|Release: April 29, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Josh Wirtanen
The guys from Alientrap had a specific plan in mind for Capsized: they wanted to create a 2D platformer that incorporated elements from the first-person shooter genre. This may seem like a fairly strange and difficult goal to accomplish, but they've managed to do so quite successfully.
While Capsized is strictly a 2D game, the controls, sound FX, and weapon choices come straight out of the world of FPS games. In fact, it's hard to ignore the fact that these guys drew heavily from the well of such titles as Half-Life 2 and the Quake series. Expect to be firing shotgun rounds at headcrab-like crawlers rather than hopping on turtle shells. But that's not a bad thing. These elements manage to feel fresh when applied to a 2D platformer.
Capsized tells the story of a crew of spacemen who have crash landed on an alien world. However, in telling this story, there is no dialogue, narration, or captions. The only text in the game is found in either the menu or the little tutorial hints you can open up at various points throughout the game. The astronauts themselves are strangely silent, besides a grunt here and a mumble there. This mostly silent nature of the game might be out of place in other platformers, but the space setting lends itself well to this effect. Besides setting the perfect mood, overlayed with some brilliant electronic music tracks, the lack of spoken dialogue allows players to focus on the sounds that really matter: the guns. And these guns sound awesome. When paired with the ambient background music, the pop of a shotgun, blast of a pistol, whoosh of a rocket, and inexplicable noise of one of the more sci-fi weapons are all incredibly satisfying. Often, these sounds are punctuated by the distinctively bassy percussion of the music tracks.
The artwork in Capsized is fabulous. Everything is hand-drawn and so excruciatingly detailed it's hard to not get distracted by them. However, this does become a problem at times. Many of the aliens you'll encounter—almost all of which want to cause you severe personal injury—are difficult to see when set against such painstakingly detailed backdrops. A lot of times you won't even realized you are being attacked until you notice your health bar draining. And there are some vicious four-legged creatures that tend to stay close to the ground, often disappearing behind foreground elements. A lot of times you won't notice these things until they are sinking their fangs into your character.
There are some additional visual effects that are worth pointing out. First of all, as you take damage, your screen gets a broken glass effect on it, which looks really cool but will impair your ability to see. Another cool little touch is that your astronaut bleeds red while aliens bleed green. Oftentimes, you'll discover aliens you've unintentionally wounded by seeing the fluorescent green blood dripping from them. And during loading screens, you are treated to some gorgeous comic book panel cutscenes. All of these visual elements work together to give Capsized a unique—though sometimes confusing—look.
The control scheme should be intimately familiar to the first-person shooter crowd. W, A, S, and D are your move keys, Spacebar is jump, and any aiming and firing you do will be done with the mouse. While this control scheme is absolutely perfect for 3D games, it's doesn't feel quite right for a 2D platformer. It won't take long for your hands to start cramping up. Even as a FPS veteran, I can't imagine an extended Capsized play session with the keyboard controls. Of course, you can custom map the keys as you see fit, but it's still hard to find a control scheme that's not murder on your fingers.