The opening screen of Capsule Force feels ripped from the intro to an anime series: a series of stars pinging out a catchy melody in the sky like a series of shining bells. It's a retrofuturistic battle game that wears its love of 1980s space anime on its sleeve, inspired partly by the aesthetics of shows like Macross, Dirty Pair and Galaxy Express 999.
The year is 1999, and the human race is embroiled in an intergalactic war where entire galaxies have been captured in capsules, Pokemon style. Bounty hunters hired by various Earth factions are fighting for control of various galactic capsules, and that's where you—and your friends—come in.
The game's 2-to-4 player multiplayer battles pit two teams of anime bounty hunters—Emi and Jet, or Nova and "Z"—against each other to shoot it out with Mega Man-style arm cannons and defend themselves with shield bubbles. The point isn't to kill each other, however, but to successfully ride a tram horizontally across the multi-screen level in your team's direction, and claim a precious galactic capsule.
The battles are fast and chaotic, and there's a sense of lightness to the way you move. Although gravity can still pull you down, this is a game where you spend a lot of time floating; you can fling yourself into the air by shooting your weapons at your feet, or suspend yourself in the air indefinitely at any time by charging it, which also gives you time to aim before unleashing a laser blast.
While there are single-player missions as well, ultimately you buy Capsule Force for its multiplayer battles, or you don't buy it at all. This is a game meant to be played at parties and with friends, crowded around the television and yelling frantically.
There are a few crucial limitations, however, that will exclude a lot of people. You can't play against your friends online—or at least not yet—and there's no option to play against bots. Basically, you can only play with people who happen to be in your living room, and some living rooms (and lives) are lonelier than others (sadface).
Capsule Force, which was developed by Klobit, is available on PS4, PC and Mac. Regardless of where you play it, using a controller is strongly advised, as the precision it requires is difficult to produce on a keyboard and will probably frustrate the hell out of you.