29 October 2012

Cargo!: The Quest for Gravity


Gaming Genres: Action-Adventure, Platformer, Physics, Sandbox
Story Genres: Comedic, Fantasy
Graphical Styles: 3D, Cartoon, High Resolution, Punk
Platforms: Windows
Pricing Model: Pay $
Developer(s): Ice-Pick Lodge
Publisher(s): Viva Media, bitComposer Games
Initial Release Date: April 21, 2011
Website(s): Homepage, FacebookSteam, Amazon, GamersGate
Description:
The Gods haven’t looked too kindly on humanity and Earth, as we know it, has been reduced to a group of island archipelagos, populated by Buddies – pint-sized creatures, unbound by gravity’s forces and free to float and frolic at their own whim and leisure.

The Gods have given the Buddies  ree reign over these colorful islands for their own willy-nilly, topsy turvy pleasure. But, there is a way to stop them. FUN is the secret ingredient that will ground the Buddies and return gravity to Earth.

As one of Earth’s last human survivors, it’s up to you to dish out a healthy dose of amusement to restore order on Earth.

Do you have what it takes to outwit the Buddies and win back the favor of the Gods?

Packed with unique and innovative physics-driven gameplay that offers multiple solutions to each mission; not to mention an unlimited sandbox mode! Explore a wide variety landscapes and locations including flying islands, large underwater environments, and numerous interiors. Changing seasons offer a dynamic effect on gameplay. Loads of different parts & components that can be assembled to create crazy yet functional vehicles.

Opinion:

Cargo is probably the best build your own vehicle game yet created, and yet you just have to shake your head at some of the design choices.

Take the story as a simple example of this, Ice-lodge weaves a beautiful vibrant world. And all the dialogue and characters are amazing, and the individual story arcs make sense  But the overarching storyline just does not really make much sense, why am I doing this, what have I even accomplished?

This is very much how the gameplay turned out. They created this great vehicle creation feature (including land, water surface, underwater, and flying), with surprisingly good physics, and yet the world is tiny, and the challenges never require any specific designs. So you have to ask yourself, why was so much emphasis put on  creating your own vehicles, when you never need anything beyond the generic, the game world only takes like 30 seconds to fly straight across, and there are absolutely no real environmental obstacles that make even the most ungainly vehicles problematic.

There are also so many features that are simply never used. You have an entire underwater world that you explore for the entirety of a single quest, after that it is still there but there is no reason to go there, and this a place as big as the entire surface world. And right off the bat you are introduced to some scrap collecting mechanic, used to respawn the all important buddies; They mention this is a huge amount of the opening plot and a big deal is made of it. But it turns out you only use it like three times. I was expecting the game to be built around it, I was expecting specific parts for the vehicles to help you gather this scrap from floating islands and the bottom of the ocean. No, you can use it but it is not necessary or a good idea, and there is a very limited supply of scrap because it all has to be carried by hand, which is not only slow but impossible past the one tiny island that the whirlpool is on. You are also introduced to many money (FUN) making techniques at the beginning of the game: kicking buddies, making them dance, and driving them around. But you simply cannot make any significant amount of many dancing or kicking buddies; Other than the first 10 minutes of the game that you are without a vehicle, you should never use these techniques.

The game also relies far to much on money. To buy vehicle parts, you need money, to progress the plot, you need money. Most of the game is won by simply spending money, and it is just way to easy and repetitive to get. Other that a few specific challenges you buy plot progression.

But not all is bad, it is enjoyable to create and travel, and the world and character in it are fantastic. Everything is well done, just none of the pieces are fit together in any semblance of a logical pattern.

Images (+):
Related Media (+):
Hints/Tips/Walkthrough (+):
Indieness: Almost Indie
Play: Should Play

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