rymdkapsel ($3.99) by webbfarbror AB is a strategy game that is not like anything you’ve seen before. It’s almost like a hybrid of Tetris and Star Command, yet it’s much more relaxing, hence the “meditative” part of the description. It features elements of base-building, tower-defense, and puzzle, all in one complete package.
I had been hearing a bit of commotion about this game, which has also earned a prime spot in the main screen of the App Store, so I knew I needed to check it out. I was a bit confused at first, as this is one of those games that kind of babies you vaguely in the beginning, but then lets go and expects you to figure it out on your own. However, the moment you understand how this game works, you will find it to be an excellent experience.
The biggest thing that I love about this game are the visuals. It’s flat, but still has some depth to it because of the angle, making it appear in 2.5-D. Additionally, everything is color-coded with eye-catching colors, so you know what is happening at-a-glance. Animations in rymdkapsel are smooth and fluid, with absolutely no lag. Even the transition from the game to the main menu is flawless — your game will freeze and become a dimmed out background to the menu, a bit reminiscent of iOS 7. To go along with these calm, soothing graphics is an amazing, tranquil soundtrack. I recommend putting on a good pair of headphones so you can fully enjoy the tunes, which will also help you feel immersed in the game itself.
The objective in rymdkapsel is to create and build your own space station, complete with minions. With this spacecraft, you will want to explore the galaxy that you’re in, which means dealing with other lifeforms as well. This is a strategy game where you don’t need to worry about selecting units and how to attack your enemies — all of the focus is on building.
As I mentioned before, the game will guide you in the beginning, explaining the seven different components of your craft: Corridor, Extractor, Reactor, Gardens, Kitchen, Weapons, and Quarters. To build a room, just tap-and-drag on it from the menu bar into the spot on the grid that you want it placed in. It can be rotated by tapping on the screen with a second finger while dragging it. Each piece will be in a different shape that is inspired from Tetris, and you can see the shape of the next room in the top left corner. If the room can be placed in a spot, it will have a white outline; if not, it will be red. Your rooms will need to be connected with corridors, so make sure you have plenty of those.
Now, each room will not appear right away. Rather, you select the spot to place it in, and then you will need to have your minions perform construction on it. The minions are the little white blocks that move around on your ship. By default, they may be idle, but you can assign tasks to your minions by dragging their icons to the task you want at the bottom.
Construction for each room will vary, and you can see at the top how many components are needed to make it. The components will be generated from other sources, such as the extractor and reactor that you get in the beginning. Once the minions deposit the required elements to the room, it will be complete and used for resources.
Of course, since you’re out in space, you are definitely not alone. Rymdkapsel will have a gray/red bar at the bottom that will show you how much time you have until an imminent attack. To defend yourself, you will need a weapons room, where your minions can arm themselves and attack any intruders that come in. The enemies appear in waves, increasing their numbers and strength as you progress.
You start out with only two minions, but you can get more by building Quarters, which will require food from the Kitchen, which originates from sludge from the Gardens. See how intricate all of this is? Everything in your ship is connected in one way or another, so it’s vital to have everything, as well as multiples in case resources are depleted.
There are also missions for you to accomplish, which are shown on the game’s main menu. These give you an incentive to keep playing the game, and are rewarding when you do complete them.
Rymdkapsel is definitely something else, providing a magical experience once you understand the fundamentals of the game. This is definitely the type of game that you need to experience yourself to know what makes it so good, but it’s definitely worth it.
The only thing I wish that the game would improve on is to have a confirmation dialogue for the “New Game” option, as tapping on this will erase all of your previous progress without warning. This can be quite dangerous, so I think it would be best for either a confirmation dialogue, or at least multiple game saves.
Still, I recommend this game if you enjoy puzzles, strategy, and tower defense games, as this is a mix of all of those. You can get rymdkapsel in the App Store as a universal download for $3.99.