The recent explosion of the gaming industry has caused a sharp increase in the amount of indie games. Some people may not consider indie games to be as good as some of the well-known AAA titles out there but some indie games are as good as some AAA games. Whether it’s the amount of creative freedom indie developers have or just how simplistic indie games are. There is something about indie games that continue to entice us gamers. Hoping to continue this trend is Cargo Commander from the two man team known as Serious Brew.
In Cargo Commander you play as a nameless employee whose job is it to scavenge the cargo from the various containers floating around space. As you progress through the different sectors you receive emails from your family and the company you work for. These give you more back story to the character and they seem to be leading towards something big at the end but I have not finished the story yet. I’ll get to why later on.
Indie games often have a simple gameplay mechanic and run with it. In Cargo Commander you travel through different sectors of space in your floating cubical and attract containers. Then you explore these containers for the hidden cargo but being a space game, aliens will often attack you. To fight back, you are armed with an atomic fist and can carry 2 weapons. You are also given a power drill and can upgrade most of the weapons to inflict more damage.
What I thought was most interesting is just how much freedom you are given when exploring the containers. There is no set path when exploring. You are given full range to explore the containers in any order, that is if you chose to explore any of them at all. However to travel to the next sector you are required to find the sector pass. That is another thing that was interesting about Cargo Commander; you can travel to any sector in space to search for cargo. The sectors themselves are randomly generated using the name of the sector. These make for an open and nearly limitless single player journey.
Serious Brew has gone for a cheerful, cell shaded art style. The environments are well detailed and have plenty of color to them. You can easily tell what panels can be drilled through as they turn red hot and begin to disintegrate. What I really like most is how much control you have over the level of zoom. You can zoom in to see the detail on the main characters’ outfit one moment and then zoom out to see a complete overview of all the containers the next.
The sound design is on par with some of the bigger titles out there. You hear the stresses and strains on the containers as they are torn apart by a wormhole. The weapons sound like they pack a decent enough punch and the soundtrack does a good job of making you feel isolated.
After unlocking a sector, you can revisit it to attempt to set a high score. Getting the high score in a sector not only gives you bragging rights but your character also dawns a crown to show off. Journey mode is unlocked after reaching a certain level which is Serious Brews take on the survivor mode. The journey mode plays like the story mode but without returning to the central hub. You continually jump among containers and collect cargo until you meet your end.
I found myself playing the Journey mode much more than the story mainly because the game kept on freezing and it froze often. In one session that lasted an hour, it crashed seven times. This would not have been too bad but it would crash just before completing a level or when I died. So any progress I had made got deleted and I was forced to replay the sector just to progress.
Cargo Commander is both an entertaining and challenging 2D puzzle game. The story mode does a good job of teaching you the ropes and journey mode gives a compelling reason to go back and replay the sectors. Setting the high score will always be more gratifying than getting a high kill/death ratio. However the constant freezing problems are very annoying especially considering that they often stop you from progressing. I hope Cargo Commander is patched to make it stable so I can go back and continue setting high scores.
- Nearly limitless number of sectors to explore
- Challenging puzzles
- Randomly generated sectors
- Game freezes way to often