I don’t know about you, but I have a certain love for old school style 2D games; especially flying games. So when I came across the mission based 2D flying game CargoCopter I couldn’t resist taking it for a spin. There’s something about flying through seemingly insurmountable challenges and accomplishing missions that’s hard to pass up. Unfortunately, my overwhelming love affair for mission based flying games was sent into a tail spin after playing CargoCopter.
Created by Terence Palmer, CargoCopter challenges players to fly a helicopter over, under, between, and around buildings, walls, moving objects, explosives, and more to capture and safely deliver cargo. Using the game’s virtual joystick you lift off, lower, accelerate, and decelerate. To acquire cargo you must fly to within an ear shot of the cargo and then drop your hook and line to capture it. Continuing to hold down the green hook and line button ensures you’re able to retain your cargo as you fly it back to home base.
CargoCopter offers 15 different missions that you can pick and choose to play in any order that you want. The missions themselves are essentially pass/fail, with the greatest indicator of success being the amount of time it takes to complete each mission. The levels are short in distance, but based on the level of difficulty, can take several minutes to complete. If you crash or get blown up your mission is over, with the exception of crashing into water, which for whatever reason, just sends you back to the beginning of the level with the clock still running.
So far it’s probably hard to tell why I wasn’t the biggest fan of CargoCopter. I mean, it offers 2D gaming, flying, and challenging missions so what’s not to like? Well for me, the single biggest turn off for CargoCopter is the way the game reacts to the game controls (the responsiveness). From my perspective the game controls feel excessively exaggerated, making the game rather unenjoyable. For example, when you move the joystick upward to lift off you continue soaring upward much farther than you want to. The same thing goes with moving forward. I found myself hovering up and down, and back and forth continuously, never really able to keep a consistent hover. The lack of precise control is exacerbated when you are carrying cargo. The cargo has the tendency to twirl in circles around the helicopter as you transport it, which in turn negatively impacts the helicopter’s responsiveness and flight pattern. When you combine that lack of precise control, the enhanced difficulty of control with cargo attached, and the obstacles within the game, it makes for a rather frustrating gaming experience.
I realize after playing CargoCopter that the game is intended to have short and crisp levels, with the challenge being in the mastery of controlling a difficult to control helicopter. However, from my own perspective I feel that this approach limits the enjoyment of the game. I’d prefer playing a game that offers precision control and longer more challenging levels.
There were a couple of other aspects of the game that influenced my overall rating. Currently you can pick and choose any level that you want to play, meaning you can go straight to level 15 if you want. This isn’t a biggie, but I went straight to level 15, completed it rather quickly, and felt afterward felt like doing that took a little bit of the mystery and luster out of the game. Secondly, I uncovered a minor UI bug. When you press the pause button you’re presented with two options, resume and main. When I pressed the “main” button to go back to the main menu it didn’t do anything, it stayed on the same screen.
All in all CargoCopter looks fun on the outside, and offers a decent amount of gaming and challenge for it’s $0.99 price point. However, the gaming experience for most may feel quite frustrating and unecessarily akward. One thing I can say with certainty is that it’s an accomplishment to complete all 15 levels in easy mode. If you can do it in hard mode then I’d like to shake your hand. I myself probably won’t be coming back to this game on a regular basis, but for those that invite a frustrating challenge, CargoCopter may be just the game for them!
Version Reviewed: 1.2
Requirements: iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad; iPhone OS 3.0 or later
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