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Capsized (PC) artwork

Capsized (PC) review

"If you can only grasp the gravity of the situation..."

Stay a while and listen... to this review. Audio generated by AWS (Joanna voice) with No Ads.

Capsized (PC) image

You know what scares me about games set in outer space? No, it's not hideous aliens, loneliness, or implications of homesickness. For me, it's low-gravity physics. I think back to the ancient NES game Solar Jet Man and how I wanted to absolutely love it. Hell, I wanted to be good at it, but no amount of practice or patience could ever aid me in such a lofty goal. I had to settle for a "kind of mediocre while using Game Genie codes" level of talent. Because of these experiences, I now struggle to get into similar titles. I fear more than anything that I will enjoy one to the point that I'll be unable to give up and move on once I encounter a segment I can't overcome. Part of me still thinks, "Maybe I can finish Jet Man," but I know it would be foolish to try...

No, no... Joe, don't dig it out of the closet. Let it rest... We've been through this...

Still, I found myself adding Capsized to my Steam library against my better judgment. "It'll be another Jet Man and you know it," I told myself. I felt my knees knock as I booted it for the first time, believing in the utmost that its bouncy space physics were going to hook me in, keep my attention for a fair chunk of time, then eat me for breakfast...

Capsized is not your run-of-the-mill platformer. You take the role of a space traveler stranded on a poisonous planet rife with homicidal life and xenophobic natives. Each stage provides you with a simple objective that diverges from the "advance to the right to win" structure. For instance, instead crossing a finish line, you might need to defeat a certain number of foes or demolish some of your adversaries' monuments. One of my favorite stages involves delving into a convoluted mess of debris-choked tunnels and immense chasms in an effort to rescue fellow crewmates. The true hair-ripping insanity doesn't lie in merely locating them, but dragging their unconscious carcasses back to a makeshift encampment while fending off the locals.

Capsized (PC) image

Oh, but there's more: you not only have to contend with wonky, low-g physics, but also fuel management, twin-stick aiming, and utilizing a hook shot, all while performing the previously described task of trekking your nearly dead friends back to base. To say that this affair takes a bit of practice to get acclimated would be an understatement. Capsized sports a learning curve, but one that will absolutely reward you once you've gotten it down...

The trick lies in figuring out which control scheme best suits your abilities. You might hook up an Xbox controller, even though precisely aiming your gun proves a daunting task because it requires you to use the right analog stick. Unfortunately, there are a number of occasions in which you must jump while aiming, both of which make use of your right thumb. Unless you have two right thumbs or are proficient in pressing action buttons with your right index finger while tilting the right analog, using a 360 controller proves more of a hindrance than sticking with the keyboard and mouse. Still, you might be compelled to use the controller, especially if you've never grown accustomed to using the keyboard-and-mouse configuration.

The tricky part of growing accustomed to the game's mechanics, though, lies in utilizing your jetpack and hook shot. In the case of the former, survival hinges on how well you can gauge your movements and those of your targets. It can be tough to keep yourself from careening into a contingent of aliens while also cutting loose rounds from your phaser, for instance. Dodging projectiles is also the pits, as the jetpack is not always the fastest travel option, especially when you initially fire the pack up. Once your fuel runs dry, the hook shot becomes your primary means of ascension. With well-timed shots and a light understanding of the world's gravity, you can propel yourself upward and out of harm's way--or into it if you're not careful. More than that, the hook shot makes an excellent weapon. With it, you can grasp mighty boulders and various other bits of environment and propel them toward your opponents with life-ending ferocity.

Capsized (PC) image

After a few completed stages, you might believe that you've developed into a pro. Maybe you'll wind up like me, thinking I was invincible because I had amassed an impressive collection of weapons ranging from piercing lasers to explosive rockets, even a wave beam and a shotgun. Against standard natives, any well armed astronaut would seem like a god. It was when high priests, telekinetic warriors, and monstrous combatants reared their heads that I discovered a reason to worry. That's when the game began to inundate me with foes and barrage me with flying spears and punishing lasers. At times, it seemed like there was no escape from their onslaught, and that I didn't possess enough bullets to put so much as a dent in their forces.

That's when Capsized truly comes to life. It's during moments when effective dodging absolutely matters, when survival is uncertain, when each sweet bullet counts, and when you learn to make use of the marvelously designed landscape--both to flee certain death and to eradicate the opposition--that the game heats up. As I've said before, Capsized is not your average side scroller, and thus contains a plethora of nooks, crannies, and special details that can factor into your strategy when dealing with super-powered extraterrestrials.

Yes, the game will test your survival capabilities. You will likely run low on ammo, health, and jetpack fuel more than few times. Such situations send you scrounging for power-ups, hoping that nothing deadly follows you in the process. Generally, a thorough search of your surroundings yields a fair enough bounty. Even though Capsized is a tough game, it's not totally unforgiving.

Not totally, that is...

Capsized (PC) image

There are a couple of stages where the game overwhelms you with targets. At times you might happen upon a cluster of beasts--usually two or three truly powerful ones supported by pesky cronies--and find yourself in pieces before you can even take aim. At times, Capsized mercilessly stomps you unless you can concoct a sound enough strategy, but sometimes even that won't save you from a cheap bombardment of unavoidable projectiles.

Perseverance will help you win in the end, though; that and a lot of swearing. It also helps that the game has a somewhat soothing aspect to it, what with its hypnotic electronic soundtrack and cool watercolor-like presentation. Environments are fittingly alien and gorgeous, at times almost appearing like they were ripped from the pages of an ancient comic book.

Bottom line: Capsized is a delightful and devious 2D experience exploding with challenge and action. It's the kind of game that makes me glad I give lesser knonwn titles a chance. So if you dig indie apps and pine for a skull-crushing adventure, give Capsized a chance. Just be sure to take up yoga on the side, or maybe listen to the Pure Moods compilation to remedy your frustration between sessions.

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Staff review by Joseph Shaffer (March 19, 2023)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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