BEYOND THE BRICK MOON: SOFT-SYNTH SPACE STRATEGY IN MARTIN JONASSON’S RYMDKAPSEL


11.8.2012

Brandon Boyer

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Do game devs also go through ‘periods’ like Picasso’s ‘blue’? If so, Martin ‘grapefrukt‘ Jonasson seems to be making the most of his ‘Tetris period’, first with Jesus vs Dinosaurs, his brilliantly hectic multiplayer arcade game collab with Petri Purho, and now — on the opposite end of the spectrum — the quiet & contemplative RYMDKAPSEL, coming soon to iOS, Android, the web and, just newly announced, the PlayStation Vita.

A resource-management strategy game at its core, the gorgeously ambient and understated RYMDKAPSEL starts you with the barest of space stations and sees you expanding outward into the surrounding star system, brick by straight-up Tetris brick.

Your progress is hampered not just by the selection of bricks you’re able to choose from to plan your next expansion — which, performed poorly, can block off (no pun) the passageways that connect all rooms — but also by waves of enemy ships that appear at regular, and increasingly rapid intervals, forcing your crew to drop everything they’re attending to and scramble to defense rooms to shoot them down.

For all its soft-synth and simple-shape simplicity, Jonasson’s manage to eke out a ton of life and character from the world, and the game’s nicely forming into a fantastically addictive whole — an early build of RYMDKAPSEL accompanied me on my flight home from GameCity and refused to unhook me until my iPad battery ran dry.

The game is expected to be released on all platforms in early 2013 — you can sign up to be updated on its progress via its home page.

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