This year, we are lucky to be seeing many highly anticipated sequels, and exciting new IP’s jump into the foray, and vie for our gaming dollars. While I already had my mental checklist of all the games I was looking forward to, in 2011, I had never heard of Cargo! – The Quest For Gravity. Maybe I just missed the ads and trailers, but I am glad that it caught my eye, it’s an interesting blend of platforming and physics puzzling, sprinkled with some great laugh-out-loud inducing moments.
Cargo! takes place on Earth, but I like to think of it as an alternate universe Earth. It seems the gods have become infuriated, by humans, and skipped over finding a Noah this time. Humans are practically extinct, and, in addition to being mostly flooded, the world no longer has any gravity. Walking, running, sailing, all of these things still are possible, but many heavy objects hover over the atmosphere–buildings, ice caps, etc. In addition, the gods have created a race of munchkins, if you will, called Buddies, to help them on Earth. You take the role of Flawkes, one of the last humans, and also an engineer. The game’s opening sees Flawkes flying in with Captain Borkin, apparently under contract by the gods, to remedy Earth’s perilous situation. The Buddies, in their excitement, crash your zepplin, and you are thrust into using your engineering skills to help keep the Buddies safe, and use them to obtain Fun, an in-game currency, that can be traded for more engineering parts, and, more importantly, restoring gravity to the Earth.
Once you crashland, you gain control of Flawkes, and get a feel for the controls and objectives. You meet the gods, who will sell you engineering parts at a high premium for the Fun you collect. Getting Fun turns out to be just as much fun as it sounds! Your first path to getting Fun is finding Buddies and kicking them–yes, kicking them, watching them scream and fly away into the stratosphere! You see, Buddies like to fly, and they like to be towed by the vehicles that you build, so the more fun that you provide them with, the more Fun you will get, in return! In addition, you can find collectible music notes, that will allow Flawkes to trigger a song to play, which will attract nearby Buddies, and give you a good boost of Fun, for as long as they listen(30-60 seconds). If you don’t mind a bit of creative editing, by chopping down some tunes in length, you can even import your own music, to play in these segments. Building the vehicles is very interesting; you find blueprints scattered throughout the area, that can easily be used to create the vehicle of your choice. Any missing parts, can be bought at the click of a button, provided you have enough Fun to pay for them. However, if you don’t have the blueprints you want, you can enter the game’s build editor, and try your hand at making whatever your imagination, and your stockpile of parts, can come up with. There are some parts of the game, where this is necessary, and even needs to be accomplished in a timed manner, other times it’s just an option to be used at your leisure. Using the Fun you collect, you slowly restore gravity to the Earth, by purchasing the right to retrieve items floating in the Earth’s atmosphere, such as buildings, landmarks, etc. As you progress, or with the purchase of something like a huge ice cap, the seasons will change and alter the way you progress through the game. For example, purchasing the ice cap, that I mentioned, freezes all of the flooded areas, and with a majority of drivable ice, changes your vehicular tactics up from water based to forms of cars. Also, new hazards can appear, like angry penguins, who kill your Buddies, when the ice cap is dropped down. All of this, together, makes for an interesting experience, that seems to keep you on your toes, never knowing when you’ll be plucked from your relaxed exploration and parts collecting, into a timed rescue or event, that you must complete to save as many Buddies as possible.
As you can probably tell, by now, I have had a ton of fun, or Fun, as it were, with Cargo. The fact that the game is budget priced, just makes it that much better. I did play this game, with my kids, who loved it very much. However, I feel compelled to mentioned the pictured buttocks of the Buddies, and the frequent use of the word ‘arse’, in the game. If that’s a deal-breaker, for letting your kids play, depending on their ages, just be aware that it is in there, and there are no options to turn that off. I found it negligible, and there was nothing else questionable in the game. If for some reason, you get bored with the campaign, have finished it, or you just tire of the timed events, there is a great Sandbox mode, within the game. There, you can simply roam the Earth, collecting Fun, and keeping your Buddies safe, using whatever parts and vehicles you can find. If you have ever enjoyed a platforming game, or you like physics puzzles, than look no further than Cargo! – The Quest for Gravity. Not being much of a fan of some other franchise that had portal based puzzles, Cargo! was a much better option, for a fraction of the price, and I definitely recommend it. Now go out there and get some Fun!