Check out our interview with Cosmo’s Quickstop creators Big Sir Games here.
Lately I’ve been playing a lot of games like Overcooked!. You know the type: you’re given a list of timed tasks to perform with little margin of error. Every couple of weeks there seems to be a new Overcooked!-style clone, and while some of these end up being really good (Tools Up! Is a favorite of ours), most of these games are just so derivative I just want something different, and that turns out to be Cosmo’s Quickstop. Developed locally by Chicago developer Big Sir Games, Cosmo’s Quickstop has been something I’ve been following locally for the last few years , and it exceeded my expectations.
Cosmo’s Quickstop is an action puzzle game where you have to run around dealing with the everyday workings of a space station that resembles a travel center or truck stop. In it, you play as Morvin, Cosmo’s hapless employee. It’s your goal to meet the rush of anxious alien travelers–you have to meet the customer’s demand for amenities by activating certain stations, or restocking stations that customers diminish through use. The faster and more proficient you are, the better your score and the higher your payout, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed and stuck in the weeds. If you get overwhelmed, you can always bring a friend for split screen co-op locally or through Remote Play Together.
To keep your bustling space truck stop running smoothly, you (and your partner if you’re playing co-op) will have to run around performing various tasks. These tasks vary depending on the station, with each station having its own unique series of inputs. One of the things I appreciate about Cosmo’s Quickstop is how failing a specific task usually only sets you back a bit, since you’re allowed to repeat it. Failed a button input sequence for refueling? That’s fine, you can try again—the customer doesn’t automatically fly away. There is at least one notable exception, with the asteroid task being an instant fail if you make a single mistake—but that’s because you let a freakin’ asteroid hit the station. That’s not good.
Around the quickstop, tasks are divided into three different types: curbside services, chores, and amenities. Curbside services are what you expect a space truck stop to provide: fuel, a spaceship wash, space barnacle removal, etc. These are tasks you always have to actively manipulate—for instance, you have to shoot the barnacle laser yourself, or get the gas pump started. Chores are the jobs you have to do as the day goes along. The bathroom start filling up with green glorp and need to be frequently cleaned, customers need directions, vending machines need to be refilled, etc. Amenities are sort of like the elective accoutrements that will draw in your customers and get them to spend a little extra money. While amenities and curbside services can rotate out, chores never rotate out. You’re always going to have to keep the bathrooms cleaned and the vending machines stocked. Oh yeah, and asteroids like to threaten your station when it seems like it’s at its busiest, just to throw a monkey wrench into the works.
Every one of these tasks has a different set of mechanics, but most stations are a variation of quick-time event style button pressing, or even just holding buttons down in a certain sequence. But unlike most quick-time events, there’s not a single task I dreaded in Cosmo’s Quickstop
Sometimes the way you interact with these tasks even changes based on how many upgrade points you have put into it. Upgrade points can help squeeze a few extra bucks out of customers when they’re using your services or make the services easier to complete. You can switch these out in Morvin’s room between work days, and you’ll need to: services, if used too often, will break down and will need to be swapped out with other services. This is a way to keep rotating different tasks, but it’s a little bit cumbersome to have to manage. Initially, I wasn’t a huge fan of the UI for setting up new amenities and upgrading them, but I got used to it. Still, it’s my least favorite part of the game, especially when I have to juggle my skill points.
Amenities that are upgraded can still break down, and the amount of skill points you have aren’t enough to upgrade everything. Thankfully you can remove these skill points. Annoyingly, they aren’t automatically removed when you un-equip a service or amenity—it’s not even an option to un-equip these skill points automatically, and I really wish it was. There’s a short moment of frustrating while I plan each day as I try to figure out where my points are, and where I want them to go.
While your services and amenities change in Cosmo’s Quickstop, the levels don’t really change out that often or in meaningful ways. It’s true that you go from servicing bays with two landing pads each to servicing up to four bays with eight landing pads total. But that change just makes everything feel bigger, not necessarily different. Games like Overcooked! And Tools Up! Frequently changed scenery, and thus presented new challenges through the level itself. Cosmo’s Quickstop does offer some environmental change and challenges—mostly through giant purple tentacles that like to block entrances and portals. But if you’re hoping for drastic scenery changes like in those other games, you’ll be disappointed.
Unlike Overcooked, you can play the entirety of Cosmo’s Quickstop completely solo—no bot or surrogate player required. On the other hand, co-op makes most games more fun, and that’s true for Cosmo’s Quickstop as well. I would have loved to have non-splitscreen multiplayer added, but couch co-op is the perfect fit for this game—and there’s always Remote Play Together to approximate that couch co-op feeling over the internet.
I genuinely love Cosmo’s Quickstop. It rivals Overcooked! and its ilk, and has become my new favorite game in the “wacky worker” genre of co-op games. Cosmo’s Quickstop has hectic and exciting gameplay that’s just damn fun. I love its sense of humor, too, as Morvin has to deal with Uncle Cosmo’s crazy money making schemes. If you like games like Overcooked!, Cook, Serve, Delicious!, etc, you’ll definitely want to play Cosmo’s Quickstop.
Cosmo’s Quickstop is available now for PC via Steam.
If you like the video game, tabletop, or other technology content that Third Coast Review has to offer, consider donating to our Patreon. We are the only publication in Chicago that regularly reviews video games, and we cover lots of local Chicago-based events and more. If you want to contribute to our coverage of Chicago’s video game scene (and more) please consider becoming a patron. Your support enables us to continue to provide this type of content. Patreon.com/3CR
You can also catch us streaming games we’re reviewing and staff favorites on our Twitch channel.