App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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Complexity can be a difficult thing to balance in a game, but so can simplicity. Distilling an idea or genre down to its more basic elements is no easy task, especially when trying to do it well, and for that reason alone I think rymdkapsel is worth celebrating. It's a strategy/sim-lite without any of the typical blandness one would associate with so much fat trimming. Of course that's not the only reason; it's also a pretty great game all-around.
rymdkapsel is a about expanding a space station while simultaneously fighting off waves of hostile attackers. Players must construct various rooms - reactors, gardens, weapons, etc - in order to gather more resources so that they can expand their base, train additional workers, and construct even more rooms. However, the larger the base's overall area the tougher it is to defend. It encourages planned expansion and interlocking the Tetris-like rooms together in order to keep the station from becoming too spread out. Of course there are also several obelisks scattered around the map that can be researched to enhance things like worker movement speed and weapon attack ranges. It's a toss-up deciding between hastily crafting a path to a given obelisk, thus sacrificing defensibility, and rushing to acquire better tech early on.
There's a simple sort of elegance to rymdkapsel's design. The graphics are extremely abstract but still make visual sense. It's also incredibly easy to control. The workers can be assigned to any available post (construction, idle, defense, etc) just by dragging a finger from one category to another. The game automatically assigns the first one that isn't currently carrying something to the task. Placing and orienting rooms is also deceptively simple, but as I've mentioned it's very important to try and plan out construction projects in advance (i.e. keep gardens and kitchens close, sell off extractors that run out of materials to harvest, etc).
I wouldn't mind it if rymdkapsel was a little more complex, however. Specifically it's issuing commands to workers that I have an problem with. It's a great system when it comes to assigning simple tasks but starts to become a hindrance during later enemy waves when they constantly need to be shuffled between defense, research, construction, and so on. The worst of it is trying to research late-game obelisks. The game always seems to select the workers that are furthest away from the research station when I try to shuffle them back after an attack. It wastes a lot of incredibly precious time.
I still absolutely love rymdkapsel and consider it a fantastic go-to strategy game that can be great for extended play sessions or short bursts. The simple visuals and interface belie a rather complex and difficult game that's certainly worth a look. It just loses a little of its luster after wave 20 or so.