Capsized: The later levels

Capsized has twelve levels. I was actually confused about this for a while. One of the few ways the game reports your proportional progress is via secrets: it keeps a running tally of how many you’ve found out of the number available, and also tells you how many are available on each level you’ve unlocked. So I knew that level 11 contained the last of the secrets, but that seemed like a strange number of levels for a game. Well, it turns out that the final level contains no secrets, being essentially just a boss fight. I’ll go into that in more detail once I’ve actually beat the thing; what I really want to talk about is the last few levels before it.

The levels increase in length and difficulty as the game progresses, the former being basically a function of the latter: masses of tough monsters take longer to kill, and increase the odds that you’ll run out of lives and have to start the level over from the beginning. (Remember, your life count does not persist from level to level in this game.) None of this is unusual, but it seems to me that there’s something of a spike here: around level 9, all of the sudden I was taking multiple sessions to complete a level, rather than completing multiple levels in a session.

The game as a whole has a pleasing variety of level goals. To list a few in order of increasing complexity, your goal can be to reach a destination, defeat a specific monster, destroy scattered structures (jamming devices that are preventing the rescue ships from finding you), or locate specific objects and bring them back to your starting point with your tractor beam. Only in the last few levels does it feel like it’s starting to repeat itself. I don’t know whether to call it “running out of ideas” or “recapping what you’ve learned”.

But the chief thing that distinguishes the final levels is the degree to which that tractor beam comes to the fore as the main way you interact with the game. Or perhaps this isn’t a function of the levels so much as of my own increasing familiarity with the thing: earlier on, I’d frequently forget I had it, or that it could be used as an aid to movement, and be stymied by a platform too far up to jump to. It’s easy to forget about when you’re spending a significant portion of your time on each level with a recharging jetpack, which is an easier approach for such things. But I think there’s something to be said for the idea that the later levels encourage its use more: they have significantly large open-sky areas, punctuated at random with floating platforms, globby clusters that resemble fatty tissue and which I think we’re supposed to take as the nests or hives of the yellow airsquid that also start appearing in force at that time and in those areas. And once you’re routinely slinging yourself around Tarzan-style from these things, it’s easy to discover other uses for that mode of movement. Like, the beam is springily elastic, and it’s easy to make yourself go rapidly snapping around on it like it’s a rubber band, which is an excellent defense against enemies that have to aim at you to hurt you. I’ve fought entire battles in this mode.

1 Comment so far

  1. Daniel on 18 Jun 2013

    Hi there!

    Just finished this game – had a quite similar experience as far as the difficulty is concerned.

    I have the impression that the first couple of levels were more about exploring and basic puzzle solving, whereas the later ones just develeoped into huge fights, more often than not in wide open areas.

    I actually found myself using the grappling beam quite a bit early in the game, and there are two reasons. Firstly, I always saved the jetpak energy for when I was really in need of it (as in: never). Secondly, I totally forgot about those walljumps you could do :)) Started using the jetpak more later in the game, but still, only in case of emergency (dodging bullets etc.).

    Anyhow, the grappling beam is a lot of fun indeed… Found it quite similar to the ninja rope in the Worms games (the 2D ones obviously).

    As regards to the difficulty – i started on Medium, then switched to Easy after failing once on the 11th level (the one which required you to destroy those interfering objects). That was the first time I needed a second attempt on a level by the way (had quite a bit of luck on the previous stage, that was very close…).

    Finished it all in one session, played with keyboard mouse, now my left hand hurts.. But it was worth it :) Such a great game.

    Cheers
    Daniel

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