There are 2 modes of play in Cargo: The Quest for Gravity, one being the main Story and the other being a free Sandbox mode. In both the object is to collect FUN from buddies by kicking them, having them ride along in vehicles or selling parts at the shop. Giving buddies a ride or kicking them frequently causes them to explode in a flowery bunch of fireworks, after which they respawn from the volcano.
You can create customizable cars, boats, submarines, planes or a combination of whichever by going into the Building option, pressing B. It's also possible to simply follow Blueprints, which Flawkes finds spread throughout the islands.
It is possible to let buddies dance to generate FUN by placing a clef on the floor, which triggers a song of up to 1 minute. It is also possible to customize these songs in an additional music tool and add specific dances at certain intervals. These songs can also be assigned to specific seasons.
There is also a way to enter the Stratosphere and use the concentrated amount of FUN to bring down buildings and objects that have been shot up into space. These objects then come crashing back onto Earth and add a set amount of buddies to your buddy counter. Aside from generic buildings merely adding to the counter, there are also objective specific buildings, such as the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty, which add a larger amount of buddies and clear certain objectives in Story mode.
The game is spread throughout 4 seasons, each altering the landscape and offering a different set of buildings. Sandbox mode offers any of the 4 options, but in Story mode, Flawkes starts her adventure in Autumn and progresses throughout the year by clearing each season as a chapter.
On a strange land where gravity has been lost, where even continents begin to float. We discover that robots calling themselves gods have grown tired of Humanity, and removed gravity from the world to cause them to die. To replace Humans, these gods created the Buddies, small, naked, and incredibly stupid creatures that don't need gravity.
The only hope comes with the discovery of FUN, a magical component, generated by Buddies while they are being entertained, that restores gravity to the world.
The hero, a young girl named Flawkes, must make her way through the continent by building contraptions with junk found throughout the archipelago, be it either by land, sea or air, Flawkes must solve the mystery of FUN and bring gravity back to the world if she hopes to save Humanity from destruction.
The young engineer enters the archipelago by accident, when a cargo delivery for the Gods goes awry by buddies shooting up into the sky to explode like fireworks. When these explosions collide with her airship, called the Hippo, Flawkes and her Captain are forced to make a crash landing and parts float down in all directions of the island.
While there is no general tutorial, or any actual clarity at all for that matter, Cargo starts Flawkes off in Autumn, where she is greeted by the Buddy band. After that, you can start kicking buddies to extract FUN as currency and more options will become available as you progress. Hints and tips are either explained by the story or by lines of text at the bottom, where there's also some vague hints towards the next objectives.
Each season offers a new type of gameplay and objectives. In no particular order, you'll learn these skills in each season.
- Kicking buddies to extract FUN.
- Using the sinkhole to make buddies erupt from the main island's volcano, using large objects.
- Creating vehicles in the build screen, using blueprints and learning about the Shop that sells parts.
- Making a sail boat.
- Making a boat using propellers.
- Grabbing cargo pick-ups for parts.
- Using a lifesaver to pick up buddies and giving them a ride to extract FUN. Larger vehicles offer more room for more buddies. The FUN scale and maximum amount of buddies is located in the upper right of the Build screen.
- Using the music clef to make buddies dance for money. Sounds dirtier than it actually is.
- Entering the Stratosphere to purchase additional buildings that generate new buddies and buying your first quest sensitive object that changes the season, namely an iceberg that ushers in the winter time.
- Creating your first car
- Fight giant angry penguins that are crushing the buddies by sitting on them. It's possible to either throw large objects at the penguins or use the car to run them over. It is advised to use the car, because the buddy count diminishes fast.
- Use your car for racing around the archipelago, where the waters are now all frozen over. Hills and turns spontaneously appear as you drive up to them. For some reason there are buddies that enter the race carrying bombs. Touching them makes them explode and 'leave the race', meaning you lose a buddy from the count.
- Using more Stratosphere objects, such as the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty and a huge ship that crashes through the ice.
- Using a submarine to dive underwater and explore the sea bedding. There's an error in the text, telling you to 'swim' underwater, but Flawkes cannot dive on her own. The submarine is mandatory to reach this goal.
- Starting the volcanoes around the island to use their heat to thaw out the ice and usher in spring. To do this, Flawkes must reach their entrance underwater and enter it with her sub. there are 3 mini-games to complete each task, each requiring to bring buddies as the catalyst to operate the machinery:
- Filling up 15 buddies in an organ. This prompts a small mini-game that uses buddies floating around in tubes, like Augustus in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, to use them as notes in a sort of rhythm game. by pressing the corresponding tube button (1,2;3 or space) as the buddies light up the tube, you execute the right note. Failure to do so causes the buddy in the tube to explode. After this is complete, the organ will fire up and shoot buddies to the next room.
- The next room sees buddies flying through tubes in the wall onto conga drums. The goal here is to turn the drums to the correct angle, so the buddies can land on a large drum trampoline in the middle of the room. The end goal is to get at least 3 buddies on the trampoline and have them shoot up into the sky, starting the first volcano. There is another volcano on the island, but no explanation for this, so be wary.
- A second room, entered with the submarine, has a vat that needs to be filled with buddies. Once active, the room will start to act up and trumpets on the side of the room will start harassing the buddies and throwing junk around to prevent them from having FUN. The goal is to plug the horns with the trash laying around and thus allowing the buddies to shake their stuff. After completion, the buddies will enter the vat and start the second volcano.
Once all volcanoes are active, the water will quickly rise in temperature and cause the icy terrain to melt, ushering in spring time.
- Protecting buddies from melting ice and saving them from drowning. It is possible to add weight to a large chuck of ice and trying to create a roof to protect the buddies. This objective is immensely unclear.
- Creating your first air vehicle.
- Using a plane to rescue buddies from ice patches floating back up into the stratosphere.
- The egg-plant factory rises from the seas and presents a new challenge. The goal here is to activate the machinery with buddies to operate a wheel.
- Using the train/cistern from the stratosphere and building them into working, flying vehicles. The goal is to guide the color-filled trains to the egg-plant and drop them down the shoot.
- Using the colors to activate the egg-plant, which spews a huge stream of colors into the seas and colors in the archipelago, ushering in summer time.
- Ultimately rescuing Earth!
- Using the Stratosphere to drop down the Earth's Axis and create a Large Hadron Collider (LHC) with objects floating around there.
Once on the LHC, there are a set amount of goals that need to be fulfilled in order to get the Earth to start turning again. The Gods will tell you this isn't possible, but it's just talk. There are no actual consequences to ignoring them.
- Aligning the rings of the LHC to get it to operate and start a black void around the Earth Axis.
- Solving a color coded puzzle by kicking the appropriate button in a circle in the correct sequence.
- Using comets from the Stratosphere to generate pools of steaming water. These can then in turn be turned into tornadoes, by flying over them with a helicopter operated flying machine. Then, the goal is to have the tornado grab buildings and objects dropped from the stratosphere to use the weight as a force to start the Earth Axis.
Note: Only 2 tornadoes can be generated at a time and there is no room for failure if you let the one comet smack into the UFO. Four comets are available, so save before starting this or often enough, just to be sure.
Starting the Axis, brings Earth back to its original states, thwarting and defeating the Gods! Congratulations, you just won the game. There's probably a load more to it, but you have to be some sort of mad scientist to understand the underlining stories in this crazy game.
This offers 1 of 4 seasons to mess around in, without set goals or objectives. Flawkes starts with a huge amount of parts to create any sort of vehicle. It is still possible to gain buddies from the Stratosphere to heighten the starting number of buddies, set at 30. This is the opportune moment to mess around with settings and obtain some more elusive achievements, such as large chains of buddies, large dancing groups, huge vehicles or going for speed records.
- OS: Windows 7/Vista/ XP
- Processor: Pentium 4 3GHz or equivalent AMD Athlon processor
- Memory: 1GB XP / 2GB Vista
- Hard Disk Space: At least 4 GB
- Video Card: 128 MB or more, DirectX 9-compatible with support for Pixel Shader 2.0 (ATI Radeon X800 / NVIDIA GeForce 7600 / Intel GMA HD Graphics)