Rymdkapsel, Monster Hotel and Quiet, Please

In what I hope will be a semi-regular feature, I will aim to buy and review a PlayStation Mobile or Minis title once a week-ish. I might end up reviewing more than one at a time, since the minimum you can add to your ‘wallet’ in the PS Store is £5 and most of these games are under £2 or so.

Rymdkapsel by Martin Jonasson

2014-04-06-105800

I loved this! I deliberately bought a game I wouldn’t normally buy (realtime strategy) and I’m glad I did. In Rymdkapsel you build a space station and defend it from periodic attack, extending the corridors of the station until your minions (delightfully named) can reach the ominous-looking space monoliths and research their secrets.

What makes this different from most base-building games is that the rooms and corridors you build are all tetrominoes. An indicator in the top left corner shows which shape you’ll have to build next. (You can’t skip it, but if you don’t like it you can set it out to build and then immediately cancel it with no penalty, causing the game to move on to the next shape.) All room types have a fixed cost. Two of the three resources you’ll need (food and reactor energy) are effectively infinite (energy comes from your solar-powered reactor, and food is made in your kitchens from sludge harvested from your gardens), whereas physical materials are a limited resource harvested from particle clouds. It’s possible to paint yourself into a corner by building too much sprawling mass and leaving yourself unable to build a corridor to the next particle cloud. To avoid this scenario, the game gives you ample warning, and you can destroy deprecated rooms for a portion of their initial cost (once a particle cloud is depleted, there is no need to keep the extractor unit that was harvesting it).

Periodically, your base is attacked (a red bar at the bottom of the screen slowly fills, indicating time until next attack), necessitating re-assigning most of your minions to defence until the attack passes. I played two games of this, each one lasting just over an hour before I was overwhelmed by too few minions versus too many enemies.

I would have liked an option to prioritise which queued-for-construction room should be worked on first, but I suppose that’s my fault for spamming my minions with so many requests at once. I’d also like to be able to have more than two minions at a time in one weapons room. One space dragon is no match for two minions, but later on as the attacks increase in intensity and frequency, two aren’t enough. I can’t see a way around this besides building big batteries of weapons rooms, but it’s possible that the enemy intensity is working as intended in order to bring the game to close in about an hour. One of the objectives is to research all four monoliths in the field in under 45 minutes, and in my second game I’d researched only two. I’m keen to try again!

Bugger.

Bugger.

Monster Hotel by XMPT Games

2014-04-06-123838

The vampire in the red room is cheesed off because they want to be in a room with a swamp thing and aren’t.

I love the idea of this (keeping monster guests in a hotel happy) but find it very difficult even on the easiest setting. I’m hoping it will grow on me, as it’s very droll. The proprietor of the hotel is inexplicably a penguin.

Monsters are seemingly incapable of changing rooms or even moving to the lobby of their own volition, and their whims change very frequently, forcing you to constantly pick up and drag monsters to a new room. It’s not like one of those static logic puzzles where you can’t put two people wearing the same hat next to each other; it’s a constant juggling game. It’s also doomed to failure, as it’s impossible to keep every monster happy simultaneously and you must choose which monster will cause least damage if left angry.

It’s a little tricky thanks to the monsters’ speechbubbles overlapping when more than two of them are in the same room. I would like to see some way of having the bubbles align to a grid. The fast pace and hard to read bubbles mean that most games are over very quickly, making this good for an on-the-toilet game but not for much else.

Quiet, Please by Nostatic Software

2014-04-06-124916

This is ever so short, but for 79p I can’t really complain. (Then again, Picbox cost me only 70p and I managed to clock nine hours on it.) I enjoyed it enough that I’d like to pick up the next game, Quiet Christmas, and I’m only put off by the fact that I’d have to put another £5 in my Sony wallet.

You play as a girl who just wants peace and quiet so she can go to bed, but is thwarted in her desire by a neighbour’s lawnmower, a noisy telly, squeaking kittens, a boisterous little brother who wants to play, etc. You have to silence all these sources of noise somehow. It’s hard to give more detail without giving away the solutions of the puzzles, but I will say that it’s largely straightforward apart from one bit where I became very frustrated because I couldn’t see a solution. It turned out that there is one object that is required to solve two objectives, which the game has tricked you out of considering because until that point each object you can pick up has been used to solve precisely one objective. Sneaky.

I liked this and don’t really have anything bad to say about it apart from the fact that it’s so short (20-30 minutes) that there almost isn’t anything of any substance to criticise. It’s not a game to go specifically to the Vita store for, but worth picking up if you end up with a spare 79p in your Sony wallet.