Cargo! The Quest for Gravity Author: T_H_Schafer -- Posted: 2011-07-19
Developer: Ice Pick
Publisher: Viva Media
Cargo! : The Quest for Gravity. Just uttering the title lets one in on the sheer lunacy this game presents. Let me be plain, this game has a whole lot of WTF moments but they're also some of the most astounding things I've seen in some time. There were moments that I had to step back and take a close look at exactly what I was doing to try and make sense of my situation. Usually I'd give out a big "WHAT?" and have to laugh. It's a strange thing. Although the missions make no real sense, I had a stronger drive to accomplish them than I do in other games.
Before I go farther, let me give you a little taste of the insanity. Near the beginning of the game, your airship crashes due to these tiny-stout-bald-man-creatures flying into the air and exploding in a confetti display. Later, you collect "FUN", which is basically the game's currency, by giving these creatures a ride on the vehicle you create until they explode in the same fashion they did when your ship crashed. I won't spoil much more than that. I know that might not give you much desire to try Cargo, but you really have to see it for yourself.
Cargo is not a game that will appeal to everyone. The insane story and mission structure, which for me was half the fun, will for others be too absurd to even bother with I'm sure. Regardless of where you stand on the nonsense, there are places where the goal is hard to figure out which does lead to some frustration.
The basic gameplay mechanic behind Cargo is in its vehicle creation. In order to complete most every task, you're going to need a suitable vehicle to do it. You can create everything from air balloons to submarines to flying cars. The fun comes in experimenting with designs but for those not willing to create their own vehicles there are lots of vehicle blue prints strewn about the land to find. Different motors and parts can be upgraded by spending "FUN" which is accrued mostly by interacting with the small bald natives and accomplishing tasks. As it stands, building your own vehicles is simple enough and feels pretty rewarding when you make something that works well. It's also easy to save your creation and swap out designs when you need, say, a flying submarine instead of a land cruiser.
The abandonment of any sort of coherent sensible narrative really sets Cargo apart from other games. The developers seemed to ask, what would be fun, and went in that direction. For that, I commend them. Though they may not have made every right decision, Cargo is certainly unique, definitely fun and at times even seems somewhat brilliant. As far as originality goes, I could compare the vehicle creation to the last Banjo Kazooie game, though I haven't spent too much time with it, but the rest of the game is dissimilar to just about everything. If you're willing to deal with some of the games quarks you won't be disappointed. The game isn't too long; I completed it in roughly 8 hours. I'm not sure I'll be up for another play through, but I'm not uninstalling it quite yet.