It seems that more and more people are becoming nostalgic for 90s culture. While not as popular as the 80s, the 90s still have a distinct style. The fashion and music of that decade are fairly memorable, but not nearly as much as the cartoons. There are a surprising number of unusual yet iconic shows that shaped our childhoods. So, it’s only natural that we’d feel nostalgic whenever we see something that even remotely reminds us of them. The folks at Big Sir Games, whether intentional or not, bring that through in their upcoming game Cosmo’s Quickstop. In a game about working at an alien pit stop, there’s plenty of zaniness and weird characters to go around. The current Cosmo’s Quickstop demo gives us a taste of colorful interstellar customer service chaos…
Sometimes the best way to highlight strange things is by pairing them with everyday things. This is why so many of those 90s cartoon characters worked in average jobs, to act as foil to the later hijinks. In the Cosmo’s Quickstop demo, there’s a very similar setup. You (and possibly a friend) play as an alien teenager who arrives at Cosmo’s Quickstop. Cosmo happens to be your uncle and you’ll be spending your glorious space summer working with him. You’re assigned a number of different duties relating to all of the Quickstop’s services. The goal is simple: Give customers whatever they need and make money. Of all the games that revolve around working, space jobs probably aren’t the worst.
The Job Perks
When job hunting, it’s common to take all the perks and benefits into an account. Sometimes extra perks are more appealing than extra pay, and the Quickstop has a good number of them. The first is that it’s a very active job. There’s never a dull moment around a place that constantly has a variety of customers coming through. There are four vacant spots and on average, two of them will always be full. This means you’ll constantly be on your toes, tending to customers and messing with different systems. It definitely teaches you time management and multi-tasking.
On that note, the duties themselves are also quite varied. There are four different requests that customers will make: Gas, Wash, Snacks, and Directions. Each customer can have up to three or more requests to fulfill. Each request takes a different amount of time to complete and requires different inputs. One minute you’re pressing buttons to get the washing going and the next you’re moving up and down to fill a ship with gas. The longer you take to tend to a customer, the more annoyed they get and the less money you receive. However, the controls are tight enough that you can be fast and efficient without losing to technical issues.
At last we come to the aesthetics to address the whole 90s nostalgia thing from the introduction. The whole game looks like it came from a classic Nickelodeon cartoon series. All the aliens are of various shapes, sizes, and colors going about the Quickstop in different ways. When the player-character moves, it’s in a frantic manner that’s made even more so due to their long and lanky body-type. All these visuals get some nice support from all the audio covering of random alien sounds to all the loud distinct noises of a business in space.
Work Still Sucks
Even when you’re working you’re dream job, there will be problems. Whether it’s an unreasonable customer, a system malfunction, or a simple misunderstanding, a work day can go south fast. In the Cosmo’s Quickstop demo, there are definitely a few downsides.
The first of which is how fast it ramps up the difficulty. The game stops being about getting a perfect score and more about just not losing. While this may be the point, it still doesn’t feel good when the failures start to pile on. The more you play, the more likely your successes will get fewer and fewer. This takes away from the overall feeling of winning and replaces it with just wanting to get through the day… like an actual dead-end job.
The next problem is kind of specific, referring to the bathroom mini-game in particular. One of the facilities that you need to maintain is keeping a clean bathroom. This is done by going in with your mop and madly mopping side-to-side to clean all the splotches of green goop. While it’s pretty straightforward, the feedback is unclear. Sometime you’ll clean a huge patch only to miss a speck and then the bathroom is dirty again. When you do finish cleaning, there’s no fanfare or visual cue to indicate that the bathroom really is clean. All you can do is look around carefully before moving on which wastes time you don’t have.
Now, even though the controls do work, there is a small technical issue. It’s likely that it will be fixed far before the full game is released, but it’s worth a mention. At the time of writing, there are some compatibility issues preventing reliable controller support. Even though the game works quite well with a keyboard, it’s easy to see why some would prefer using a controller. Yes, keyboards can offer more precise input, but a controller may be better suited to wild parties and mini-games like those in the Cosmo’s Quickstop demo.
A Customer’s Quickstop Experience
The pit stop is a long-standing institution that sees customers from all walks of life. Stops are brief, service tries to be quick, and the employees there work hard. The employees at Cosmo’s Quickstop have it even harder, having to serve customers from all walks of life and space. However, if you’re ready to roll up your sleeves, there plenty to do and master as you tend to all your visitors. It keeps you on your toes while maybe asking a bit too much from you. Perhaps with a friend it’s more manageable, but don’t get down when you get overwhelmed. The customer may be always right, but keep them waiting too long, and you’ll have to serve whoever’s left.
If you’d like to try the Cosmo’s Quickstop demo for yourself, you can download it for free on Steam. The full game is set to release sometime in 2021.