There are a few things that about Cargo: The Quest for Gravity on the PC that I like. For one thing, it’s probably the most unique game I’ve ever reviewed. On the flip side, that same uniqueness only fuels the game forward for the first twenty minutes of gameplay.
I’ll try to briefly narrate the story of the game without sounding like I’m reading lines for the part of Mad Hatter in an Alice in Wonderland remake. You play as a female engineer Fawkes, whose blimp was accidentally shot down over islands inhabited by short naked dwarves that are referred to as ‘buddies’. On the same island you meet a rather confusing entity known as Manipu, depicted through three mechanical faces. Feeling that humanity needed a fresh start, Manipu has effectively stopped gravity and sent much of Earth’s landmarks floating up into the air. You soon realize that you’re not going to go anywhere until you fix things and restore gravity to the world.
One thing that is emphasized greatly in the game is that you need to have FUN, and lots of it. FUN can be done in a number of ways – you can kick your buddies around the island, make them dance to some music, or take them for a ride on some of the bizarre vehicles on offer. FUN essentially becomes the game’s currency, and you can use it to ‘buy’ some of Earth’s floating landmarks and magically bring them back on to the ground. The buddies aren’t that appealing to look at, as some of the models have over-stretched features, and they certainly don’t have much intelligence which is evident with their constant drowning or getting sucked into turbines. But no matter how many of the little buggers you kick around, there seems to be a limitless supply from the island’s volcano, and more buddies get added as your bring back landmarks to Earth.
Apart from having as much FUN as you can, you also have the ability to craft together vehicles to aid you in the various missions. For example, your first mission is to rescue some drowning buddies and recover some lost cargo. To do this you have to locate the blueprint for a small raft, and then collect or buy the required parts to assemble it. It’s a no-brainer setup that allows you some degree of design freedom, but it won’t result in any design awards. The vehicle workshop allows you to zoom and pan around your creation with ease and add or remove part as necessary, although sometimes tweaking your creation can be a bit of a headache. And once you actually get into your vehicle, you find that the controls are too sluggish, as experienced during a very frantic race in the snow. The other major annoyance is that there is no map or clear path to your next objective, so at times you’re spent roaming around the level trying to find a 3-piece band to tell you your next mission. The level design of course is a smorgasbord of color, as if a waterfall of paint washed over everything. The visuals are bright and fit well with the game’s zany outlook, and while the narration can be a bit corny and off-putting at times, it’s all ties in with the game’s look and feel.
Cargo: The Quest For Gravity is a strange little game that won’t keep you busy for very long, but it’s bizarre nature will certainly tempt you to give it a spin.