You might remember the name Isomura Kai of Tonakai Interactive from the previously reviewed, Out File #01 and Out 2: Out of File, two exceptionally good point-and-click adventures with an unusual twist: You can actually die in them. Kai's latest creation is another jaw-dropper: a shmup minus the shooting(!) and with a unique control mechanic.
In Rapture Capture, take control of a ship with a tug wire attached by waving the mouse back and forth. The tug wire is your only defense against incoming enemies and munitions, use it as a whip to take out anything that comes at you. The tip of the tug wire is especially powerful, as you can even capture enemies with it and whip them around as a weapon. It's fantastic!
Power-ups appear periodically that extend your tug wire, with the extension appearing in bright blue. The longer the blue extension the easier it is to grab enemies, but also the more difficult it becomes to control, so there is a trade-off. Get hit and lose a ship, and you lose the extension, too. You start with 3 ships and earn a bonus ship every 50,000 points.
The game consumes a lot of processing power, so make sure you have little else running and use a speedy browser. If necessary, you can click the mouse to pause the game and to reduce the quality setting in the bottom right corner of the game window.
Analysis: Rapture Capture is a remarkable game not only for its unique gameplay mechanic, but also for its stunning visuals and enveloping soundtrack. The techno background music goes well with the high-tech theme of the game and its green matrix-style monochrome computer graphics and wire frame overlaid 3D-like models. The whole package is exceptionally well-designed and integrated.
I especially enjoyed the control mechanic and was immersed, wide-eyed and in-the-zone almost immediately with it. It's an engaging and compelling game that's quite a bit different than anything I'd every played before. Also notable are the large 'boss' objects that are introduced to constrain movement and make things more difficult to maneuver around, which keeps the action interesting and changes up the gameplay a bit. I found that making smaller, more subtle movements with the whip was better than flailing it back and forth, but sometimes the wider movements were productive, too.
On the downside, this game suffers from an issue common with all Flash games: when the mouse cursor leaves the game window the game loses focus and mouse events are no longer processed. The end result is that your ship stops moving, and in a game like this that could be disastrous. The gestural input this game requires causes this to happen more frequently than usual. So, my best advice is to keep your movements short and be aware of where the mouse cursor is, especially when a boss is around.
Excellent game. Unique control. This is definitely a classic in the making. Well done, Isomura-san! Arigatoo gozaimasu!