Cargo Commander is an action platformer available for PC and Mac through Steam. The game was developed by Serious Brew and published by Digital Tribe Games. Cargo Commander pits you as a new recruit employed by Cargo Corp. Your role as a Cargo Commander forces you to travel the galaxy raiding derelict ships and fight enemies in hopes of finding rare cargo. The official Steam link to purchase Cargo Commander can be found in the links located a little further down in this article.
GAME NAME: Cargo Commander
DEVELOPER(S): Serious Brew
PUBLISHER(S): Digital Tribe Games
GENRE(S): Action, Platformer
RELEASE DATE(S): November 1, 2012
We would like to thank Digital Tribe Games for the opportunity to review Cargo Commander.
Cargo Commander takes place in deep space, light years from your family. You play as a new recruit for Cargo Corp as you travel alone through the sectors looking for varieties of lost cargo. The further you progress and the more cargo you recover, the higher you are promoted. With each promotion you are issued a specific reward ranging from work benches to maintenance panels to pocket money to journey mode.
The main menu is fairly standard for the game, consisting of a Play and an Options button. The options menu however is little more in-depth allowing users to adjust resolution, quality, toggle full screen, toggle vsync, gamma, sound volume, music volume, toggle silent space, change your crosshair settings, and change your controls. This is pretty much everything you will need to get your ideal settings.
The game allows you to decide between multiplayer and single player to start. Seeing as multiplayer tends to be more fun and challenging, it seemed like the logical choice. Upon beginning your game you awaken from your bed for your first day on the job. They were nice enough to create a simple yet effective tutorial that teaches you all the basics including controls, ship components, and combat. There are additional features unlocked throughout the game, but they will be explained as they are unlocked.
Cargo Commander puts you in a rusted container traveling through deep space, far from your family with no hope of returning anytime in the near future. You play as an epic bearded, angry (hit the F button often) employee of Cargo Corps. Your task is to bring in derelict containers via your magnet. Once the containers crash in you must raid them and deal with the dangers inside which include fire, various enemies, and space itself. The enemies will continually spawn posing a nerve racking problem unless you break crystals by pressing E when nearby. When approaching enemies the user has a tough decision to make on the fly. While you can usually take enemies in combat, it is often times more advisable to flee. After a few playthoughs you will begin to tell when fight or flight are required.
While raiding these containers you must search for cargo and at this time there are 80 unique types of cargo. These assorted cargo items can only be obtained in certain sectors, thus replaying the same sector over and over again will never bring additional unique cargo. These duplicate cargo items are still useful however, as they can be swapped for credit which allows you to receive packages from your Love and son Champ whom miss you dearly. Packages typically include a crudely drawn portrait by your son Champ as shown below.
There are various sectors to the game, and you can even create your own randomly generated sector for you and your friends to compete within. In order to travel to each sector you must find the green cube that each sector hosts one of. These cubes aren’t that hard to find luckily, making sector travel less of a challenge. This creates endless level variations to not only find additional cargo, but also compete with users globally on the sector scoreboards. This competitive feature seems subtle, but I found myself playing the same sector over and over again trying to score in the top 10. In some of the lesser sectors I was successful, but in the more popular sectors such as THETRIBE I never had a chance.
After travelling several sectors you will begin to complete your cargo inventory list. Once you finally have 1 of each of the 80 cargo items you can finally return to sector Home to reunite with your family. If this type of gameplay doesn’t quite suit your taste you can always play on Journey Mode which is unlocked once you promote to rank 6. This mode is simply an exploration mode that allows you to adventure through derelict containers without a time constraint.
Throughout the game you will receive upgrades to your container as rewards to various promotions. These include various things such as an ammo spawner, maintenance panel, and upgrade bench. Each of these additions makes the overall gameplay easier.
You are not only limited to ship upgrades. Using a currency referred to as “caps” you may purchase upgrades for your character and weaponry. You can upgrade your drill, your punch ability, your shoes, and weapons’ features. The only downside to this is that upon dying everything resets unlike your ship upgrade’s which remain permanent.
Overall the game is very aesthetically pleasing. The crude edges and great cell shading combine to create an interesting art style similar to that of Borderlands. This styling is not often used in gaming today, so it is great to see a company try something not of the norm.
The background showcases a dark space with seemingly limitless stars and repetitive wormhole that continually sucks up the derelict vessels you must explore. This part of the game appears to have followed a different style of art than the rest of the game. While most of the game relied on the comic book art style mentioned before, the background seemed to go for a more realistic approach. Mind you, I was playing good quality which is the middle of 3 choices.
Words cannot describe how amazing the soundtrack for Cargo Commander is. In your home container you hear this great indie alternative rock song that sounds as though it is being played through an antique radio which just adds to the allure of this rusted out container. The song titled “Down the Drain” by Misha Velthuis suits the game perfectly, and I think the developers did an amazing job in having that song made.
Outside of the home container the soundtrack really drives the pace of the game. It sounds like your standard science fiction theme until the wormholes open. Once this happens the derelict containers around you begin to crumble. The sounds of the containers ripping apart certainly get your heart racing as every second of oxygen becomes greatly important. This part of the game was so exhilarating that sometimes I found myself waiting in the far side of a container waiting for the wormhole to open.
Down To The Nitty Gritty
Overall, I’d say Cargo Commander is a phenomenal game and well worth the $9.99 it costs. The gameplay is fast and enjoyable. The game has enough of a story line to make it follow able while being light enough that it can be picked up here and there without interruption. I highly recommend multiplayer as it offers the same gameplay as single player, but it allows the user to come across corpses and compete with other players. This always adds interesting aspects to games as it adds an extra initiative for the user to get a better score.
The only downsides to the game are that it can become repetitive if you play consistently, and the song can become overplayed if you linger in the home container for long periods of time. These are minor complaints for an otherwise great game. Serious Brew along with Digital Tribe Games deserve some praise for this project.