Release Date:Nov 1st
Publisher: Digital Tribe Games
ESRB Rating: E
In a market which seems to be absolutely over-saturated with platformers, I went into this game with a slight air of cynicism, but I'm extremely happy to say that Cargo Commander surpassed my expectations without any trouble. It was described to me as "a glorified Minesweeper", but is this a fair assessment?
The story of the game is simple, you're a Cargo Commander, your job is to travel to different sectors, trying to gather enough abandoned cargo to get home to your wife and son due to an unfortunate clause in your contract with your employer, Cargo Corp. There's only one song laying throughout the entire game, on a loop, it slowly worms itself into your brain, so when you venture further out into the chain of containers, the song slowly becomes more and more distant, until it's absence leaves you feeling a loneliness that tweaks at the heart strings. Adding to the emotional turmoil are the constant emails from your wife - as you play the game it becomes apparent that you've told her you're in an office job, something which couldn't be further from the truth, as a lot of the containers are infested with various murderous creatures all looking to make you their next meal.
Gameplay and Presentation:
I think Cargo Commander looks brilliant, the obvious comparison would be the game Rochard, with it's similar lo-fi space visuals, and yet I think that the little details you can find in Cargo Commander, the personal touches that give it an individual style which is more than can be said for some other games. I really love the idea that the Cargo Commander has a little pot plant on his spaceship windowsill. (I'm not quite sure how that works either.)
As for gameplay, it can be different each time you play. You travel to sectors and gather the cargo found there. However, each sector is completely different in terms of generation, and because of the way unlocking sectors is done, you can find a new experience every time you play. I recommend the sector "yellowsnow", especially if you have a thing for tattered leather boots.
The platforming is average, it sometimes feels as if there's a little too much weight to the jumps, you don't feel as mobile as you would like to be, but this is where the game comes into it's own. In a normal platformer you're restricted to a set path, you navigate the obstacles the game places in front of you and that's that. In Cargo Commander however, you have a large drill mounted to your arm, practically designed for taking this principle and throwing it into the dark abyss. Don't like the path through the container you just broke through? A couple of drilled walls later and you've got a useful shortcut. Trapped in a corner by horrific blood-thirsty monsters? Drill out the floor underneath you and make a quick getaway. This ultimately makes the game more fun and also more strategic, especially as every sector has it's own leader board with the lucky commander in first place getting a little crown while he's there.
Cargo Commander is a brilliant game, managing to wade though all the other indie platformers without losing any of it's shine, and I can say with confidence that it's much more than a "glorified minesweeper". It's fun to play and for $9.99 on Steam I would definitely recommend picking it up.
S&S Rating: 8/10