. It’s funny that you pointed out clicking to fire because that’s one of the things that frustrated me, it’s one of the few things, but it’s there. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by Action RPGs where I can hold the mouse button to attack, but… it felt kind of primitive to have to clickclickclickclick like that, and it made my hand ache a bit after a while.

      This is where Aquaria could take a page out of the book of ARPGs and add an auto-attack. Someone do this, for great justice!

    • Icarus says:

      I’m going to jump on the ‘must finally play Aquaria’ bandwagon here. Loved what I played of it and love the gorgeous soundtrack so I’ll push it further up the ‘play these next’ queue.

    • PanzerVaughn says:

      My only problem with Aquaria is that nothing told me the numberkeys were shortcuts for spells. I Went through the entire game, got to one of the last optional bosses that forces you to constantly be moving and attacking two different ways, and was getting slaughtered because i had to stop and sing so much. Then i checked the forum for cheats or glitches, and discovered i’d been doing everything so very wrongly.

      Also i once did a Energyspin that fired 6 bolts, and had no idea how i did it. until i also looked that up on the bitblot forum.
      Aside from my failure to discover speedcasting, it is an omgyes, bump it up your Q more than you already have.

    • Dominic White says:

      The spell hotkeys aren’t listed or mentioned for a reason – you’re not meant to use them unless you really have to. They bypass the entire (quite intricate) spellcasting system, which is a major gameplay element.

      It’s like steering/braking assists in a driving game – you’re kinda missing the point if you use it.

  7. Dominic White says:

    Wow. I normally see eye-to-eye with Quinns, but this is pretty much the exact opposite of how I felt about the game. I went in expecting to love it, and found nothing but crushing disappointment at every turn.

    http://www.diygamer.com/2011/04/capsized_review/

    And I was being fairly kind/forgiving. Rob Fearon wasn’t – his list of complaints was twice as long and twice as vitriolic.

    Again, as others have said: THIS IS A VERY SHORT, COMPLETELY LINEAR GAME. IT IS OVER IN ABOUT TWO HOURS AND THERE’S MAYBE 8 ENEMY TYPES AND TWO TYPES OF PUZZLE. It’s a straight platform shooter, and I’ve played *far* better for free.

    In fact, here’s far better, for free:

    http://turrican.gamevoice.de/hurrican_site/

    • Wulf says:

      Yeah. I wanted to like it because of the setting and the graphics, I really did, but I found myself more disappointed and angry with it than anything else. At the end of the day, I just agree with you and RobF. The game is a let down.

      (I just noticed Dominic’s Hurrican edit. Yes, please do listen to this man! Hurrican is absolutely amazing. It can be a little hard at times, but it’s also fair, and so much fun. And the visuals are absolutely perfect in that game, too. To be honest, Hurrican is all I would’ve wanted Capsized to be.)

    • Flappybat says:

      Agreed, even at £6 I didn’t feel like I got value for money. The graphics are nice but it’s got a flash game feel to it, the movement, physics and visual fx were all underwhelming. The gameplay isn’t solid at all for a 2D shooter, it’s atmospheric but paper thin.

      Visuals before gameplay.

    • lokimotive says:

      I just wanted to chime in here that I too am riding the “disappointed” bandwagon, which I’m sure I made clear in the launch post for this game. I was actually quite surprised to see the positive review here for this game. I went in knowing that it wasn’t Metroidian, and with all the other caveats Dominic posted in his review and was still largely m’eh about the thing. It just seemed kind of undercooked to me.

      But, seeing the positive reviews here, I should really give it another shot. The Abuse comparisons are fairly accurate and God knows I love Abuse (kind of an odd thing to say).

  8. MOKKA says:

    This Game sounds so great which makes it even more painful that I can’t play it. I bought it shortly after its Release, but everytime I try to run the game, the graphics are glitched out. I’m still hoping for a miracle (or a patch) that enables me to play it but until this happens, all I can do is listen to the soundtrack while playing other games (it works pretty well with minecraft).

  9. DeepSleeper says:

    I think part of the problem is that this setting makes people think “Ooh, Metroid.”, but it isn’t Metroid.

    It comes off more as… Abuse, if anyone remembers that, plus a gravity gun. I like gravity guns. I like physics puzzles. I like shooting wildly at things, too. And pixel art, I’m big on that.

    I didn’t like this game much. I wish I had. It has just about everything I do like in it.

    • icupnimpn2 says:

      Is that a problem with the game… or with you? Unfortunately RPS’s debut of the Capsized trailer referenced Shadow Complex, so a lot of people seem to be expecting something different. But now knowing that it’s not a Metroidvania-type game, let’s just judge it on its own merits.

    • DeepSleeper says:

      It quite possibly is a problem with me.
      A fair number of other people seem to have liked it, and I’m glad for them.

  10. Dominic White says:

    I’d just like to add that just because the game is linear, I’m not holding that against it. Open-world games can stretch on far too long, and a well paced action game trumps them a lot of the time

    The problem is that this isn’t really well paced. There’s four levels of tutorial, four levels of horrible claustrophobic tunnel-slog when you’d rather be jetpacking around the world, and three levels of decent semi-freeform combat before a crushingly underwhelming final boss.

    I wanted to love this game. It could have been so much better with some better sound engineering, less glitchy physics and (most of all) better level design. And maybe a campaign twice as long.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      I played the first half of the game on hard and then switched down to normal when it started getting really taxing, which felt pretty perfect to me. I half agree about the sound. I think the guns and aliens sounded great, but the Vangelis-like music didn’t do it for me.

    • Dominic White says:

      Some of the guns sounded decent, but the two biggest, heaviest guns? The plas-mortar and the quantum thingywotsit black-hole gun? Do they even *make* a sound? Even with the music turned off completely, all I heard here was a vague swishing noise from either.

    • MadMatty says:

      I loved the demo music.

      I just hoped they´d be set for something grander in scale, and also the puzzle´s were run of the mill, like Bob Came in Pieces, but maybe the younger generation has yet to discover the basic premises of the physics puzzler? . I´d have to agree on the combat tho, its sweet, and loads ore fun than it was in Exile.
      Sluggish controls? not here, they seem fine to me.

      but 2 hours in lenght? had they made it like 15 hours for sure, then id get it, as i think the demo was allright, but 2 hours is a shame.

  11. bill says:

    Linear levels in a platformer??? What?!

    • Wulf says:

      I think the thing is though is that we’re all spoiled, as there have been too many examples of platformers with non-linear levels, and they’re nigh-invariably better. Capsized feels like it’s suffering a lack of… a lot of things, but something that could really make it amazing, and I can’t help but keep thinking that the tiny (and they are tiny), linear levels are where it fails.

      I’ve nothing against a short game, I loved Portal, but… I probably would’ve had this game down in about an hour if I hadn’t been struggling with the controls. And if it’d been an hour’s worth of fun then I still would’ve been able to speak kind words about it, but like I said above, the proceedings felt incredibly clumsy. YMMV.

  12. Baboonanza says:

    Wow, it’s like Fallout:NV in reverse :)

    • DeepSleeper says:

      That’s important to note.

      We must observe Quinn. Get into his mind. Learn what he likes (this) and what he doesn’t like (New Vegas). Work out what we can learn from that. Then use our knowledge and our own experiences and interests to adjust the weight each person should give to his reviews.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Get out of my mind!

      (WARNING: In adjusting the weight of my reviews based entirely on reviews you disagree with, you invalidate your warranty.)

    • Wulf says:

      I don’t think any of the WITs have much worth for me any more. I prefer RPS as a news site, since except for the odd big title, I tend to find myself disagreeing with them more often than agreeing. Thus the whole WIT has been designated to ‘amusement value’ in my head. What I come here for now is the news and the editorials, and the editorials are still very, very good. Could we have more of those?

      But yeah, I can’t agree with Quinns about Capsized as I feel I’d be ripping people off with my recommendation. I wanted to like it, even to the point where I doubted Dominic, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that Dominic is pretty much always right, and that means I’ve been wrong when I’ve disagreed with him. If there’s anyone’s opinion I trust with games, it’s his, and how, really.

      I think that might be because Dominic tends to have a more balanced approach to his views though, ups and downs, never too much hype and never really overly slamming a game unnecessarily. His Capsized review is pretty much a great example of that, it highlights the problems without overlooking its positive aspects. Really, I’d not be quite so hard on it, but versus this review, I felt that the flaws had to be known.

      In a sale, picking this up at a budget price might mean that its cheap and cheerful virtues would pay off, but even the price it charges it doesn’t fit, really.

      (Wrote negative where I meant to write positive. My mind has this thing where I’ll often write synonyms rather than what I expected to write, you may have noticed. It’s not something I can help. Sorry about that.)

    • Dominic White says:

      Jesus H Christ, Wulf, give it a rest. I don’t need a cheerleader. If you agree with me, fine, leave it at that.

      • poison says:

        He may be autistically replying 50 times with rants ITT, but you don’t need to metaphorically crucify the guy and call him a cheerleader when he complements your writing. He even said that he didn’t completely agree with the review, he just thinks it’s better than writing an article with only fan-like praise. (this one) If you want to act like a professional, not insulting your fans is a great start. I for one, am not going to be following your writing as you’ve obviously a long way to go as far as professionalism goes.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Perhaps Wulf just can’t like it due to playing a human? His homosapiensphobia is notoriously virulent.

      KG

    • Dominic White says:

      Kieron, I would high-five through the internet you if I wasn’t afraid of knocking my TV over.

    • destx says:

      how can anyone enjoy a game where the player character isn’t a bipedal rainbow furred dragon-fox hybrid wizard (as nature intended)

    • CMaster says:

      @KG
      He’s hardly made a secret of how much he detests playing as humans.

    • Thants says:

      “I don’t think any of the WITs have much worth for me any more.”

      In that case you can certainly feel free to not leave 30 comments all saying essentially the same thing.

  13. 3lbFlax says:

    It’s very nicely done, but I can’t get on with it. I think it’s trying to do too much at once for me to have a chance to enjoy it. I read a comment the other day where someone compared it to Exile, and I think if it had the more expansive feel and slower pace of Exile it could work really well. But there’s just too much going on in a confined space here, and it’s more annoying than enjoyable for me. Perhaps my brains are old and scrambled.

    • Wulf says:

      This might be where I’m getting some of my feeling of clunkiness from in it. It is very… ‘noisy.’ It doesn’t take the time to really introduce you to anything, it’s more like hey, have ten new weapons, now go blow yourself up fighting alien hordes before you figure out how to use them! It really could’ve used some more, better, open levels, and some time spent solely with one sort of weapon.

    • DeepSleeper says:

      Exile like the Exile this is based on?

      ‘Cause I’d be down for something with -this- world and -those- play mechanics, m’self.

    • Wulf says:

      Now that I agree with! I mean, the graphics in this game are lovely, no doubt, absolutely lovely. They have so much charm, but they’re wasted on a game that doesn’t live up to them. But if it had been that game, with a reskin with these graphics, then that would’ve been something truly incredible.

    • 3lbFlax says:

      Yes, the grappling is fun and the jetpack works well. I like those, but the world is too claustrophobic to really enjoy using them, and use of them is so often accompanied by combat. That’s the game they set out to make, I’m sure, and they’ve clearly put a lot of work into it and I hope they do well. It’s not for me, but it’s good enough that I’m wishing the parts I liked were in a framework that did appeal.

  14. Pemptus says:

    I enjoyed it. Very pretty, sounds great, has precise controls (I have no idea how you can call them “clunky”. My shootyman went exactly where I wanted him to go).

    No, it’s not Metroid, it’s a platformer with rather small, enclosed levels and simple objectives to fulfill. The grappling hook is fun and easy to use, and the middle click airgun reminded me of the impact hammer form Unreal Tournament and can be used to move around quickly with a bit of practice. The guns are fun to use, although I wish the equivalent of the rocket launcher packed a bit more punch. And really Wulf, does there have to be a tutorial for everything? Learn by doing! Get a new weapon and use it! Does it have to dedicate a whole level to the flamethrower so you can learn to use it? Really?

    It is very short though. And that’s my only real gripe here.

    • Wulf says:

      1. The controls were incredibly clunky for me, but I suspect that it’s due to poor optimisation, or some are just fibbing over how ‘tight’ they supposedly are, I’m not sure which it is. Either way, it didn’t control quite so tightly for me. It felt floaty and imprecise, it’s the opposite of what I wanted for the controls of this sort of game. But perhaps it’s like the control issues of VVVVVV, they don’t manifest for everyone.

      2. ‘Learn by doing’ is not an excuse for just overloading the player with lots of different crap and not even giving them a chance to try them out. There’s something to be said for pacing, and having sections which are designed for certain weapons so that you can get a feel for them. You’ll note that I didn’t ask for a tutorial, those are your words, and I think that’s a misunderstanding rather than anything intentional. No, what I was saying was that it lazily dumps a shedload of things on the player without giving them much time to get used to anything. Even Doom knew better than that. It just feels lazy.

  15. airtekh says:

    Hmm, very divisive opinions here. I’ll give the demo a shot first.

  16. cramen says:

    I liked it too. It’s got a nice pace, the combat is fun and the look of the game is unique and appealing. I dunno. It’s pretty good all things considered. It’s sad that it’s not metroidvania, but I’m not sure it ever said it was.

    • Wulf says:

      I don’t know. I mean, I thought the pacing was waaay off. The way it just unceremoniously dumps a shedload or ordnance on you without so much as a by your leave, it feels lazy. I mean, it explains the basic controls, but after that it just seems like it doesn’t really care if it overloads the player. And then it shoves you into those horribly claustrophobic tunnels. I don’t know… I don’t think it’s as great as some are hyping it up to be.

  17. Angel Dust says:

    Yeah, the Metroid comparisons are way off, it really is more like Abuse etc. Luckily for me I fucking loved Abuse so I’ve been very happy with Capsized so far and the visuals are simply stunning.

  18. scoopsy says:

    Wulf, could you clarify what you think of this game? I’m not exactly sure where you stand. Aside from everything about the game, this site, or gaming in general, I think you liked it, right?

    • Justoffscreen says:

      Please don’t. You’ve said quite enough.

    • colinmarc says:

      What’s with the vitriol? Without having played it, I don’t know what could inspire that kind of hate for an unarguably pretty $9 Canadian indie game…

      $9! Canada! CANADA!

  19. minas says:

    A great game for £6, in my opinion. Like Qinns, I felt the low gravity and low ‘friction’ along with gravity ram and grapple made it into a fun game. Grapple-dancing around the levels, walljumping, and jetpacks in sometimes claustrophobic, sometimes open spaces all reminded me of the best parts of playing Worms back in the day. All very responsive and clean movement, and good controls.

    The artwork was excellent too, for the most part. It reminded me enough of Braid that i had to go check it wasn’t the same artist. The visual effects like shields and weapons and the flashlight were nicely done, if a tad monochromatic, and the levels really fit their settings. The sound was good too.

    The gameplay itself isn’t anything original, just the usual ‘kill everything, fight boss’ etc, and there are some flaws, like powerups that have useless placement, and physics that allow some objects to get stuck. It would also have benefitted from being longer, and full co-op could have been fun. Overall though, one of the most enjoyable <£10 games in the last year.

  20. Keilnoth says:

    2 hours long ?
    Fine, I will perhaps finally finish a game in less than 6 months.

  21. Dominic White says:

    If you want a really good platformer-with-a-twist for $10 on Steam, here’s something far better:

    http://store.steampowered.com/app/21680/

    It’s fairly long, challenging, and has replay value through a ton of bonus challenge levels and difficulty levels that change enemy placement, AI and more.

    • Justoffscreen says:

      plug plug plug plug plug plug plug plug plug plug plug plug

      Wow Dom, just wow. What a crappy thing to do.

    • Dominic White says:

      Huh? I’m just saying that if you’re looking for a platformer (with a grappling hook, even) at this price, from this store, than there’s one FAR better right there. One of my all-time personal favourites.

    • Justoffscreen says:

      You don’t see how this is a *little* tasteless? Really?

      Also, I thought this was much better than BC, so uh, about your opinion. It’s wrong.

      Does that mean I can plug stuff I like now?

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      You could plug stuff you like anyway.

    • Dominic White says:

      Has there ever been a rule against recommending other games here? I’d tell people to buy Civ 4 complete instead of Civ 5. Sword of The Stars instead of Galactic Civilizations. This is a games discussion thread – are we not allowed to mention other games in the same genre all of a sudden?

    • Vinraith says:

      Dominic and I frequently disagree, but I really don’t see the problem here. Everyone on this site is always free to say “hey, I liked this other game better, you might too.” It happens all the time, I’ve never seen anyone take issue with it before. It would be another thing if Dominic somehow financially benefited from the success of the game he’s suggesting, but as far as I know that’s not the case.

    • Justoffscreen says:

      Theres a difference between making comparisons/offering alternatives, and saying:

      “This is far better, here’s a direct link to where you can buy it. Its better in this way, and this way, and this way, and this way.”

    • Dominic White says:

      Excuse me while I twirl my mustache. I also linked to Hurrican, a free game, which I also think is better than Capsized. Villainous, ain’t it?

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      “This is far better, here’s a direct link to where you can buy it.” is the offering of an alternative.

      “Its better in this way, and this way, and this way, and this way.” is a comparison.

    • Soon says:

      I always appreciate other recommendations from people. One of the main reasons I read the comments, actually. I’d expect Capsized to turn up in threads for similar games from those who enjoyed it.

  22. trjp says:

    This seems like a classic example of people letting their expectations spoil something for them – and then being confused why it doesn’t do it for others…

    Nowhere do the developers claim to have created a Exile/Metroid/Turrican/Shadow Complex-like game – that’s all in your head and the fact the game isn’t like those games is not it’s fault.

    The developers claim they wanted to create a game where the main character was great fun to control – and they’ve done that in spades – everything else is built around that and whether you like it or not is your own problem.

    Wulf seems to think there’s only one possible opinion in the world and is struggling to enforce it – Dominic White made the fatal gaff of telling people to “hold off” on this game until his review appeared (as if people were queuing to await his opinion) and he’s now backpedalling like mad.

    Both those people need to learn that it’s possible to be positive/negative about a game without TELLING people to buy or not buy it. Reviewing is an art whereby you tease the person’s interest or steer them away – you don’t just tell them what to do.

    To the person who highlighted that you need to get inside the reviewers head – absolutely and ESPECIALLY so with Quinns who appears to be an excited gadfly of a reviewer who simply explodes with joy about some games and tumbles wearily through others – I suspect he forgets his pills some days…

    Summary – it’s £6 and not enormously long – it’s not Turrican or Exile or Metroid – it gets harder (whoa!) – you don’t backtrack (some people are crying with joy here!!) – it might taste slightly of Marmite (not the XO stuff – just the regular edition)…

    • RobF says:

      FWIW, I went into the game having no clue about it, really. I’d not really payed much attention beyond finding it in the Steam list, adding it to my wishlist so I wouldn’t forget about it and then finding that someone had gifted me it anyway.

      So me, personally, I had no such preconceptions that it should be Exile or whatever. Which is probably for the best as I have no love for Exile outside of its time and place, found anything Turrican to be tedious rubbish and wouldn’t go near Shadow Complex with someone else’s, game be damned/politics etc…

      All I had was a “oh, that looks quite pretty” thing. And any complaints I have about the game aren’t wanting to turn it into something else (for reasons above, I wouldn’t want to turn anything into any of those games) but specifically about wanting the game to be better at what it’s trying to achieve than it is.

      So, most of my complaints are about that and as I said in my original comments, it’s lots of niggly things that aren’t entirely difficult to address with a bit more time. I want Capsized to be the best Capsized game it can be, yeah?

      At the moment, I think it falls way, way short of that. But that’s me. Others may/will disagree and that’s kinda cool.

      Just wanted to clear that up though.

    • Dominic White says:

      Exactly. I didn’t hate the game. I stated exactly in my review that it could be a much better game with a few patches and changes. The biggest issue is level design, though. If there’d been a lot more of levels 9-11, which were open-plan combat environments with objectives you could tackle in any order, then I would have rated it far higher.

      Those bits made up around half an hour, maybe 40 minutes of the total experience, though. I’d gladly pay full price for a solid 3-4 hours of that kind of experience though.

    • trjp says:

      But it isn’t full price – it’s the cost of a decent bottle of wine, something you’d drink in an evening easily…

      It’s less than the cost of a takeout for 2 – it’s half the price of a CD Album at RRP – my car would go less than 50 miles on that much fuel – it’s not expensive, are your expectations aligned with that??

      I realise the cost of a game is something reviewers wrestle with – it’s hard to include it because you KNOW it will change but at the same time is stupid to ignore it. It’s worse when things are free and it gets into the Twilight Zone when you start to compare free and non-free titles…

      End of the day, the fact you wanted more of it suggests it’s well worth playing tho – and yet your tone says otherwise!?

      We have a unique opportunity with PC Indie games – developers do listen and do often make changes, something our console cousins can only dream about, but you have to be realistic. Asking them to add chunks of new stuff is kinda unrealistic – but buying it means they may be pressed into DLC or a sequel ofc.

    • Dominic White says:

      “End of the day, the fact you wanted more of it suggests it’s well worth playing tho – and yet your tone says otherwise!?”

      That makes no sense. I said I enjoyed maybe a quarter of the game. And even then, it was far from perfect. Yes, I’d be highly recommending the game if they expanded the good parts into something 2-3x as long. Instead, it’s a very short experience, three quarters of which is rather pants.

      The only really good levels happen after a long stretch of very bad ones, and then just as you’re getting used to launching yourself around an array of floating islands and mountain fortresses, you’re thrown into a very weak final boss battle that lasts just a couple of minutes, and then it just kinda ends.

    • trjp says:

      You’re still dancing around the tender issue of “is it worth the money” tho – I think that has to be considered, esp as you chose to come out of the closet on the issue of telling people not to buy it.

      If a game gives 25% fun and 75% slog it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bad – there are some games I look back on with fondness which, were I to think about it, would boil down to a small amount of great moments and a lot of slogging.

      If there’s a game out there which is amazing from soup to nuts I’m not sure I’ve played it yet – even the legend which is SMG has it’s tiresome bits…

    • trjp says:

      You’re still dancing around the tender issue of “is it worth the money” tho – I think that has to be considered, esp as you chose to come out of the closet on the issue of telling people not to buy it.

      If a game gives 25% fun and 75% slog it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bad – there are some games I look back on with fondness which, were I to think about it, would boil down to a small amount of great moments and a lot of slogging.

      If there’s a game out there which is amazing from soup to nuts I’m not sure I’ve played it yet – even the legend which is SMG has it’s tiresome bits…

    • Dominic White says:

      I’m not dancing around anything! The majority of the game is not worth touching, and there are free games that I consider to be far better produced in almost every respect.

      So no, it is not worth the money and I would recommend that it be spent on either Bionic Command: Rearmed or Super Meat boy, depending on which kind of platformer you want.

  23. JackShandy says:

    I’ve just tried the demo and I loved it to bits. Linear, yes, but it sets you up in a big multi-pathed environment and lets you go wild with the toys you’ve been given. The gravity gun is absolutely wonderful – figuring out that you can use levitated rocks as shields or throw smaller aliens around like bombs is beautiful.

    Favourite story so far: I blast through some shields to pop up behind some alien savages and begin firing,only to find that I’ve just surfaced in a chamber full of pods that hatch horrifying hoardes of headcrabs poste-haste. I dive back in and barricade the hole behind me with a relic, then run like hell while frantically spamming the flamethrower at them as they swarm behind it, pushing it along with them towards me like a battering ram. Finally jump over an acid pit and watched them fly to their deaths.

    I reccommend it to everyone but rampant xenophiles.

  24. strange headache says:

    I don’t know but I’m getting kind of tired reading Wulfs long and tireless rants. I’m fine with people that disagree and have another opinion but wouldn’t it be enough to post your opinion ONCE? Is it really necessary to shoot pigeons with cannonballs?

    Concerning the game, I quite enjoyed Capsized. Yes it’s short but it only costs 8,99€ for fucks sake. I guzzled down pints worth twice as much than this in even less time. And if my schedule is tight, I really enjoy indulging myself in a little time-waster like this.

    • Ovno says:

      /signed…

      Not to be harsh wulf, but I think we all get by now that you didn’t like it and your constant criticism all through the thread will put some peeps off buying it…

    • mcnostril says:

      That is a terrible analogy.

      It is entirely necessary to shoot pigeons with cannonballs.
      Bloody vermin.
      I long for the day when we can collect bounty on their feathery mangled corpses, like in some kind of real-life WoW quest.

  25. Telekinesis says:

    Go Saskatoon! I’m from Canada and they’re right beside me, for those of you in Europe that means they’re in Japan.

  26. PleasingFungus says:

    Not even going to touch the Wulf thing, but

    “That said, I can’t remember the last platformer this good to grace the PC (VVVVVV?)”

    …has Super Meat Boy been so soon forgotten? :(

    That aside, Capsized doesn’t sound perfect, but for $10 I’m willing to relax my standards a little. (Innuendo to the side.) Will probably pick this up soon.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Haha. I wrote that sentence knowing there was a platformer screaming to be remembered from inside my subconscious. Sorry, SMB.

  27. The Innocent says:

    Spot on review, Quintin.

    I loved it. Sure, it was short and could have played to its strengths more, but I’m excited by the prospect of Alien Trap creating more games like it, and I don’t demand a perfect product when it cost me so little and gave me so much joy. The mission diversity was actually a fun draw for me — both linear dark cave levels and wide-open missions with a bunch of things that needed doing. And the weapons were underpowered, but it seemed like they were supposed to be so you’d have to use the many tools in your arsenal.

    Anyway, I’d recommend it. Try the demo, but realize that the first 3-4 levels aren’t indicative of the whole experience. It’s a lovely little alien world to romp around in, and these are devs who deserve the support.

  28. IanL says:

    Hey guys,

    Just want to let you know that we really appreciate all the great feedback, both positive and negative – I’m taking notes. :)

    If your experiencing input lag, please send an email to contact@alientrap.org with your system specs and a description of the problem.

    Thanks

    • caljohnston says:

      IanL, my suggestion would be to make future games cross-platform between Windows, OS X, and Linux, so I can play them on my main OS (Linux).

    • BeamSplashX says:

      Dear Ian,

      Add an unlockable British boxer that defeats aliens with fisticuffs and dignified sportsmanship.

      Best regards,
      Sid

    • IanL says:

      @caljohnston The lack of cross platform support is an unfortunate artifact of the game’s origin. Capsized was initially created as a class project for Lee and Jessie where development was limited to XNA.

      @BeamSplashX I will mention this to Lee… no promises though. :)

  29. The Army of None says:

    Awesome. Will be picking this up on your recommendation. Thanks Quins, as usual, always enjoy hearing Wot You Thot.

  30. Conor says:

    Played the demo and immediately bought it as soon as my drug money rolled in. The graphics are veeeerrrryyyy pretty, and launching yourself about with the grapple and gravity…blast…thing is great fun, as is the shooting of things.

    I really like it. I want more. MORE I SAY.

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  32. DOLBYdigital says:

    The visuals remind me of the absolutely amazing and gorgeous Aquaria. I should really run through that game again and get some of the mods. However this game looks and sounds fantastic, so it looks like I’ll have something new to play once I pull my head out of the fishbowl that is work :(

    Any mod support for this game? Just wondering since that could extend the life of it for me….

  33. Dominic White says:

    I just want to apologize for my amateurish handling of the situation in the run-up to publishing my review over at DIYGamer, as I talked about it on Twitter and other forums (including this one) before the game was fully released. I apologize for this – I shouldn’t have, and definitely need to start acting more like a professional.

    My review still stands, but I fully admit that I mishandled things in the run-up to the release of the game. Apologies in full to Alientrap, and I wish them best of luck in the future.

    • IanL says:

      @Dominic Don’t worry about it. :) If everyone simply showered us with a deluge praise how would we every improve?

  34. sexyresults says:

    Loving this game, thanks for turning me onto it Quinns

  35. yarrowd says:

    I’m loving it as well–I don’t play many platformers, so pretty much everything about this game felt new. Seems I have some other games to try as well…

  36. poison says:

    Extremely over-hyped, in my opinion, especially on this page. I don’t know if I’m just a cheapo, but this game didn’t feel like something I’d feel good about buying for $10. Luckily, it was in the HBD. Like everyone else is saying, make sure to try the demo unless you can get it for a deal.

    >You certainly wouldn’t have suspected that this is a beautiful game, a daredevil’s game, that occasionally achieves breathtaking moments of tension.

    I did a double take because this is exactly what I’d say about Hotline Miami. Didn’t feel that way about this game at all. Although I died so many more times playing Hotline, it was enjoyable to respawn, as opposed to frustrating and tedious at best in Capsized.

    Like others are saying ITT, the gameplay feels cluttered. Though I can see the merit and realism of having everything look like it’s going to kill you and make it seem like you’re in a real rainforest, I really would have liked to play some more open levels. There were some open parts, but not as many as I’d like. The level diversity did give me some of what I wanted, but not as much as I’d really love.

    I’m not a great lover of platformers in the first place, but this really wasn’t that great to me. The artwork seemed pretty good. The music seemed fine, nothing interesting or fantastic, but I never felt like turning it off. The learning curve was outrageous, so be ready to turn down the difficulty if you buy this.

    Maybe the main issue is that this is just the wrong genre for me. I’m interested in story lines, puzzles, etc. and haven’t ever really enjoyed traditional platformers. Obviously some people like this kind of thing, and I have enjoyed some combat/puzzle platformers (Limbo and Intrusion 2 are examples of similar games I’ve enjoyed), but I feel like there’s a definite reason most devs no longer create 2d platformers. This has little more to offer than metroid. I felt strikingly underwhelmed by it all. But then again, I’ve never been hugely interested in aesthetics, so I can understand how this has been enjoyed so much by some people and seen as mediocre by others.

    By the way, this review here http://www.diygamer.com/2011/04/capsized_review/ (written by someone else, I’m not pushing my blog or anything) covers very well what went right and wrong.

    >your objectives force you back into the claustrophobic tunnels, now lined with an almost comical excess of near-instantly lethal green gas vents

    This was the level where I stopped playing. Apparently it all gets better after that, but I’m just not willing to fight through a tedious twenty minutes for this.

    The top comment on the review sums up the most important thing I got from this game well:

    “Ya know, this game looks really cool, and seems like the gameplay’s alright, but do we really need ANOTHER side-scrolling platform shooter? After Trine I don’t think I can play this type of game without feeling underwhelmed.”