On the surface, Cosmo’s Quickstop sounds like your run-of-the-mill time management game that uses a job structure as the basis for its gameplay. While true in that aspect, it’s a game that better gets its point across when you actually play it, which is exactly what I got to do while at PAX East this year. Ian and Erin of BigSirGames, the developers of Cosmo’s Quickstop, set us up with a demo of their quirky customer service inspired game and we walked away from it both impressed and eager to play more.
Cosmo’s Quickstop is a time management game that persuades players to perform hard labor with alluring visuals and simple gameplay. Presentation and mundane tasks blend together beautifully, seemingly unearthing a sense of gratification and usefulness. In Cosmo’s Quickstop, you play as the new operator of Route 66 Million’s most popular pitstop. Your job as the operator of this famed pitstop is to assure customers are satisfied by pumping their gas, ensuring vending machines are maintained and cleaning the restroom among other things. These tasks sound generic but it’s Cosmo’s Quickstops aesthetic that reels you in and makes you commit to the demands of the alien patrons.
This time management game can be played in both singleplayer and local multiplayer. The singleplayer mode ran with no issues — that we saw — and does a good job of capturing the essence of being a lone operator of this pitstop. The local multiplayer mode — where we spent most of our time — was seemingly more fun and hectic. Multiplayer is displayed in split screen format but does so in a way that doesn’t comprise the depth of field or player HUD (Heads Up Display). An important quality to have in a game that has players depend on their ability to see tasks and prioritize them.
The tasks and execution of these tasks were straightforward for the most part, giving you detailed instructions that were as easy to memorize as they were to perform. There was one issue though involving spaceship wash tasks. It was sort of difficult to make out the directions and it resulted in a few incorrect button inputs. The devs ensured that it’s been noted and will be addressed in the next build. I was happy, however, to see that the small miscommunication from the spacewash station did not carry over to the instructions for other tasks.
I soon discovered that the simplicity of these tasks is vital to the game’s chaotic formula. See, Cosmo’s Quickstop is popular and convenient, which means that it fluctuates from slow to busy as hell in an instant. This may sound off-putting to some but its more of a frantic challenge than it is an annoying mechanic. There are conveniently placed teleports at both ends of the station that makes getting to the more urgent tasks a little quicker. This proved useful as we caught ourselves running manically to and from both ends of the station to help patrons with directions or washing their spaceship.
The demo for Cosmo’s Quickstop focused on core game mechanics and was used as a display for how the game will look and feel. While both aspects are done exceptionally well here, they aren’t what makes this game one of my favorites of PAX East. In Cosmo’s Quickstop you aren’t just a pitstop operator who cleans crap off of spaceships and maintains vending machines. This pitstop has a glorious reputation and you want to live up to that.
You want to make this pitstop profitable and essentially create a cosmic tourist trap that continues to ring bells across galaxies. The attention to detail comes in how you decide when to customize your pitstop with extensions like coffee shops and gift shops for example. You have to listen to patron demands and know when to make these decisions in order to maximize your revenue.
While Cosmo’s Quickstop’s gameplay is driven by revenue, it does so with very adorable and creative 3D character designs and animations. It kind of reminds me of a mash-up of Monsters Inc. and the old —very obscure— Disney cartoon Lloyd in Space. The dialogue matches the easygoing visuals with light-hearted text mixed in with some appropriately timed humor. The visuals and dialogue are what actually sold me on the game and its potential, largely complimenting this galactic time management tale.
Although we only got to play a demo, it was easy to see the bright future for Cosmo’s Quickstop. Merging mundane tasks with a cosmic aesthetic that embraces silly dialogue and strategic building. BigSirGames doesn’t have an official release date but Cosmo’s Quickstop is set for a 2018 release on PC. We’ll make sure to update you all as we learn more about Cosmo’s Quickstop in the months to come.