I bought this game when it was on the Steam weeklong deal, and was really happy to have had a chance to try it out.
If you are interested in rogue-likes, action platformers, space themes, and loads of loot collecting, then you will really enjoy this game.
The aesthetics are nice - the detail in the enemies and different cargo containers you encounter is well-done. The sound effects and music are decent, however, the radio can get annoying fairly quickly. I like how the music volume is proportionate to how close you are to the home container. Once you gain a few (persistent) levels, you will unlock a music player, allowing you to use your own music. Keep in mind, however, that you must use audio files in .wave or .ogg format (never seen the latter before).
The controls are easy to familiarize yourself with, and the initial tutorial is quick and very helpful. The learning curve is minimal to moderate, depending on your experience with action platformers and/or rogue-likes. One of the most difficult aspects of the game is balancing your risk (going deeper into containers further away from the home base) and upgrade path - failure to achieve a proper balance will result in you getting quickly steamrolled by enemies that get progressively stronger with each new wave.
The main idea behind Cargo Commander is to amass as much loot as possible. Each sector you are in will yield a total of 4 higher-tier loot, forcing you to travel to different sectors if you wish to collect all possible loot (and also advance in levels, because more unique loot = more experience gain). After completing a few waves, a cargo container with a sector key will appear, and if you collect it you will be able to use it to unlock a new sector. Unlocking new sectors allow you to either select a pre-existing one (all user-generated), or create your own. You can move to and from unlocked sectors for free. Dying will end your "run," bringing you to the score distribution screen.
If you manage to be the top scorer in your sector, your character will spawn with a golden crown. Besides the scoring competition, you cannot directly interact with other players. During your playthroughs, you will eventually come across postcards. If they are empty, you can leave a message on them for others to find. The pictures on the front are randomized, and you can write whatever you want on the back.
As you progress through the game and level up your character, you will gain new perks - like starting with 10 currency and an upgrade bench. Using the upgrade bench is essential to surviving, and you can tailor your upgrade path to suit your playstyle. For example, levelling up your armor (health) and weapons versus levelling up your oxygen capacity and speed.
You will periodically receive parcels from your family back on Earth, and you can purchase these by using any of the loot you have already found (until the total cost has been satisfied).
Enemies spawn from crystals, which will keep spawning creeps until you destroy them (if you choose to). You can drill through most walls, and opening a container to hard vacuum to suck out your enemies is always fun. You can fly (or even skip) from container to container, however, the longer you stay in space, the higher the chance of scavengers spawning. This enemy type is weak, but very annoying - if enough of them spawn, you may have trouble staying alive.
After a set amount of time, a wormhole will appear, pulling apart all of the containers violently. You must balance and risk moving further away from your home base in order to find more loot. A challenging part of this game is your character automatically orienting to match the plane of each container. Due to this, trying to move from one container to another can be difficult at first - you will eventually learn to use this to your advantage (ex: hurling yourself toward your home base by jumping out of a container at the right angle).
The rogue-like elements come in the form of procedurally-generated, randomized cargo container spawns for each wave and permadeath. The "main" loot (4 for each sector) is specific for each sector you play in, but all other loot types are randomized as well. There is a small, shiny, blue container that is typically a "treasure" container with at least 1 piece of main loot, however, it can also sometimes have useless items. As you level up (through loot acquisition), you will gain more bonuses like extra starting cash, an upgrade bench, etc. Using the upgrade bench provides bonuses exclusive to your run, and are lost when you restart. The difficulty progression also ramps up with a fairly relentless pace - if you skip too many containers per wave, expect to die very early.
Overall, the game is very fun and challenging - and any rogue-like and/or action platformer enthusiasts should definitely give Cargo Commander a try.
DJSF @DJSF's Rogue Reviews