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Rymdkapsel is what we imagine playing an isometric, real-time strategy space game on the Atari might have been like back in the day – if the genre had existed then – and it's fabulous. The complexities that come from gathering resources, expanding your space station, generating new minions, and defending your galactic turf from waves of invading aliens contrast wildly against the simple 8-bit style aesthetic and tightly focused scope. There's a certain charm to its simplicity, but enough depth to back it up and keep you immersed in the fascinating task of building out your tiny space station empire.
Minimalism keeps the intense building and battling pretty casual, making it easy to dive into Rymdkapsel's absorbing flow. Your spacefarers are tiny rectangles that can be assigned to assorted tasks, like constructing new rooms you've plotted out, gathering resources, preparing food, and even picking up lasers to defend your turf. Handling their many actions is done with a quick-drag menu at the bottom of the screen, letting you change tactics on a dime – a very necessary thing when the alarm signals that the next wave of attackers is about to swoop in to decimate your crew.
Increasingly dangerous waves add a sense of urgency to your task. Not only do you have to manage your resources well, but you also need to find the sweet spot between pushing outward and protecting your infrastructure. It's a fun challenge that sucks you in, and a handful of specific goals to work towards offer some added focus.
Building different rooms expands your station towards capturing special monoliths scattered around the map, but it also allows you to restock slain crewmembers and set up weapons stations too. The need to balance resource gathering with expansion and defense keeps you constantly adjusting, as you lay out each Tetris-like piece of your station.
The bottom line. Accessible and engaging, Rymdkapsel puts a fun retro-minimalist spin on a familiar genre – a perfect combination for gobbling up your free time.
iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad running iOS 5.0 or later
Cool minimalist aesthetic. Great depth in a simple design. Fun challenge.
The three main goals can be completed easily in a single sitting.