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Video Game / Cargo Commander

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Released in 2012, Cargo Commander is a Roguelike platform game, with procedurally generated levels and one goal: Get enough junk in your day job to earn the right to go home and see your family. However, the emails from home and from your workplace are starting to sound a bit strange and artificial these days...

The Nameless Protaganist, hereinafter the titular Cargo Commander, pilots his tiny, cubic ship around the galaxy, magnetising abandoned vessels and storage containers to crash into his ship so he can go in and loot them of their contents, avoiding fire, mutants, and the ever-looming wormholes that rip the containers apart around him.


What makes this game particularly interesting is the fact that most of the walls are destructible. This can help people come up with crazy, inventive ways of dealing with problems, such as taking shortcuts, blasting aliens into space, and outright skipping areas. Of course, ill-planned drilling can easily result in losing your life, or more importantly, your cargo.

The level generation is rather similar to that of Minecraft's Seeds, in that anyone who types in a certain Sector Name will always get the same sequence of cargo containers, which allows for competition among players, sharing particularly unusual levels, or helping each other obtain 100% Completion with the myriad different items to find.

Sector "TROPERVILLE" exists, so feel free to compete with other tropers in there.


This game provides examples of:

  • 100% Completion: There are dozens upon dozens of different kinds of cargo to collect, and it's required to see the ending.
  • Acrofatic: Mutant Bellies can jump just as well as the most agile enemies.
  • Action Bomb: The Mutant Bellies - Huge, waddling, massively obese mutants that explode when they get too close or are killed. Can quickly result in Chain Reaction Destruction.
  • A.K.A.-47 - Two of the main weapons are this: the Blastgun (Shotgun) and Six-Shooter (Magnum).
  • The Aloner: The Commander.
  • Anti-Christmas Song: I Surely Hope, which only plays in your ship during Christmas time, and is described as "the blues holiday tune ever".
  • Atomic F-Bomb: Pressing the Taunt Button will make the Cargo Commander belt out one of these.
    "When in need, press F to let out stress"
  • Bag of Spilling: The Cargo Commander can't keep upgrades when he travels to another system. He also loses them when he goes to sleep.
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  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Somewhat. You can hold your breath in space with absolutely no repercussions, until you run out of air, which causes rapid health degredation.
  • Bread Milk Eggs Squick: Reading the cargo list row by row can lead to some extremely odd and hilarious pair ups.[[Especially if the alien sex toy is found in a sector.]]
  • Chain Reaction Destruction: Mutant Bellies and Exploding Crates are both extremely prone to this, and considering how much damage a single crate can do to you, it's something you need to be constantly aware of.
  • Collapsing Lair: Invoked constantly with the Wormholes. After a certain time elapses, each container slowly collapses into nothingness and gets sucked into the void. Your home base is thankfully exempt from this.
  • Crate Expectations: There are a lot of non-Cargo crates to be found. They don't usually contain anything, but can occasionally have some caps, a small mutant, or Cargo.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Lampshaded - According to one email it says that nanomachines retrieve your body and "repair you back into life".
  • Endless Game: Journey Mode, unlocked at rank 6, has you just going from container to container to container until you manage to die, rather than having waves of containers a few at a time.
    • The normal game mode could be seen as this as well. Journey mode plays it a bit straighter, since there are no Sector Passes to try and collect.
  • Gass Hole: Sometimes, after eating a tin of apples, The Commander lets out an utterly huge belch.
  • Informed Equipment: Averted. Any upgrades bought will be visible on the Cargo Commander.
  • Last Lousy Point: Very possible, but the developers came up with two ways of averting this - Scanners and other people. Every time you complete a matching set of cargo, you get a Scanner which can be used to locate a specific piece of cargo you're missing. You will gain a total of twenty Scanners by the end of the game, but if you somehow use them all up before finding the last piece, you're screwed. However, if you have a friend that can give you the name of a sector that has the one you need, you're all set.
  • Mercy Invincibility: Totally and utterly averted. Exposure to fire will drain your health in moments, and even worse are the Mutant Scavangers - See No Fair Cheating.
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: Not your mission control, but the intercoms on the various containers have some very charming messages.
    "Dear Cargo Commander: Please Go home. Go home. Go home. Go home. Go home. Please report to the home office."
  • Mook Maker: The Crystals. Mutants constantly regrow from these after being killed, and cannot be destroyed at a distance - You need to get within touching distance and press a button to kick them to pieces.
  • No Fair Cheating: Spacewalking can be used to massive advantages - Skipping areas, fighting enemies and so on, all possible if you have air. However, if someone abuses this too much, Mutant Scavengers will appear. These are drill-like aliens, which are small and have low defense but hurt like hell. The more you abuse space, the more will come in a single wave. Due to the lack of Mercy Invincibility, Unless you're a spectacular sharpshooter, a wave of five or six is pretty much a death sentence.
  • Precision F-Strike: The taunt button. It's mapped to the "F" key. In the tutorial it explicitly states "press F to relieve stress."
  • Schmuck Bait: There is a fully functional Self Destruct button on the Maintenance Panel. It gives you three separate warnings to back out before detonating the whole place. Thankfully, it's repaired the next day.
    • Don't forget about the 'Suicide' button in the pause menu.
  • Selective Magnetism: Your ship's magnet attracts whole, unbroken containers, and only those. A broken container two feet away will be ignored in favor of the unbroken one about half a mile away.
  • ShoutOut: A Companion Cube is present and accounted for under the simple name of "Friend".
    "I could use one of these!" ~Item description
  • Sequence Breaking: It is completely possible to outright skip containers if you're ballsy enough to try. However, this can, as seen in No Fair Cheating, backfire horrificly.
  • Space Is Noisy: Zigzagged. You can just about make out noises such as your cabin music if you're close enough, but it's extremely muffled. Otherwise, Played Straight.
    • There is an option to make space totally silent, should you want this completely averted.
  • Stalked by the Bell: Mutant Scavangers - Spinning, yellow enemies that deal major damage over time - spawn with greater frequency and in greater numbers the longer you spend outside.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: The Cargo Commander's Fistcannon™ can deploy several different weapons, including:
  • Teleporting Keycard Squad: This game lives and breathes this trope. About 75% of the cargo boxes will spawn enemies and Crystals when they're picked up.
  • Trade Snark: From the website:
    "...Travel between your ship and containers using advanced Cargo Corp. approved technology like Jumping™ and Holding Your Breath™"
  • Unrealistic Black Hole: The Wormholes. They seem completely capable of ripping solid metal structures to shreds and sucking them into oblivion, but the home base is outright protected by it, as is the Commander himself, somehow.
  • Wreaking Havok: All of the Cargo, miscellaneous crates, and other such things are affected by physics, and will be flung around as more containers crash in. Containers getting torn apart as they get sucked into a Wormhole is always a pleasant sight.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Apparently, things like Jumping and Holding Your Breath are advanced technology, trademarked by Cargo Corp.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Boy howdy. The whole game, and the Commander's ultimate goal, is to get the privilege to go home again. You are finally given the authority to do this when you have obtained all 88 kinds of cargo available.


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