Cargo King Review
Gameplay - 1.5
Lifespan - 3.2
Freeness - 7.2
This game will serve you well if you’re willing to kill some time doing one repetitive task over and over again.
Cargo King is a game with one simple mechanic and almost no flourish. While developers Happymagenta seem to have put some effort into making the art look clean and the gameplay smooth, they neglected to make the game anything more than a one-trick pony.
Cargo King has you stack crates on top of one another, over and over again, tapping the screen when a crate hovers above the pile of already-stacked ones. While it is challenging for a bit, there’s literally nothing else to do. Each crate does have its own “designation” (i.e. grapes, oranges, cherries, etc) and matching three of one of these crate types gives you a few extra coins but the challenge of doing so is thin and the reward so lackluster that you’ll likely not even bother.
If you do manage to put some time into the game, you’ll find that there are a few bonuses you can get beyond matching three of one kind of crate. Landing a crate perfectly on top of the crate below it will give you a few extra coins, as will the arbitrarily-award bonus for “breakneck speed”.
The game’s only saving grace is its delicate treatment of the pay-to-win model. If you manage to miss stacking a crate, the game will rewind and let you play that turn again. The second time you screw up, however, the game ends and you’re given the option to spend one heart to continue playing.
Hearts are collected in three ways: buy them with in-game currency (which can be bought with real cash or earned through gameplay), stack a randomly-generated heart crate successfully, or collect the free heart the game gives you every half-hour.
Ultimately, the “buy coins to buy hearts to play forever” model supports a clearly cash-driven game where high scores can be bought and skill is not necessarily your best asset. Still, in contrast to the blatant pandering of games like Candy Crush Saga, the monetization is much less intrusive and the game does not necessarily get impossibly difficult if you don’t pay into it.
Overall, this game will serve you well if you’re willing to kill some time doing one repetitive task over and over again.
Cargo King is available on iOS.