Hot off the heels of my N++ review, Kapsul Infinite is another minimalistic arcade game recently released to Steam and ported over from iOS and Android. You pilot a ship through an infinite number of procedurally generated levels, your goal being to land on another landing pad somewhere else in the level. The Z and M keys control the ship’s left and right thrusters independently, and gravity always has a pull on you, so keeping yourself upright is vital to avoid a quick nosedive and, consequently, failure.
Oh, and you’re hearing me right by the way - Kapsul Infinite features procedurally generated levels. To what extent? Well...I’m not entirely sure. The game does start you off slow with simple levels to begin with, but seems to gradually add new mechanics and obstacles as you go along to ramp up the difficulty. I also encountered the same levels on different playthroughs, so perhaps there’s a bit more structured design behind the levels than advertised.
To be honest, I had hardly even noticed its levels were procedurally generated until a few dozen levels in when I started to encounter more and more...questionable design choices. Some levels fill entire portions of levels full of obstacles in the areas not even close to my path to the goal while some levels were almost impossible for me to beat without persistence and patience. My personal favourite level was one that had spawned my target landing pad directly in front of me - all I had to do to beat the level was hold down the keys.
This level generation is interesting in a No Man’s Sky sort of way, where a lot of the fun was beating levels just to see what kind of new, different challenges the game would throw at me, but it also suffered from the same set-backs. After some time the gameplay grew stale and left me with the urge for something new to come along and change up the formula a bit, but different mechanics and new obstacles arrive infrequently, if at all after a certain point. This formula, while interesting for the first portion of the game, quickly grew old after an hour. The game’s pacing feels off too: one level I would encounter would be jam packed with obstacles that blocked my progress (and certainly made me determined to beat it), while the following five I would master on the first attempt before being confronted with another tough stage.
There are only a few hazards throughout the levels: spinning platforms which can knock you out-of trajectory (or into it, if you’re good), ‘no fly zones’ which prevent you from boosting, and the opposite colour - that is to say when you fly into a zone with the opposite background as the zone you’re in, your gravity is inverted, which can cause real problems in some levels. The way the ship handles is a challenge on its own as well: it's ‘prone to physics’ and is a wee bit top-heavy, so many of your resets will likely be from simple user error while you take time to get used to the way your ship handles.
Oddly enough my favourite thing about Kapsul Infinite is the sound design and there’s exactly one sound effect. That’s not to say the game is terrible, the sound is just perfect for how minimalistic the experience is. The sound consists solely of white noise that gradually gets louder the longer you hold down your thrusters, something which really adds to the empty, minimalist feeling of the game.
Overall, Kapsul Infinite’s $4.49 price point on Steam doesn’t quite feel worth it to me. There simply isn’t enough to keep me invested in the gameplay for very long, and without any integration of achievements or leaderboards of any kind it just falls a little flat. It is, however, a game that would be perfect for a mobile device where one play session consists of a few levels on the bus or while waiting out an unpleasant family reunion on the toilet. While the PC is not the platform to play it on, I’d definitely recommend giving it a try on mobile devices.