December 24th, 2012 | By Tom Christiansen
Earlier this month, Serious Brew rolled out a holiday update, “A Cold December”, for their space platformer, Cargo Commander. Apparently, the heating and sprinkler installations have broken in the commander’s home container, coating everything in a few inches of gently frozen water…or, you know, snow. The commander decided to get festive and strung up some colorful lights and raised a decorated tree (that he someone found in space) to celebrate the season. A fancy new music track is now playing in the background of the home container, as well.
On top of the sights and new sounds of the season, Cargo Commander players will encounter a new mechanic within the game. One of the more original ideas that Cargo Commander introduced, was having players stumble upon the remains of other players, who perished at certain points throughout each sector. Normally, the player would simply loot the fallen cargo commander, maybe read their name, and continue on in their search for space treasure. The “A Cold December” update added in a holiday postcard mechanic that allows players to find empty postcards, and inscribe a note onto them, and send them home to their loved ones or fellow cargo commanders. Sadly, space is a dangerous place, and many postcards never make it home. Players have the chance of stumbling across written postcards when they encounter fallen cargo commanders, with their personal messages still scribbled on the cards.
I played the update for about an hour, yesterday, and I found around five used postcards, and four empty cards, which I wrote little messages on, before I sent them away. Of course, I eventually died (in Sector October, if you’re interested to try and find my postcards) so my postcards are still floating out there…somewhere.
The lost postcard mechanic is really neat, and I asked Daniël Ernst, from Serious Brew, about the possibility of the postcards becoming a permanent part of the game, albeit not always holiday themed. “We will maybe keep the system,” Daniël said. “Perhaps as a message in a bottle kind of way in contacting other cargo commanders or as a “last will” description text. But we haven’ t decided yet.”
I asked Daniël about some players exploiting the ability to write whatever they want on the cards, “I actually don’t mind the inappropriate cards that much, it adds to the “realism” of the situation. There are a lot of people trying to write in-character cards which is pretty awesome. And some will write scary stuff, but you know, being locked away in a cubicle container in space is not very good for your sanity, anyhow. And there are always innapropiate colleagues at work, and it’s also the whole “rupee in a chest” story. The reward of the text of the cards can either be really cool, serial killer scary, or feature an ascii image of a male reproductive organ. You never know what you are going to get. Which makes it exciting!”
Players seem to really enjoy using the mechanic though, as Daniël told me that as of earlier this morning, 1,935 postcards have been created.
The “A Cold December” update is free to everyone who already owns the game, and the update automatically installs. Read my review of Cargo Commander and then pick up the game from the official website, as the game is currently running at 75% off…which is a steal, in my opinion. Follow Serious Brew on Twitter.