Cargo-Bot review

The thing that makes Cargo-Bot a special title is the fact that it was created using an iPad.

Using an app called Codea Cargo-Bot is a proof of concept, and a brilliant way to market Codea. I am by no means good at programming, but the mere notion of being able to code everything using an iPad is impressive. I will divide this review in one part game review, and one part app impressions.

The game Cargo-Bot is all about programming a robot to move crates into certain patterns. It might sound easy, but given the limited number of commands available it gets complicated quickly. Using short functions, and colour coded commands takes concentration, and spatial thinking. If you program sequential actions in other aspects of life you will find it a breeze though. I have only tried one game with a similar approach to gaming for iOS, but darn it if I can recall the name. The object of that game was to move a robot past obstacles to a goal.

You get four rows of command slots, and to make it more efficient you have to group commands into functions. This might sound like a really nerdy game, and it is but in a fun way. It takes a special type of gamer to appreciate the slow gameplay, and the fact that you will not succeed by luck or speed. When I manage to separate coloured crates, and then put them in separate stacks I get a higher sense of reward then when killing a bunch of zombies in a FPS.

The controls are easy to grasp, just drag commands to the command slots. Press play when done, and the Cargo-Bot starts moving. A fast-forward button allows for speedier movement, and a slow-motion button allows you to properly see each individual command carried out.

The tutorial is excellent, and once I was left on my own the game offered hours of programming fun. Someone with more skill, and experience will be able to complete the entire game within the same time I complete the easy puzzles. More puzzles are promised in updates.

The presentation in Cargo-Bot is functional with bright colours, and retina resolution for the New iPad. There is nothing special about the graphics though, but considering the subject matter and nerdy nature they look surprisingly suitable to a broader audience. The music is of a casual nature, and it didn’t bother me or stick with me.

As I mentioned in the beginning this is a game created using Codea. At $9.99 it offers vast opportunities to code using the Lua language for programming. You have to know, or be interested in learning about programming to be able to use it properly. Once you get going though many parameters can be changed using sliders for example. It is also easy to directly run the code, take screencaps and even record video sequences of the code in action.

To those new to programming Codea offers a lot of documentation within the app. It also comes with a lot of cool examples you can run, change and get inspired by. Sound effects, and 3D effects are examples that you can learn a lot from. If you have the idea, and the time you can certainly create a game or app using Codea.

Cargo-Bot is a great game for a select audience. Your kids might not like it, but finally you get something to show your uncle still using a standalone calculator. If you are interested in learning to code, or have an idea and skill Codea is a great way to get going. Now I just wish I had any of those things.

Final Rating


Cargo-Bot Free iPad only
Version: 1.0.1

Codea $9.99 iPad only
Version: 1.3.6
Seller: Two Lives Left

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  • thismarty

    Codae would be a really cool app if they were to come up with a desktop version as well (which I hope they have or will).  But having a learning or creative tool trapped on a device where apps can disappear from the App Store without notice or where I can’t easily re-install old versions after a screwy update, is kinda scary.  An iPad version is a great portable adjunct to a desktop version, but iPad-only isn’t so great.