I’ve got to give it to developer Zakym (the developer behind Pretty Bird 1 to 6). They got me. They really got me. The store description for Cario sounded interesting. “Cario decided to ride among falling meteorites during the apocalypse. Help him get as far as possible and get the highest score possible”. It sounded different, at least. This was backed up by some very pretty art work in the accompanying screenshots. I thought that maybe this was a hidden gem, launching onto the PlayStation store from a small developer that could do with some visibility.
I should have known better.
Cario is trophy bait. Another entry into the infestation spreading through the PlayStation Store, this game exists purely to bolster your trophy count. Similar to the clicker games and barely interactive tech demos out there right now, this is simply a Platinum Trophy with a price tag. It’ll brass you up within 10 minutes.
The price of the game should have given it away – it costs less than a Big Mac Meal. Within 20 seconds of play, I knew what was happening – the game as 71 trophies, 70 of which are bronze and are awarded every 7-10 seconds of play. It’s like being bombarded by Trophy notifications while playing.
If a quick Plat is what you’re looking for, you’ll find it here. I can’t guarantee it’ll give you that blast of serotonin you’re looking for because it’s a pretty hollow victory. But no judgement. You do you.
Cario-n Down The Road
To give Cario its credit, it is a ‘game’ at least. It has a failure condition and it is interactive. That’s a step up from some of the trophy bait on the PSN Store right now that are basically a short cut into your wallet without any game play involved.
Here, you control a car that you can manoeuvre left and right across the screen. Coming in waves, groups of rocks fall from the top of the screen and the aim is to avoid them for as long as possible. A score counter increases with every second you stay alive. You’ve got three lives which will decrease if you get squashed by a meteorite. Once they’ve been depleted, the score resets to zero and you’ll have to start again.
There’s no tutorial in Cario – there isn’t a need for one. The game is so basic and simplistic that any instruction would feel condescending. Move the car. Avoid the rocks. It’s self explanatory.
A Short Journey
I must commend the art work in the game too. While it’s the same throughout, remaining unchanged no matter how far Cario drives, it’s quite pretty. There’s layers to the back ground that give the Miami Beach meets Sci-Fi feel a sense of depth. This is complemented by a chilled out soundtrack which matches the vibe of the art.
If the game had bothered to include a story or framing, the art and music might have had more meaning. Who is Cario? Why are they driving during what appears to be the apocalypse? Why are rocks falling from the sky? You won’t find a narrative or framing outside of the store description unfortunately.
There’s no longevity to Cario however. After a few moments, you’ll have seen everything the game has to offer. Unlike contemporaries like Jetpack Joyride, it doesn’t get any more difficult or quicker. It’s just the same patterns of rocks falling from the top of the screen. They might fall in different positions but there’s only a hand full of formations in which they take.
So Cario feels like a wasted opportunity. The arcade game basics are there. The art could have been the start of something great. There’s even tiny glimpses of informed games design here, like the way the car can’t be destroyed twice in quick succession, giving you a period of invulnerability. Instead of deciding to push further though, developers Zakyn have taken the easy road. They’ve slapped 71 trophies on a bare bones game that desperately needed more content and driven it onto the PlayStation store. I’m sure it’ll make a few quid in the shape it’s in. It’s just a shame that it’s artistically redundant.
Cario squanders an interesting art style by painting it onto a simplistic arcade game with the bare minimum amount of content required for it to be considered a ‘game’ at all. It’s the best trophy bait to hit the store in months, maybe even this year, but it’s still desperately sub par.
Cario is available now on PlayStation 5.
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we purchased a copy of the game. For our full review policy, please go here.
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